Covid-19 & help for your Immune System

Covid-19 is a brand new virus, and as such, 99.999999% of us have no immunity to it. Because this virus is so completely new, we don’t have vaccines or medications against it either. That means the only weapon we have is the immune system all of us are born with.

Immune system

The immune system is mostly centred around the thyroid which produces cells that seek out viruses and bacteria, chop them up and teach other cells how to fight them. This is more or less how we become immune to new viruses and bacteria.

That explanation is at about kindergarten level, but it’s enough to explain why having the immune system working at peak efficiency is so important. It is always our first line of defence, and with the Covid-19 virus, it is also our only line of defence.

So what affects the efficiency of our immune system?

For people with no underlying diseases, the immune system gets most of what it needs from good food, adequate rest and a bit of healthy exercise. This is why about 80% of those who catch Covid-19 will experience very little in terms of ‘disease’.

Nevertheless, even young, healthy people can reduce the length and severity of their infection by supporting their immune systems while they are sick. This involves eating healthy food instead of junk food, getting lots of rest, drinking lots of fluids [NOT alcoholic fluids!], and taking some of the natural boosters you’ll find here.

I’m no nutritionist so I’m only going to talk about two things that I know something about – Vitamin D and Iodine.

Iodine

The following quotes are all taken from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

  • ‘Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones regulate many important biochemical reactions,’
  • ‘They [thyroid hormones] are also required for proper skeletal and central nervous system development in fetuses and infants [1].’
  • ‘Iodine may have other physiological functions in the body as well. For example, it appears to play a role in immune response’.

In Australia, our old, mineral depleted soils do not contain much iodine which is why we are encouraged to used iodised table salt – i.e. salt that has had iodine added to it. It is also why our bread now has added iodine.

This lack of naturally occurring iodine means that many of us could be slightly deficient in iodine. If that’s the case, then our immune systems are not going to be performing at peak efficiency during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Where do you find Iodine?

As I mentioned before, in Australia, iodine is added to iodised table salt and bread. It also occurs naturally in fish, seafood and seaweed. So in theory, if you use iodised table salt, eat lots of bread and also eat fish, seafood and seaweed, your iodine levels should be fine.

But…

Unused iodine is peed out:

‘Iodine in food and iodized salt is present in several chemical forms including sodium and potassium salts, inorganic iodine (I2), iodate, and iodide, the reduced form of iodine [4]. Iodine rarely occurs as the element, but rather as a salt; for this reason, it is referred to as iodide and not iodine. Iodide is quickly and almost completely absorbed in the stomach and duodenum. Iodate is reduced in the gastrointestinal tract and absorbed as iodide [2,5]. When iodide enters the circulation, the thyroid gland concentrates it in appropriate amounts for thyroid hormone synthesis and most of the remaining amount is excreted in the urine [2].’

Quote taken from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

Now ask yourself, do you eat fish, seafood and seaweed every day? If the answer is no, then you may be a little or a lot deficient in iodine.

So how do you make sure you’re getting enough iodine every day, especially when you’re sick?

There are iodine supplements that you swallow but I don’t recommend them because too much iodine can actually do you harm.

Instead, I recommend painting iodine onto your skin.

The skin absorbs the iodine and releases it into the blood stream from which it is carried to the thyroid. You do not need to ingest iodine.

In Australia, BETADINE is a well known, family antiseptic. It comes in a small bottle and you paint it onto cuts and abrasions with a cotton bud:

Image sourced from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Povidone-iodine

The following quote is taken from the same Wikipedia article:

Povidone-iodine (PVP-I), also known as iodopovidone, is an antiseptic used for skin disinfection before and after surgery.[1][2] It may be used both to disinfect the hands of healthcare providers and the skin of the person they are caring for.[2] It may also be used for minor wounds.[2] It may be applied to the skin as a liquid or a powder.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Povidone-iodine

You can also buy pure iodine online under the brand name of ‘Lugols’. I have no idea whether one is better than the other, but I’ve used Lugols for almost ten years.

How much iodine do you need?

The amount of iodine is going to be different for each person because we don’t come in a standard size. I’m 5’3″ and 65 kgs. As a rule of thumb, I paint about a fifty cent coin size area of skin when I’m feeling fine. When I’m coming down with a cold, or trying to prevent one, I increase that to about 3 inches by 3 inches. That’s quite a bit of skin.

How much you use will depend upon your body size and how quickly the distinctive iodine stain is absorbed by your body. If the stain takes 24 hours to disappear from your skin, your thyroid is using a ‘normal’ amount of iodine for you. If the stain disappears in 8 hours or less, however, it means your thyroid is working harder than usual and using more iodine than usual. In that case, you may want to apply a bit more to your skin.

If you’ve never used either pure iodine or Betadine before, be careful because it will stain your clothing while it’s wet.

Vitamin D

Both the Offspring and I were found to be vitamin D deficient some years ago when we were tested. I was truly surprised at my result because I spend a lot of time out in the garden. Surely I had absorbed enough vitamin D just from the sunshine on my skin?

Apparently not. So what does vitamin D actually do, and why should you care?

According to Dr John Campbell, vitamin D reduces the ‘probabilty of contracting respiratory tract infections’. Covid-19 causes fever and a dry cough – i.e. a respiratory tract infection.

I strongly recommend that you watch this video in its entirety:

Other important nutrients for your immune system

I stumbled across this post by accident whilst researching iodine and vitamin D:

10 simple nutrients to boost your immune system for maximum protection and immunity.’

The ten nutrients include:

  • Elderberry syrup
  • Echinacea
  • Oil of Oregano
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Monolaurin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Sellenium

You can find a detailed description of each of these nutrients by following the link above. I don’t know enough about magnesium and sellenium etc to comment on their efficacy, but I’m definitely going to explore them further myself, and I recommend that you do too.

Stay healthy
Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

13 responses to “Covid-19 & help for your Immune System

  • Covid-19 & why fever is good | Meeka's Mind

    […] it’s Covid-19 or not, be brave and let the fever come. If you have access to things that help support the immune system, by all means, take them! But leave the fever reducing drugs in the […]

    Like

  • MELewis

    Some great tips here! I’ve never tried the iodine trick but I’ve heard that Brazil nuts are a great source of sellenium. Easy enough to chop a couple up as a topping for yoghurt or cereal.

    Like

    • acflory

      I went to the pharmacy and bought both sellenium and olive leaf extract. If we run out of the sellenium I’ll order in some of those brazil nuts. Thanks for sharing that info. I think this is where social media can help us help each other. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • Widdershins

    I did not know about the iodine on the skin! – brilliant. 🙂
    We’re both taking ‘D’ supplements this winter season. It’s been so long and so bleak (rainrainrain) that the chances of sun-induce ‘D’ were few and far between.
    We love our Dr John. 😀

    Like

  • Matthew Wright

    Great tips! That iodine issue is true in NZ too – the salt is iodised for that reason. Selenium is also lacking. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Vitamin D too. Apparently the need to use sun-blocker (for good reason, of itself) has left western populations generally Vitamin D deficient even in summer.

    Like

    • acflory

      Yeah, it’s a catch-22 with the sun, especially in our neck of the woods. There’s no guarantee that any of these nutrients will work, but on general principles I believe that anything that strengthens our immune capacity has to be a ‘good thing’. 🙂

      Like

  • Gradmama2011

    Very interesting post, appropriate timing. Elderberry Syrup…interesting, my mom used to make elderberry pie and jelly. I can taste it now. Yum. We had a couple of elderberry trees in the back, but they were lost when the highway went through back there. I, and my girls, have thyroid issues.

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    • acflory

      That’s such a shame about the Elderberry trees. If your family has thyroid issues I strongly recommend getting some iodine and painting it on your skin every day as a preventive measure.

      I’ve just done a quick search and apparently Betadine is known/available in the US:

      https://www.drugs.com/international/betadine.html

      I know this isn’t scientific, but I think of the iodine in things like Betadine as ‘fuel’ for the immune system.

      Like

  • DawnGillDesigns

    that’s really interesting. I didn’t know that about iodine – I’m going to do some investigation, and might invest in some as my mum was recently diagnosed with a thyroid issue (it’s apparently terribly common) and this might be helpful – for her and for me! x

    Like

    • acflory

      My late mother was never properly diagnosed, coz she refused to be tested, but her doctor had strong suspicions. I’ve had a partial thyroidectomy [benign] so it may run in families. It certainly is common. :/

      Like

  • robertawrites235681907

    Thanks for these great tips, Meeks. You are spot on with this post.

    Like

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