With back-to-school season in full swing and cold and flu season approaching, this time of year naturally brings about thoughts of immune support. These thoughts are now heightened with news surrounding COVID, its variants and vaccine responses.
How does a coronavirus function?
Coronaviruses are a large family of RNA viruses that cause a variety of diseases. They are characterized by Spike proteins on their surfaces. Seven coronaviruses have been identified to date. Coronaviruses like COVID, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replicate by:
(1) The virus binds to its host receptor cell – in the case of SARS-CoV-2, this occurs when the Spike protein bonds at the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor protein site.
(2) The virus then enters the cell and fuses with the cellular membrane.
(3) The virus releases its genetic material into the cell.
(4) The viral RNA is transcribed and the viral mRNA directs protein synthesis (this process is unique to coronaviruses).
(5) The virus can now replicate and assembles new virions that are released from the cell surface to further infect neighboring cells.
Potential interventions against SARS-CoV-2 can generally be divided into two categories (1) interventions that act on the human immune system and (2) interventions that act on the virus itself.
From the barrier of the skin to gene regulation within lymphocytes, zinc contributes to immune support through various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. There is also evidence that zinc suppresses viral attachment and replication. Specific to SARS-coronavirus, zinc suppresses replication by interfering with proteolytic processing of polyproteins in RNA viruses. And what’s worse is that zinc deficiency is common and a zinc deficiency impairs overall immune function and resistance to infection! A study in nursing home elderly showed that compared with subjects with low zinc concentrations, subjects with normal zinc concentrations had a lower incidence of pneumonia, fewer new antibiotic prescriptions, a shorter duration of pneumonia and fewer days of antibiotic use. The data clearly demonstrates that immune integrity is tightly linked to zinc status. Supplementation with zinc is supported by evidence that it both prevents viral infections and reduces their severity and duration. Moreover, it has been shown to reduce the risk of lower respiratory infection. If you are curious as to whether you or your loved ones may be Zinc deficient, you can test your level with a test kit obtained through MD Custom Rx.
Activated vitamin D, a steroid hormone, is an immune system modulator that reduces the expression of inflammatory cytokines and increases macrophage function. Vitamin D also stimulates the expression of potent antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which exist in neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells and epithelial cells of the respiratory tract. Vitamin D increases anti-pathogen peptides through defensins and has a dual effect due to suppressing superinfection. Evidence suggests vitamin D supplementation may prevent upper respiratory infections. The benefits that Vitamin D carries out through the body are vast due to the gene expression and signal transduction that it carries out in virtually every tissue. To this end, Vitamin D has been demonstrated to exhibit multiple properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-proliferative and cytoprotection against endogenous and exogenous stresses. You can test your vitamin D level with a test kit obtained through MD Custom Rx. It can take months of supplementation to get your Vitamin D level to increase. Therefore, a loading dose is often used to get you to where you need to be quicker. MD Custom Rx has access to a dosing calculator. All we need to know is (1) How much Vitamin D3 you were supplementing with at the time of testing (2) Your current weight and (3) Your current Vitamin D level. Let us help you optimize your Vitamin D level today!
N-acetylcysteine promotes glutathione production, which helps maintain immune support. Through its ability to raise glutathione levels, NAC is able to protect the biologic activity and safe metabolism of quercetin. NAC has been shown to support mucus clearance and normal respiratory function, through its ability to cleave disulfide bonds in mucus. In a little-noticed six-month controlled clinical study enrolling 262 primarily elderly subjects, those receiving 600mg NAC twice daily, as opposed to those receiving placebo, experienced significantly fewer influenza-like episodes and days of bed confinement.
Quercetin may be best known for its antioxidant activity in scavenging free radicals, but it has also been shown to have antiviral effects against both RNA (e.g., influenza and coronavirus) and DNA viruses (e.g., herpesvirus). Quercetin has a pleiotropic role as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, modulating signaling pathways that are associated with post-transcriptional modulators affecting post-viral healing. Additionally, quercetin helps balance the level of cytokines and improve T-lymphocyte balance while also stimulating the ciliary beat frequency of the nasal epithelium, aiding the excretion of respiratory mucus. Quercetin has been shown to block the mechanisms by which microbes enter the host cells and replicate within the body, thereby providing immune support.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that has been studied for many years for its immune support effects. Vitamin C contributes to immune support through various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C accumulates in phagocytic cells, such as neutrophils, and can enhance chemotaxis, phagocytosis, generation of reactive oxygen species, and ultimately microbial killing. Supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. Vitamin C has been used in hospital ICUs to treat COVID-19 infection. Data shows vitamin C is heavily concentrated in macrophages, supports lymphocyte activity, modulates cytokine release, improves endothelial function, restores mitochondrial function, and can directly provide immune support to a challenged immune system. Of particular interest, vitamin C has been shown to recycle oxidized quercetin back to its parent compound, which supports a robust immune response while increasing the efficacy of quercetin.
THE GOOD NEWS
Now if you’ve made it to reading this far, you are likely thinking – “Great! Now I need to add 5 more supplements to my regimen for immune support!” What if I told you that is not the case? What if, there was this great new product available at MD Custom Rx, which combines all 5 of these great nutrients into a single capsule and all you have to do is take 2 capsules daily. Well, it’s true! OrthoMune is a targeted blend of the 5 aforementioned nutrients designed to provide broad-spectrum immune support to the body. Get yours today!
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