It’s been a crazy month hasn’t it? So much has happened and changed since I last wrote a newsletter. I wish I could make this all go away and push a restart or reset button to 2020. I know you are anxious, panicking, and wondering what we are supposed to do.
We are in this together, and I can’t imagine anytime that you need your family physician more. Our staff voted to stay open, and made a commitment to help our patients during this pandemic. As of today, we are still open Monday to Friday. However, we did shorten our hours from 9 am to 5 pm. We are mostly doing telemedicine unless you need to come in to be seen. Nevertheless, I want to give my personal update on this pandemic.
First of all, we are dealing with a virus and like most viruses, we can win.
Key Factors on our fight against CV19 is that we play both defense and offense:
Best defense: Hand washing and social distancing. We know majority of the infection is caused by our hands that might have picked up the virus on surfaces and touched our face. Therefore, the best defense is washing your hands. Social distancing by staying away from potentially infected people is playing keep away from the virus from catching you. Further you stay away from the virus, the more difficult it is for the virus to catch you as a host.
Best offense: Your body needs to prepare to go to war once the virus catches you and now you become the host. What do you arm your body with when you go to war with CV19? Let’s talk about medications and supplements you might be already on or might want to switch over to, along with alternative treatments out there that are available to you through our office. I have researched articles regarding coronavirus and there are few medications that seem to offer help in our fight against CV19 and have incorporated them already into my practice. Here are some examples:
- Hypertension and high cholesterol: We have learned there is higher morbidity among patients with cardiovascular diseases, like hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. However, we can pick the best medications that can both help your heart but also lower your risk of viral infections. ARB class shows inhibition and repression of the SARSCoV. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, statin class also has shown to upregulate ACE2 receptors, which has shown to be protective against ARDS, acute respiratory distress syndrome. If you are unsure of which you are on, please call for telemedicine appointment and we can discuss.
- Insomnia: Melatonin has antioxidant effects to lower inflammation. Viral infections are often associated with immune-inflammatory injury, in which the level of oxidative stress increases significantly. The antioxidant effect of melatonin makes it a better choice for treatment insomnia than Ambien or Xanax. Melatonin may prolong patients’ survival time due to decreasing inflammation, which may provide the time for patients’ immune systems to mount a response and eventually eradicate the virus. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41421-020-0153-3.pdf
- Antioxidants: Improve your immune system to fight any infection including CV19. Antioxidants are your most powerful offense against CV19. Like most infections, CV19 increases oxidation and inflammation which shows up as mucus production, edema, swelling, fever, and pain – headache, sore throat, chest pain, abdominal pain. Therefore, reduce and neutralize oxidative stress on your body with antioxidants.
- Glutathione: This is the most powerful antioxidant in our body to fight coronavirus. It has been studied against coronavirus and has shown to inhibit viral proliferation. If you are going to go on one supplement, this will be the one I would recommend. Our office offers both oral or IV form of this powerful antioxidant. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29337529
- Vitamins: Vitamins A, B, C and D are very important to boost your immune score and help to slow down viral replication.
- Minerals: Zinc is essential for your immune system and reduces viral replication. As a matter of fact, Zinc is one of the fastest supplements to fly off the shelf once this viral pandemic broke out. We are also learning that the Zinc and hydroxychloroquine are good combinations to treat CV19. There is a trial that I am personally enrolled in that will test this combo against CV19.
Final thoughts- I am not surprised that this pandemic has created many believers in supplements. However, not all supplements work or get absorbed. Get quality vitamins from your provider that has done the research for you. Also get your blood tested for your vitamin levels. It’s important to do just like other blood work for cholesterol or diabetes. Most of my patients are surprised that their levels are low as they are already taking many supplements. This is key to functional medicine: Improving the function of your immune system.
So what is our ultimate goal? Well, since there is no cure for coronavirus, our goal is to become immunized to the virus. To have natural immunity, you have to be strong enough to survive the infection and inflammation. We need to delay the virus from replicating and lower our body’s inflammatory response, and give enough time for our immune system to figure out how to kill the virus and fight back. Once we defeat the CV19, we will have natural immunity. We can also get immunity through vaccinations. Once people with natural immunity and immunity through vaccination add up to 80 % of our community, we will then have herd immunity. Not having enough hosts to spread the disease is how we win this war against CV19. This is our ultimate goal so that we can go back to our normal lives. So let’s become warriors against CV19 and play good defense for now, and prepare to go on the offensive.
If you would like to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your family, we offer telemedicine appointments to go over additional information that I could not fit into this newsletter.
Stay healthy and safe, and send positive thoughts to all the frontline healthcare professionals that are helping to keep this country alive and strong.
To your health,
Erik Suh, MD