Update on Covid: Exploring Natural Immunity, Vitamin D and the Terrain Theory
Many people have been coming down with covid-19 in recent weeks. The omicron variant does appear to be milder, despite being theoretically more infectious. Most patients that I have seen with covid, have had headache, joint and muscle pain, fever and very minimal upper respiratory symptoms. Having some supportive supplements on hand is very beneficial to ensuring that your body handles covid with minimal fuss.
There are many well known protocols for both immune boosting strategies as a form of prevention as well as doses and supplements to support your body should you contract SarsCov-2. These include vitamin C, zinc, quercetin and the all important vitamin D. Plus a few other goodies are often needed depending on your individual health history and/or presentation. As always, we get the best results from a personalised plan, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Moreover, knowing the right doses and getting a quality supplement is also essential in ensuring an optimal response.
Vitamin D status in particular is critical and vitamin D certainly has some exceptional research to show it is one of the most important factors in a patient’s response to covid. Randomised controlled trials showed that vitamin D decreases acute respiratory infections, can directly inhibit viral replication as well as offer anti-inflammatory effects and many studies concluded (as early on in the pandemic as 2020), that vitamin D is a safe and cheap intervention that should be universally exploited by public health bodies as part of the covid response. It is a shame that the Australian Health department have failed to promote vitamin D or distribute supplements to our at risk populations.
Getting your Vitamin D levels tested is the ideal way to ensure you have good levels and also to accurately know what dose of supplement you might need. Vitamin D tests only cost around $35, even if non-medicare and you have to pay yourself, so most people should have their levels tested at some point to optimise their D levels as vitamin D is essential for preventing not just viral or bacterial infections, but also has a potent anti-cancer role and supports many other things beyond your immune system. Of course, sunshine is nature’s method of boosting vitamin D, and some of my patients with covid have said they really craved the sun while sick, demonstrating how wise the body is at self regulating! Learn more about vitamin D and sunlight in this past article.
My son recently had covid, with positive PCR and RAT tests, however I didn’t get it, despite being with him the full 10 days he was symptomatic or isolating. He presented with the typical headache, 24 hour fever, achey muscles and fatigue for a few days. I was quite happy to contract it and not at all afraid of covid, as this would give me both natural immunity and the potential for an exemption. Not only was I symptom free the whole time, but my PCR and RAT tests were also negative. I didn’t contract it, despite my trying (!) and my exposure to what would have been a high viral load in my symptomatic son.
So once again, we need to consider the question of individual susceptibility and immune health – as these are the key to whether or not we get sick. The terrain theory of illness, suggests that whether we are exposed to any theoretically ‘infectious’ bug or not, our susceptibility is our own unique response. In other words, the baseline health of the ‘host’ is the determinant of whether we get sick or not. The classic analogy often used to compare the terrain theory with the germ theory is a sick fish who is living in a fish tank. Do we first change the water to see if something in the water is what is making the fish sick, or do we assume that the fish has a virus and treat the fish? Clearly the health of each person’s environment and the day to day choices they make influence their health and risk of disease. Now we can go back to my son’s case and put it in perspective from the lens of the terrain theory. He was susceptible as he had just worked a crazy long 58 hour (!) week in his busy hospitality job, with many late nights and not his usual healthy eating. Not to mention he is a rapidly growing 15 yr old teenager who needs his sleep and good nutrition to support the huge demands of adolescent growth and development – so it was no surprise to me that his terrain was a little off and he got covid!
The mainstream media and unfortunately, the public health messages from government are both failing to give people this important fact. Instead, we are told various versions of the fear laden story that states “we are are all going to get it”, “it is highly infectious and no-one will escape” etc. Indeed, the vaccine that was supposed to be the ‘white knight’ of the covid story is failing miserably at preventing people from getting covid. More people are getting it who are vaccinated than what was promised and even the head of Pfizer said two doses of his injection offered zero benefit or protection for the omicron strain. Which incidentally begs the question, why would a booster offer any additional benefit?
We are now two years on, with a range of mutations in tow and we are still mandating the same vaccine. Yet our natural immune system is uniquely designed to adapt and meet the changing landscape of our environment, offering innate features that enable us to fight off, remember and adapt to similar future pathogens. Educating and supporting people to work with their natural immune system (and cleaning up their terrain!) makes far more sense than relying on failing vaccines. The public health messages should be positive and inspiring to promote healthy immunity – highlighting the many ways you can take control of your health with diet, lifestyle, stress management and sunshine, rather than the dishing up the fear message we are constantly being fed. Fear is one of the most powerful weapons to lower your immunity. When we are in constant fear and the fight/flight response of stress we cannot resource our body well to have optimal immunity nor do we have good digestive function or reproductive health for that matter. Relaxing, trusting and supporting your body with good food, sleep, exercise, etc is far more useful than hiding out at home in isolation, masked up, triple jabbed and living in fear.
I may still get a serology (antibody) test to see if I had prior immunity, as I am curious whether my body was already immune or instead I just didn’t get it due to my immune health (and terrain!) being robust. But in the mean time I will continue to support my body with healthy choices each day and keep educating my patients how to trust and support their body too!