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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Strengthening the Immune System Against COVID-19

Apr 08, 2020 03:03PM ● By Shannon Mc Kenzie

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We are all adapting to a new normal with the current pandemic. Overall, the main goal is to stay healthy. Keep up the healthy basics: people that maintain healthy lifestyles are known to fare the best, not get sick and have better outcomes if they do contract the virus. Here are a few tips and suggestions to stay well during this uncertain time. 

Get plenty of sleep: At least eight hours a night is best for optimal immune function. Studies show lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to catching viruses. Don't get to bed late, either; the most restorative sleep is in the early evening. Try to be in bed by 10 to 11 p.m.

Exercise moderately: Exercise has been shown to improve immune function and potentially reduce the risk and severity of respiratory viral infection. However, extensive exercise is shown to be immunosuppressive, so do what is comfortable, but not too much more. Also, exercise can help burn off some of the stress hormones.

Practice stress relief/meditation/relaxation: Stress inhibits the immune system to deal with viruses. Keeping a meditation practice and lowering stress load will help.

Stay positive and laugh: Don't keep watching the news. Daily laughter boosts immune ability and lowers risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease. Do or watch something every day to laugh.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet: Our Western diet is proven to lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection and increases in auto-inflammatory disease. Eating nutritiously is good for both prevention and treatment of viruses. Fasting may actually help the virus take over, so fasting is not recommended. If feeling ill, avoid all dairy products, sugary foods, fried foods, trans-fats and red meats. Follow a Mediterranean Diet high in fish, vegetables, nuts, beans and olive oil.

Don't smoke: Smoking is a major risk factor for advanced respiratory distress syndrome, the main reason people can die from coronavirus. The virus attacks the respiratory cilia cells, which are already damaged from smoke. Smoking also allows much better virus transmission through the air. Quitting smoking may help prevent the transmission and sickness of COVID-19.

Supportive Immune Supplements

Vitamin D, 1,000 to 2,000 IU a day: Vitamin D deficiency is known to be much more prevalent in advanced respiratory distress (ARDS), which is the major concern in patients that get very sick from COVID-19. Low vitamin D is shown to directly contribute to worsening of ARDS, likely because we need vitamin D to keep a balanced immune and inflammation reaction. Some people with low levels of D may need even more.

Selenium, 200 mcg a day: Selenium deficiency may make it easier to catch viruses. Supplementation can protect antioxidant capacity in the lungs in those with acute respiratory distress (ARDS is the major medical concern in patients with coronavirus), as well as help patients already being treated for advanced lung inflammation. Proper selenium levels may be protective to smokers. A single Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 mcg of selenium.

Vitamin C, 1,000 mg a day: higher levels of vitamin C as used in intravenous therapy may help patients that have respiratory distress syndrome, as well. Possibly keeping levels in the body higher might help prevent it, although we do not know that for sure. One doctor's case report from China suggests high dose had helped him and his family. 

Vitamin A, 10,000 IU a day (except pregnant women): Vitamin A may be worth taking in low doses.

PLEASE NOTE: These suggestions are intended for general public education and not to replace professional medical advice. In case you suffer with any medical diagnosis, or experience COVID 19 related symptoms, please advise with your primary health care provider in regards of what supplementation is best for you.


Michelle Dillon is a naturopathic doctor and owner of Charlotte Natural Wellness. For more information, call 704-453-5540 or visit

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