18 April, 2020
by Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD
Progressive Radio Network
A hallmark of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is that it infects the upper respiratory tract accompanied by shortness of breath, a chronic cough and frequently chills, fever and fatigue.
However, these are symptoms similar but not limited to many other viral infections, including other strains of CoV, avian and swine flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), picornaviruses, etc.
The conventional war chest for arming ourselves against respiratory infections are drugs that can lessen the severity of these symptoms and hopefully will kill the virus to prevent it from worsening.
But pharmaceutical medications are not the only recourse we can rely upon. There are non-toxic supplements, medicinal botanicals and common sense actions people can adopt to protect themselves.
Consequently, even if infected by COVID-19 or another respiratory virus, our immune system can be strengthened naturally to dramatically reduce the risks of serious complications.
At the moment, the primary dispensers of information about the pandemic are the White House, the CDC, the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The mainstream media and state and local health officials have been completely relying upon comments and reports from these sources to inform or educate the public.
However, what are not being communicated are the clinical experiences and scientific advice from around the world that contain valuable information and analyses to share. In China, Europe, Japan, and the US, there are tens of thousands or more physicians and medical professionals using alternative modalities such as nutritional therapy, naturopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine to further protect patients from respiratory infections, alongside or to complement conventional drug protocols.
Unfortunately none of these non-conventional doctors and professionals are being asked for their consultation nor is the large body of scientific literature that supports their regimens being recommended.
We are referring to studies published in respected journals and research conducted by important centers of medical investigation. The question, therefore, is why have a contingent of people on the frontlines of prevention and complementary approaches to health been completely marginalized from the community of so-called “experts” who dominate the voices in the media?
Therefore we want to share simple natural ways to protect your respiratory system and lungs during this stressful period. None of this information is folk tale but rather it is based on research found in the National Library of Medicine and other professional medical sources.
Unfortunately, being cooped up indoors for long extended periods of time has its own health risks. It has been shown extensively that indoor air usually has higher concentrations of toxins than outdoor air.
Aside from the psychological effects of isolation, it adversely affects our immune system. People who spend too much time indoors readily become Vitamin D deficient, which is essential for immune protection to avoid contracting infections.
It also disrupts our natural circadian rhythms thereby contributing to poor sleep patterns.
For the large majority of people, our homes and apartments are ridden with allergens, dust, molds and various fungi and cold-like causing germs.
It is estimated that most Americans have anywhere between 400 to 800 chemicals stored in their bodies and these are often hoarded in fat cells.
Of course, poorly ventilated homes are far more dangerous. Furthermore, many of our everyday household products contain numerous chemical toxins and irritants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC), heavy metals, PBDEs or flame retardants, phthalates and Bisphenol A that are commonly used in all plastics, etc.
VOCs are found in aerosol products, dry cleaned clothing, paints and varnishes, floor wax, spot removers and air fresheners. All of these chemicals can vaporize easily thereby further polluting indoor air quality.
Sunlight not only increases our level of Vitamin D, which is essential for immune protection, it also raises serotonin levels that can boost our moods.
This finding was confirmed by researchers at the Baker Research Institute in Australia and published in The Lancet. Low serotonin, especially during winter months, has been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is characterized by depression, fatigue, and a lack of concentration.
And of course, these effects have been shown to adversely affect our immune system. Therefore, making frequent efforts to get outdoors, while maintaining social distancing, not only raises our spirits but also helps clear our respiratory system from allergens and pollutants that accumulate indoors.
A series of studies conducted by the University of Rochester found that being outdoors increased both physical and mental vitality. Getting a sufficient amount of outdoor exposure is one of the surest natural ways to cleanse our lungs.
Other methods include steam therapy (inhaling water vapor) and exercise to clear airways and drain mucus from the bronchia.
Food, Herbs and Supplements
There are also plenty of foods, herbs and even supplements that can protect the lungs and keep the nasal and respiratory passages clear. Water is absolutely essential for maintaining health lungs since dry lungs result in irritation that increases the risks for infection.
Also following the Mediterranean diet has been shown by epidemiologists at Harvard to have protective effects for allergic respiratory diseases, largely due to the high intake of olive oil.
Potassium is a vital mineral for proper lung function. It is not uncommon for people who are deficient in potassium to experience sporadic breathing problems. Therefore including potassium rich foods in daily meals, such as avocados, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, beets, bananas and oranges, can raise and sustain healthy potassium levels.
Several studies have shown that apples can improve lung function. A study out of St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London followed over 2,500 individuals between the ages of 45 and 59. Among the various vitamins and foods consumed, Vitamin E and apples were the most effective for slowing the decline in lung function. For people with a history of asthma, apples, which are rich in flavonoids, are inversely linked with asthma, decreased bronchial hypersensitivity, and positively improved general pulmonary health.
Celery contains two important antioxidants — apigenin and luteolin — that have both been associated with reducing inflammation associated with our nasal passages and lungs. It has been shown to be particularly beneficial for those who have allergies that can hinder respiration. Of course it is important to know whether or not you have a rare allergy to celery itself.
In an earlier article, we reported on the health benefits of nitric oxide as a signaling molecule to strength our immune system’s response to invasion. One of the best sources for increasing nitric oxide levels in addition to improved endothelial cell function by decreasing oxidative stress are red beets.
Most of our respiratory passageways — from our nasal cavity to our bronchi — are lined with epithelium. Our lungs, on the other hand, are lined with a simple squamous epithelium or “goblet cells.” Beets are one important food that protects these cells to maintain the health of our entire respiratory system.
Beets have also been shown by researchers at Southern Methodist University to help prevent common cold symptoms, especially during periods of increased psychological stress.
Green Tea and quercetin can promote healthy lungs due to their antioxidant properties. Both act as natural antihistamines that reduce respiratory irritation and inflammation.
A study of 1,000 adults conducted by the medical school at Kyung Hee University in South Korea found that participants who drank two cups of green tea per day had better respiratory function than those who didn’t drink any. Japanese Matcha tea has been investigated and found to be a more powerful antioxidant than regular green teas.
One can conclude that having a daily juice compromised of fresh apples, celery, beets and garlic — which contains the powerful antimicrobial biomolecule allicin that kills human lung pathogenic bacteria — can have an enormous impact on cleansing and protecting our lungs. Matcha tea can be purchased as powders and also added to your daily juice.
It is our opinion that following this guideline along with getting sufficient outdoor exposure, exercise, reducing sources of toxicity in the home and proper ventilation, and drinking green tea and supplementing with quercetin, Vitamins C and D and other foods rich in antioxidants is a very simple and effective way of sustaining maximal lung health to get us through the pandemic.