Coronavirus Guide

News about the coronavirus is everywhere, and many people are panicking about it. The virus is likely to cause only mild symptoms in healthy people, but we all have to take part in preventing its spread.

Coronaviruses are a family of hundreds of viruses that can cause fever, respiratory problems, and gastrointestinal symptoms. The following are the four most common Coronaviruses.


229E (alpha coronavirus)
NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
OC43 (beta coronavirus)
HKU1 (beta coronavirus)


COVID-19 is a new Coronavirus that will become a new common virus in circulation,  if not quarantined.
Note that this virus is quite contagious—far more than SARS—and as a result, it’s wise to limit its spread if we can. As mentioned earlier, the elderly, as well as those with underlying conditions, are most at risk. 

 As SARS was also a Coronavirus, we do have information on on this particular category of viruses. This means that we can offer solid guidance on prevention, as well as treatment.

1. Prevent Spread

Preventing spread is the most important thing we can all do.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. And, if you’re the one who’s ill, stay home if possible. Also important is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.

Coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets, or from unclean hands.

As such, clean your hands thoroughly by washing your hands often. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, as doing so is the most common way to pick up a virus.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home, work, or school especially if someone is ill. Commercial disinfectants are used in medical settings, but if you’d like to avoid these agents at home, you can use vinegar or 3% hydrogen peroxide as natural cleaners. Use one and then the other immediately afterwards to clean hard surfaces. This is as strong as bleach, and hydrogen peroxide has been found to kill the coronavirus. [1]

2. Maintain (or Cultivate) Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Sleep deprivation, stress, poor diet, alcohol, and lack of exercise all decrease immune function. This is a great time to take some extra care of yourself. After all, the more you ensure your body is rested and nourished, the better you’ll do.

3. Nourish Your Body with Immune-Supporting Foods

Avoiding unhealthy food is incredibly important, so keep sugar and processed foods at a minimum.

These foods are rich in specific flavonoids and other compounds that may have impacts on immune health and viral infection such as kaempferol, phycocyanobilin, and beta-glucans. [2, 3, 4]

4. Prevention: Immune Supportive Nutrients and Antiviral Herbal Medicine

 For more information, or if you have specific needs around immune health please book an appointment with your Naturopathic Doctor. 

Licorice

This is an antiviral herb that has amassed evidence over the years regarding its efficacy against viruses. It contains triterpenoids that have been found to decrease the replication of coronavirus in patients with SARS, as well as with the influenza virus.[5] Note that licorice should not be taken by patients with high blood pressure.

Astragalus

Astralagus is rich in Kaempferol a flavonoid that has been found to inhibit the coronavirus.[6] Astragalus has a longstanding use in botanical medicine as an antiviral and immune supportive herb, and is particularly powerful in its ability to prevent viral infection.

Medicinal Mushrooms​

The beta glucans in medicinal mushrooms are rich in beneficial properties. They have been found to boost phase 2 Interferon 1 responses against viruses by interfering with steps in the virus life cycle.[7] Medical mushrooms with antiviral properties are

Elderberry

This plant has a longstanding use against viral infections, including influenza, and is particularly well-tolerated by children. Elderberry is a rich source of anthocyanin, and its impact on viruses may be mediated in part by ferulic acid.[8] This acid may be able to potentiate type 1 interferon, which is a major immune response to viral infections 

N-Acetyl Cysteine

NAC may be protective against viral pneumonia, resulting in fewer episodes with less severity.
It also supports Glutathione production—a major antioxidant involved in inflammation and immune response—and is particularly important for lung health. In a little-noticed 6-month controlled clinical study enrolling 262 primarily elderly subjects, those receiving 600 mg NAC twice daily experienced significantly fewer influenzalike episodes and days of bed confinement, as opposed to those receiving a placebo.

Although the rate of seroconversion to influenza A was comparable in the two groups—indicating that they were exposed at the same frequency—only 25% of the virus-infected subjects in the NAC group developed symptoms. This is in contrast to 79% of those taking the placebo.[9]

Zinc​

Zinc supplementation has been long association with good immune health, as it supports white blood cell function and proliferation. Multiple studies have found it to be a key nutrient in antiviral immunity in particular.[10]

Zinc deficiency is strikingly common, affecting up to 25% of people in the developed world. Interestingly, many conditions and medications deplete zinc.

Selenium​

Another commonly deficient nutrient, selenium is a crucial mineral for immune health. Higher selenium status is associated with antiviral effects, while low selenium decreases immune function. This is due to a combination of its impacts on antioxidant function along with antiviral compounds: the interferons. [11]

Overall, for healthy people, the important part is to stay relaxed, stay healthy, and help prevent spreading the virus. We can do so much to support our health! The above tips work for many types of viral infections, so we hope this will give you the information you need to get through the rest of the season! 

For Patients Only:

For patients with health challenges we strongly suggest you book a consult with your ND as you may need different or additional support. We are offering for this time only, 15 minute short consults for patients who would just like to quickly review an immune supporting protocol for the prevention of viral infections / coronavirus with an ND! 

These appointments can be over skype / phone if you wish or have concerns about travel.  You must be an existing patient to be eligible for the 15m appointment. We may suggest the above products or a customized variation depending on your case. We have many options for immune health to help you through this season.

We have provided links below to the supplements discussed in this article.

If you are a patient, we’ve compiled a list of supplements and tinctures we carry described in this article linked to our online store.  Shipping fees are $5.00 for Ontario and $10.00 for out of province in Canada.

Adult

Super Antioxidant

zinc, selenium, flavonoids, vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E for immune support 1 cap daily with a meal

N-Acetyl-Cysteine

1 cap daily

Herbs - tincture or capsule options

Tincture Option

Tinctures can be ordered by clinic patients, please note the formula you would like
1 tsp daily as prevention
Prevent: astragalus/licorice/eleuthero
(Replace licorice with ganoderma(reishi mushroom) if high blood pressure)

Capsule Option

Immune Builder – A powerful broad spectrum beta glucan medicinal mushroom extract.
1-2 caps daily to prevent, increase to 4 caps daily at first sign of infection

Kids

VitaKids Immune - (Antiviral)


Contains elderberry, vitamin A, zinc, blueberry (flavonoids) and honeysuckle in a grape-flavoured formula
HMF Child Probiotic daily

HMF Child Probiotic daily


Contains elderberry, vitamin A, zinc, blueberry (flavonoids) and honeysuckle in a grape-flavoured formula
HMF Child Probiotic daily

References used in this article:

 1. Kampf G, Todt D, Pfaender S, Steinmann E. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. J Hosp Infect. February 2020.

2. Schwarz S, Sauter D, Wang K, et al. Kaempferol derivatives as antiviral drugs against the 3a channel protein of coronavirus. Planta Med. 2014;80(2-3):177-182.

3.  M. Calderon-Montano J, Burgos-Moron E, Perez-Guerrero C, Lopez-Lazaro M. A Review on the Dietary Flavonoid Kaempferol. Mini-Reviews Med Chem. 2011;11(4):298-344.

4. McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ. Nutraceuticals have potential for boosting the type 1 interferon response to RNA viruses including influenza and coronavirus. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. February 2020.

5. Cinatl J, Morgenstern B, Bauer G, Chandra P, Rabenau H, Doerr HW. Glycyrrhizin, an active component of liquorice roots, and replication of SARS-associated coronavirus. Lancet. 2003;361(9374):2045-2046.

6.   M. Calderon-Montano J, Burgos-Moron E, Perez-Guerrero C, Lopez-Lazaro M. A Review on the Dietary Flavonoid Kaempferol. Mini-Reviews Med Chem. 2011;11(4):298-344.

7. He X, Fang J, Guo Q, et al. Advances in antiviral polysaccharides derived from edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms. Carbohydr Polym. 2020;229:115548

8. McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ. Nutraceuticals have potential for boosting the type 1 interferon response to RNA viruses including influenza and coronavirus. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. February 2020.

9. McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ. An increased need for dietary cysteine in support of glutathione synthesis may underlie the increased risk for mortality associated with low protein intake in the elderly. Age (Omaha). 2015;37(5):96.

10. Read SA, Obeid S, Ahlenstiel C, Ahlenstiel G. The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(4):696-710. 

11.  Wrobel JK, Power R, Toborek M. Biological activity of selenium: Revisited. IUBMB Life. 2016;68(2):97-105.

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