Immune Protection Against COVID-19

Do you want to prevent a COVID-19 infection? Or improve your outcomes if (and when) you do become infected? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Fortunately, there are many evidence-based herbs and supplements you can use to help achieve these goals. The information presented here is distilled from these two sources and from my functional immunology mentorship program:

Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery

The Functional Medicine Approach to COVID-19: Virus-Specific Nutraceutical and Botanical Agents

There’s a lot of information to sort through in these resources for those who want all the details. Most of us just want the short “cliff note” version. When my husband got Covid recently, he just wanted a protocol and not to figure it out himself. Luckily I was there to load him up with what we had in the cupboard, with clear directions. Below I present my cliff note version of how to best support your defense against Covid (and other viruses).

Supports for the four phases of COVID-19

There are actually four phases of this immune project. There is prevention, infection, escalating infection, and recovery. Each of these phases involves a different immune approach, detailed in this chart. You don’t have to take every single thing in each category! However, it’s a good idea to have some of these things on hand in your cupboard so you and your family members are prepared. It’s not fun to rush to the store or wait for online orders when you’re symptomatic or test positive.

Phase 1: Prevention

First of all, any pre-existing chronic inflammation (allergies, “itis” conditions, obesity, dysregulated blood sugar, etc.) can impair your anti-viral immune response. It’s a good idea to address these conditions so your immune system is less occupied and can fight Covid (or any virus) at the ready!

Next, there are ingredients you must have in order to fight a virus. These are essential, meaning you need them from food or supplements. This includes vitamins D, C, and A, and the mineral zinc. Bonus nutrients include N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), quercetin, and astragalus.

To find out more about doses, please download this handy guide which spells it out clearly:

Phase 2: Infection

This is when you want baseline inflammation at low levels so that you can mount a vigorous immune response and be ahead of the virus. The virus will quickly deactivate your macrophages, so a fast response is of the essence. Alter your protocol in these ways:

  • Continue ALL the Phase 1 Prevention supports (A, C, D and zinc), and consider taking them four times a day for five days (yes, quadruple your daily doses). Also take the “extras” from this category which are quercetin, astragalus, and NAC, four times a day. Astragalus will support natural killer cell production which is very important for stopping viral replication. (Reishi mushroom and the herb Andrographis also do this.)
  • Add potassium if you can, 200 mg, 4 times a day
  • Add one or more herbs to support your innate immune system (Th1 cells). These include Berberine, Baicalin (Skullcap), Echinacea, and Goldenseal. There are also many good Chinese herbal formulas for this. Recently we used two things: Th1 Support by Pure Encapsulations, and Dispel Invasion tincture by Kan Herbals.

If this phase is successful, you’ll have a mild illness and avoid Phase 3! Feel free to book a discovery call if you need product and dose recommendations. It’s best to have these in stock, however, if you’re local we can recommend stores, as well as share what we carry in our Monterey and Capitola clinics.

Phase 3: Escalating Inflammation

This is when there’s a rapid escalation of inflammation, which can lead to hypoxia, clotting and fibrosis. These are serious COVID-19 cases, which are less common in vaccinated people and with the “milder” strains. Stay on both the Phase 1 and 2 supports, and you can add anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting agents such as:

  • Liposomal glutathione – if possible use this in a nebulizer or get an IV infusion.
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol
  • Sulforaphane
  • Natto-kinase (anti-clotting)

Again, feel free to book a discovery call for product and dose recommendations.

Phase 4: Recovery

Full recovery may take weeks for some folks. If you don’t fully recover, you may have “long Covid.” This is when the inflammatory cytokine storm affects a body system long term. It’s not the virus that does this damage, it’s your own over-zealous immune response. In these situations we want to push down inflammation and fibrosis. It’s best to get an individual prototocol depending on your symptoms. Long haul Covid tends to affect the brain/nervous system, lungs, heart/cardiovasular, or liver. Different supplements can help these different systems. For all types, continue all the supports from Phase 1 plus the anti-inflammatories from Phase 3. Here are some additional general recommendations:

  • American Ginseng, Cordyceps, and Kan Herbal’s Wise Judge are good for lung recovery.
  • Nattokinase and Arteriosol are for cardiovascular support.
  • Milk Thistle is excellent for liver recovery.
  • Lion’s Mane and Gingko are good for the brain.

CAUTION: To view potential cross-reactions of most of these supplements, see this chart. For nattokinase cautions go here.

Supplement brands

You can create an account on Fullscript which carries good professional brands, and stores and ships things properly. The supplement industry is poorly regulated and brands matter, so it’s nice to shop from a source that has vetted brands! (See this article: Vitamins and Supplements: Can You Trust Your Brand?) You’ll find my curated protocols on Fullscript here:

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