Knowledge is power: boost the immune system, your first line of defense against Covid-19

We are in the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic.  While overall, 2.3% of known Covid-19 cases proved fatal—which many experts say is likely an overestimate of the mortality rate, given that many mild cases might go undiagnosed—patients 80 years or older were most at risk, with 14.8% of them dying.  In addition, the fatality rate for people with cardiovascular disease was 10.5%. That figure was 7.3% for diabetes patients and around 6% for those with chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, or cancer.  

Based on research on other respiratory viruses, scientists now believe that whether a coronavirus infection takes a turn for the worse depends on a person’s immune response. The virus matters, but your immune response matters more in view of the fact that we are still waiting for effective treatments to reach the market. 

Once SARS-CoV-2 gets inside the human respiratory tract, the virus infects and multiply in cells lining the airway, causing damage that kicks the immune system into action. In most people, it should trigger a wave of local inflammation, recruiting immune cells in the vicinity to eradicate the virus. The immune response then recedes, and patients recover.

However, for some people—especially the elderly and sick, their immune systems dysfunction and fail to keep the response to the virus in check. This could cause an uncontrolled immune response, triggering an overproduction of immune cells and their signaling molecules and leading to a cytokine storm often associated with a flood of immune cells into the lung.  That’s when the patient ends up with a lot of these really severe inflammatory disease conditions like pneumonia, shortness of breath, and inflammation of the airway.  Local inflammation can then turn into widespread systemic inflammation of the lungs—also called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which then has ripple effects across all organs of the body. 

An uncontrolled immune response could also happen if the virus replicates faster than the immune system can respond, in which case the immune system has to play catch-up to contain the virus—a situation that has the potential to cause the immune defense to spiral out of control.  A similar phenomenon has been observed in some cases for SARS and MERS coronaviruses in the past, wherein virus replication is very rapid and ends up overwhelming the immune system.  

In a nutshell, in severe cases of COVID-19, the patient’s inflammatory response seems to be a major cause of lung damage and subsequent mortality.  So how do we get ready?  

In the absence of an effective anti-viral agent, your best and only defense is your immune system.  Two ways to get ready: boost your immune system with immune boosters to make sure that it’s in prime condition and reduce any inflammation you may already have with anti-inflammatories.   

For thousands of years, the Chinese have relied upon herbal formulations to boost the immune system.  Well-known immune-boosting herbs are Astragalus (Huang-qi), ginseng, angelica (Dong-qui), goji berry, and polygonum multiflorum (He-shou-wu). You can use these herbs as a tea or incorporate them into your daily cooking.  SGC offers Forever 29 gummies with each pack of gummy containing an equivalent of 20g of Astragalus, the most prized immune-boosting Chinese herb in its optimal dose as prescribed by Chinese Traditional Medicine.  You can find the product here:

Low-grade systemic inflammation becomes more prevalent as we age leading to metabolic diseases ranging from cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, dementia, chronicle pain, and aging.  Reducing inflammation is essential for a healthy immune system.  Well-known anti-inflammatory herbs include turmeric (curcumin), ginger, green tea, white willow, black pepper, Boswellia, rosemary, and cloves.  All these herbs can be incorporated into an everyday diet as tea or spice.

The anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric is its yellow pigment called curcumin, which is considered one of the strongest anti-inflammatory natural products. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines have long used turmeric and curcumin to reduce inflammation. SGC offers Golden Glow gummies with turmeric-infused with ginger. Each pack of gummies contains the amount of curcumin equivalent of 9g of pure turmeric powder.  You can find the product here:

Stay well.  Thanks for reading.