Biohacking the inflammation related to the COVID
By Doc Edwards
This guide provides some recommendations for nutritional, herbal, and medical prevention of the coronavirus / COVID-19. No one has tested any of these strategies in rigorous studies as this is a new phenomenon. However, there is a lot of science on the Coronavirus and we can use that science to analyze support strategies carefully.
This protocol, except where otherwise noted, is meant to serve as prevention. At the same time, the threat of the new COVID-19 remains high and uncertain. These recommendations are intended as first-line nutritional and herbal defense, which is, in the big picture, second-line defense after strict hygiene and proper social distancing.
What you can do on your own to decrease the inflammation related to the COVID-19 virus:
It is well known that the COVID-19 virus infects and potentially kills people because it wreaks havoc in your lungs, heart, and GI tract. It does this by causing a strong inflammation reaction called a cytokine storm inside of the body. There are 1000’s of inflammatory processes inside of the body, but one of the more important pathways appears to be a cytokine called interleukin 6 or IL-6 for short. Another is the interferon system. The system causes damage to people’s hearts and lungs, sometimes leading to death.
A new paper that came out a week ago in China, called Clinical Predictors of Mortality Due to COVID-19 is based on an analysis of 150 Patients from Wuhan, China. This paper provided some really interesting information about how the IL-6 cytokine seemed to play a very big role in the inflammation storm caused by the COVID-19 virus. The paper also highlighted how the Coronavirus could cause profound inflammation of the heart called myocarditis.
The idea in a cytokine storm is to lower or blunt the response to IL-6. So, if you want to stop a cytokine storm, this is your list of big guns. You could take these before or even during an infection, and for the most part, without a doctor’s prescription.
Here’s a comprehensive list of actions you can take to prevent/calm the inflammation of COVID-19:
Staying home / avoiding highly populated areas / practice social distancing / appropriate hygiene – these are obvious and most everyone is doing this. Keep your family at home and hopefully we can delay the spread and “flatten the curve.” The odds of everyone you know, including your parents, your elders, who may be sick or have weak immune systems, their odds are not as good, especially if everyone gets sick all at once.
Good old soap and water seems to be as effective as anything else for dissolving the liquid greasy coating that exists on the Coronavirus. Scrubbing your hands is very important, whether you use an alcohol gel or soap and water.
Healthy GI Tract
You want a healthy gut because the COVID-19 virus attacks the GI system as well. Besides a good diet, you can also take the probiotics, bacillus infantis, Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus salivarius, and those can be good for you. VSL-3 is the go-to probiotic for most doctors. Don’t forget about fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, kefir and fermented soy that also boost our healthy gut bacteria. Making your own kefir at home is very simple, see the video I did with Miesha Tate a while back.
Some studies show that appropriate vitamin D levels lower IL-6. It is estimated that over 70% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient, which is an excellent reason to get your levels checked. Consider taking 3000-5000 units of Vitamin D daily. Also, go outside and get at least 30 minutes of sun without sunscreen. The UV rays from the sun are what stimulates your skin to make its own Vitamin D. And do not forget that Vitamin D is derived principally from the cholesterol pathway.
One of my favorite mitochondrial boosters, almost anything that increases mitochondrial function is going to help you with inflammation. And if you are taking a statin to lower your cholesterol, then taking CoQ10 is very important! Don’t forget that consuming organ meats such as heart meat also provides a natural dose of CoQ10. If you have pre-existing heart disease, we are seeing an uptick in heart attacks due to the Coronavirus. Do everything you can to take care of your heart! See my previous post about the heart and CoQ10.
You also might want to look at zinc, copper and magnesium. These are on the list of supplements I think you should take every day. These also have studies showing they kill viruses and reduce IL-6. Great sources of zinc, copper and magnesium are oysters, liver, meats, vegetables, and vitamins. If you are going to take a zinc supplement, consider zinc picolinolate or acetate as it is much better absorbed. Don’t take zinc with grains, nuts, seeds, or legumes because this blocks the absorption of zinc into the bloodstream. Finally, copper iodide actually punches holes in the membranes of viruses and bacteria. If you get a vitamin IV for any reason, be sure to ask for trace minerals if it is appropriate, as these often contain micro-doses of copper and zinc.
Andrographis. Andrographis is an herb, and out of many plants that have been tested, this is something that potently inhibits IL-6, in fact, more than some prescription drugs. Andrographis is most widely used to treat cold and flu symptoms and is said to act as a natural immune booster. A randomized double-blind study on 152 individuals found that 6 grams per day of Andrographis for a week stimulates the immune system and it reduced viral and bacterial infections in the respiratory tract. Apparently it is becoming difficult to find this herb on Amazon and other health food stores.
Take 700 – 1000 milligrams per day from syrup, capsules, or lozenges. Elderberry is highly effective against human coronavirus NL63, one of 3 Coronaviruses that enter cells through the ACE2 “back door.” It directly stops attachment of the virus to ACE2 receptors, so it probably does the same to COVID-19. Elderberry also destroys the lipid membrane of the virus.
Take 500 to 1000 milligrams per day in 2 or 3 divided doses. Powder or capsules work well.
This is well known to most people; I would probably use krill oil. But any fish oil would be better than nothing. The higher omega 3 levels can help decrease the inflammation. Eating fatty fish like Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring, and Oysters are all great natural sources for omega fatty acids.
Potently affects inflammation in the body. Search for a highly absorbable form of curcumin. Pick whichever curcumin you want, but not with black pepper as it adds to GI stress!
This is the body’s master antioxidant. If you are going to take glutathione, search for a liposomal form, as it is much better absorbed. However, the best absorption of glutathione is the intravenous form. Glutathione can also be taken as N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) which is basically turned into glutathione in the body.
Chinese Adaptogenic Herbs
Rhodiola, Ashwahgandha, Astralugus, eleuthero and Shizandra which are all found in an herbal packet called Tianchi. Shizandra is an herb that optimizes liver function thereby “detoxifying” the liver. This is a common anti-inflammatory herbal that is really worth doing. Go to www.herbworks.com if you want to try this.
Pure Olive Oil
A potent antibacterial, antiviral compound, that comes from olive oil, is called hydroxytyrosol. You can take olive oil, or you could take little capsules of Hydroxytyrosol, which have hundreds of times more of this precious antioxidant than olive oil does. I’d do both.
Vitamin C is known to attenuate inflammation. In fact, there are many high dose intravenous vitamin C trials going on right now in many parts of the world. Vitamin C boosts the function of your immune cells, such as your neutrophils. If you have the possibility of getting an IV vitamin C treatment, it might help, and certainly will not hurt. Otherwise, take an oral supplement 1000 – 1500 milligrams 3 times a day. Also remember that vitamin C is not well absorbed into the cells when you have a high blood sugar, for example after drinking orange juice or a soda.
What are the things you could do that might worsen your levels of IL-6? Well, I hate to tell you, I’ve been saying this in every one of my discussions about Coronavirus, if you’re eating fried stuff, chips, and you have lots of sugar, it is going to increase inflammation and IL-6. Eating foods that are high in the glycemic index, such as chips and breads are not going to be good for you either. Don’t have so much sugar, and don’t have the processed grains or the processed vegetable oils that come with them. If you notice yourself at home gaining weight, then you are likely consuming too much food and too many carbohydrates and not the good kinds. Whatever type of diet you consume, make sure it contains the least amount of processed foods as possible.
Chronic insomnia is going to be a big issue, and this is something a lot of people deal with for a long time. Getting a good night’s sleep starts 2 hours before you want to go to bed. For example, if you are going to take a melatonin supplement to help sleep, take it 2 hours before bed. Try to limit screen time and bright lights 2 hours before bedtime if possible. All of these things decrease the melatonin in your brain, and you need to increase melatonin for proper sleep.
Likewise, melatonin supplementation itself reduces inflammation, especially autoimmune type problems. It also helps you tan without very much sun. If you are going to take melatonin, most practitioners suggest taking a higher dose, such as 3 to 6 milligrams per day; some even recommend higher.
Being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, and being stressed for whatever reason is going to increase your cortisol and is a bad thing. Try to think of some good things that will come out of all this and consider writing them down each day.
Inhibits IL-6 levels. If you are going to practice fasting, start easy by not eating breakfast and waiting until lunch to eat. Fasting is a stressor, and when you might be fighting a virus, you want to balance your stress. If you are experienced at fasting, then you are probably okay.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers
Increasing the oxygen inside of your body with help your body deal with inflammation. Although expensive, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help with many diseases and helps lung diseases. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is basically increasing the pressure inside of a closed system which increases the oxygen that exists in your tissues. If you have an oxygen concentrator, giving yourself oxygen can also be a good thing.
If you’re smoking, this is your wakeup call. Smokers have a much higher chance of dying with the COVID-19 virus. This is one reason why so many people in China died (perhaps Italy as well); because smoking is rampant there. So you need to stop. And if we’re talking about smoking pot, stop that too, you can eat it instead. Vaping probably isn’t a good idea. And if you’re drinking alcohol, just stop for a few months. It’s worth it.
Optimize your testosterone levels by eating an appropriate diet and limiting stress. If you supplement with testosterone, be consistent about it and test your blood levels to be sure you are in the proper physiologic range.
There have been many media reports on whether NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen can cause or exacerbate COVID-19. Please realize that these are only opinion papers, and nothing is based on evidence. Thus, it is difficult to say what to follow. The better part of valor is only taking ibuprofen if absolutely needed.
If you do have respiratory symptoms, you will need to see your doctor. Studies are showing that early antibiotics are helpful. Also, an old anti-malaria drug, hydrochlorquine is being used to treat COVID-19 respiratory infections with some apparent success. It is important to realize that the study in France was based on a small subset of patients. It also appears that taking an azithromycin pack (Z pack) in conjunction with hydrocholorquine has some efficacy against COVID-19. Certainly, this goes against traditional advice about taking an antibiotic to treat a viral infection, but this is the current research and changing moment to moment. You will need to do your homework and ask your doctor about getting a prescription if you think that it may help you.
The hope is, if and when you do get Coronavirus, maybe this will make you better than average.
To your health,
All information presented in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or establish a patient doctor relationship. Please consult with your trusted health care professional if you have concerns or questions about your health especially as it pertains to the COVID-19 virus.