By April Brader, DOM Traditional Chinese Medicine Physician, Acupuncturist & Herbalist
In December 2019, a mysterious viral pneumonia illness was discovered infecting patients in Wuhan, China. This novel (new) coronavirus was named SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 is not the official name for the virus as the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses calls it the “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”, or SARS-CoV-2, because it is related to the virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003. However, the virus is most often publicly referred to as COVID-19.
The most commonly reported patients symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 are a fever, dry cough, tiredness, and in very mild cases people may get just a runny nose or a sore throat. About 50% of patients also have gastrointestinal distress and/or experience diarrhea. In the most severe cases, people with the virus can develop difficulty breathing (dyspnea), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and may ultimately require hospitalization and advanced life support to survive. From the research in China and Italy, we know individuals of advanced age, (especially men), Type A Blood Type, and those with pre-existing diseases like Type II Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Lung Disease are at the most risk for severe health complications.
Now another very important retrospective research study (April 2020) examined the severity of Covid-19 symptoms and the levels of Vitamin D in patients called, “Vitamin D Supplementation Could Possibly Improve Clinical Outcomes of Patients Infected with Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-2019).”
Here is an overview of the results:
Serum Vitamin D levels predict severity of Covid-19 infection:
A retrospective analysis of 212 patients with confirmed Covid-19, and serum 25(OH)D3 were measured:
Of those with sufficient vitamin D level above 30 ng/mL, 86% had mild illness, and 7% had severe or critical illness.
Of those with insufficient or deficient levels below 30 ng/mL, 3% had mild illness and 93% had severe or critical illness.
Thus the author of this research study concludes, “This study provides substantial information to clinicians and health policy-makers. Vitamin D supplementation could possibly improve clinical outcomes of patients infected with COVID-2019.”
Many Functional Medicine MD’s and Traditional Chinese Medicine Physicians have long advocated their patients be tested for Vitamin D deficiency and rectify inadequate levels to help provide patients with a robust immune system. Supplementing with Vitamin D-3 and getting enough trunk sun (Chest sun without wearing sunscreen) for 20 minutes a day along with oral supplementation of Vitamin D-3 is a good strategy to help create and maintain a robust immune system. Other interesting research findings on Vitamin D and immunity include:
“Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin; the killer cells of the immune system — T cells — will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100307215534.htm
Other ways to enhance your immune system include eliminating foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar. Introducing fermented foods to your diet is a research proven way to enhance immunity and following a Mediterranean Diet has been demonstrated to not only enhance immunity, but also increasing longevity. Meditation and Tai Chi both enhance the immune system. Vitamin C also contributes to a robust immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine we use herbal medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion to greatly enhance immunity. We use very specific herbs like Astragalus (Huang Qi), Rhodiola (Hong Jing Tian), American Ginseng (Xi Yang Shen), Ren Shen (Chinese Ginseng), Reishi Mushroom (Ling Zhi), Cordyceps, (Dong Chong Xia Cao) to gently increase the immune system or “Wei Qi” in Chinese Medicine. A balanced herbal formula prepared by a knowledgeable practitioner is best for patients. Acupuncture and daily moxibustion is another wonderful way to enhance immunity. There are many research resources on the internet to read regarding our ancient and effective practices: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540978/
For more information to help boost your immune system, adjunctive treatment for COVID-19 or to schedule a virtual Telemedicine consultation via Skype, Facetime, etc. Please contact me at: (727) 515-8380 to schedule or view my herbal formulations online at: Fourthmoonherbal.com