There’s not a single person who hasn’t somehow been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while there’s been a lot of finger pointing and talk about where we’ve failed as a country, there has been very little conversation on ways we can help ourselves other than shelter in place.
Staying home is not an end-all solution. Experts on the matter are saying we’re only in Stage Two of possibly five stages before we begin to see major resolution.
Since we’re still at home waiting for the next steps, now is the time to educate ourselves and start protecting ourselves from the inside out.
Let’s look at the facts and consider how we can take responsibility for our health, as the government can only do so much to protect us.
The Five Phases of the Coronavirus
The first phase is containment. This is when we try to keep the virus from entering our area and try to keep it from spreading in the community. Clearly, we failed this stage.
Then we transitioned to Phase Two, mitigation. We are in the mitigation phase now, where we try to reduce the effects of and exposure to the coronavirus.
Phase Three isn’t here yet, but is like a second form of containment before we have a vaccine.
Phase Four is another variation on containment, only now we’d have a vaccine. I believe that we’re going to get into a situation like we’re used to with seasonal flu, because I truly don’t think COVID is going away.
Many sources believe we might have another wave of coronavirus in the fall. That’s Phase Five: making preparations for the next pandemic. I think it should start becoming a national security priority now.
We’re not there yet and won’t really know how COVID-19 will impact us in the coming months. But in the meantime, until our government comes up with a solution, we can take measures into our own hands and ramp up our immune systems.
How COVID-19 Affects Our Bodies
Remember, this is considered a “novel” virus, and research surrounding it has been minimal until now. But one of our best defenses is understanding exactly what’s going on in our bodies if we contract the virus. This is what we know so far about how COVID 19 attacks:
What Happens in the Lungs
COVID-19 starves your body of oxygen by binding to the heme groups in hemoglobin (more on hemoglobin in a moment). This is what eventually leads to organ failures that kill them. However, many medical professionals believed that this response was caused by ARDS or pneumonia, and we now know that’s not the case.
Looking at a COVID patient’s CT scan of the lungs, the major damage you see is actually from the release of oxidative iron from the hemoglobin. This damage is being referred to as “ground-glass opacity” and it looks like shadows in the lungs. When too much oxidative iron enters the lungs, it overwhelms the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
For a little background information, your red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to all your organs and the rest of your body. Red blood cells can do this thanks to hemoglobin, which is a protein that gives blood its red color. Hemoglobin consists of four “hemes”. These hemes have a special kind of iron ion, which is normally toxic in its free form. But your body can lock the ion in a sort of “cage”, called a porphyrin, so that hemoglobin can safely transport it and use it to bind to oxygen when it reaches your lungs.
But without that special iron ion, hemoglobin cannot bind to oxygen. It becomes impaired, and once this happens, the red blood cell essentially turns into a freight truck with no trailer and nowhere to store its cargo. It’s useless, except now it’s running through your body with COVID-19 attached to its porphyrin.
All of these useless trucks coursing through your body and not delivering oxygen is why COVID patients start to desaturate. What’s scary is that many medical professionals mistake this as traditional ARDS, and in doing so, they end up treating the wrong disease.
Here’s another way to think of it: if a patient has carbon monoxide poisoning, in which CO binds to the hemoglobin, a ventilator isn’t going to treat the root cause. The patient’s lungs are fine, so using a ventilator as a substitute isn’t going to make a difference.
The problem here is that red blood cells simply can’t carry oxygen because they’re been impaired. But unlike carbon monoxide poisoning, the hemoglobin is useless because it’s lost that special iron ion. In response, your body tries to compensate by ramping up hormone production like erythropoietin in the kidneys, which produces a whole new wave of red blood cells with fresh hemoglobin. This is why elevated hemoglobin and decreased blood oxygen are among the primary indicators of COVID patients.
Your Diet’s Role
You need vitamin C in your diet, particularly because it acts as a binding agent for collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s found in your skin, bones muscles, and tendons, and is essentially the stuff that holds your body together.
As we have observed, this virus is greatly affecting people over the age of 50. As we age, our body’s natural collagen production declines, so this could help to explain why older adults are the ones most impacted by COVID-19.
This is why medical professionals are saying to take a vitamin C supplement alongside a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants. Vitamin C helps collagen creation and stabilization in the body. Plus, your lung’s defense against oxidative iron require high levels of antioxidants to function.
Putting It All Together
I know that was a major information overload, but here’s why it matters:
When that little toxic iron ion is out of its cage and floating freely through your body, bad things can happen. We’re not just talking one iron ion either, but millions that have been released from other hemes. This iron ion causes oxidative damage. This release actually happens naturally in our bodies without COVID, but to a very limited extent.
The lungs have several built-in defense systems to prevent oxidative iron. One form are little macrophages that travel through the body in search of free radicals, such as oxidative iron. Another is a lining in the air sacs, called the epithelial surface. This is a thin layer of fluid packed with high levels of antioxidants like Vitamin C.
This is a fairly good system for naturally occurring rogue ions. But when they start running rampant in your body, those macrophages won’t be able to get them all. It’s like letting an entire school of kindergartners onto a playground with only a few teachers to reel them back in.
This is overwhelming to the lungs, which makes it easier for pulmonary oxidative stress to occur. This sets off a chain of dominos, where POS leads to damage and inflammation, which leads to that nasty ground-glass opacity in the lungs.
As I covered in my previous blog on the properties of MUFAs and PUFAs, Emu oil increases the oxygen in the red blood cells. Therefore, this supplementation can help support the respiratory system and other organs.
How You Can Prioritize and Protect Your Health During COVID-19
We just covered a ton of technical territory, but I want to make sure my core message isn’t lost.
The root of any illness, COVID-19 or otherwise, needs to be addressed if we want to logically expect any sort of positive, productive response.
Treating patients that have had the iron ion stripped from their hemoglobin with a ventilator is pointless. The only reason for doing so is for “buying time” and hoping the patient’s immune system will respond in time.
And speaking of immune system, the only way to boost your immunity against any type of disease is through a well-balanced diet and nutrition.
So, how can I offer you a Sword and Shield for this battle to protect your family, friends and yourself? In addition to a nutritiously rich diet, a good supplement program can also help support your immune system.
Emu oil capsules, collagen, vitamin c, and a multivitamin can give you a powerful concoction of health benefits during these trying times. I recommend Emu oil not only for its MUFAs and PUFAs, but also because it helps with absorption to get the most benefit from your food and supplementation.
Now is the time when we all must take responsibility for our health. It might not prevent COVID-19 completely, but at least we can give ourselves a fighting chance.