(And it’s not just about washing them)

this is a wakeup call for a healthier way of life

Family, friends and patients have been asking me for advice on how to protect ourselves during the Covid-19 epidemic.  My first instinct was to cite the natural antivirals, namely cinnamon, garlic and oregano.  Later, I realised that the greater opportunity was to explain how to optimise all the barriers the body possesses to keep invaders out and to help those who have the infection to clear it effortlessly. 

In this article, we will discuss more about the Covid-19 virus, how the infection spreads and simple strategies to strengthen our natural defences to stay safe during the pandemic.

We can all avoid the infection together

The virus spreads in respiratory droplets or from contaminated surfaces.  You can avoid the infection altogether if you self-isolate and observe social distancing, staying at least a couple of metres away from any possible source of infection.  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use sanitisers, particularly if you touch something likely to be infected.  Wash your hands repeatedly and avoid touching your face.  This is going to be very difficult, but we must be disciplined.

The virus’s journey to the lung

The chances of the virus gaining access to your lungs are greatest if it lands on your face.  It can then enter your body through your mouth, nose or eyes, to get to your throat.  From the throat, it goes down the respiratory passages to the lung but can potentially be diverted down the gullet to the stomach.

You can also abort the infection by having a normal respiratory mucosa ciliary function beating up to bring the invading viruses or any other particles back to the larynx to be coughed out.  This would require a normal respiratory system that is adequately hydrated to run a normal ciliary function.

Hydration, hydration, hydration

The hydration aspect to this story is a common challenge in the western world, since most of us are in a chronic state of dehydration.  This is attributable to the regular ingestion of coffee and tea during the day and alcohol in the evening.  This is opposite to the Mediterranean culture of providing a glass of water with every cup of tea or coffee served.

Therefore, the advice is to reduce your intake of dehydrating beverages such as alcohol and caffeinated drinks and continue to take regular warm drinks particularly if you have a sore throat.

Drinking warm fluids can wash the virus down your gullet into the stomach, where the virus is going to be killed by stomach acid.  This would abort the infection altogether.

This helped our ancestors avoid infection while they were eating dirty food that got sterilised by the stomach acids.

However, it has to be said that stomach acid has become a rare commodity nowadays.  What causes low stomach acid?  Taking anti-acid pills does of course; too much alcohol causes alcoholic gastritis that damages the stomach acid producing cells; and infection with Helicobacter Pylori also reduces stomach acid production.  However, the most crucial conditions reducing stomach acid is stress, anxiety and panic, factors currently rampant in western society.

How does stress cause low stomach acid

A stress response is similar to running for your life from a lion in the jungle.  The body sends blood to your brain, your heart and your muscles to fight or flee the danger.  Gut function is no longer a priority to the body, therefore the blood supply to the gut is shut down and the digestive system suffers.  This is why it’s very important to reduce your stress levels to reclaim your digestive system function.

Low stomach acid creates another problem, as it impairs the breakdown of proteins into their smallest units called amino acids, which are themselves vital building blocks of the immune system.

In addition, B12, which is necessary for the maturation of immune cells, needs the stomach cells to produce ‘Intrinsic Factor’ to facilitate its absorption.

What can I do if it reaches the lungs?

Having a normal lung and a normal cardiovascular system would make it very hard for the virus to establish a serious infection.

However, the pandemic should be a wake-up call for everyone to refrain from smoking and for those with normal respiratory systems to enhance their lung function.  Deep breathing exercises and pranayama practice would help a lot.

When the virus lands in the lungs and starts the infection, the body reacts with a fever (a common symptom)  This helps the body to activate the circulatory system to mobilise immune cells from all over the body and bring them to the lung to fight the invading viruses.  Inability to do that is the cause of trouble for those people with severe chronic cardiovascular and lung disease.  The exercise program below will help to improve any situation.

I would recommend skipping and running on the spot, for an easy, steady and consistent workout for 30 mins 5 times a week.  This is a great cardio workout.  Add 20 mins of strength training, working against your body weight with exercises such as squats, push-ups and pull-ups.  Yoga is also great for relaxation, body flexibility and core training.

How can I optimise my immune system? 

In addition to the above advice, I would point out that any inflammation creates a distraction for the immune system, and inflammation is triggered when we eat certain foods, such as sugar, flour and highly processed carbohydrates, as well as toxic fat, fried and fast food, commercial meat, poultry and farmed fish.

In order to reduce inflammation, we must choose ‘real’ food – organic fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meat, wild fish, seeds and nuts.

In conclusion

What we are advising is self-isolation, social distancing, keeping at least 2 metres away from other people, hydrating well with regular, warm drinks, avoiding alcohol and coffee, keeping active with both cardio and strength training, as well as yoga for flexibility and core training.  Try and go to bed an hour earlier than usual.  And eat ‘real’ food.

Stress reduction and stress relief is paramount for your success.  This can be achieved through a spiritual connection, unconditional love, great relationships at work, in the community and within the family, all fortified with the practice of meditation, deep breathing and yoga.

This is also a wonderful opportunity for people to connect and hangout together at home and build better relationships.  It is also a good time for spirituality if you have faith or religion or even if you can just reflect.

You can connect with elderly loved ones via Skype or FaceTime to reduce their stress and prevent the outbreak of infection within the high-risk group, particularly those who stay in long term care facilities.

We feel that our heightened stress response is leading to more damage – not only in leaving us more at risk from the virus, but also in and of itself.  We therefore feel it is vital to detoxify ourselves from the more extreme blandishments of social and news media.

The above measures are specifically designed to help us all to stay within the 80% who have no or mild symptoms, if and when we catch the infection.

For those who are very sick and in danger, we have some effective medications such as hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin, as well as intravenous vitamin C, Remdesivir, convalescent plasma, Ozone Treatment and Tocilizumab.

One final word: despite the many indications and messages to the contrary, we do not have to let the virus dictate the rules of this game.  If we can achieve as good a bodily function as possible, through the above recommended steps, we will equip our body to defend itself, and take the outcome of our battle with the virus into our own hands.