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Healthy host strategies: Ways to improve immune system function in the midst of a pandemic  

To wear a mask? Or to not wear a mask? That is the question on millions of minds right now, and most people are leaning towards wearing one. But that’s not the question we are going to answer here. The question we should be asking is: what exactly do I tell my patients? The issue with the mask debate is that it becomes political very quickly and most of the time, advice is not given respectfully.  What then? How can we educate our patients about science instead of opinions that will also contribute to their overall health?

Rebekka Kuzichev

Rebekka Kuzichev

Now is not the time to be ignorant of the immune system and the strategies to help it flourish. With so many questions about health coming up, now is the chiropractic profession’s time to shine. But we are failing. Stress, fear, and panic is currently disrupting humanity as a whole and we can help by doing what we do best. First, delivering a chiropractic adjusted to the spine to remove subluxations and thus nerve interference to optimize function throughout the whole body. Second, we can tell our patients to take control of their own health, instead of just depending on state mandates. Specifically, how they can reduce inflammation and improve immune function.

Let’s take a look at the current hot topic: Vitamin D. To understand how vitamin D helps combat the damage of COVID, we have to first understand exactly what damage COVID inflicts, and the problem isn’t what it seems. In order to infect the host, COVID uses an immune evasion process, to get past the initial defenses. The virus is able to infiltrate by binding to a receptor in the cells of the lungs in order to enter the alveoli. In some people, the immune response spirals into releasing an excessive number of cytokines resulting in acute respiratory disease syndrome.1 The hyperactive immune response in turn results in an acute overload of inflammation in the lungs, leading to fibrosis and scarring. This happens on such an overwhelming scale that it damages the lungs ability for oxygen exchange. Vitamin D plays a role as an immunomodulator. This increases innate immunity by secreting antiviral peptides, improving mucosal defenses and maintaining local respiratory homeostasis.1 The immune system then has a better chance to fight the virus appropriately, without causing so much damage in the tissue of the lungs.

Now that we have established the pathogenesis of COVID-19, it is imperative that we don’t miscommunicate with our patients that we “boost” the immune system. In this case, that is the last thing we want to do. Instead, with these recommendations, our goal is to improve the function of the immune system.

Another micronutrient proven to help with immune system function is vitamin A. Vitamin A supplementation already has a reputation with helping fight viruses. In children, vitamin A supplementation has been shown to dramatically decrease the mortality from the viral illnesses such as measles and diarrheal infections. Vitamin A deficiency has also been associated with disruptions in the normal epithelium of the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal issues2 : both are areas of the body in which COVID easily attaches to cell receptors. Since COVID-19 is characterized by the cytokine storm, an appropriate treatment protocol would be to down-regulate proinflammatory cytokines, which has been hypothesized as a role of vitamin A. Furthermore, subjects who had the highest levels of the immunoglobulin IgA had the greatest ability to neutralize the virus in which vitamin A supplementation has been shown to increase IgA levels.2

So far, the importance of nutrients has been crucial in aiding the immune system. Though there are countless other nutrients that will benefit our body’s overall health, the last one we will look at is Omega-3 fatty acids. Without specific references to fighting COVID infections, there are countless studies that talk about the benefits of Omega-3 and its ability to reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, Omega-3s are not as high in the diet of the general population as Omega-6 fatty acids. Which has the opposite effect, contributing to low-grade inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis.3 Omega-3s act to prevent chronic low-grade inflammation and are known to inhibit inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IL-1.3

A public health crisis is the perfect time to properly educate our patients about how they are the biggest advocators of their health, as well as how truly amazing their bodies are designed to be. In a world full of fear and hate, we can educate and shift paradigms one by one with our own knowledge and understanding.



  1. Nurshad, Ali. Role of vitamin D in preventing of COVID-19 infection, progression, and

severity. Journal of Infectious Public Health. 2020. June, 20:


  1.  Brownstein, David. M.D. A Novel Approach to Treating COVID-19 Using Nutritional and

Oxidative Therapies, Journal of Science, Public Health Policy, and the Law. 2020 July (2):

4-22. https://www.kaarid.ca/uploads/1/2/6/7/12670943/oral_vitamin_a_c_d.pdf

  1. DiNocolantonio, James. Importance of maintaining a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio for reducing inflammation. Journal of British Cardio. 2018. November 15 (48): 355-74 https://openheart.bmj.com/content/openhrt/5/2/e000946.full.pdf?fbclid=IwAR01jTEmFqcqRE4Muz4WkO3cQOQk3AJinUEYnZdjVXfdASjtM5lWg1KWfUc&__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=4f2f66a77286d1e92a07a10a868a3e2927bcbca2-1595806170-0-Aci5uk23MuZoHKfig73WpNKTT48QIRQz18_L3LlX0R0DJpEAImjXkiUxTPq97cSidtkUgTpSN2pjwILkR8okf-gjYol-AJe7eU7M7-9vu7Yt10uon-PHnphGdBz7LSUmwFY7FNbTvRiCB_wZhTWkjI-QGezrFCBWu3ZH-ShbAUFkRBJuBQmRglQFzKp95DfosnnEYsq42YGnFKE2hLs77aWQykj9qhGw1bGm-fTTRKbQHbpulQ-uzps8xvm1sFW4AKS0T9sRIfTzOWJpsgBdT1M-gYuMoKlAn-w6o87w_kZpSrETNWF5V-QencgP1ha6wSXOx6520UI-wR9zkNYxCdEnqGFAyLNLnIS9GirS29MxI18jKtdL_XpfLgqpT-VnX-KlonDfuRJ5TMfJ8xMlCnYJHfSxKH0ikMeRn6heEQbD




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