Integrative Suggestions for COVID Prevention

Dear TNS Friends:

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Are you tired of COVID? Most of us are. The hopeful view is that omicron signals the movement from pandemic to endemic. The hope is that COVID will keep getting lighter and easier to live with. That’s the hope. But, not so fast. We are tracking COVID on a little website called covidstrategies.org. It is unique on the web. We post on all sides of the pandemic. Our advisors differ vigorously but kindly with each other. We leave it to you to make up your mind.

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The main question I have is why mainstream medicine refuses to take integrative approaches to COVID prevention and amelioration seriously. We know obesity is a major risk factor for serious COVID. We know that being elderly, having cancer or diabetes, or being immune deficient greatly increases risk. While many people get mild case with omicron, some get severe cases.

So, where’s the harm in following the lifestyle suggestions and taking the nutraceuticals that the highly regarded Institute for Functional Medicine recommends. Here is their nutraceutical list:

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C may help to prevent infections, including those caused by bacteria and viruses. Regularly administered vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration of colds, and higher doses of vitamin C during an illness can also act as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is one of the most important and powerful nutrients for supporting the immune system. Numerous studies have shown that it helps reduce the risk of colds and flu. Unfortunately, a high percentage of the population is deficient, so daily supplementation (ideally in the form of vitamin D3) offers the best protection.
  • Vitamin A: For short-term use and particularly for those with moderate vitamin A deficiency, supplementation can be extremely helpful in supporting the body’s ability to fight infections, particularly with regard to respiratory infections.
  • Zinc: Zinc plays a significant role in boosting immunity. Often available as lozenges, zinc can help to reduce the frequency of infections as well as the duration and severity of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of onset.
  • Selenium: Selenium, a key nutrient for immune function, is also an antioxidant that helps boosts the body’s defenses against bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. It may particularly help to protect against certain strains of flu virus. Selenium is easily obtained from foods, with the richest source being Brazil nuts.
  • Honey: Honey, preferably raw, is a good demulcent (it relieves minor pain and inflammation of mucous membranes), has antioxidant properties, and has some antimicrobial effects. It is helpful for coughs and sore throats and can be added to hot tea.
  • Garlic: Garlic contains a variety of compounds that can influence immunity. Some studies have shown that both fresh garlic as well as aged garlic extract and some other garlic supplements may reduce viral upper respiratory infection severity as well as function in the prevention of infection with viruses that can cause colds.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics contain “good bacteria” that not only support the health of the gut but also influence immune system functioning and regulation. Studies have shown that probiotic use can decrease the number of respiratory infections, particularly in children.

Dozens of references support their recommendations.

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Aren’t you glad you have that simple list? The whole Institute for Functional Medicine section on COVID is seriously good.

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This is the kind of thing you have come to expect from The New School. We’re neither “left” nor “right.” We are transpolitical. We care about nature, culture, and the inner life. We aim for that place where we can all find each other because we are human.

We’re in this together—not just COVID and the climate crisis, but the whole enchilada. Go to resilienceproject.ngo and see what we are saying about resilience in the global polycrisis.

Take care of yourself. Take care of your family, your community, and all those you care about and can reach.

Thank you for being part of The New School community,
Michael

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