I have been thinking for a while to update the March 2020 post with even more tips on how to respond to the pandemic, where you can find little changes that you can make to your daily routine that can have a big impact on our health and on our quality of life in the current environment.

As before, this post has the objective to help you understand how to:

  1. Prevent the further spread of Covid-19
  2. Modulate your immune system
  3. Manage symptoms related to Covid-19 using Natural Methods

The information below is based on my many years of experience as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, helping individuals manage their health alongside the latest advice and recommendations from the Functional Medicine Institute, CNM and the World Health Organisation. Please let me know if you are interested in more background references.

Also, I have referred below to a few websites. You can get a discount using the following codes:

1. PREVENTING THE FURTHER SPREAD OF COVID-19

If most people are likely to get Coronavirus and recover, why are we still trying to prevent it from spreading?

Even after the beginning of the vaccine rollout it is still hugely important to work on preventing and slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Especially in the winter months many other diseases spread more easily, and the risk of overwhelming our healthcare system is even higher. Plus… you do not really want to be the last casualty in a war now that vaccination is close by!

So… what’s the most effective way to do this?

Worth repeating for the umpteenth time… COVID-19 spreads primarily from person to person, this can be via droplets released when people sick with the new coronavirus cough or sneeze. It can also spread when you’re in close contact with someone who’s sick – e.g. when you hug or shake hands.

So:

a. Covering Your Mouth and Nose

  • Any mask is better than nothing, plus it keeps you warm in the winter. You know you can do it easily, so wear it when you go out!
  • When coughing or sneezing, be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. If you don’t have your hands free, or no tissue available then instead use your sleeve, not your bare hands. It’s a good habit even in normal times.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with bare hands. If you do it often, be mindful, try to understand why you touch your face, find something else to do when you feel the urge, or ultimately enlist your closer relationships for help.

b. Wash Your Hands Often

Don’t overdo it, just make a habit of doing it when you feel you may have been in contact with infected surfaces, for example when you come back from shopping. Soap and water will be good enough if you do it for 20 seconds. Otherwise you can use an idea for a Home-Made Hand Sanitizer in the Resources section below.

c. Keep Surfaces Clean

This is good advice for everyday living but is particularly important right now. Whilst we don’t yet know how long Coronavirus can survive on surfaces, it is good practise to be proactive in our response. You should clean and disinfect surfaces which are touched frequently, such as door handles, computer keyboards and remote controls. Likewise, give extra attention to rooms which are in frequent use such as kitchens and bathrooms.

2. SUPPORTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

a. Stress Reduction

Although a little bit of stress may be good for your, stress often snowballs in uncontrollable ways and may harm your body’s capabilities to defend itself. How do we keep it in check?

  • Reducing Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine

Try swapping to matcha tea instead to get that boost of energy without the jitters! Good brands are Clearspring, Teapigs, Do-Matcha and you can find them on Amazon or on www.NaturalDispensary.com.

  • Get some exercise

Stress increases the levels of the ‘fight or flight’ hormones adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Physical exercise can help metabolise the excessive stress hormones and restore your mind and body to a calmer, more relaxed state. Even in a lockdown you have few excuses for not going out for a run or on the bike. As an everyday habit, have you even thought of keeping a kettlebell next to your desk? Trust me, you may be sceptical but it works wonders especially for your core strength and it’s quick and effective. You can find plenty of online resources, here a few examples:

Myfitnesspal

Kettlebellsworkouts

For more structured work, if yoga is your thing Yoga Teach Carley Small is hosting online Yoga Sessions every Tuesday and Thursday 8 – 9am GMT. Email carleysmall@hotmail.com for the invite! Not into Yoga? Check out Complete Pilates Chelsea who will be hosting online Pilates classes.

  • Try some Relaxation techniques

The thought of meditation can be quite daunting if you’ve never tried it, but apps like Calm, Headspace, Music Zen and Inner Balance can be a great introduction.

  • Indulge in ‘self-care’

You know your body and mind better than most. Take some time to do the things you love, whether that’s curling up with a good book or taking a long bath. Time to watch again that movie from the 60s. Self-care can even be doing the dishes if you find it therapeutic!

  • Sleep

We all know what it feels like to wake up after a bad night’s sleep. You feel sluggish, lack concentration and have little motivation to do anything. But did you know that sleep also has a big influence on your immune system?

Here’s my top tips to help you get to sleep better:

  • Go to sleep at the same time every night

In a lockdown you have few excuses not to do this. Your internal clock will be grateful.

  • Create a ‘wind-down’ routine.

If you have to stay at home, it can be difficult to distinguish between ‘day-time’ and ‘night-time’ as we no longer have the routine of returning from work to signal that we should wind down. Allow plenty of time away from screens and create a routine to signal to your brain that it’s time for bed. Things like creating a ‘to-do’ list for the following day, some gentle relaxation exercises or reading a book can be very effective.

  • Breathing techniques
  • Make your bedroom sleep-friendly

Create a ‘tech-free’ zone in the bedroom to avoid unwanted distractions. Your bedroom should ideally be dark, quiet, tidy and at a temperature of around 18 degrees for optimum sleepiness + some essential oils like lavender, geranium, patchouli, sandalwood. Try DoTerra essential oils at: www.mydoterra.com/chelseanutritionist.

b. Nutrition

  • Food

This is an entire topic in itself, but to keep it simple and accessible for you – research has shown that brightly coloured vegetables and fruits can boost/modulate your immunity better than most supplements. You should ideally aim for 10 colourful servings per day, and include fermented vegetables or other probiotic-containing foods wherever possible.

  • Supplements

When considering what supplements to take, one can become overwhelmed very quickly. Although there is no research to determine what is effective as a specific response to COVID-19, I have included in the Resources section below some recommendations to help support/modulate immune function and also provide symptom relief during illness and may help to shorten the duration of illness. Please make sure you discuss with your practitioner the use of supplements outside of standard dosages. 

3. NATURAL MEANS OF “BOOSTING” IMMUNITY + RELIEVING SYMPTOMS

If you start to show symptoms related to Coronavirus and are looking for natural relief, look no further. Whilst over-the-counter medications can treat the symptoms, most don’t actually help the immune system fight the infection. The following are some natural methods you can use to both address the symptoms you may be experiencing, as well as modulate your immune system to aid recovery.

a. Hydration

When combating upper respiratory infections, staying hydrated is key. Alongside drinking plenty of water, homemade vegetable or bone broths (which can be found nowadays in many supermarkets or on Amazon) can also be extremely beneficial. Herbal teas and hot drinks can also help not only with staying hydrated, but also by alleviating symptoms. Recommendations include Peppermint, Ginger, Eucalyptus, Chamomile or the classic hot water with lemon and honey.

b. Rest

Rest really is important when you’re fighting infection, so make sure you’re taking plenty of it. Everything else can wait, almost nothing is more important than your health.

c. For A Sore Throat

Adding salt or 1tbsp of Apple Cider vinegar to water and gargling it is an excellent way to loosen mucus as well as helping to fend off bacterial throat infections. Two tablespoons of honey in hot water can also help to soothe a sore throat and decrease inflammation. Additionally, Peppermint and Chamomile teas can also help reduce irritation, as can teas/infusions which are made from marshmallow root and liquorice root.

d. For Congestion and Sinus Relief

Humidifiers, vaporisers, steam inhalers alongside steamy baths and showers can help relieve irritation related to congestion. Combining essential oils such as eucalyptus, menthol, peppermint or frankincense with vaporisers or inhalers can also help.

Alongside this, Nasal Xylitol sprays can be very beneficial, as can nasal irrigation using a neti pot (available from Boots, pharmacies or online). Buffered saline is easy to make or can be purchased in packets and eliminates any irritation to delicate, irritated mucous membranes.

A few final thoughts…

It’s important to remember you are not powerless right now.

It can feel very scary and overwhelming however as humans we are built to adapt. If you are concerned or would like any more information about the contents of this blog you can e-mail me at:

natalia@chelseanutritionist.com

Look after yourselves!

A FEW RESOURCES TO HELP

A – HOW TO MAKE A HAND SANITISER AT HOME

Ingredients

  • 99% Rubbing Alcohol (1-2 cups)
  • Hot Water (5 tbsp)
  • Aloe Vera Gel (5 – 7 tbsp)
  • OnGuard® Essential Oil Blend* (6 – 8 drops)
  • Vitamin E Oil or Almond Oil (1/4 tbsp)

            *OnGuard® Essential Oil Blend available to purchase here.

Preparation

Simply combine ingredients and use a glass spray container (available from Amazon or Boots). Never use plastic.

B – SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP BOOST/MODULATE IMMUNE FUNCTION AND TO PROVIDE SYMPTOM RELIEF DURING ILLNESS

Please note that standard doses should always be used unless otherwise recommended by your functional medicine practitioner or doctor in order to prevent activation of NLRP3 inflammasome and avoid any so called “cytokine storm” – an overreaction of the immune system to the inflammation. 

  • VITAMIN C

Regularly administered Vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration of colds and reduce high temperatures. May help to prevent infections, including those caused by bacteria and viruses.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • NAC (N-acetylcysteine)

NAC increases the levels of a substance called glutathione, a powerful antioxidant found in every cell of the body and can also act as a mucolytic agent (helps break/soften the mucous). It is also used to reduce hepatotoxicity of paracetamol (the damage caused to the liver by extended use of paracetamol). Note: It might not be safe for people with asthma, bleeding problems or anyone taking nitroglycerin, including blood thinners and certain blood pressure medications. If these apply to you, check with your doctor before using NAC supplements to discuss any possible interactions. Please consult with your health practitioner

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • VITAMIN D

Helpful for supporting the immune system. Numerous studies have shown that it helps reduce the risk of colds and flu.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • GARLIC

Some studies have shown that fresh garlic, aged garlic extract and some other garlic supplements may reduce viral upper respiratory infection severity. They may also function in the prevention of infection with viruses that cause colds.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • ORGANIC HONEY

Honey, preferably raw, can help relieve minor pain and inflammation of mucous membranes. It also has antioxidant properties as well as some antimicrobial effects. 

  • PROBIOTICS

Probiotics contain ‘good bacteria’ which can help influence immune system functioning and regulation. Some studies have also shown that probiotic use can decrease the number of respiratory infections, particularly in children.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • VITAMIN A

For short-term use. Can be extremely helpful in supporting the body’s ability to fight infections, particularly with regard to respiratory infections.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • ZINC

Zinc can be highly effective in helping boost immunity. It can also help reduce the duration and severity of symptoms when taken within 20 hours of onset. Zinc acetate or gluconate lozenges in high dosage for sore throats.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • SELENIUM

Selenium is a key nutrient for immune function. It is also an antioxidant that helps to modulate the body’s defences against bacteria and viruses. Selenium can be easily obtained from foods, with the richest source being Brazil nuts. Simply eating 1 or 2 Brazil nuts daily can help!

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • CURCUMIN

Curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation and decrease viral activity for COVID-19.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • QUERCETIN

Quercetin is found in fruits and vegetables and has a wide range of benefits, including decreasing viral growth.

Available from Natural Dispensary here

  • MELATONIN

In addition to promoting restful sleep, melatonin has been shown to reduce inflammation. In the UK you need a prescription by your doctor, in many countries in Europe you can buy it over the counter.

  • MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS

Mushrooms contain more than 150 compounds such as beta-glucans, sterols, antioxidants, statins and triterpenes etc. that can radically improve our health. There are more than 2,000 studies and science-backed reasons that validate Mushroom’s powerful immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic/antiviral properties.

RECOMMENDED COMBINATION USING HIFAS DA TERRA MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS* (TWICE A DAY, AWAY FROM FOOD TIMES): 

  • ASKORBATO K-HdT (Antiviral)
  • MICO FIVE (Immune Support)
  • MICO CORIO (Anti-viral)

To help make Medicinal Mushrooms more accessible, you can get a 15% discount for any products purchased through www.hifasdaterra.co.uk by using my Code: A4NS2.

* Medicinal Mushrooms purchased from Hifas de Terra are tolerated well by most and can be used in combination with other supplements and pharmaceuticals. The Medina studies done by an external laboratory have shown it is unlikely to experience side-effects as they do not follow the CYP450 pathway. Medicinal Mushrooms purchased from other brands may interact with other medications. If using a different brand you should consult with your health practitioner:

  • If you are taking any anticoagulant as Warfarin, or any drug metabolised by CYP2D6 like most tricyclic antidepressants 
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding

How Do Supplements Work?

Some of the Vitamins recommended below work by combating Oxidative Stress. This is caused by an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress can lead to a higher susceptibility of infection amongst other things. Some vitamins help by increasing the production of antibodies and antioxidants to help combat oxidative stress in the body.

The Usual Disclaimer Stuff
This blog is only intended to identify modalities that help strengthen your immunity. It is not meant to recommend any treatments, nor have any of these modalities been proven effective against coronavirus. Always consult your physician or healthcare provider prior to using any of these modalities. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.