But first, meet Dr. Jeanne M. Wallace– a PhD in nutrition specializing in diet and cancer and “among a small handful of gifted practitioners who has succeeded in synthesizing the complex and wide volume of available research in the field of integrative care.” (That’s Dr. Keith Block, MD, of Chicago’s Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care.)
Thankfully, Wallace is now turning her attention to synthesizing the research on nutrition and viral disease.
Here’s my summary of her nutritional tips for preventing infection and spread of COVID-19. You can read her full report, with citations to studies, here. As you’ll see, her approach to prevention differs somewhat from her recommendations for those who are sick.
EMPHASIZE FOR PREVENTION
1/ Herbs in the Lamiaceae family: including lemon balm, mint, oregano, rosemary, basil, sage, thyme
Why? Viruses attach to the surface of cells in our mouth, nose and throat and then start multiplying. Herbs in this family interfere with viral attachment. Lemon balm seems especially promising. It inhibits attachment as well as replication–that is, the process of viruses multiplying within cells–and has been “shown to inhibit viral replication across a wide variety of virus types,” she says.
How? Consume high quality herbs, fresh and dried:
- Make herbal teas and sip throughout day.
- Make mouthwashes.
- Use in meals.
Practice aromatherapy. Use high quality essential oils to clean the nasal passages periodically throughout the day. Shake bottle, place near nose and inhale.
2/ Foods rich in ellagic acid: blackberry, raspberry, rosehip, pomegranate, cloudberry, boysenberry, cranberry
Why? inhibits viral attachment
Why? inhibits viral attachment
EMPHASIZE FOR PREVENTION, BUT NOT FOR LATER STAGES OF DISEASE
4/ Elderberry with Green Tea
Why? Elderberry inhibits viral attachment and acts synergistically with the EGCG in green tea.
It also boosts your interferon, which the virus suppresses in early stages of the disease. Interferon, when balanced, helps control blood sugar and insulin. As the disease progresses, however, the virus significantly elevates interferon; discontinue or greatly reduce elderberry if you have active disease, Wallace says.
Why? Zinc inhibits the virus from replicating within the cells of your mouth and throat. It also boosts interferon, and thus should also be discontinued if you have active disease.
How? Wallace recommends consuming lozenges with 10-15 mg/ zinc three times a day, after meals to prevent nausea. She recommends the carnosine form; picolinate and oxide forms are less effective, she says.
AVOID FOR NOW
6/ Nuts, seeds, chocolate
Why? They’re rich in arginine, an amino acid that supports viral replication. This effect is “not yet shown on coronavirus, but known for other virus types,” she says.
Wallace makes clear that there are no published human studies on the effects of these natural agents against COVID-19. But I’m sure you’ll agree: If there’s ever a time to hedge your bets, that time is now !
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