Managing Viral infections through Lifestyle Modification

Managing viral infections with Lifestyle by Dr. Deepti

The reality of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is that it will not go away anytime soon. It is unlikely that an effective vaccine will be available soon, and furthermore we can anticipate that when a vaccine is available, that it will not provide long-lasting immunity. The lack of long-term immunity explains why we continue to catch the flu-virus, despite being previously vaccinated. Does this mean we cannot take measures to better prepare ourselves to confront this virus? I would argue no. Individuals should learn how diet works with the immune system to protect against infectious disease, and the steps they can take to keep their immune system bolstered.

How The Body Protects Against Viral Respiratory Infections

The primary defense the body has against viral infections is the mucus membranes, lining the nasal passages and throughout the gut. These mucus membranes keep out pathogens such as viruses, from the air we breathe or the food we eat. The thickness of the mucus membrane determines its ability to keep out pathogens, the thicker it is, the more effective. The thickness of these membranes is modulated to some extent by our diet. The mucus which coats the mucus membrane is made of a carbohydrate polymer known as mucin, which is secreted by goblet cells located throughout the nasal passages, intestines, and even the eye.

If a pathogen can get past the mucus membranes, it must then bypass the epithelial cells that line tissues. Epithelial cells form tight bonds that prevent viruses from infecting the enclosed tissues. The medical term “leaky gut” is named such because it results when the bond of epithelial cells is not as tight, allowing greater permeability. This increased permeability in the gut increases the risk of bacteria or viruses entering the blood and thereby triggering an immune response. The same biochemical agents that can cause leaky gut can similarly cause “leaky lung”.

If a pathogen can get past the initial physical barriers, then the body will trigger its innate immune response to clear out the threat. The immune system has evolved over millions of years to recognize broad molecular patterns. The presence of a pathogen in the blood is recognized by Toll-Like-Receptors (TLRs) which initiates transcription factor NF-κB to mount an inflammatory response. There are several TRLs in humans, each of them are attenuated to pick up on specific microbial patterns. Some TRLs are responsible for identifying bacterial infections, others are more sensitive to viral infections. If any TRLs are activated, a signal is sent to the surrounding cells to initiate the NF-κB inflammatory response. When active, NF-κB will generate a number of pro-inflammatory mediators including cytokines and eicosanoids that allow an infected cell to alert nearby cells via receptors that an infectious attack is taking place, and that they should also initiate the NF-κB response. Another result of NF-κB response is that typically benign white blood cells are triggered to begin eliminating foreign microbes. These white blood cells can direct their attack based on molecular signals provided by cytokines and eicosanoids. Once they arrive, the white blood cells attack the virus directly, but as a result they generate inflammation which is harmful to nearby cells. Eventually the immune response is cleared away by cells known as resolvins, and tissue repair can begin with activation of AMPK.

Cytokine Damage

Individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 can experience very different clinical outcomes. Some individuals experience no symptoms (asymptomatic), some may have mild symptoms, others will experience life-threatening symptoms that may require the use of a ventilator, and some will even die. While the mortality rate is still somewhat speculative, it appears that around .5% of those infected will eventually die. This mortality rate is roughly 5 times that of the typical influenza virus.

The lethality of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be related to the levels of cytokines produced by the innate immune systems response. The production of cytokines is necessary for the body to mount an inflammatory response, however, if the response is not shut off by inhibition of NF-κB, then the problem can spiral into a “cytokine surge”, causing severe lung issues and potential damage to heart tissues. Those who survive this cytokine storm appear to suffer from tissue fibrosis which can compromise organ function for years to follow.

Testing Crisis

Although there is not yet a convenient test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there is a simple way to check for markers of cytokines in your blood. A fingerstick to measure the AA/EPA ratio in the blood is a promising way to test for the levels of cytokine markers. A high AA/EPA ration indicates that an infection of SARS-CoV-2 would likely result in rapidly elevated cytokine levels, and increase the risk of long term organ damage. When cytokine levels increase, they can become detrimental to organs such as the heart and lungs. One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation and the AA/EPA ratio is through high dose EPA and DHA. Most individuals will require 2.5-7.5 grams of EPA and DHA per day. For comparison, the average American consumes only about .15 grams daily.

Optimizing Your Immunity With Lifestyle By Dr. Deepti

A significant factor in assessing one’s risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 is the strength of primary barriers such as the mucus membrane and epithelial cell junctions. Maintenance of these primary barriers is modulated greatly by a low inflammation diet and the dietary components of omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, which also affect the immune response.

A low inflammation diet is calorie-restricted, consisting of adequate protein, moderate carbohydrates, and low-fat (particularly, less saturated and omega-6 fat). Our anti-inflammatory diet was created to reduce the levels of eicosanoids and provide the ingredients for our immune system to produce short-chain fatty acids; this allows for greater mucus production, including in the lining of the lungs. Our anti-inflammatory diet also provides the necessary materials for the body to produce “resolvins” to clear out the cytokine storm, and modulate the activation of AMPK to promote tissue healing. The bottom line is that an anti-inflammatory diet with Lifestyle by Dr. Deepti Omega-3’s and polyphenols will greatly improve your first line of defense against viral diseases.

Preventing Cytokine Damage with Lifestyle by Dr. Deepti.

When a virus enters the bloodstream, the next line of defense is the cells activation of NF-κB for cytokine production. The surge of cytokines produced by this response is necessary to begin an inflammatory response that triggers white blood cells to the site of infection. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 the area of infection is typically the lungs.
An anti-inflammatory diet reduces excessive inflammation caused by diet. By consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, individuals can reduce the initial surge of cytokines caused by a viral infection, making the body less susceptible to long term inflammatory damage. Mitigating the cytokine surge also results in decreased risk for long term organ damage. This reduction of cytokine synthesis is modulated by the activation of AMPK, which inhibits the activity of NF-κB. Polyphenols have demonstrated great efficacy in modulating AMPK.
Resolvins are responsible for clearing away the debris caused by an aggressive immune response, as well as transforming pro-inflammatory M1 macrophages into anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages. Omega-3’s act as the substrate for resolvins to be produced. A combination of anti-inflammatory diet and Lifestyle by Dr. Deepti Omega-3’s prevents the body from going into overdrive, causing a damaging cytokine storm.

Lastly, an anti-inflammation diet in conjunction with Lifestyle Omega’s and polyphenols can help prevent the long-term organ damage (fibrosis) that often results from severe coronavirus cases. Fibrosis can cause damage and aging of the lungs, and other organs such as the heart.

Prevention Is Better Than Intervention

The bottom line of this article is that as of now, your best defense against SARS-CoV-2 infection is an anti-inflammatory diet in conjunction with Lifestyle by Dr. Deepti Omega-3’s and polyphenols. It does take some time to bring your immunity up to speed, typically about three months of aggressively following the anti-inflammation diet and supplementation. Because viral infections can happen at any time, its best to maintain a strong immune system and a low-inflammation lifestyle always (this will also lead to greater health outcomes overall).

Summary

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is here to stay. Maintaining a healthy immune response and low-inflammation diet is entirely within your control. As our world becomes increasingly globalized, it is reasonable to expect that similar viruses will continue to arise. The best defense available to us now is maintaining a healthy lifestyle with proper supplementation and diet.

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Dr. Deepti Sadhwani

Internal & Bariatric Medicine

Dr. Deepti is respected around the world for her work as a nutritional and weight management expert. She specializes in disease prevention and chronic disease reversal.

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Dr. Harish Sadhwani

Internal & Bariatric Medicine

Dr. Harish has an innate knowledge to accurately diagnose all diseases of the body, determine the appropriate treatments, as well as the necessary steps that one can take in preventing most diseases and their symptoms.

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Mark Hasenauer, P.A.

Internal & Bariatric Medicine

Mark was born in Fort Lauderdale and raised in Sebastian, Florida. He attended Florida Institute of Technology for his undergraduate education.

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Joel Shields, B.D.O / H.N.C

Joel Shields has a burning desire and passion to help others live a more fulfilling and healthy life and working alongside Dr. Deepti and the rest of the staff at QHC Wellness Institute has allowed him to do just that.

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Nicole Bladin, APRN

Nicole is a Nurse Practitioner certified through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Nicole has been working in the medical field, starting as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant, since the age of 18.

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