Doctors and scientists realized early on that the Covid-19 pandemic was rapidly expanding because we were experiencing “community spread.” That is what led to the current Safer-At-Home restrictions. People are still getting sick, the virus is still out there. So how do we emerge safely back into our communities, even in a limited way, without the benefit of readily available testing and/or a vaccine?
The current buzz is that we will be asked to wear face masks and practice physical distance to some extent for months to come. As we emerge back into our communities and have contact with more people, how will we stay healthy and resist the virus that still may all around us?
I believe our best strategy is to consistently put our efforts into staying healthy. Eat for health (veggies) instead of comfort (sugar and carbs). Broaden your self-care strategies. Be gentle with yourself; we are all in uncharted territory and learning as we go. And remember that part of staying healthy is cultivating your equilibrium and resilience, which can be challenging these days. Don’t underestimate the power of a dance break and humor!
If you already have all your healthy tools in place, hooray for you! Keep up the good work! Share what’s working for you with others, if they are open to it.
If you feel you may be missing something, or your needs are evolving as the weeks go on, the suggestions below will help you fill in the gaps.
The major modification I’ve made during the pandemic is an additional Chinese herbal formula that, according to herbal theory, will strengthen my defensive Qi, my immune system. We know the virus is all around us, that’s why we now have to wear masks out in public. So when our communities begin to open up again, and we’re around more people, my goal is to keep external pathogens at bay and stay well. Others are concerned about a fall virus bump. So we must continue to be vigilant and stay as healthy as possible as the pandemic runs its course.
CHINESE HERBS: I have tweaked a classic formula that strengths non-specific immune function and, as a secondary function, defends against pathogenic factors. Ask for my Prevention formula (reach out to me at Kathleen@PortWellnessAcupuncture.com). As long as we are being asked to wear masks in public, this is an appropriate formula to take twice daily.
MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS: The herbal pharmacopeia has several mushrooms that promote non-specific immune function. You can cook with shitake or enoki or maitake mushrooms (fresh or dried, great in soups and stir-fry), and you can also take extracts for a more powerful dose. Some formulas combine mushrooms with other helpful herbs. This is a great compliment to my Prevention formula; they can be taken together.
VITAMIN D3: helps support our immune system. A blood test will determine your values, although the acceptable range is broad (and norms are usually based on young men, so there’s that). I estimate 35IUs for every pound of body weight, and then round up or down. Personally, I’ve rounded up to 5000 IUs. If someone around me is symptomatic (with anything) and/or I want to stay well (back when we were travelling), I’ll double it for up to a week, and then drop back down to 5000 IUs per day.
ANDROGRAPHIS: This herb, which also appears in the Chinese pharmacopeia, is anti-viral. As long as we are wearing masks when out in public, low doses of this are also preventative.
VITAMIN C: Recent research has shown that as little as 500 mg may help prevent upper respiratory illness, but because it’s a cofactor in so many other biological functions, including skin health, I take approximately 2000 mg/day. Quercitin (which is sometimes combined with Vitamin C) has been found to stimulate interferon, which has essential anti-viral properties and supports a healthy immune systems. This helps fight inflammation in the respiratory tract. So the Vitamin C I’m suggesting for this year has added quercitin.
ZINC has been found to shorten the duration of upper respiratory symptoms. A lozenge will slowly melt and coat the throat, so may be better than a pill or capsule. One MD recommends letting it dissolve while lying down. Some people take this for prevention; I take this at the very first sign of a throat tickle. I keep this on hand.
GREEN POWDER: does anyone eat enough veggies?? Try a pound a day. Can’t keep up with that? Then green powders can fill in the gaps when your intake of whole veggies falls short. Find one that you like and take it. I take a green powder at least four times a week. Green smoothies are another way to get your veggies in: include at least 2 cups of spinach, kale, or zucchini with the rest of your ingredients. Confession: Green smoothies are not as fun as fruit smoothies, so I’ll add 3 or 4 organic dates for a combined benefit of sweetness and fiber.
STRESS RELIEF: We face extraordinary circumstances that are creating various states of emotional distress. If you are currently at least exercising and meditating, then you’ve laid good groundwork to keep your head and emotions on an even keel. B vitamins are needed to help produce serotonin and GABA, which are the neurotransmitters than help manage anxiety and insomnia (among other key functions). Avoid alcohol and sugar (these are empty calories, contributes to pathogenic dampness in the body, contribute to cravings and mood swings, and negatively impact digestion and lungs) and instead reach for Lavela WS or Kinder-Calm. Lavela WS is a lavender extract that is meant to be taken internally. Kinder-Calm is a chewable tablet that can be taken two or three times per day when anxiety becomes intense. If anxiety leads to sleeplessness, then Calm/Calmful Sleep can help. Melatonin, L-Theanine and GABA are part of a Magnesium based formula.
STRESS RELIEF, BREATH & AWARENESS: Although supplements can help, please keep in mind that a cognitive shift will also help manage anxiety down. If you are feeling anxious or your emotions are too intense, stop what you’re doing and move to a different room, preferably with a view to the outdoors, or actually go outside if you’re able. Take 3 deep breaths with long exhalations, and then repeat. Look around and name out loud everything you see that is red (or pink or yellow). Then repeat 3 deep breaths. Before you return to what you were doing, slowly drink a glass of water. I hope that helps you downshift.
Some of my product recommendations may be out of stock due to high demand, so here are options. Place orders through my portal and receive a 15% discount off retail. Thank you!
Prevention (custom herbal formula; contact me at Kathleen@PortWellnessAcupuncure.com) or Astragalus Supreme in caps or liquid.
Designs for Health Stellar C (includes quercitin) or Thorne Vitamin C w/flavonoids (includes quercitin)
Metagenics D3 with K2 5000 IUs (M50062)
Thorne Myco-Immune or Host Defense MyCommunity Extract or Host Defense Stamets 7 Caps or liquid extract or Pure Encapsulations Innate Immune Support (includes astragalus, andrographis and mushroom).
Perque Zinc + Throat Guard Lozenges or Life Extension Zinc Lozenges
Zand Elderberry Zinc lozenges
Designs for Health PaleoGreens Unflavored 270 gr CA ONLY (#D03385)