Managing COVID with Autoimmune Disease | Evidence-Based Ways to Stay Healthy

COVID-19 certainly has a way of keeping you on your toes, doesn’t it?

The virus itself causes plenty of health-related anxiety on its own — but when you throw an autoimmune condition in the mix, staying healthy can seem impossible.

Because on top of worrying about contracting the virus, you’ve also got to worry about managing autoimmune flares and everything that comes with them.

Joint pain…

Mysterious rashes…


Muscle weakness…

Gastrointestinal issues…

And overwhelming brain fog… Just to name a few.

Plus — you suspect COVID might even trigger your condition and make it worse.

I’m here to tell you that your suspicion is, unfortunately, correct…

Studies show that COVID increases the risk of existing autoimmune flares and new onset.

But don’t worry — I’m not here to scare you! As an autoimmune specialist for women, I’m excited to share some evidence-based tips to help you protect yourself and stay healthy. Despite the risks, there are plenty of steps you can take to support your immune system and prevent unwanted autoimmune flare-ups.

But first, let’s talk about what’s going on under the surface so you can reinforce your immune system’s efforts.

The Key Soldier in Your Immune Army: The Th1 Branch

Your immune system is like a powerful army, with different branches working together to protect us from harm. One of the key soldiers in this army is the Th1 branch, which I lovingly refer to as the “warrior.”

What would we do without our warriors?

The Th1 cytokines are our main defense system against viruses, bacteria, and even cancer cells. They also play a crucial role in suppressing autoimmunity. When we have an acute infection, the Th1 branch is activated and upregulated to fight off the invaders.

However, with chronic illnesses and autoimmune conditions, the Th1 branch is often downregulated and weakened. This makes it harder for your body to fight off infections and can lead to chronic autoimmune flares.

So how can you help your Th1 branch do its job?

You can boost the Th1 branch with certain nutrients and lifestyle factors, like baicalin, berberine, sulforaphane, echinacea, glutathione, and adequate sleep. Unfortunately, chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions can suppress this branch, leaving you more vulnerable to illness. But with the proper support, you can help your Th1 warriors fight off any virus or pathogen that comes your way.

Autoimmune Disease and COVID-19: Understanding the Connection

One of the reasons why COVID can lead to autoimmune disease is due to its effect on the Th1 branch of the immune system. When the virus puts your immune system into overdrive, it leaves no “soldiers” for combatting autoimmune flares.

So if you have an autoimmune condition, you’ll need special support to recover from the cytokine storm to prevent an autoimmune flare or a new onset. To make things even more complicated, the support your body needs depends on the phase of COVID you’re in. 

But don’t go into a Google frenzy just yet — I’m breaking it all down for you! Let’s start with the first phase…

Prevention: Keeping COVID at Bay

Did you know there are some things you can do to prevent yourself from catching COVID? I cover this in detail in an earlier blog post, Immune Protection Against COVID-19, but I’ll summarize here, too.

First and foremost, it’s essential to address any pre-existing chronic inflammation conditions — like allergies, or dysregulated blood sugar. These conditions may impair your anti-viral immune response, so they need to be taken care of first.

Now, let’s talk about some key ingredients that provide your body with what it needs to fight a virus! Some must-have nutrients include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc

And if you’re looking to give yourself an extra boost, some bonus nutrients to consider are N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), quercetin, and astragalus. 

Taking these steps will equip your body to keep COVID from entering your system in the first place. But if you’ve already contracted COVID and are looking for ways to manage it, keep on reading.

Infection: Supporting Your Immune System When You Catch COVID

Catching COVID is no fun, but there are some helpful supplements you can take to help you feel better sooner. But here’s the catch — you need to have them on hand right when you start feeling symptoms. 

When you’re already sick with the virus, it’s not the best time to go out and try to find what you need in a store or wait for an online order to arrive. Those first few days are super important, so it’s worth thinking ahead and stocking up now, just in case.

You want your immune system to be in top gear so you can give the virus a tough fight. To achieve this, it’s important to keep your baseline inflammation levels low. Here are some things you can do:

  • Continue taking the prevention supports, but consider taking them four times a day for five days — and add potassium to the mix!
  • Support your innate immune system with the following herbs: Berberine, Baicalin (Skullcap), Echinacea, and Goldenseal.

Escalating Inflammation: Treating Serious COVID Cases

If you experience a rapid escalation of inflammation, you can add anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting agents such as:

  • Liposomal glutathione
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol
  • Sulforaphane
  • Natto-kinase

Recovery: Recuperating After COVID

Recovering from COVID-19 may take weeks for some people. If you have “long Covid,” where the inflammatory cytokine storm affects your body system long term, you can use supplements like:

  • American Ginseng, Cordyceps, and Kan Herbal’s Wise Judge for lung recovery
  • Natto-kinase and Arterosil for cardiovascular support
  • Milk Thistle for liver recovery
  • Lion’s Mane and Ginkgo for brain function

You should always seek advice from a healthcare professional for the correct product and dosage recommendations.

Looking for a Provider Who Specializes in Autoimmunity?

If you could use some expert guidance on your autoimmune disease — including recommended supplements and dosages, diet changes, and lifestyle hacks — I’ve got you covered. 

I invite you to join my program, Road to Remission, my holistic, 4-month program for women who want to take control of their health and reverse their autoimmune conditions. 

Inside, you’re sure to receive the clarity, wisdom, and encouragement you’re craving. There’s a spot with your name on it, friend!

women's functional medicine autoimmune specialist

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