Functional Medicine Approach to COVID-19 Prevention

It is important to stay proactive and informed during this global health pandemic. With research priorities shifting to study this new novel Coronavirus (aka SARS-Cov2), there are increasing publications on the topic, but still many unanswered questions. Here is a collection of information and resources regarding the benefits and effectiveness of using a functional medicine approach to prevent infection and promote recovery from COVID-19.

The precautionary guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing are in place to keep everyone safe. It is beneficial to identify possible risk factors such as pre-existing conditions including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, asthma, COPD, and autoimmune disorders, and to consider environmental stressors that could lead to increased vulnerability. But this is not the whole picture, another more important aspect of the prevention stage is to strengthen the immune system to be able to defend against possible illness. Many of these strategies are mentioned below. 

Researchers have identified main stages of COVID-19 progression. Each step is broken down into different components to better understand the progression of the virus [2].  We will discuss each of these stages in future additional blogs.

1. Prevention 

2. Early Infection and Escalating Inflammation 

3. Recovery 

Prevention Strategies

Is it possible to prevent infection with the novel Coronavirus/COVID-19?  There are many aspects of health that one can focus on to equip their immune system to fight off possible infection if exposed. Even better is to avoid exposure in the first place until we have a better understanding of effective treatments for the different strains.  According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, these include behavior and lifestyle prevention strategies and natural ways to boost your immune response. [1] Read a complete summary of these outlined prevention strategies.

  • Behavior Strategies: Wear a mask, wash your hands, cover sneeze and cough, avoid touching your face, keep commonly touched surfaces cleaned, stay 6 or more feet away from others not in your family/home.  Do not attend large events or events where there is crowding.  Outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones, but physical distancing is still recommended.
  • Lifestyle Strategies: Reduce chronic stress, practice good sleep hygiene, use an air filter to clean the air indoors, maintain a balance of rest and exercise, drink plenty of purified/filtered water, and eat a clean and green anti-inflammatory diet. 
    • We strongly recommend an anti-inflammatory diet in order to support natural gut healing, which is the number one thing to improve the immune system.  Incorporate plenty of organic vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, wild caught fish, organically raised 100% grass-fed meat, and gluten-free whole grains into your diet.  It is necessary to remove inflammatory foods which can cause continual inflammation in the intestines/body and lead to worsening symptoms.  Common foods which cause a lot of inflammation in the body include gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar and artificial additives.  Follow a diet low in sugar, refined & processed foods, dairy, soda and other sweetened beverages, processed meat, fried foods, trans fats (think coffee creamer, margarine, hydrogenated oils, and homogenized peanut butter to name a few).  
    • If you start eating in this manner, you won’t believe how good you feel, and your immune system/body will thank you!  For help determining how to personalize nutrition for you and your family, you can request a consultation with our dietician, Leann Larson, RDN, for personalized recommendations.  Call 612-730-2237 or request a consultation online..
  • Natural Immune Boosters: Avoiding sugar and processed refined foods and instead eating a healthy organic diet and adopting healthy lifestyle habits are the primary beginning interventions to support a healthy immune system.  Other immune supports include ginger tea with lemon, cooking with turmeric or adding turmeric root to smoothies or juicing recipes, or licorice teas or elixirs into your daily regimen can be beneficial.
  • Supplement Recommendations: Add these supplements to your daily regime: Vit C, Vit D, Vit A, Zinc, Selenium, Betaglucans, Astragalus, Elderberry, Proteolytic enzymes (Serrapeptase, Nattokinase or Lumbrokinase), antiviral herbs and many more.  For specific supplementation recommendations tailored to your situation,  contact us or request an online consultation with one of our Functional Medicine experts.
  • Nutritional IV Therapy Vitamin C, Zinc, Nutrients and Ozone with UBI can be very helpful in boosting the immune system and supporting overall health.
  • Homeopathy remedies for acute illness are always based on the individual patient’s symptoms, however here are a few that have been helpful for our patients in terms of immune boosting: Influenzium-CV and/or specific nosodes. Contact us for more information, or request an online consultation with our homeopath, Bette Jo Arnett.

How Can Newbridge Help?

At Newbridge Health & Wellness, we can be your guide to finding the best immune strengthening regimen for you. Most recommended supplements are available by prearranged curb-side pick-up or mail delivery through our online ordering partners. We also offer a variety of supportive therapies that can be offered to increase your health preventatively, or to help speed up recovery from COVID-19. 

These immune supportive classes and therapies include:

The Functional Medicine model is based on an individualized, patient-centered, science-based systems approach to health that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. Functional Medicine works to support your body’s natural ability to heal itself and helps inspire and guide you to live a happier, healthier, and more meaningful life.

Sources Used:

  1. IFM Boosting Immune Function During COVID-19
  2. Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery
  3. Long- Term Effects of COVID-19
  4. Coronavirus Warning From Italy of COVID-19 Effects 
  5. IFM Approach To COVID-19 Virus-Specific Nutraceutical and Botanical Agents

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