How Can We Help Protect Ourselves from Covid-19?

 As the bereaved, we are automatically much more prone to bodily inflammation.

A relatively new study in Psychoneuroendocrinology (Vol. 93, July 2018, pp. 65-71), and reported by Forbes (Oct. 30, 2018), found that “the blood samples of those who were experiencing ‘elevated grief,’ including feeling like life had lost its meaning, had inflammation levels 17% higher than those who didn’t feel that way (measured by levels of inflammatory cytokine proteins). And the top one-third of the grieving group had levels nearly 54% higher than the bottom one-third.” [1]

These inflammatory cytokine proteins can multiply quickly and cause a “cytokine storm” in Covid-19 patients. According to Randy Cron, M.D., Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, “Cytokines are inflammatory immunologic proteins that are there to fight off infections and ward off cancers… But when they are out of control, they can make you very ill.” (Forbes Apr 16, 2020, article on cytokine storms and covid-19 patients) [2]

Also of concern is that inflammation contributes to almost every disease in older adulthood, according to Chris Fagundes, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Rice University. [3]

Therefore, perhaps the best defense against Covid-19—and other illnesses—is a good offense: reduce the elevated inflammation levels in our bodies. This can help us stay healthier overall anyway—so we don’t end up with more grief about our own bodies.

Following my 26 tips for improving your immunity, which you can find on my Thriver Soup blog, I will next be offering ideas for reducing inflammation in our bodies to help us better cope with the terrible hand we have been dealt.

Here is a foundation for better understanding inflammation from my book, Thriver Soup:

“When threatened by wounds, irritation, or infections, cells inflame to assist with the transition back to health. A molecule called nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB), which normally resides in cell cytoplasm, moves into the cell’s nucleus (hence the name ‘nuclear factor’) and generates redness, heat, swelling, and pain. When the body heals, the NF-kB molecules return to the cell cytoplasm.

“NF-kB, however, also provokes the genes involved in creating chronic inflammation, which generally does not help the body heal. Instead, long-term heat and swelling becomes an open invitation to cancer. One-sixth of all cancers are directly linked to chronic inflammation. Most, if not all, cancers have unusually high levels of active NF-kB. This protein is considered their missing link. Researchers, for example, found that NF-kB regulates the inflammatory cascade necessary for breast cancer cells to proliferate and metastasize.

“Fortunately, inflammation can be smothered through diet and supplements. NF-kB can be suppressed by phytochemical-rich spices, vegetables, and fruit. Antioxidants can block the proteins so they don’t move into cell nuclei. Vitamins C, D, and E, curcumin (found in the spice turmeric), the herb ashwagandha, pomegranate extract, garlic extract, ginger root, green tea, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and isoflavones found primarily in beans can be effective cellular firefighters. I found such a diet helped reduce my discomfort during treatment, decreasing my need for pain medications.

“When brought back under control, NF-kB provides the body with important healing mechanisms…. Keep the chronic flames doused with an anti-inflammatory diet to help preserve your internal landscape.

“Thriver Soup Ingredient:

         “Ask your doctor to measure inflammation markers in your blood (C-reactive protein and albumin). [Cancer] ‘patients with the lowest level of inflammation were twice as likely as the others to live through the next several years,’ according to long-term studies by oncologists at the Glasgow Hospital in Scotland.”

Thriver Soup, Pg. 174

Sources:

[1] [https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/10/30/new-research-on-inflammation-shows-how-extreme-emotions-can-undermine-health/#4bc491af56f5]

[2] [https://www.forbes.com/sites/claryestes/2020/04/16/what-is-the-cytokine-storm-and-why-is-it-so-deadly-for-covid-19-patients/#6b77ed6460fc]

[3] [https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/10/30/new-research-on-inflammation-shows-how-extreme-emotions-can-undermine-health/#4bc491af56f5]

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