As the world continues to change and the coronavirus crisis continues, we must continue to protect ourselves and our neighbors. As much as we would love things to go back to “normal” this is a journey that we must take on day by day and slowly and cautiously.

PPE has been on our minds and in the news a lot lately. Certainly it is important to follow CDC guidelines and wear protective gear as advised. External PPE is important to protect us (& especially our frontliner healthcare workers) from encountering the Coronavirus &/or decrease the volume of ‘viral load’ if we do encounter it.

One term you may have not heard as much about is what I like to call “Internal PPE”. We must also continue to make sure that we are taking care of our minds as well as our bodies. Internal PPE includes nourishing the body with nutritious foods, practicing mindfulness and self love and respect, getting restful sleep and getting adequate exercise.

If you are familiar with Integrative & Functional Medicine you are no stranger to the mind body connection and the effect it can have on the immune system. Adequate sleep, movement, getting out in nature, and providing our bodies with plenty of antioxidant rich fruits & veggies can provide extra support for our immune systems.

Internal PPE also includes our frame of mind towards this pandemic and the trust we have in our own body’s wisdom to navigate this virus. I strongly advocate during this time for us all to have some sort of mindfulness practice in which we further develop and refine our thought processes.

Supplementation can also be a form of Internal PPE. While we have no definitive evidence of how these supplements can combat COVID19, we can extrapolate from the depths of research and information we currently have and apply it to the current situation. Here are a few I have found useful from what I have learned so far:

While there is very limited data (and none specific for COVID-19), the following additions  MAY have a role in the prevention/mitigation of COVID-19 disease

  • Vitamin C 500-1000 mg twice per day
  • Quercetin 500 mg twice per day
  • Zinc 60-100 mg/day (acetate, gluconate or picolinate: zinc lozenges are preferred. After 1-2 months, reduce the dose to 30-50 mg/day. )
  • Melatonin. 2-5 mg
  • Vitamin D3 having a therapeutic level (often 2-5000 is per day)
  • NAC 600 mg twice daily
  • Vitamin A 10,000IU per day

Integrative and Functional Medicine looks at why and how illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual and addresses our heath: MIND, BODY and SPIRIT. During COVID19, there could not be a more important time to support patients in their health journey and remind them of their resiliency. We aim to help add to your “internal PPE” toolbox!

As always, stay safe, stay healthy & continue to LIVEIT!

Our LIVEIT Approach for Internal PPE:

LEARN:

Since the information is constantly evolving and also vulnerable to misinformation, the best way is to stay updated by reliable sources. Clearly this is a virus that has features that are unique and more virulent to earn the status of Pandemic by the World Health Organization and our behaviors can impact the spread.

Virulence and transmission will shift over time, in ways which we cannot predict.

Stay safe & stay informed:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19

Part of the LEARN aspect of this acronym, is to learn about your own tolerance for this information and limit the amount of time and media you are absorbing. Learn your information at a set and limited time daily and then go on, do something you like, breathe, notice the flowers blooming, take a walk…

INCORPORATE:

We are all being asked to more diligently incorporate things- such as washing our hands- we were hopefully already doing . Now we can do these tasks more mindfully and more often!

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and warm water are not available.

Incorporate creative ways to greet and connect with people while keeping a safe distance- remember physical distance does not equal social isolation.

As always incorporate healthy anti-inflammatory eating and plenty of sleep. Incorporate the changes you already have in your health goals. Acknowledge feelings of uncertainty and fear, but do not dwell on these feelings. Find what helps you feel centered and calm, healthy and strong and incorporate more of those into your days when possible.

VITALIZE:

Supplements have been selling out but unfortunately these are not the “secret.” Certainly Vitamins D, C and A have some evidence behind them and are effective in supporting our immune system. Remember to keep foundational principles alive and use any of your ‘go-to’ home vitamins/supplements to support a basic immune system.

Some trusted resources for more information on boosting the immune system:

Vitalize yourself with sunshine, time in nature &/or reaching out and doing a good deed for someone.

EXERCISE:

Keep moving your body. Set intention and practice mindful movement. Exercise helps your immune system among many other things! Be mindful to keep a healthy balance, and not overdo it either! Aim for activities such as walking, yoga, swimming, and try to limit high intensity workouts during times when our immune system may be strained.

IMAGINE:

Practice positive thoughts. Do your daily meditation. Reset your autonomic nervous system with the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Be mindful and aware how much of all of this can activate a high cortisol response, which can in turn activate our sympathetic nervous system and can impede overall healing, and health.

Spend some time doing some guided meditation. If you haven’t discovered them on our website, here is the link: https://laketravisintegrative.com/patient-links/

THANK:

The COVID-19 Pandemic is a HUGE opportunity for us to pause and be grateful for so much in our lives: for the gift of each day,  for this planet we live on, & to exist in this time, this place, and moment. It is an opportunity for us to offer compassion for those that are more vulnerable to the impacts of this virus.

Let’s be thankful for our emergency medical system and those serving on the front lines and the health resources we have in our country and our community.

We are truly thankful for you, our patients and the journey we share together. This situation is a rare and unique twist to our journey and we aspire to continue to serve you as we can on your health journey.