It seems like the news about the coronavirus tends to crowd out any other information in popular media. Everyone is talking about or running from the threat of this new virus, one that seems to be spreading around the world at a rapid rate. I always like to take the logical and scientific approach to situations like this. You won’t have any control over the worldwide spread of the virus. The only thing you will have control over is your susceptibility to the illness should it come your way. This post is devoted to protecting you and your family from this potentially deadly virus. To do so, I highly recommend that you follow these dozen potential life-saving steps:
- Wash your hands frequently. Hand washing is what I call a “no brainer.” It is is one of the most effective ways to thwart the spread of various human infections. Take the time to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. When water and soap isn’t available used a commercial alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face. This is a lot more challenging than you might think. Imagine that your hands are full of some toxic element so you consciously think about this issue.
- Take high dose vitamin C.Ever since Linus Pauling recommended taking high dose vitamin C in the early 1970s, I have followed his advice. I now take 1,000 mg of water-soluble and 1,000 mg of fat-soluble vitamin C daily, and I haven’t had a cold in over 50 years. There is relatively strong support in the scientific literature that high dose vitamin C is protective against various viral illnesses, including common colds and influenza.
- Take 2,000 u of vitamin D3 daily.Adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary for an optimal immune function. The best way to get vitamin D is from the sunlight, but doing so is a challenge for those living in a northern latitude. You can measure your 25 hydroxy D level, and ideally, it should be above 30 ng/ml.
- Exercise regularly.Regular exercise increases AMPK, which plays a crucial role in your immune system. A combination of cardiovascular and strength training is ideal.
- Avoid stress.Stress activated cortisol can reduce your ability to fight many different types of infections, including viral infections. Stress reduction is a bit complicated, but in my opinion, optimizing brain function as discussed below, is the best way to manage stress in a healthy manner. I recommend taking L-theanine 100 mg 2-3x daily for stress relief. It comes from green tea and gives you “calm focus”.
- Take adequate amounts of a high-quality omega 3 supplement to get your AA/EPA ratio between 1 and 3.This fingerstick test is available from OmegaQuant for around $70. I take Omega Rx2 from Barry Sears of Zone Diet fame. Don’t by the cheap stuff from your local big box store. When it comes to omega 3 supplements, quality counts. Omega 3 supplements help to activate the immune system and resolve chronic inflammation.
- Take a water-soluble polyphenol supplement.This type of supplement helps to activate AMPK that helps strengthen your immune system. The maqui berry is one of the few water-soluble polyphenols, and I take MaquiRx from Dr. Sears. Cacao in ol. powder or capsule form is another potent water-soluble polyphenol.
- Lock yourself in your closet.I was kidding! It might be a good idea to avoid places where a lot of people gather together. Crowds and viral infections are a deadly mix.
- Eat a healthy diet containing real food with minimal or no processed food. This type of diet will support a strong immune system and help to optimize the right balance of inflammation in your body to fight infections, without leading to chronic unresolved inflammation. This type of chronic inflammation is associated with many common chronic diseases.
- Consider fasting or intermittent fasting.Limiting food intake stimulants your body to produce new immune cells. It can also delay aging and prolong healthspan and lifespan.
- Get 8-9 hours of restful sleep each night.I recommend taking 1-2 mg of melatonin 2 hours before bedtime. I also recommend wearing blue blocking glasses in the evening to block out blue rays that can interfere with falling asleep. Vitamin D and vitamin B5 play a key role in promoting restful sleep. It’s probably a good idea to take a B complex vitamin that contains all the B vitamins. As outlined below, you will also need some extra targeted B vitamins if your homocysteine is elevated.
- Optimize you brain function (and prevent CARB syndrome).This is a big one. It breaks down to avoiding the form of food-induced brain dysfunction called Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. This common disease is triggered by the long-term consumption of highly processed food, and it can have devastating adverse effects on your immune system. Highly processed food has the following ingredients: excessive fructose mainly from sugars, high glycemic carbohydrates mainly from grains, and excessive pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids relative to ant-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Highly processed food seems to lead to depletion of all the monoamine neurotransmitters, leading to the 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome. Why is having optimal brain function so important when it comes to preventing viral illnesses like coronavirus infections? It’s because your brain is the master control center of every function in your body, including your immune system.
This topic is a bit complex, so for details, I recommend that you read my recently published book “Brain Drain.” In the book I teach people to self-diagnose their own CARB syndrome and arrange for their own treatment. Some additional measures to prevent CARB syndrome and optimize brain function include:
- Measure your blood homocysteine level and if the level is above 8, then take L-methylfolate 5 mg, pyridoxal 5’-phosphate 100 mg, methylcobalamin 1mg, and trimethylglycine (TMG) 500 mg daily. Remeasure your homocysteine level, and if it’s still above 8, keep upping the TMG until it drops below 8.
- Take targeted brain supplements like bacopa monniere, ginko biloba, acetyl-L-carnitine, phosphatidylserine, and the omega 3 supplement listed above. I also take a product called Cognitexfrom Life Extension.
- Consider following a ketogenic style diet. This type of food favoring healthy fats and restricting both carbohydrates and protein is associated with many positive brain effects.
- Learn to meditate. Meditation has many positive brain effects. It is also inexpensive and readily available whenever you need it.
- Maintain strong social ties. Having multiple meaningful relationships is very important for your immune system. On the other hand, avoiding toxic people is a good strategy.
- Take a monoamine neurotransmitter precursor supplement that contains L-tyrosine and 5-thp in a ratio of 10 to 1. This type of supplement ensures that your brain has optimal levels of critical neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. One such supplement is CARB-22.You can also throw in some extra mucuna pruriens to enhance dopamine.
- Take D-ribose and rhodiola rosea as supplements. Both tend to enhance brain function. They are also relatively inexpensive and safe.
- Take magnesium L-threonate 2,000 mg daily. This is the only form of magnesium to make it into your brain and magnesium plays a critical role in overall brain function. It also promotes healthy sleep.
- Take zinc 50 mg daily. Zinc plays a crucial role in supporting your immune system and brain function. The data on this is sketchy but the risk is fairly low.
- Exercise regularly as stated above. Exercise also increases brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) or growth hormone for the brain. This substance can help stem cells turn into new neurons to keep your brain from fading away into the sunset as you age.
- My friend Larry Hobbs recently sent me information suggesting that the old malaria drug choloroquine might be effective for treating pneumonia associated with COVID-19. I think this approach sounds interesting and deserves further study and investigation.
None of these approaches will guarantee that you won’t get the coronavirus. Still, they will significantly improve your chances of escaping this potential menace with little or no damage to your health if you do become infected.
Be well and protect your brain function for optimal health and wellness!