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  • Writer's pictureMadalyn Otto

Our Health Vs. COVID-19

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

This is certainly a strange time for humanity. We humans are being tested on multiple fronts, and our weaknesses are magnified. Among these weaknesses, our chronic health issues and increased susceptibility to inflammation-overload take a front-seat. The average American suffers with multiple chronic illnesses and is managed on several medications. Many of these chronic illnesses are due to increased inflammation in specific body systems, but represent increased inflammation on the whole which appears to be making us more vulnerable to this new infectious disease.

COVID-19 is the name of the disease subsequent to an infection of SARS CoV-2, a virus that infects the body and does significant damage to the respiratory and, apparently, the cardiovascular and renal systems. While much is still unknown about the virus, we understand the variances in the severity of the disease among different people to be related to two general phenomena:

1) The efficiency of an individual’s innate immune system - the part of the immune system that deals with infections early on before they have the opportunity to become invasive and extensive. Another part of the immune system later “kicks in”.
2) The individual person’s inflammatory response to the virus. If a person’s natural “infection-fighting response” is too severe, it will actually do enough damage to the local infected tissue that the organ’s function becomes compromised and fails. For example, if the lung tissue becomes overly-inflamed because the body is “overly-triggered” by the virus, the ability to pass oxygen is hindered and the person dies from respiratory failure.

While there are no cures for COVID-19, and there is no way to assure prevention of the disease aside from complete isolation, our strategy in practice thus far is utilizing our current knowledge to help address these two phenomena in persons who are not yet infected with the disease.

First - we assess the disease risk of the individual based on their current level of inflammation (biomarkers in the blood and current disease/health history).

Second - we utilize our full toolkit (diet, lifestyle and herbal/nutritional supplements) to encourage healthy functioning of the innate immune system. The analogy I like to use in practice is “We want our full police force on the streets looking for problems. We don’t want them hanging out at home, or sitting in the coffee shop snacking on donuts. We want them out and about, and we want them to be fit and strong to tackle suspects.” The more at-risk a person is found to be, the more aggressive we are in recommending interventions to support him/her.

Third - we consider the level of inflammation already present in the body and work to reduce it using diet and supplements. We may also consider adding in additional immune-modulating supplements in attempt to mitigate an over-response to a viral infection.

And of course, we emphasize with vehemence the importance of safety, sanitization and physical distancing to prevent the spread of the disease.

In a time like this, it is paramount that you put effort into protecting your health and immune system. You may only get one chance to make changes that increase your health. And those changes may make all the difference.

In Health,

Dr. Otto

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