COVID-19 Holistic Health Research Updates

SARS-CoV-2

Staying tuned in to your health is always important, but it should continue to be an even higher priority amid this pandemic. For most of us, the pandemic has forced us to stay close to home during a time we would otherwise be traveling and going on summer adventures. Because of this, I find myself compelled to shine a light on all the good science in support of healthy lifestyle practices as we go through these challenging times. In this blog, I’m sharing insights and updates in several areas from indoor air quality to proton pump inhibitors and of course nutrition, all as it relates to COVID-19 (the disease) and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus).


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Viruses are one of the oldest organisms on Earth. They consist simply of a protein envelope and nucleic acids, which renders them unable to replicate outside of a host.  Some viruses, such as influenza, can both rearrange compatible genes and mutate on a regular basis in order to remain invisible.[1] 

Interestingly, the main benefit of herbs is their working relationship with our own innate ability to ward off pathogens, such as viruses. This in part is what makes herbal medicine so unique. Although herbs provide some direct anti-viral activity, they primarily act in a non-specific, adaptive manner.


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In the attempt to tame the COVID-19 virus, scientists around the world are working to understand how the disease is spread and how best to approach prevention and treatment. But with the avalanche of information we’re presented with every day, it’s easy to come away with more questions than answers. 

There are a couple of recent findings that stand out as particularly important. One relates to the method of transmission, and the other to individual susceptibility to the disease.


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There is no easy way to create a world where men and women can live together… But if such a world is created in our lifetime, it will be done by rejecting the racism, materialism, and violence that has characterized Western civilization and especially by working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation, and peace. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s not uncommon to have difficulties accepting and being comfortable with those who are different  from us. These feelings are often based solely on skin color, cultural mores, or religious beliefs. But racial and cultural prejudice is a social concept; it’s not part of our DNA. We learn prejudice in childhood, and it becomes an unconscious bias. This filter clouds our ability to see clearly and leads to divisive conclusions about other groups or races. It takes great tender love and often great suffering to change us forever. 

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ~Nelson Mandela


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Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are plenty of good reasons to be outdoors this summer, and now we can add ‘safe haven’ to the list. As we all know, strict isolation strategies have been employed since mid-March to curb the spread of the pandemic. The resulting isolation, combined with fear of contagion and misinformation overload (“infodemic”) is creating a great deal of confusion and stress.[1]

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There is no question that reducing the contact rate of latent individuals, and interventions such as quarantine and isolation, can effectively reduce the potential peak number of infections and delay the time of peak infection. However, as much as I believe this to be true as it applies to being indoors, I question whether being outdoors—even in groups—poses much risk at all. While there is still so much we don’t know about the virus transmission, we have yet to see proof or a strong likelihood that the outdoors poses a significant risk.  In fact, research suggests it may be safer compared to indoors.


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The distribution of community outbreaks of the current global pandemic shows seasonal patterns associated with latitude, temperature, and humidity, which is similar to the behavior of seasonal viral respiratory tract infections.[1]

The seasonality of many viral infections is associated with a lack of sunlight, which results in low 25(OH)D concentrations and an uptick in diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.[2],[3],[4] While it’s obvious that winter in temperate climates interferes with sufficient exposure to ultra violet rays, the rainy season in tropical climates also results in low UVB exposure.


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