COVID-19 and Your Immune System


What Is A Virus?

A virus is a microscopic parasite that cannot do much on its own. It needs to infect a susceptible cell and then direct that cell’s machinery to do its bidding. First, they steal energy from the cell they infect, and then use the cell’s machinery to make multiple copies of themselves. Basically, a virus is genetic material, either RNA or DNA, with an outer shell of protein. That’s it, not very complicated. The main purpose of a virus’s life is to just make more of themselves, which many times disorders the health of the host cell.

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel virus. Novel means that this is a virus previously unknown to immune system, and therefore the human population has no immunity against it. The causative agent of COVID-19 is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2. This may sound familiar to you because of the previous 2002 to 2004 SARS pandemic. Both of these viruses are a SARS coronavirus. These SARS viruses, in some individuals, can lead to a "cytokine storm" in the alveoli of the lungs. This is what causes the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

What Is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome?

The alveoli of the lungs are the small grape-like structures that fill up like balloons at the end the bronchioles. The cytokine storm in these air exchange structures cause them to fill up with fluid instead of air, creating a shortness of breath. This new SARS-CoV-2 actually shares 79.5% of its genome with the previous SARS virus designated as SARS-CoV. However, the 20.5% difference makes this a completely new virus for the human immune system to handle.

Why There Is No Cure For COVID-19

Because it’s a brand-new virus to our human immune system we lack immunity to it, as previous stated. Because it’s brand-new there is very little research on it. Therefore, no one can tell you that a certain supplement will prevent or cure COVID-19, there just isn’t the research available. However, there is a great deal of solid information on what can improve our immune systems and help us prevent viral infections. Furthermore, since the previous 2002 SARS pandemic there has been a tremendous amount of research in nutrients and botanicals that can have an effect on this SARS coronavirus., which may be helpful in dealing with SARS-CoV-2.

However, make no mistake, SARS-CoV-2 is different than the first SARS-CoV and must be taken much more seriously. Just take a look at the statistics. Globally, WHO received reports of SARS from 29 countries and regions: 8,096 persons with probable SARS resulting in 774 deaths. As of March 29th, 2020 Covid-19 had already caused 720,415 cases and 33,908 Deaths worldwide and 141,125 cases 2,458 deaths in the U.S. The infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 is much more severe than SARS-CoV.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself And Your Family?

First and foremost, you must follow all CDC guidelines carefully, especially social distancing and proper hygiene. Again, there is no known cure for COVID-19, but there are ways you can improve your immune function. This is important because not everyone who is exposed to SARS-CoV-2 develops COVID-19. In fact, most studies show 80% of those who are exposed to SARS-CoV-2 have only mild to moderate symptoms. While as many as 5% suffer severe breathing problems that require intensive care. Why the difference? Because in 80% of the population their immune systems were able to defeat this virus.

Long Covid And Post-COVID Symptoms

COVID-19 is still a focal point for health throughout the world. Much like at the start of the pandemic in 2020, there are new things being learned each day as the course of the virus continues to move. From infection rates and likelihood, to new strains and vaccine development, COVID-19 is still very much a part of the world today.

One thing that is still largely unknown or underrepresented is the phenomenon of post-Covid conditions, or Long Covid. While Long Covid can go by many names and is referred to colloquially many different ways, it is extremely serious and not well known what specifically causes it or what it can entail. Like different strains of the COVID-19 virus affect people in different ways, Long Covid can be just as unpredictable.

Long Covid can entail many different conditions and health issues. As the nomination alludes to, it also means that these conditions can extend past an individual’s initial infection with the SARS CoV-2 virus. This timeframe is not certain between each individual, it can be weeks, months or even longer. Long Covid also doesn’t discriminate between those who had severe symptoms during their initial infection of COVID-19 or those who had little to none; Long Covid symptoms and conditions can be experienced by anyone who had the virus no matter how severely they were affected. Adding to the unpredictability of Long Covid, these lingering health problems can arise and be prevalent even without a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Some who were infected with COVID-19 were asymptomatic and may not have known they had it in the first place. Even if that is the case, some still experience Long Covid symptoms.

It can be tough to identify Long Covid. Since there are no set symptoms and no set timeframe to have them plus no definitive test, combined with the potential for individuals to not even know they had COVID-19 in the first place, it can make for a very muddy area. According to the CDC as of December 2022, Long Covid or post-COVID conditions can first be identified roughly four weeks after infection of COVID-19. Mix any other health problems you may have combined with the potential for Long Covid conditions, it can be hard for individuals and healthcare providers to understand the root cause of the issues.

What are some symptoms of Long Covid? While you can have one or all or some combination of these conditions, these are the most frequent symptoms that have been recorded since Long Covid became prevalent:

  • Brain fog, which includes difficulty or delay in cognitive function
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Overall smell and taste loss.
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • Headaches or migraines
  • General fatigue that is out of the ordinary.
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Coughing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Stomach and intestinal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty when breathing and shortness of breath

If you are experiencing any of these conditions, are confused and don’t know where to turn, consider reaching out to Dr. Fors and our Minneapolis Functional Medicine Clinic. We work with you to identify the root of your health issues and heal them naturally, rather than just block the symptoms and conditions with pills and medications. Please reach out to us at 763-862-7100 or request an appointment online.

How Can You Bolster Your Immune System To Defend Against The Virus?

First, you must eat a nutrient dense healthy diet. Number one cut out all sugars. Numerous studies have shown that as blood sugar levels rise immune function declines. This happens even at moderate levels of post meal glucose levels rising over 120 mg/dl. I have my patients follow their post meal glucose levels, and in general they have to eat a low carb diet to maintain a post meal glucose level under 120 mg/dL. Number two, fill up on vegetables, they have the micronutrients that you need. Keep your levels of fruit intake down because they contain a lot of sugar. Get adequate levels of protein through moderate intake of meat. If you need to snack use nuts and seeds high in micronutrients.

The Role Of Vitamin D And C

Vitamin D enhances your monocytes and macrophages to fight pathogens and decreases hyper inflammatory response. It’s vital to know your vitamin D level, abnormally low vitamin D levels can lead to increased risk for upper respiratory tract infections, including the flu. Dosing of vitamin D3 really depends on your present blood level, you do not want to overdose. I like to have my patients keep a healthy blood vitamin D level of between 60 to 80 ng/mL and never go above 100 ng/mL. Depending where you are starting from daily dosage can be anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000 I.U.

Of course, you may want to consider vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant and helps reduce oxidative stress in your tissues. Oxidative stress is an accumulation of free radicals in your tissues which will definitely reduce immune health and is linked to numerous diseases. Viruses increase oxidative stress in the alveoli, which can lead to a cytokine storm. I like to have my patients maintain a minimum of 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day. When they are coming down with a respiratory infection, I will have them take a liposomal vitamin C at higher levels, usually to bowel tolerance.

The Role Of Zinc

Zinc is another important immune support nutrient. Zinc is a vital nutrient for immune cell development and decreases oxidative stress and decreases the generation of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha and IL-1beta in elderly individuals. This could be vital to an individual developing a cytokine storm in a SARS reaction. I test all my patients to see if they have adequate zinc levels in their blood, ideal levels are between 90 to 150 mcg/dL. Without knowing your zinc levels, I would set the upper limit to about 40 mg of elemental zinc per day. Too much zinc can decrease your copper levels. If you are pushing that 40 mg of elemental zinc per day you may want to add 2 mg of copper per day. Again, I test all my patients’ zinc and copper levels to know exactly where they are at and where they need to go.

The Antiviral Role Of Flavonoids

There is a family of natural compounds found in foods called flavonoids, one prime example is that of quercetin. Flavonoids such as quercetin has been shown to exhibit antiviral effects. In one study quercetin was shown to inhibit the entry of the SARS-CoV into the cell. Quercetin exhibits a great deal of other benefits, and I utilize it a great deal in my practice and personally myself. Dosage usually runs around 500 mg to a 1,000 mg per day.

The Role Of Medicinal Mushrooms and Herbal Medicines

There are so many other factors that can be utilized in support of immune system. Medicinal mushrooms are a huge benefit to the immune system and have been used for thousands of years. Mushroom extracts such as that from Turkey tail, Rishi, Shiitake, Cordyceps and Lyons Mane all have been shown to benefit immune health. One supplement that I like to utilize for myself and patients is an extract of mushrooms called AHCC which improves the innate immune system. Human and preclinical studies have shown AHCC increases the number and/or activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, which help the body fight off infections.

There are Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicines that have been shown to fight SARS CoV and therefore they may have some benefit against SARS-CoV-2. One of these are herbs, Astragalus is used in many traditional Chinese formulas created to improve immune function and fight infection. Another one is Andrographis an herb containing andrographolide, a compound shown to have antiviral effects against respiratory viruses such as influenza A. A 2003 Lancet study found Glycyrrhizin extract from licorice has been shown to inhibit viral absorption and the penetration of the SARS-CoV virus. The study concluded: "Of all the compounds, glycyrrhizin was the most active in inhibiting replication of the SARS-associated virus."

These herbal strategies and more will be discussed in further detail with dosing in my next posting on COVID-19 and Your Immune System. I will also focus on the role of the cytokine storm in the alveoli in COVID-19 and what can be done to hopefully reduce its occurrence. Again, this is a novel virus and there is no available research showing that any substance can prevent or treat COVID-19, but why not do all you can to improve your immune function and give yourself a fighting chance?

So How Dangerous Is SARS-Cov-2 Or COVID-19?

The disease COVID-19 is caused by a virus in the SARS family, a virus that can lead in some individuals to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It is easily spread through respiratory aerosol droplets. The good news is that about 80 percent who contract the virus will get a very mild to very severe cold that they will get over on their own, without hospital support. It’s estimated about 20 percent will develop pneumonia-like symptoms that need hospitalization. The bad news is that about 5 percent of all infected individuals will need intensive care in the ICU, according to a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A recent published study from Wuhan China showed that nearly 50 percent of those admitted to ICU needed mechanical respirators. A sobering statistic was that 86 percent died even though they had been placed on a mechanical respirator; respirators are not a panacea for COVID 19. According to the Intensive Care National Audit And Research Center study in the UK, 48 percent of COVID-19 ICU patients died, and of the patients who received advanced respiratory support 66 percent died.

The Point of These Grim Statistics

As of April 6, 2020, Public Health officials are warning that a COVID-19 vaccine is still 12 to 18 months away. Before that time the states are going to have to slowly end the stay-at-home order. Social distancing has done its public health job by reducing the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19. But social distancing has not and cannot get rid of the reservoir of the SARS CoV2 virus. It is still there in our American population. Therefore, for you and your loved ones, over the next 12 months, you will want to make COVID-19 nothing more than a mild to moderate cold that lasts about two weeks and provides you with immunity. Period!

How do you do this? You do everything humanly possible to strengthen and bolster your immune system and reduce a hyperinflammatory response. The research literature out of China indicates that the severely ill COVID-19 patients and especially those who die, all have the clinical and laboratory features of a "cytokine storm”. In other words, it may not be the virus that is directly killing these individuals, but their own immune systems put in a destructive overdrive.

What Is The Cytokine Storm or CSS?

Cytokinesare a vital group of proteins secreted by cells of the immune systemthatactaschemical messengers. Cytokinesinteract with cells of the immune system in order to regulate the body's response to disease and infection. The overproduction of cytokines or Cytokine Storm is associated with a wide variety of infectious and noninfectious diseases. The term was popularized during the avian H5N1 influenza virus infection, bringing the term into popular media.

It can generate a Severe Acute Inflammatory Response in the lungs to various triggers including certain viral infections, including SARS CoV2 virus, the cause of COVID-19. This cytokine storm leads to fluid buildup in the alveoli and excessive destruction of healthy tissues in the lungs and throughout the body. This fluid and cellular damage causes an inability to bring oxygen into the body, many times leading to the necessity of a mechanical respirator. The inflammatory reaction is set in motion by the immune cells that over produce and release cytokine chemicals such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha (TNF).

Who develops a cytokine storm is dependent upon the present overall health and genetics of the individual who contracts COVID-19. For example, individuals with chronic inflammatory disorders such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are now known to be more prone to the development of a cytokine storm and death from COVID-19.

Very recent research study from China has demonstrated that you can detect the coming cytokine storm in a patient by measuring a simple inexpensive blood marker called serum ferritin. This is a good first screening tool for the possibility of a cytokine storm syndrome in sick patients with high fevers. I suggest to anyone who is hospitalized for COVID-19 to request that their doctor includes a serum ferritin evaluation on ongoing basis while hospitalized.

How To Reduce The Possibility of Infection and A Cytokine Storm

Again, let me emphasize one more time, because this is a new virus there is no research to show any one thing can prevent or cure COVID-19. The most important thing to do is eat a healthy plant-rich, low carb diet to maintain a post meal glucose level under 120 mg/dL. Therefore, avoid immunosuppressive sugar, alcohol and processed foods and include immune-supportive foods and spices such as onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and if accessible, mushrooms such as shiitake and maitake. Consistently use herbs such as Astragalus and Garlic, as well as assessing Vitamin D levels and supplementing as necessary, as pointed out in Part One. Abundant sleep is also crucial. Finally, limit spread through hygiene, limited contact, social distancing, and wear a mask.

There has been some on-line debate and confusion as to whether herbal products such as Elderberry and Echinacea will stimulate increased cytokine production leading to a cytokine storm. To my patients, I have reviewed the research literature on this subject, and I do not believe there is support for this supposition. Yes, these herbal products, as well as others, do increase cytokines which is how your immune system fights off infections. Therefore, you would want to take these early on to prevent and treat viral infections. But no, there is no evidence that they will produce a cytokine storm. Furthermore, if you are one of the 20 percent hospitalized for pneumonia, I do not think they will be providing you with any herbal products in the hospital. My family and I will be utilizing these products on an ongoing basis and attempt to prevent and lessen any viral infection.

Herbs That Can Improve Immune Function

Interferons (IFN) are proteins produced by white blood cells that "interferes" with viral replication. Interferon protects cells from viral infections by increasing natural killer cells, macrophages, phagocytes and other immune cells to eradicate pathogens, not only viruses, but also bacteria. [viii] Elderberry fruit extracts and Astragalus root extract enhances IFN-β response. [ix] The well-known herbal Curcumin from Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has immune-stimulatory and anti-inflammatory activities because of its ability to increase IFN. Research shows it may also be able to reduce the potential of a cytokine storm. [x] Echinacea angustifolia is also well known to increase interferon and has anti-viral properties that were comparable with Oseltamivir in one study. [xi]

The Herbal Combination Of Inflam-95

One of my favorite products is one that combines five different herbal extracts from ginger root, Curcumin, Boswellia, Nettle leaf, called Inflamm 95. I designed this product nearly 10 years ago when I was the chief science officer at a nutrition company called BioSpec Nutritionals. I’ve used it extensively in my practice and personally over the last decade. It is an herbal combination with multiple benefits, its primary use is to reduce inflammation in the body. Because of this it is always in stock at my clinic. Interestingly, all these herbs have been shown in research to have antiviral activity. Again, this is not to say that this combination of herbs will prevent or treat COVID-19. Supplementation with these herbs is generally regarded as safe and has not been linked to any severe adverse reactions, but many side benefits.

  • Ginger root extracts have been shown to have excellent antiviral activity. Specific compounds in ginger such as gingerols, shogaols and zingerone have been found to inhibit viral replication and prevent viruses from entering host cells. [xii]
  • Extensive research evidence indicates Curcuminoids from curcumin play an inhibitory role against infection of numerous viruses. They inhibit viral replication or suppression of cellular signaling pathways essential for viral replication. [xiii] Curcumin was found to have a protective effect on cells against virus-induced apoptosis and cytopathic activity, in other words it helped to prevent a cytokine storm. [xiv]
  • The third herb in Inflam- 95 is Boswellia serrata. This herbal extract uniquely qualified to reduce the inflammation associated with a variety of respiratory conditions because of its ability to inhibit 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) inflammation, something that synthetic drugs can't do safely. [viii]
  • The fourth herb, Stinging Nettle Extract or Urtica dioica (UD) is one of my favorite herbs in this formula. Stinging nettle is known to have strong antiviral activities but also anti-inflammatory. One recent study found it was effective against SARS CoV. The study stated, "Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA) specifically inhibited the replication of live SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV pseudotyped virus when added just before, but not after, adsorption. These data suggested that UDA likely inhibits SARS-CoV infection by targeting early stages of the replication cycle, namely, adsorption or penetration. [ix] Something worth considering in this present pandemic of SARS CoV2.

Quercetin, A Food Compound With An Antiviral Punch

Quercetin is a polyphenol from the flavonoid family of compounds found in certain foods. We get about 100 mg a day or more from a healthy diet. Researchers have been searching for small molecules that block the attachment of the SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to our cells. This coronavirus docks onto our respiratory cells, like a key fits into a lock, utilizing the cells ACE2 receptors. Once the coronavirus enters the cell it hijacks the cellular machinery to crank out more copies of itself.

Based on its molecular structure, computer modeling shows that quercetin could be a "key” that fits the ACE2 receptor cellular lock and blocks other keys, such as the coronavirus, from utilizing it. There is actually some laboratory evidence that this can happen; after the first SARS CoV-1 epidemic, a few studies did show that quercetin could block entry of that particular virus into cells. As of yet there has been no research on Quercetin’s ability to block SARS CoV-2 entry into our cells. However, SARS CoV-1 and the new novel virus causing COVID-19, SARS CoV-2 share about 80 percent of their genetic make-up.

Clinical research is desperately needed, and a clinical study is now being organized. The best I can say is that quercetin has a real possibility of being useful in this ongoing pandemic. It is a natural dietary supplement that is available over the counter, the usual daily dose of 500 mg to 1000 mg. Quercetin supplementation is safe and has not been linked to any adverse reactions. In one study on viral hepatitis they used up to 5,000 mg without any side-effects, and with increased antiviral activity. However, because of the increased awareness of Quercetin antiviral activity it is now very difficult to find. We try to keep it in stock at the clinic for its many wonderful uses in Functional Medicine.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine: Yu Ping Feng San

There are various Traditional Chinese Medicines that I consider important at this time. However, their discussion is beyond the scope of this article. Though the Chinese formula Yu Ping Feng San merits consideration in this paper. This formula contains Astragalus root (Huang Qi), which is regarded as the "senior of all herbs” in the Essentials of the Materia Medica (A.D. 1694). Astragalus is considered one of the most effective immune tonic herbs in Chinese medicine. The second herb in the formula is Atractylodis Rhizome (Bai Zhu). The compounds in Atractylodis have been studied for their positive effects on modulating the inflammation response. The third herb Siler Root (Fang Feng).

Researchers in China have concluded that Yu Ping Feng San has been successfully applied in a clinical setting for its antiviral and anti-bacterial effects. This included preventing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS virus). Research in China has also shown that this three-plant extract may help reduce the activation of a cytokine storm[x]. The researchers believe that Jade Screen builds up the immune system by both stimulating and suppressing cytokine releases. Some have called this the Goldilocks zone of the immune response; not too much and not too little.[xi] This is one Traditional Chinese Medicine that my wife and I are now taking, along with a strict healthy diet and numerous other supplements. The huge problem now is finding Yu Ping Feng San or Jade Defender; basically, it is sold out.

Warning Signs At Home In Adults and Children

Along with chronic cough and shortness of breath, fever is one of the hallmarks of COVID-19. But is fever something that should be immediately suppressed? It turns out that fevers turn on our body’simmune system and are vital in fighting infections. They should be allowed to run their course if not too high. A normal fever runs between 100° and 104° Fahrenheit. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

  • 104 °F: upper range at which most bodily functions are not altered.
  • 106 °F: threshold for possible seizure activity. Normally human body temperature does not rise above this.
  • 108 °F: brain damage may occur due to protein destruction.

In infants aged 1 month, 101.4 °F may be a critical temperature. This rises to 102 °F at two months of age.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath or bluish lips or face
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • New confusion or inability to rouse
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

I hope this article and the one before has been some assistance in keeping you and your loved ones safe and healthy. If you have any questions or comments you can send them to the clinic email at In my next article I will examine the role that free radical damage and oxidative stress from viral infections in our alveoli plays in this pandemic. I will examine the role that specific antioxidants can play to keep us safe and healthy in these trying times. In closing, I encourage you all to stay safe and healthy. Do all the best practices to protect yourself and your family. Please do everything possible to improve the health of your immune system to increase your chances of developing a vibrant immunity to this virus. That way we can all start return to a normal life again.

The Lockdown and Social Distancing Were Necessary and Have Done Their Public Health Job.

But are you safe to go out now with COVID-19 still moving through the population? It depends; 1) on your overall health, 2) how robust your immune system is, and 3) where you are going. A sit-down restaurant, bar, concert, movie theater, church, synagogue, mosque, any indoor venue where you are sharing a crowded airspace for a period of time leaves you quite vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure and community spread. My family and I shun these situations now and will for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, a recent study found that 40% of all new COVID-19 infections are caused by other individuals who have no symptoms! In other words, even though someone looks, feels, and acts healthy does not mean they are not shedding air droplets of SARS CoV-2 viruses that could infect you.

What Is A Safe Space?

It all comes down to two things, Viral Load and Your Immune System. If someone sneezes in your direction without a mask, that is a massive viral load over a short period of time. If you are at a church service and everyone is singing, a few people with COVID-19 could create a viral load over time that overwhelms your personal immune system. A building space, such as my clinic, with a few healthy people in it for only a short period of time, practicing good social distancing, a building with a good ventilation system, plus everyone is masked and all surfaces sterilized, leaves you with little chance of exposure.

Furthermore, my clinic the Pain And Brain Healing Center, does not treat individuals with infectious disease. Any individual attempting to enter the clinic has their temperature and recent symptom history screened. We only allow a couple individuals into the building at the same time. Everyone is kept at least 6 feet apart, and all staff are masked. Furthermore, all surfaces in the clinic exposed to individuals are thoroughly sterilized before another individual comes in contact with them.

Why Am I So Diligent?

First, I am in male in my late 60s, so I am more vulnerable to the COVID-19, and my wife, of the same age, also works there. Most importantly my daughter runs the front desk and would bring any exposure home to my granddaughter, Daisy. Therefore, you can imagine that I run a very tight ship as far as preventing community spread in the clinic. So, I feel quite safe in my clinic and feel confident that all my patients are also safe. Therefore, the clinic is opening regular summer hours June 1 for all past and new patients. If you have any questions about coming into the clinic, please call Carolyn at 763-862-7100 to discuss your concerns.

Could You Wait Until There Is A Vaccine For COVID-19 To Come Out Of Your Home?

Maybe, but my review of the research by expert virologists convinces me that we will probably not see a truly safe and effective vaccine until the summer of 2021, and that would be an extremely fast development for a viral vaccine. Usually viral vaccines can take up to 10 years to develop. It is possible that the administration will push a vaccine out before next summer, but there is then a concern of its safety and effectiveness.

Furthermore, it may be more difficult to create a SARS CoV2 virus vaccine then is generally recognized by the media. As reported in an earlier article the disease COVID-19 is caused by a virus called SARS CoV2 which shares 80% of its genetic makeup with the 2003 virus SARS CoV1. Right now, 17 years after the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak caused by the coronavirus SARS CoV1 and seven years since the first coronavirus Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) case, there are still no corona vaccines despite dozens of attempts to develop them.

This does not mean that there will not be progress in creating treatments for COVID-19 infections. There has been good progress in antibody treatments and utilization of antiviral drugs. However, these treatments are not utilized until one has actually gotten sick with COVID-19.

So Where Does Your Hope Lie?

In the fact that a healthy robust innate and adaptive immune system can keep you from getting severely sick with COVID-19. The aggregate statistics from around the world point to the fact that about 95% of those who are exposed to this virus develop no symptoms or mild symptoms. That is more than 9 out of 10 come out okay, that’s good odds. The remaining 5% need hospitalization and treatment for the severity of the infection and about 1% die.

Most of those who get sick have chronic lifestyle diseases that lower the second part of the equation, your immune resilience leading to greater vulnerability to infection. The most prominent condition is insulin resistance that leads to hypertension, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and Type2 diabetes. These are the lifestyle diseases that have a greater incidence of COVID-19. I have multiple articles and videos on my website about these conditions. These are lifestyle disorders that can be corrected through diet, nutritional support, and exercise.

This treatment approach will save your life in the long run, and by lowering post meal glucose and insulin spikes it may protect you from COVID-19 in the short run by strengthening your immune system. If you have any of the indications of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome which cause elevated cholesterol and triglycerides along with hypertension, give our clinic a call and let us get on to correcting this immediately. If you have already moved on to prediabetes or diabetes, please read my articles on my website. They will explain how medications do not correct this disorder, and actually lead to many complications. Your best bet is Personalized Lifestyle Medicine, so give our clinic a call.

After implementing a lifestyle and dietary changes the next best thing you can do is read my previous two articles and implement the supplementation suggested there. In my review of the literature and of recent genomic studies on SARS CoV-2 to the most important things you can do for yourself is make sure your vitamin D levels are robust, 60 to 80 ng/dl and that you’re taking the supplement quercetin at 500 mg to 1,000 mg daily.

Again, I hope this article and the one before has been some assistance in keeping you and your loved ones safe and healthy. If you have any questions or comments you can send them to the clinic email at In my next article I will return to examine the role that free radical damage and oxidative stress from viral infections in our alveoli plays in this pandemic. I will examine the role that specific antioxidants can play to keep us safe and healthy in these trying times. In closing, I encourage you all to stay safe and healthy. Do all the best practices to protect yourself and your family. Please do everything possible to improve the health of your immune system to increase your chances of developing a vibrant immunity to this virus. That way we can all start return to a normal life again.

Covid-19 FAQs:

Can natural options treat or prevent COVID-19?
Based on existing and emerging data, many herbs and supplements have potential benefits for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Vitamin D, zinc, Quercetin and elderberry, for example, can potentially boost immunity and/or reduce symptoms.

How can a low-glycemic, Ketogenic diet be used to prevent COVID inflammation?
A low-glycemic, ketogenic diet will reduce insulin levels and reduce inflammation. At least 5-7 servings of vegetables daily provide flavonoids that support an anti-inflammatory diet. An "anti-inflammatory diet" refers to a high consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, lean protein, spices, nuts and seeds and no consumption of refined grains and processed foods. A low-inflammation diet may strengthen your immune system and help your body fight back against COVID-19.

Can nutritional deficiencies make someone more vulnerable to viral illnesses?
Yes, nutritional deficiencies can make someone more vulnerable to viral illnesses. Furthermore, infection can lead to transient nutrient deficiencies, particularly of protein, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, copper, selenium, zinc, and iron. Those with COVID-19 are likely to experience nutrient deficiencies.

How might Vitamin D help those suffering from COVID-19?
Vitamin D is crucial for a strong immune system. COVID-19 patients often have low levels of vitamin D, which can increase their risk of severe illness. Vitamin D can boost the immune system by producing antimicrobial peptides that fight infections. It may also help regulate our immune response, reducing inflammation and reducing the severity of the illness. This is particularly beneficial for COVID-19 patients experiencing cytokine storms. Cytokine storms refer to an overreaction of the immune system that can damage the body's organs.

Can supplements help prevent viral replication?
Yes, there are supplements that may help prevent viral replication. These supplements include zinc, quercetin, green tea, and vitamins C and D.

Is elderberry effective in the prevention of coronavirus infections?
Elderberry may be effective in the prevention of coronavirus infections. It might also be beneficial during the early stages of the infection.

Can supplementation help prevent COVID-19 by stopping the virus from entering cells or binding to ACE2 receptors?
Yes, supplements like astragalus, vitamin D, quercetin, elderberry, oregano oil, and antioxidants may reduce the virus's ability to enter cells or bind to ACE2 receptors.


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Author Dr. Greg Fors

About Dr. Greg Fors

Dr. Greg Fors, D.C. is a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture. As the director of the virtual Pain and Brain Healing Center, he specializes in a functional medicine approach to fibromyalgia, fatigue, brain fog, digestive disorders, depression and anxiety. He is a sought after international lecturer for various post-graduate departments and state associations. Dr. Fors is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Why We Hurt” available through booksellers everywhere.