Life in the Time of Coronavirus: Health-supporting options

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong under contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.

Peter Marshall (Scottish clergyman 1902-1949)

A recent reading in the Alanon book, Courage to Change, reminds me that there have been painful episodes in my life. I’m not feeling a need to delve into them right now; I’m being grateful for the reminder that they are part of me.

After my sister died, a beautiful takeaway was that I would never get over her death—that I would, rather, incorporate it into my life. It would become a part of the warp and weft of my life’s weaving. I have found that to be true of each of my experiences, no matter how pleasant or traumatic.

Pondering this today gives me compassion for myself. I feel peaceful and accepting of where I am and what I am endeavouring to do in my life. My intention is to transmit that to you through this message of hope, information, and preparation.

Based on the work of several well-regarded healthcare practitioners I have come to the conclusion that we can best support our bodies, during this Life in the Time of Coronavirus, through a multi-faceted approach. It’s not just the body that gets to deal with this virus, it is the mind and spirit, as well. So I begin with stress management.

Nothing new there. We get to calm ourselves through prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise, a bath—whatever helps us go inside and feel grounded. I’m personally committing to cleaning our big bathtub so we can use it for its intended purpose and reclaim it from the dogs.

I will challenge you, my lovely community, to take that on, as well. Turn off the TV, turn off anything you’re using as a mindless distraction, and choose, instead, to go inside. Begin with a few minutes. Build up to hours, as desired. It’s up to us and this is a fantastic opportunity to exercise our mindfulness muscle. And yes, then we can choose to enjoy a mindless distraction, but let it be a choice, not a default.

I’m going to digress to something that seems to be a guardrail for me recently: I don’t want my headstone to say, Here lies Helen, she spent her off-hours watching other people live their lives. Yeah. Don’t want that. I get to live my own life, mindfully, so that I notice and enjoy all the warps and wefts of it.

Dietary. Same thing. Nothing really new. Keep in mind that for a few HOURS, not minutes, after we eat refined sugars—and I include breads in this—our white blood cells literally do not work properly. Boom.

We say sugar suppresses the immune system, but I wonder if those words become meaningless after so much repetition. So, let’s be specific and concrete: after eating sugar, white blood cells literally do not work properly; our immune systems basically go off-line for a couple of hours.

And, yeah, we need the immune system to help us fight illnesses, including COVID19. So, please, cut the sugars and refined products as much as you possibly can.

I get that this is a challenge—I had scheduled a sugar detox program to begin next Tuesday and, if there is interest, I will make it happen virtually. Respond to this email, if you want me to do that. I’ll keep the cost as low as possible as I know that a lot of us are not currently earning an income. It’s so important that we give our bodies a fighting chance by getting the sugars out. Seriously.

Meanwhile, what else? I have a whole bunch of recommendations; I hope it’s not too much at once!

Get outside everyday. Every. Day. Even in rain. Fresh air. Movement. Connection with our inner selves and our Highest Selves. I don’t know what I would do without my daily walk.

Eat clean. Eat whole foods—nutrient-dense foods. Foods from the earth, not Mr. Factory. This will ensure our bodies run as we want them to. We get to build them up, strengthen and condition them so that if we do contract an illness, COVID or otherwise, we can get rid of the invader.

We get to make sure our body handles its waste properly. Plenty of fiber. Plenty of water. Keep all systems moving so nothing gets stuck. Seriously.

Eat the colourful veggies. Especially red/purple—they are packed with anthocyanins, particularly powerful antioxidants. Red cabbage, red grapes, eggplant, purple cauliflower, purple carrots…you get the idea. These are also found in other dark foods: black rice, black beans. Colour from Mama Nature, good; from Mr. Factory, not so much.

The old saw holds true, especially when we are considering how to build a strong immune system: Eat the rainbow. Eat the rainbow.

In addition to a good, clean diet, one of my sources (Dr. Berkson) strongly suggests high doses of melatonin. That was new info for me. Fascinating. 10-40mg of timed-release melatonin taken 20-30 minutes before bed. Melatonin is a powerful hormone which is connected with immune function, reducing inflammatory damage to tissues in the body, as well as promoting sleep. This is not something to take long-term, but if we are at higher risk from complications with this virus, it seems a sensible supplement to use. The wide range gives each of us the opportunity to try and see what works for our body. More info at

Most practitioners and researchers I have investigated promote the liberal and regular use of the hormone vitamin D3, at the rate of 4-5,000 IU per day—being sure to have your D levels tested by your doctor at least annually (this is a whole ‘nother email, as well; D3 is amazing). Also vitamins A, at 5,000 IU daily, and C at 3-6,000mg, in divided doses, through the day (unless your iron is high!).

Writing this out makes me realise how complex supplementation can be. It is certainly best to work with someone knowledgeable, but for the short-term, these are protective and certainly safer than any promised medication or vaccine. In fact, Dr. Alex Vasquez, another of my sources, notes that vitamins A and D, together, are more powerful than any medication or vaccine because they work with the whole body. Vitamin A can take down the measles virus!

Zinc is universally suggested. 25-50mg per day. Zinc is amazing! Most of us are deficient in zinc. And it gets to be balanced with a touch of copper, 2-4mg per day. Oysters are a fantastic source of zinc and they also have copper. Organ meats are also good sources of these minerals.

And Selenium. 200mcg normally. 600mcg daily at any sign of illness. This mineral was used to actually eradicate a disease in China—Keshan disease. It is a proven immune booster. It is easy for us to be deficient when our soils have been depleted by our current agricultural methods. Brazil nuts are a good source.

NAC. N-acetyl-cysteine is an amino acid which protects against the flu, as well as preventing lung damage in people who do get sick. 600mg daily is a standard dosage, with 1200mg being considered therapeutic. Super powerful, if unfamiliar to most of us, it is used in hospitals for acetaminophen overdoses and to boost recovery from H1N1 flu.

Finally, licorice and elderberry. Licorice (specifically glycyrhizzin) has proven to be deadly against SARS, another coronavirus, in the laboratory. And it takes down HIV. Seriously powerful. I am unable to come up with a dosage, so I will be drinking it as a tea to keep my immune system in shape—and take the opportunity to pause to enjoy the steam. The only caution is that it can raise blood pressure. Again, it is powerful.

Elderberry is also fabulous—tasty and potent. It actually modulates the immune system, giving us a boost or a chill, as needed. A recommended dose is 700-1000mg per day. I will make a tincture with dried berries rather than buying the syrups usually available, however, the advantage of using the store-bought variety is that you will know just how much elderberry is in each spoonful.

And don’t forget GARLIC! Oh my. I sent out an earlier version of this document without mentioning garlic! FRESH garlic, crushed and minced and left to air out for about 10 minutes—this gets the powerful anti-viral allicin activated. Apparently you can also mix garlic powder in water and let it sit. I like the fresh idea much better, but in a pinch, grab some powdered. Add it raw to what you’re eating—cooking will reduce the potency, so avoid that. One clove a day this way to keep COVID vampires away?!

Here’s a summary of what I’ve recommended:

· Melatonin 10-40mg daily (before bed)

· Vitamin D3 4-5,000 IU per day

· Vitamin A 5,000 IU

· Vitamin C 3-6,000mg (divided up throughout day)

· Zinc 25-50mg

· Copper 2-4mg

· Selenium 200-600mcg

· NAC 600-1200mg

· Licorice by the tea cupful!

· Elderberry 700-1,000mg

· Garlic one clove

Whew! I get to stop now! Please reach out with questions or comments, because there is a ton of info I left out and I am happy to share more.

Helen Gardiner-Parks 704-451-3900

I consulted:

Dr. Lindsey Berkson DC

Dr. Chris Masterjohn PhD

Dr. Alex Vasquez DC DO ND


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