With the resurgence of COVID cases and many states discussing shutting down again, it’s a good time to revisit the topic of how to protect yourself from coronavirus. At Apex, we feel we have a good understanding of COVID and how it affects the body. We’ve implemented several measures we take daily for ourselves, as well as recommendations we’re making to people who are high-risk or anyone who feels symptoms coming on.
Our COVID prevention recommendations focus on two primary areas: monitoring key health indicators at home and taking various supplements and minerals that can help boost the immune system and decrease inflammation in the body.
Monitoring Your health
One of the things we’ve learned about COVID is that acting quickly and early seems to make all the difference. If you wait to seek treatment or get a COVID test until you’re feeling short of breath, you’ve waited too long.
We recommend that everyone monitor three vital signs daily: temperature, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation. Some of our patients have been able to identify changes in these health indicators that allowed them to get tested and diagnosed for COVID at a very early stage.
We take our temperature every day in the office. If you see your temperature go up, it could be an early warning sign for COVID.
We also monitor our respiratory rate. Several available devices make this easy, such as WHOOP Straps, Oura Rings, and other wearables. What we’ve seen is that if your respiratory rate goes up, it’s a good indicator that the oxygen concentration in your blood is going down, and you’re breathing faster to compensate for that.
You can also buy a pulse oximeter to use at home. This device clips onto the index finger to measure the oxygen saturation levels in your blood. If you see that number dropping, it’s another good indication you should test for COVID.
Our daily routine for optimizing our health and protecting against COVID includes taking some antioxidants, minerals, and other supplements. Recent reports have also shown that people who exercise regularly have more resilience to COVID, so it’s always a good idea to get some physical activity daily.
Though it’s called a vitamin, vitamin D is actually a critical hormone required for more than 200 operations in the body, and the immune system is very dependent on it. In our experience, most people are deficient in vitamin D, even those who live in a sunny state. Many people also have a genetic variation that prevents them from using vitamin D efficiently or transporting it from the skin to the liver for conversion.
For most of our patients, we are boosting vitamin D into the higher end of the range. The recommended level of vitamin D is 30 nanograms/milliliter. We tend to push vitamin D up to levels of 80, 90, or even 100. Consult your physician to determine what is appropriate for you.
Vitamin C is also vital for the immune system. Try to eat a lot of vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits and berries. We also keep Emergen-C packets on hand. If you feel like you’re coming down with something, add Emergen-C to a glass of water three times a day. Space it out so that you’re getting a constant dose throughout the day.
Zinc can block coronavirus penetration into the cell, but most people don’t have enough zinc in their system. There are several ways to get zinc, but if you take zinc supplements on an empty stomach, you’ll get nauseated. We like the flavored Zicam lozenges, which you can take up to six times a day. Take zinc with green tea, which contains EGCG, a powerful antioxidant that helps zinc get into your cells so it can do its job. Green tea also contains gallic acid, which has antiviral properties and is excellent for arterial function. You can also get gallic acid from herbs such as basil, sage, and tarragon. I eat basil by itself all the time.
Sulforaphane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. It helps boost the immune system and blocks coronavirus from getting into the respiratory tissues in the first place. We like to take sulforaphane as Avmacol Extra, which contains an enzyme known as myrosinase that activates the sulforaphane.
Selenium is a mineral found in the soil. Some research indicates that people with low selenium levels are more susceptible to these kinds of viruses. You can get adequate selenium levels by eating one to two Brazil nuts a day; you really don’t need more than that.
Melatonin in adults decreases inflammation in the body, but our production slows down as we age. People often think they don’t need melatonin if they sleep fine, but it also has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can have a profound impact on health. There’s no standard dose of melatonin. It’s best to take it at bedtime and titrate the dose until you feel groggy the following morning, then back off until you find the right amount.
What to Do If You Feel Sick
If I feel myself coming down with something, I take a dropper of immunity-boosting tincture that contains goldenseal, elderberry, and echinacea. I also take extra doses of Emergen-C and Zicam, and I always wake up the next morning feeling great.
For more tips on preventing COVID, optimizing your health, living longer, and achieving your fitness goals, subscribe to our podcast, Debunking Decline, for free in your podcast app of choice.
For more information on additional supplements that can help improve your body’s immune system, please contact Katie Brendel at [email protected].