The following list can support your immune system in the prevention and cure of viral diseases,
To what extent each of the following measures, individually or together, has a demonstrable effect in preventing Covid-19 disease is not clear. The period of time since Covid-19 disease has occurred is too short to allow these measures to be scientifically investigated individually or even in combination. Also, the investigation of combined applications of different measures is more complex than studies of single measures. The question arises that even if none of these measures have been studied in relation to Covid-19, is it really useful to wait for possible study results before applying them, which may be published many years later, possibly never? Or is it not rather sensible to do everything possible to support our immune system in the best possible way?
Basically, Covid-19 diseases are accompanied by a proinflammatory reaction of the Th1 and Th17 immune system1.
At present, the first priority should be prevention strategies to avoid contact with the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2). For this reason, please follow the guidelines set by politicians, not only for your own sake, but also for the sake of our fellow citizens who are particularly at risk.
Good everyday hygiene: regular hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds, etc.
Plenty of exercise and regular interruptions to sedentary life: according to the WHO, physical inactivity is one of the main causes of illness2. In contrast, numerous studies show that regular exercise increases immunocompetence and reduces the risk of infection compared to a sedentary lifestyle3. Interrupt your sedentary activities as often as possible, e.g. every hour, and increase your pulse rate e.g. by walking up and down stairs, squats; jumping jacks, push-ups or other physical activities that you enjoy. Ideally you can bring your pulse up to about 110 beats per minute for a few minutes.
In addition to these important breaks from sitting, ideally for about 30 minutes a day, enjoy brisk walks, endurance runs, short sprints, interval training or other movements, preferably in the fresh air, if allowed in your country.
Relaxing activities that bring joy: Brain, emotions and immune system are closely linked4,5 Show understanding for yourself and each other for this time when you are confronted with unaccustomed limitations and challenges and enjoy supporting your roommates. Also enjoy talking on the phone with friends and sharing your experiences. In particular, laugh a lot, use the time for common family activities at home, such as cooking and eating together, board or card games, watching funny movies6,7,8. These activities support a generally good immune system. Laughter also stimulates lymph flow.
Regular walks in the forest: For example, phytoncides, such as essential oils, glycosides, terpenes, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic compounds and many other substances in the plants of the forest support the immune system, for example by activating the natural killer cells9-14. You are welcome to do breathing exercises there for yourself.
Regular cold showers: Routine (hot then cold) showers led to a statistical reduction in self-reported illness absence (but no reduction in days of illness) in adults without severe co-morbidity15. This also increases the body’s own cortisol production. Cortisol, together with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, is important for a regular termination of inflammatory reactions).
Thermal applications: There is certainly no reason not to enjoy warm baths, teas or the like at home, but their influence on the prevention or treatment of viral diseases has not been proven – apart from a study on rhinoviruses from 199916.
Regular eating of mushrooms: Interferon-gamma (IFNγ) protects against viral infections. At a high IFNγ value, viruses can develop much worse17. Fungi, for example, by means of their glucane content, lead to an increase in IFNγ18. Even the smallest amounts of oyster mushrooms increase IFNγ values19. It will do your health and your immune system a lot of good if you regularly eat a wide variety of mushrooms, as each mushroom contains different glycans and other active substances, and the variability is particularly effective20.
Especially the intake of Coriolus (antiviral and antibacterial effect due to polysaccharide peptides PSK and PSP)21,22 and Reishi (anti-inflammatory effect due to the high content of triterpenes)23 has a supportive effect here. In addition, both reduce oxidative stress in the lungs. Maitake shows antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects especially in the digestive tract. Cordyceps is said to have a strengthening effect on the lungs and immune system. Supplements of these vital mushrooms can be taken in addition to the normal diet24,25.
Pay attention to well-functioning barriers: e.g. for the intestine intake of L-glutamine26, about 6 gr/day.
Intermittent fasting increases immune protection (e.g. 16 hours of fasting and eating for 8 hours per day): Intermittent fasting has numerous positive effects27-30. Repeated intermittent fasting ultimately leads to lasting adaptive reactions that promote resistance to later challenges such as disease resistance31. However, although fasting can promote the healing of bacterial infections, study results show the opposite for viral infections, where eating is the better way to fight them32,33.
Regular intake of algae, shellfish and crustaceans and fatty fish (e.g. salmon): Streptomyces from water cultures have antibacterial, antimycotic and antiviral effects34. Studies on the influence of omega-3 fatty acids on natural killer cells (and thus on viral diseases) are contradictory. The influence also appears to vary with age35.
A high diversity of plants in the diet: The number of plant species (vegetables, fruits, herbs, fungi) consumed determines microbial diversity36. Of course some plants also show specific antiviral effects, such as garlic37-39, onions40,41 , turmeric42 , Rhodiola Rosea43, polyphenols (e.g. in green tea and blueberries)44, Astragalus membranaceus45 (e.g. 900 mg/day)
Lactoferrin: Although there is no study evidence for SARS-CoV-2, the antiviral effect has been demonstrated repeatedly, including in relation to severe acute respiratory syndrome of a similar coronavirus (SARS-CoV)46-50. Daily exercise increases the body’s own production of lactoferrin.
Sufficient intake of vitamin C (through fruit, vegetables and possibly also temporary supplementation of higher doses of, for example, 2 grams): There are numerous online publications that claim that vitamin C is effective in the treatment of Covid 19. In fact, there is usually only evidence that vitamin C has been used for Covid 19, particularly in China51-53. At present, there are no studies available on the efficacy of vitamin C for Covid 19, although this would not be expected that short timeperiod. The discussion on the efficacy of vitamin C is controversial54. There is scientific evidence that vitamin C could prevent pneumonia and is a treatment benefit for pneumonia and tetanus55.
Zinc, 30 mg per day; zinc supplements can shorten the duration of cold symptoms56 and may facilitate the antiviral role of metallothioneins against other viruses57.
Vitamin D, about 150 micrograms/day during the winter months: Some studies support the hypothesis that optimal vitamin D status may contribute to important immunoregulatory functions in viral respiratory infections58. In one study, vitamin D supplementation failed to reduce the risk of respiratory infections59.