What we are doing. Why we are doing it. What you can do to protect yourself.
There are three parts, of this update. What we are doing to ensure the safety of our clients, why it is important to take this seriously while not panicking, and finally, what we can do to protect ourselves from a natural and holistic point of view.
- We ask that you wash your hands (we have a sink in the kitchen) when you enter the practice.
- We are no longer handing out clipboards for patients to fill out.
- We have removed all samples of gum, mints, and lotions. The only samples that we have available are for hand sanitizer, which will be available throughout the office.
- We have removed all of the toys from the front. If you are bringing a child, please bring toys that they can play with.
- In addition to increasing our regular cleaning, we have added sanitizing to all high touch surfaces, (door handles, tables, computers, pens, clipboards, faucets, phones, and other office and chiropractic equipment.)
- It is now my policy to sanitize tables and wash hands between each client. I am not perfect, and I welcome a reminder from patients.
- If you need supplements. Consider having it shipped to you. Free shipping on all orders. If you need it in a hurry, you can upgrade to priority shipping for $2.99. Orders that are more than $100 or 1 pound will be shipped by priority mail at no extra charge. You can also pay ahead of time and we can walk them out to you in your car.
Why are we taking this seriously?
For most people, the Covid-19 virus is causing a mild flu-like illness. I am not expecting problems for the majority of our patients or for Jordan, Lydia, or I. However, we do have some patients that are dealing with some serious health issues, or are older. There is an increase in death rates in those over 70 and a more significant increase in those over 80. Overall mortality seems to be 10-20x the rate of the standard flu.
Yesterday there were 5 confirmed cases, today there are 13. The Ohio Department of Health is estimated that there are 100,000 cases currently in Ohio. They expect it to double every 6 days so that we will have 200,000 cases by next Wednesday. There is a scenario whereby COVID-19 infections could become the leading cause of death in Ohio this year. The first 10 cases in Ohio are in the Northeast part of the state, with 6 in Cuyahoga county.
One of the problems is that the CDC bungled (and is continuing to bungle) it’s testing rollout). As of Friday afternoon (March 13), less than 15,000 people have been tested in the United States, while only 300 have been tested in Ohio. This means that many symptomatic patients are not able to get tested and as more are tested, the number of cases will rise significantly.
The goal of the drastic measures that our government has enacted is to “flatten the curve” and slow the progress of the outbreak. This enables the health system not to get overwhelmed as more are infected. For the amount of money that we spend on medical care, our country’s system is significantly less resilient than in other countries. We have fewer hospital beds per 1000 residents. Japan and South Korea have 12, while even China has 4.3 beds per 1000 people. Because we only have 2.3 beds per 1000 people, it is that much more important to slow the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 infection creates a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you feel sick, do not go to the emergency room or urgent care. Call your medical doctor. If you don’t have a medical doctor call your insurance to find out where to call. The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and Lake Health all have COVID-19 information pages as well as numbers to call and the ability to set up virtual doctor appointments through the web.
The best and most up to date information regarding COVID-19 can be found here:
- Ohio Department of Health (ODH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
What can we do to protect ourselves? A preventative and natural approach.
Hand washing should be the first step in reducing exposure to COVID-19. Hand washing is better than hand sanitizer even without using soap. It is important to not touch your face and mouth (or food) before washing or sanitizing your hands. There are many great websites on handwashing and other preventative measures.
Avoid close contact with sick people and make sure to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces daily. This is an important resource from the Ohio Department of Health when common cleaning supplies run out: COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting Alternatives.
It is important to take care of ourselves. Getting enough sleep will boost our immune system. Eating well and staying away from inflammatory foods and alcohol can also help. If you know that you react to certain foods, avoid them. Common food sensitivities that I see in my office are dairy, wheat/gluten, caffeine, and foods in the nightshade family. If you know that you react to any of these foods, avoid them. Using muscle testing, I can also check if there are any sensitivities showing.
Moderate exercise can boost your immune system. Gentle exercise even when you are sick may be beneficial to the immune system. It is important to note that intense or prolonged exercise can have the opposite effect. Don’t run a marathon with the flu!
Supplementation can also have a beneficial effect on our immune system. The most important one is Vitamin D. This is especially important for older adults and those of African descent because their skin has difficulty producing enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for the immune system. It can decrease the incidence and severity of colds and flu, prevent respiratory tract infections, and may help with COVID-19 resistance. One of the ways that Vitamin D can help, is that it can depress the effect of inflammatory cytokines which will be discussed below. I am currently recommending 5,000 I.U./day of Vitamin D for adults, with occasional increases to 10,000 I.U. if you are around sick individuals. While I’ve had success with larger doses, most Vitamin D specialists are not recommending it, as too much Vitamin D can lead to excess blood calcium and kidney stones.
It seems that the most severe cases of COVID-19 infections include cytokine storms. Cytokine storms are a severe immune overreaction by white blood cells that create inflammatory cytokines to kill a pathogen. This overreaction stimulates even more white blood cell activity that can lead to fluid build-up in the lungs, secondary bacterial pneumonia, sepsis, and death. Several nutrients and herbs can help reduce cytokines in the body and I believe it will reduce the severity of a COVID-19 infection. As I mentioned before, Vitamin D can inhibit inflammatory cytokines which is another reason why it is my first recommendation.
Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body can ideally produce this protein using other proteins and nutrients. Unfortunately, if we are deficient in certain nutrients, our body will have difficulty producing significant Glycine. Production of glycine is dependent on pyridoxal-5-phosphate (an activated form of B6), tetrafolate (an activated form of folic acid), manganese, and riboflavin (B2). Glycine can regulate inflammatory cytokines, reduce sepsis and septic shock, and reduce liver damage. Because of its properties, as well as its safety, Glycine should be considered as not so much of a preventative, but as a way to increase our resistance to the worst effects of a COVID-19 infection.
Again, Glycine is a non-essential amino acid. In my practice, I will be checking the prerequisite nutrients needed to produce Glycine; manganese, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, riboflavin, and folic acid (and 5-MTHF which is the active form of folic acid).
There are a couple of herbs that I am recommending that have great antiviral/anti-cytokine properties while being gentle and safe for long term use.
Illicium Supreme, by Supreme Nutrition Products, is a great antiviral. It contains shikimic acid, which is a precursor to the antiviral medication Tamiflu. It also helps with GI and stomach discomfort, inflammation, and bacterial infections. Because of its traditional use in Chinese medicine for pregnancy as well as facilitating milk production, I believe it safe for long term use.
Also by Supreme Nutrition Products, is Reishi Supreme. Its name in Chinese means “mushroom of immortality” because of its effects on so many of the systems of our body. It is an important immune stimulant, while also a great regulator of cytokines. It has great anti-microbial properties, can reduce allergies, can reduce cholesterol, and support the pancreas with sugar metabolism. Because of its blood-thinning effects, it may not be a good choice for those on blood thinners. Otherwise, it is a great overall tonic and is safe for long term use.
If people get sick, I would also consider Houttuynia Supreme, Woad Supreme, Dan Shen Supreme, Schisandra Supreme, and Astragalus. These are more powerful antivirals, but I’m not comfortable recommending them for long term use without testing.
Finally, having our nervous system working optimally has an important part in stimulating our immune system. There are many studies that show the immunological beneficial effect of chiropractic care. The chiropractic response 1918 Flu Pandemic was instrumental in growing the profession. Here is a neurological explanation on how chiropractic boosts immunity.
No matter the outcome, COVID-19 has become a significant disruptor in all of our lives. It will make us challenge our assumptions and beliefs on what is important to us. I look forward to the day that we can look back at this time as a source of strength and clarity for any challenges we may have in the future.
Yours in health,