Our world is no longer the same since March of 2020. COVID-19 caused by the Sars-CoV-2 virus, spread at an unprecedented rate through our world as a highly infectious, contagious and dangerous virus.
Since January of 2020, when the earliest recorded cases presented in the US, we have lost 600,000+ lives to this virus. The estimated global death toll is more than 4.12 million (as of July, 2021). Thankfully, mRNA vaccines have greatly reduced the transmission of nascent Sars-CoV2, offering those who are vaccinated reprieve, a milder case of COVID if infected, a nearly nil probability of hospitalization, and a minuscule risk of death from infection. These vaccines have been lifesaving and are 95% effective in preventing infection with the nascent Sars-CoV2 virus in ages 16 and above, extremely effective in reducing transmission and nearly 100% effective in preventing death from the nascent Sars-CoV2 virus.
We are currently facing a new challenge: The B.1.617.2 or Delta variant, a mutated form of Sars-CoV2, first discovered in India, is now present in the US as the most prevalent variant of Sars-CoV2. The mRNA vaccines confer 60-80% protection against this variant, which has a 50% greater transmission rate than nascent Sars-Cov-2, conferring it with explosive capacity to spread causing a more aggressive course of illness in those infected.
With recent unmasking and continued lifestyle choices that promote co-morbidities, especially after the significant increase in alcohol consumption during the Pandemic, the unvaccinated population is at a much greater risk for hospitalization, death and long term side effects when infected, if they survive. In addition, the crowded conditions that have recently upsurged in stores, shopping centers and social gatherings pose a much greater threat for transmission of this variant given its 1 to 6 transmission rate. This puts the vaccinated at risk as well, as mRNA protection is not as high from the Delta variant of Sars-CoV-2 (60-80%), as it was from the nascent Coronovirus.
The simplest solutions for prevention and recovery have always been the best. Vaccination with mRNA vaccines, masking in public, and healthy lifestyle choices are still the most effective evidence-based solutions that provide ways to prevent COVID transmission, boost our immune system, as well as improve our chances for recovery and resilience from infection with Sars-CoV2. We know that co-morbidities significantly increase the risk of long term effects and death from COVID19 the vast majority, being a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Healthy lifestyle choices are of critical importance in creating a healthy foundation in your body, so you have the greatest chance of prevention and recovery. There is so much you can do in a relatively short time to maximize your ability to fight this virus and mitigate serious damage to your body.
- Go plant based. A diet high in animal protein, creates an ideal environment for viral replication. The best way to create an unfavorable environment in your body for viral replication is by eating a Whole Food Plant Based Diet. The standard American and the Keto Diet is high in animal protein and dairy, creating favorable conditions for viral replication and immune suppression. A Whole Food Plant Based diet is alkaline in nature, which strengthens immunity and assists in faster recovery from illness.
- Keep your liver healthy. If your liver is compromised due to alcohol and/or animal protein consumption or fatty liver, it will be slow to assist the immune system in reducing viral load early during an infection. Avoiding alcohol and eating green leafy vegetables, cleanses the liver and optimizes its function. This also boosts the immune response and increases the production of anti-oxidants. The liver is highly regenerative so once you begin making these lifestyle changes, it responds rapidly, within one to two weeks, resurrecting and boosting immune function and antioxidant production.
- Move your body. Aerobic exercise is an important choice that stimulates the liver and supports the immune system to optimize detoxification and antioxidant production. 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise per day is adequate for this effect. (Please clear this with your physician before staring any exercise program).
- Reduce inflammation. This is best accomplished with a Whole Food Plant Based Diet. If your body is not inflamed, the damage to your tissues from an amplified inflammatory response from any viral attack can be reduced. In addition, cooking with spices like turmeric also stimulates natural-killer cell activity, the first responders after viral entry. Turmeric needs to be heat activated so taking it in supplement form is ineffective. (Curcimin, the the active ingredient in turmeric carries antioxidant effects). Adding dark anti-oxidant rich foods and spices such as cardamom and cloves , can also enhance natural-killer cell function resulting in a reduced viral load.
- Get your sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is necessary to enhance cellular regeneration and reduce inflammation. Deep sleep relaxes the body and neutralizes stress hormones which are inflammatory and immunosuppressive.
- Take your supplements. Supplements to boost and support your immunity may be helpful. There have been no studies thus far on the beneficial effects of supplements for preventing COVID-19 so supplements are not substitutes for evidence based preventive measures.
Many supplements however, have been shown through scientific evidence to support the body in viral defense:
- Zinc, 20 mg per day has been shown to reduce viral replication in in vitro studies.
- Vitamin C 2000 mg per day (if you have kidney stones, check with your doctor before taking this) is a potent anti-oxidant which assists the body in anti-viral activity.
- Vitamin D3 2000 to 5000 IU per day has been shown to assist in immune support. Be sure and check your blood levels before taking more than 2000 IU per day to prevent toxicity. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and can be toxic if taken unmonitored in high doses).
- A broad spectrum probiotic is key in keeping the gut microbiome and immune system healthy. An effective probiotic should have at least 5 strains of Lactobacillus and up to 5 strains of Bifidum to populate the intestines and provide bio-diversity. To ensure that your probiotic is temperature stable, it is better to get one that does not need refrigeration. The gut microbiome is essential for a healthy nervous system and immune system.
While on a Whole Food Plant Based Diet, make sure you eat a variety of deeply colored fruits and vegetables. The deep color indicates the presence of antioxidants which support many different body functions and neutralize free radicals. Adding lentils and beans increases the level of Nitric Oxide in the body, resulting in increased blood flow and tissue oxygenation. This discourages viral replication and assists in tissue repair and regeneration.
After making lifestyle changes, most of my patients notice significant improvements in their energy levels and health biomarkers within a few weeks.
Making healthy lifestyle choices is the best defense against disease and infection and greatly assists in the reversal of co-morbidities.
Do yourself a favor during this Pandemic and make a commitment to your health. If COVID19 has taught us anything, it is that health is our biggest asset and greatest gift. It is ultimately a series of choices we all must make of supreme value, but health requires our commitment and dedication. I consider it a sacred and spiritual practice to keep myself healthy. It is my honor as a physician to assist my patients to cultivate this in their lives.
Please stay safe and healthy and remember that prevention is ultimately the best medicine.
For a library of webinars to learn about how your body works and how to stay healthy, please visit Dr. Kumar’s learning platform at rosekumarmd.com and her educational blog at
©Aug2021 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press. Dr. Kumar is currently accepting new patients. Call 262.695.5311 for an appointment, either virtual or in-person for those free of symptoms.