Can I Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection? - Blog # 52
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to another Friday blog. With the flu season at hand and new variants of SARS-CoV-2 bombarding us, I wanted to look at what we can do to protect ourselves against viral infection. That is, strengthen our body’s fighting capacity no matter what comes at us. Let’s take a close look at the latest research, some just published in November, around HOW these viruses take hold and make us sick.
Researchers know that in order for the virus to enter our cells and use our cell’s machinery to make more virus, it has to be able to bind to a receptor on the cell’s surface, or to fuse with the cellular membrane. Frontiers in Molecular Bioscience: “The spike protein (S protein), a surface structural protein of SARS-CoV-2, binds with a high affinity to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2), which facilitates the entry of the virus into the human host (Wrapp et al., 2020).” We now know that there are 2 receptors involved, the ACE2 and TMPRSS2. TMPRSS2 is also the most common prostate cancer fusion gene! They are highly expressed in the gastrointestinal tract as well as lungs, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver and epithelial cells, which line many tissues, creating protective barriers. There is now evidence that SARS-CoV-2 infects epithelial tissue in the intestine.
Now, the ACE2 receptor’s normal function is to control the homeostasis of HTN (blood pressure) and cardiovascular function. It is dependent on zinc. It also regulates intestinal transport of neutral amino acids. Think about this for a minute. This virus hijacks this very important enzyme, so it is NOT available to do its normal job. This explains why so many people have had severe side effects from Covid-19 infection AND as a result of the vaccine. People who are zinc-deficient are more at risk of cardiovascular problems. “Upregulation of ACE2 expression and function is increasingly recognized as a potential therapeutic strategy in hypertension and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung injury, and fibrotic disorders.”
Did you know that MEN are much more likely to get SARS CoV-2, and have more complications, than women? There is a sex bias in gene expression of ACE2, due to the X-specific region on chromosome X. During development in females, one of the X chromosomes is inactivated. “Escape of ACE2 from X to inactivation resulted in low levels of expression in the liver, lung, and visceral adipose tissue of women. Conversely, ACE2 expression levels in colon transverse and subcutaneous adipose tissue were significantly higher in females than males.” Researchers noted female sex hormones regulate ACE2, but not TMPRSS2. Progesterone enhances ACE2 expression, while androgen enhances TMPRSS2 expression.
Males tend to respond by enhancing an inflammatory pathway involving TMPRSS2 and inflammatory molecules (DPP9, TYK2 and CCR2). Researchers noted “TMPRSS2 activates influenza virus by cleaving hemagglutinin, suggesting that the enzyme may contribute to virus invasion of human airways.” Researchers further stated that BMI (body mass index) was associated with greater expression of TMPRSS2 due to higher levels of Omega 6 fatty acids in the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, “gastrointestinal symptoms are increasingly recognized to be remarkable in patients with COVID-19 and increased TMPRSS2 expression with obesity might play a role.”
According to the Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal: “Men with SARS-CoV-2 virus had a worse mortality outcome. Of the 1591 patients admitted in the intensive care unit in one study, 82% were male. Seventy percent of patients that died of COVID-19 in Italy were men. Among 5700 patients with SARS-CoV-2, the most common comorbidities were hypertension (56.6%), obesity (41.7%), and diabetes (33.8%). Consistent with these findings, a recent review of genetic correlations between COVID-19 and several diseases, confirmed that type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are significantly associated with severe or hospitalized COVID-19. BMI was also modestly associated with severe COVID-19.”
Okay, So how can we essentially block the binding of virus to the endothelial cells? Interestingly, they found that “lipids, including PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids), exhibited multiple roles in antiviral innate and adaptive response. n-3 PUFA may interfere with virus entry by modulating lipids rafts, where both ACE2 and TMPRSS2 are known to be mainly expressed.”
- OMEGA 3s - Another study demonstrated how “n3-PUFA could bind to the close form of the S glycoprotein and reduce viral entry to host cells.” They stated that PUFA as the “most efficient agents” to interfere with the virus binding to ACE2. “EPA significantly blocked the entry of SARS-CoV-2 and reduced the activity of TMPRSS2. In addition, n-3 PUFA can also interfere with viral replication.” Both EPA and DHA inhibit viral transcription and maturation!! So, getting plenty of Omega 3s is one way to protect ourselves! - stimulates autophagy!!!
- HP-EVOO - Abstract November 8, 2021 in the Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal: they noted polyphenols, such as hydroxytyrosol, prevent and combat infection, and “identified olive secoiridoids as inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication.” Several polyphenols in EVOO, a “functional food” were found to bind to residues of viral targets, inhibiting entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the host, thus preventing infection and replication. Not only did it prevent infection, but prevented the deadly inflammatory response in the body. Researchers found it “intriguing that most secoiridoids were exclusive to the olive fruits, and its consumption could combat SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated hyperinflammatory responses that exemplify the viral disease.” - stimulates autophagy!!
- TURMERIC and CATECHIN - curcumin from turmeric and green tea catechins were found to bind to the viral S protein, as well as the ACE2 binding site! A study published January, 2021 in Nature reported: “Results obtained from multiple evidences depicted that both the polyphenols bind preferably to sites of S Protein (RBD site) which are crucial in host cell binding. Similarly, it was also seen that these molecules attach to those sites of ACE2 which were involved in serving a medium of viral entry.” In addition to elimination and neutralization, these polyphenols induce autophagy, another important mechanism of viral clearance. - stimulates autophagy!!!
- VITAMIN D3 - A new study looking at vitamin D3 levels and mortality with Covid -19 demonstrates near ZERO deaths with blood levels of 50 ng/mL.“Vitamin D deficiency, notably common in Black and Brown people and elderly, is associated with an increased susceptibility to many of the diseases comorbid with COVID-19. Vitamin D deficiency can cause over-activation of the pulmonary renin-angiotensin system (RAS) leading to the respiratory syndrome. RAS is regulated in part at least by angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which also acts as a primary receptor for SARS-CoV-2 entry into the cells. Hence, vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate COVID-19, via its effects on ACE2.” - both stimulates and regulates autophagy!!!
- EXERCISE - Physical exercise (PE) has been shown to reduce co-morbidities and enhance balance of the RAS system. “Given the consistent data demonstrating the effects of PE, it is possible to highlight two ways in which PE can have important implications for COVID-19: first, reducing the metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, and second, improving the balance of the RAS by increasing the ACE2/Ang (1–7)/Mas axis and reducing the ACE/Ang II/AT1R axis.” - stimulates autophagy!!!
- INTERMITTENT FASTING - (IF) = AUTOPHAGY. This is the body’s way of taking out the trash! Your body gets rid of misfolded proteins, toxins, bacteria and viruses, dead cells, etc. This has several benefits including, normalizing blood sugars and reversing metabolic syndrome, enhancing brain function, and literally affecting every part of the body. No studies have been done yet on IF and Covid-19. However, all the syndromes and diseases caused by the inaction of autophagy contribute to very poor outcomes with Covid-19 infection. It takes a minimum of 16 hours fasting to enter autophagy. You can get a lot of benefit from narrowing your meals to a 4-6 hour window, leaving you with 18-20 hours of fasting. Moreover, Omega 3s, HP-EVOO, curcumin, catechin, vit D and exercise stimulate autophagy in a dose-dependent way.
- PRE/PROBIOTIC - correcting your gut microbiota is key! Feed the good and crowd out the bad microbes. Take on an empty stomach and wait about 30 min before you take anything else. This allows the good microbes to take control and do their job. HP-EVOO also helps because it is selectively antimicrobial! It also heals the intestinal lining, closing gap-junctions that let bad microbes escape into the body.
- GARLIC - “Garlic is one of the most efficient natural antibiotics against the wide spectrum of viruses and bacteria. Organosulfur (e.g., allicin and alliin) and flavonoid (e.g., quercetin) compounds are responsible for immunomodulatory effects of this healthy spice. The viral replication process is accelerated with the main structural protease of SARS-CoV-2. The formation of hydrogen bonds between this serine-type protease and garlic bioactives in the active site regions inhibits the COVID-19 outbreak.” Use raw (in salad dressing) for the most benefit. I have an amazing homemade Cesar dressing I’ll share with you. Leave me a comment and I’ll send it to you!
Okay, so there are a number of things we can do to enhance our body’s ability to fight off whatever infectious agent comes along. These are a just few of the top performers against infection that we can readily implement over the flu/Covid season. Get OUTSIDE and get exposed to sunshine! Take extra Vitamin D3, especially in the winter. Choose ORGANIC fruits and veggies, free-ranging chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef and dairy products. LOWER your Omega 6 fatty acids! They are inflammatory and set you up for infection!!! Don’t eat when you aren’t hungry! LOWER sugar! Recognize that if you are craving carbohydrates, it’s likely that your bad microbes are taking hold and that’s the food they want. It is easy to get rid of the craving through IF. You’ll be quite surprised how easy it really is to stop craving sugar when the bad microbes are under control.
HP-EVOO raw and taken in daily at a dose of 2-4T, in addition to eating a Mediterranean diet and moderate exercise, can PREVENT and even REVERSE damage to the liver, cardiovascular, immune, digestive, neurological and literally every organ system in the body. When choosing your oil, look for the highest polyphenol count! Make sure to include detoxifying foods, like cruciferous, brightly colored vegetables and low-glycemic fruits! Eat the rainbow! I take my raw EVOO shot every morning, but I also cook with HP-EVOO.
So, until next time my friends, drink, drizzle, digest HP-EVOO, eat wild-caught fatty fish rich in Omega 3s, eat organic, get plenty of sunshine + supplement zinc and vitamin D, get your trace minerals and electrolytes, eat foods high in lutein, drink lots of water, get a good pre/probiotic, exercise your body and mind, add a few minutes of mindful meditation to your day to combat stress, get plenty of sleep and...turn off the light!! #EVOO