Dr. Lisa Ghent, ND
How to prepare for COVID-19 (hint: it's not stocking up on toilet paper)
Updated: Mar 15, 2020
Well, lots sure has happened in the world in the last couple of weeks. Thanks to social media there is mass panic (and if you don't believe this, you haven't been to the grocery store recently). And I'm not saying that we shouldn't be concerned. There are precautions to take; more than what we typically do in our regular cold and flu season, but if we all follow the suggested recommendations and remain calm then we will make it through this.
Earlier today I posted on our Facebook page what we are doing to prevent transmission in our clinic: https://www.facebook.com/CollaborativeWellnessLadner/posts/641031003365012?__tn__=K-R, and this post also contained information about what you can do, too. But there is more! I also posted a video that outlined the elements of this blog post; that there are nutritional building blocks required for immunocompetence, and while there is much with this current situation you cannot control, you can control your diet. So here is what you need to know in order to have the best diet in this situation (in my humble opinion).
According to an article published in a peer reviewed journal in 2018 the following are the main nutrients required for immunocompetence: vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, iron, selenium and zinc. You can acquire these vitamins and minerals from a variety of food sources (google it!) and/or in supplements.
Our immune systems are a complex symphony but you should know that there are two main parts - our innate immune system which is comprised of our physical barriers and defence mechanisms like our skin, our gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, mucus, tears and saliva; and our adaptive or acquired immunity which is made of up things called B cells and T cells. The big difference is that our innate immune system is generalized, designed to meet pathogens when they try to into our bodies and prevent infection from ever occurring. Our acquired immunity system kicks in when we are infected, creating specialized cells to fight the specific bug we are faced with. This helps to make our infection less severe. Both work together to protect you against pathogens such as COVID-19.
How does this tie back to nutrients?
Poor nutrition compromises our immune response because we can’t build the necessary cells or defences without the right building blocks. The nutrients I’ve mentioned have roles in both innate and acquired immunity, and vary in their significance depending on factors such as age.
If you would like to best protect yourself again COVID-19, I would recommend that you follow the published guidelines of Health Canada, and additionally I would be happy to help you optimize your immune system by ensuring you have the building blocks necessary. The reality is that many people will be exposed to and may become infected with COVID-19. The question is, how will your immune system handle it? Naturopaths have to tools to help, such as dietary and lifestyle advice, as well as services like intravenous therapies.
In the meantime, rest assured that we are taking necessary precautions in our office and doing our part to lessen tranmission. We are using hospital-grade disinfectants and ask that if you are in a high-risk category (recent travel out of the country or possible local exposure, or even symptoms that are similar to COVID-19), that you don’t come into our office. Both myself and my colleague Dr. Karly McMaster ND are able to facilitate online and phone consults so rest assured you can still get our help even if you’re at home.
Stay healthy everyone! This too shall pass.