None of us expected to be where we are today. Many of you have reached out to me on social media and through my Customer Success team with your questions about the coronavirus and COVID-19. The situation is changing rapidly, with new developments altering our understanding of the virus every day.
With that in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to answer the most common questions I’ve received to make sure you have reliable information from the medical doctor and functional medicine practitioner you trust.
Let me be clear: Yes, the situation is serious and we all need to take care not to spread the virus. However, there is no need to panic! Remaining at home, practicing social distancing when we absolutely must go out, and washing our hands frequently and thoroughly, and wearing a mask or scarf over your mouth and nose are all simple steps we can take to remain healthy. As always, we can take control of our health!
Before I get to your questions, I want to thank you for all your kind wishes for myself, my family, and my entire team. Fortunately, we all remain well and ready to serve you! My team has been working from home for weeks now. Our third-party fulfillment center is still hard at work fulfilling your orders with appropriate measures in place to protect their health and to ensure you can get the supplements you need to support your health.
My team and I are continually looking for ways to be of service to you during this time.
I recently created an Immune Support category so that you may more quickly find those supplements I find most beneficial to support your immune system.
We have all been impacted by COVID-19, some of us more than others. I count my blessings daily that my family and my team are healthy and able to work from home. My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering, who has lost loved ones, and especially to the healthcare workers who are working so hard to protect our health.
Because of your support, I have been able to donate more than $11,000 worth of my Paleo Protein and fiber and protein bars to emergency room workers in my hometown of New Orleans and here in Austin, so that they can grab nutritious snacks and meals while they care for their patients. A heartfelt thank you to all of you for helping me make this possible.
Now, for your questions!
1. How does COVID-19 affect the immune system?
There are two ways the immune system responds to this virus. The less severe response is your typical adaptive immune response which is triggered by your body’s “intruder alarm system” and used to fight off an infection. This is the common response after being infected with the coronavirus.
Once you recover from COVID-19, your immune system has learned how to fight yet another virus! It can use this information to fend off similar viruses in the future.
A different response occurs if your immune system is severely compromised by the virus, leading to a “cytokine storm.”1 Cytokines are a group of proteins responsible for signaling and communication in your body, including regulating your immune response.2
During a cytokine storm, your body releases too many cytokines into the blood too quickly.3 With COVID-19, this particularly affects lung tissue and prevents inflammation from going down. Then a build-up of jelly-like fluid in the lungs due to proinflammatory activity causes respiratory distress. This severe immune response may require medical attention.
2. I have an autoimmune condition. How will COVID-19 affect me?
Generally speaking, autoimmune conditions are a result of an imbalanced immune system rather than a suppressed one. Therefore for most people having an autoimmune condition does not inherently put you at more risk of getting COVID-19. The exceptions to this are those who are on immunosuppressive drug or have an autoimmune condition such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis that can impact lung function.
Following preventive measures, such as I write in my book The Autoimmune Solution, which support, rather than suppress, your immune system. Refer to this article for steps you can take to avoid COVID-19.
3. Are there special concerns for those with thyroid conditions?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Thyroid dysfunction is generally not related to an increased risk of viral infections. There’s no evidence that you will be in a higher risk group if you are not over 60 and don’t have any other underlying illness.
However, it is possible that if you were recently put on medication for hyperthyroidism such as propylthiouracil (PTU) or methimazole (also known as Tapazole), you may be at higher risk of a complication if you are infected by the virus because hormone levels in your body are fluctuating. Contact your healthcare professional if you are concerned about your medications. Don’t stop or reduce medications without talking to your doctor.4
In my New York Times bestselling book, The Thyroid Connection, I provide details on The Myers Way® to reverse the symptoms of thyroid conditions naturally. Now’s a great time to settle in with a book!
You can also support a healthy immune system with the right vitamins and minerals. Try to ensure you’re getting optimal amounts of copper, folate, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D.5 I specially formulate my multivitamin for my thyroid patients to ensure the optimal amounts of these vitamins and minerals.
4. Am I more likely to get the virus if I’m taking immunosuppressive drugs?
You could be at increased risk because your body’s ability to defend itself against pathogens is lessened. Because there are a lot of variables including which medications you take, your age, and the severity of your symptoms, you should take every precaution to protect your health. Additionally, speak to your doctor about the advisability of reducing or changing your immunosuppressant medications during this time.
Immunosuppressed patients who contract the flu may not get a fever. That means if influenza is suspected in an immunosuppressed patient with acute respiratory symptoms, even without a fever, they should be tested for the flu.
That may also be relevant information for COVID-19. If you are immunosuppressed and are experiencing the following symptoms, even without a fever, contact your healthcare provider about testing for COVID-19.
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sputum (mucus) production
- Aches and pains
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
5. Is it ok to take NSAIDS for COVID-19?
I recommend following the instructions of your personal healthcare professional. Your conventional doctor will likely treat mild cases of COVID -19 with fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and NSAIDS including aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), and naproxen (Aleve®).6
French researchers initially warned against ibuprofen because they hypothesized that an enzyme boosted by that anti-inflammatory drug could worsen the symptoms of COVID-19.7 However, the World Health Organizations, as well as other groups, have now determined that is not true.
However, NSAIDS can be extremely damaging to your gut, you may wish to add Omega-3 fish oil and/or my Liposomal Curcumin to your daily regimen. Both support a healthy inflammatory response. If you are recovering at home, rest and stay hydrated with plenty of fluids such as my gut-nourishing Bone Broth Collagen, which tastes just like a comforting bowl of chicken soup. Collagen from bone broth is full of amino acids and peptides that help maintain and promote a healthy gut lining health for optimum nutrient absorption.
6. What are the treatments for more moderate cases of COVID-19?
Some more moderate cases are being treated with the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. These are primarily used to treat malaria and several autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. These drugs seem to make it harder for the virus to attach itself to a cell and enter it. If the virus does manage to get inside the cell, the drugs kill it before it can multiply.
These antimalarials have also been used in combination with azithromycin, an antibiotic that’s often used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and infections of the ears, lungs and other organs. You may have heard of a “z-pack” which is a five-day course of this medication.8
If you are given antibiotics, it’s especially important to support the good bacteria in your gut, the home of 80% of your immune system. My Probiotics 100 Billion contains 14 of the most important probiotic bacteria strains for maximum digestive and immune support.
When you’re under stress, your body quickly works through its natural supply of the critical detoxifier, Glutathione. Made in your liver, it’s your body’s number one free radical scavenger. You may also wish to support your liver, your body’s main detoxifying organ, with my custom-formulated Liver Support.
7. What’s the best supplement for me to boost my immune function now?
My number one recommendation right now is the product I custom-formulated to support immune function, ImmunIG™. It offers high-quality colostral whey peptides. These peptides are protein fractions from colostrum, which is teeming with beneficial compounds such as bioactive proteins and novel growth factors.
ImmunIG™ is a concentrated source of immunoglobulins, special proteins created by your immune system. Your white blood cells create these glycoproteins to bind to all kinds of antigens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and even inflammatory proteins from the foods we eat. Once they’re bound by immunoglobulins the antigens can be destroyed or carried out of the body through the bowel.
8. What are some other inexpensive ways I can support my immune system?
Whether or not you test positive for COVID-19, I recommend continuing a diet of nutrient-dense, organic foods. This includes fruits and vegetables as well as grass-fed meats, organic chicken, and wild-caught fish. If you can’t purchase organic foods right now, concentrate on what you can do. Select foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Buy large sizes if you can — the big bags of frozen vegetables are less expensive than single-servings of fresh vegetables in the long run.
Many food banks are actually gearing up to serve more people, not less. You may not be able to enter to select your groceries, however many sites offer pre-boxed or bagged groceries. Feeding America has a site that can help you find resources near you. Try to avoid resorting to cheap, toxic and inflammatory foods including gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol.
I know this is an extremely difficult time. Many families are facing economic hardships while they try to remain healthy. To help ensure my community has access to the supplements they need, I’ve extended free shipping on everything in my store for everyone in the contiguous US. You can also sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on promotions and special offers on my supplements and programs.
9. What personal care & cleaning products should I use?
The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds frequently. You don’t need any special antibacterial soaps! Just wash in hot water and work up plenty of lather because the foam actually breaks down the fat layer on the outside of the virus, causing the virus molecule to disperse and break down on its own.
Fortunately, there’s also no need to purchase expensive disinfecting supplies. You can use chlorine-free bleach and dilute it with ⅓ cup per gallon of water.9 A spray bottle of a solution of 50/50 isopropyl alcohol and water works great too.
10. Does drinking extra water help prevent COVID-19?
No amount of water will prevent you from getting the virus if you are exposed. However, staying hydrated with plenty of filtered water can support your immune system, and prevent dehydration from side effects of illness such as fever and/or vomiting.
You may want to boost your hydration with a liquid that includes electrolytes such as an infused water. However, if you have diarrhea or can’t eat, consider a beverage with some added carbohydrates. Instead of a sports drink, which can be filled with all kinds of colorings and additives you don’t want, you can get the same effect by mixing one quart of water with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup of the fruit juice of your choice such as orange (if you tolerate citrus) or cranberry.
11. If I take Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN), does that mean my immune system will work better?
There is no evidence that LDN bolsters your immune system against this virus in either protecting you from contracting the virus or lessening your symptoms.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain. These receptors are meant to respond to endorphins — your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals. These effects may be beneficial for autoimmune patients due to the fact that endorphins play a role in immune system modulation. Autoimmune patients typically have lower levels of endorphins than people without autoimmunity.
No one knows exactly how endorphins help modulate the immune system or why they are decreased in autoimmune patients, yet studies have shown anti-inflammatory benefits. You can learn more about that in this article.
Keep Up Your Healthy Habits
Please take this situation very seriously. Do your part to control the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and social distancing so that we do not add to the overcrowding in some hospitals and we may maintain our health and the health of our loved ones and our healthcare workers.
This is a stressful time for everyone so please be kind to yourself. You need sleep, likely lots of it, in order to give your body the rest and repair it needs. The fourth pillar of The Myers Way® is to relieve stress. Relieving stress is more important now than ever. My New York Times best-selling book, The Thyroid Connection, lists effective ways to relieve stress such as meditation, yoga, or stretching.
Connection is so vital during this time of social distancing. My team and I get together though zoom once a week. I’ve personally connected with old friends and family I personally have en Facetime, Skype, and Zoom are great services that allow you to see and hear several participants at once. Keep up your social network, including The Myers Way® community and your religious and civic groups through Facebook.
Stay engaged with the activities that make you happy, even if you do it in a new way. For example, I’ve seen some online concerts with great music in the evenings!
If you enjoy games (who doesn’t need some fun right now?), there are all kinds of ways to connect with others, no matter what your age or interest. Here’s a list of some of the most popular games you can play with friends or family. It includes all types of games from cards, to battles, to traditional board games.
Remember, The Myers Way® is a way of life. You can continue to prioritize and optimize your health even as you face new challenges. And don’t forget to take advantage of free shipping from companies who want to make it easy to support a healthy immune system, including my own. We will get through this if we all work together!