In this short post, I will highlight some simple techniques to help you reduce your risk of exposure to the coronavirus as well as decrease the potential for the life-threatening systemic inflammatory response that the coronavirus may bring on.
First, don’t go to China and eat donkey, sheep, pigs, foxes, badgers, bamboo rats, hedgehogs, bats, wolf pups, palm civets, or snakes from a live animal “wet-market”. Wuhan coronavirus likely started in a Chinese wet market.
Second, make sure, via testing, that your vitamin D status is at a minimum above 50 ng/mL. Optimally it should be around >100 ng/mL. Note Serum 25(OH)D levels as high as 120 nmol/L may be necessary for optimal immune function. Indeed, it was reported  that the anti-inflammatory benefit of vitamin D was only seen in those individuals in whom 25(OH)D rose to >100 nmol/L. Beneficial effects disappeared when vitamin D status dropped to below 100 nmol/L.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin that has been produced on this earth for more than 500 million years. During exposure to sunlight 7-dehydrocholesterol in the epidermis absorbs UVB radiation and is converted to previtamin D3 which in turn converts into vitamin D3. Previtamin D3 and vitamin D3 also absorb UVB radiation and are converted into a variety of photoproducts some of which have unique biologic properties.
So, vitamin D status is really a surrogate for how much time you spend outdoors with your skin exposed to sunlight.
Why is optimum sun exposure (vitamin D status) so important? Experts have blamed a form of systemic inflammatory response syndrome called “cytokine storm” for killing some novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected patients who were not very sick in the early stage of infection but eventually died of multiple organ failure. Once patients are in that situation, it’s very difficult for them to recover. Avoiding this systemic response caused by many deadly viruses is why having an optimum vitamin D level (sun exposure!) is so important.
A cytokine storm is an overproduction of immune cells and their activating compounds (cytokines), which, in a flu infection, is often associated with a surge of activated immune cells into the lungs. The resulting lung inflammation and fluid buildup can lead to respiratory distress and can be contaminated by a secondary bacterial pneumonia — often enhancing the mortality in patients. Cytokine storm is now seen as a likely major cause of mortality in the 1918-20 “Spanish flu” — which killed more than 50 million people worldwide — and the H1N1 “swine flu” and H5N1 “bird flu” of recent years.
An estimated 675,000 Americans died from the A/H1N1 pandemic influenza in the United States in 1918-1919. Many of these deaths were from ensuing bacterial pneumonia rather than directly from the viral infection. The United States Public Health Service conducted surveys in twelve cities and rural areas of the country in late 1918 to early 1919 to determine the case-fatality rate in each city or area. Case-fatality rates varied from 0.78 deaths/100 cases in San Antonio, Texas (highest solar UVB irradiance and lowest latitude) to 3.14 deaths/100 cases in New London, Connecticut (lowest UVB irradiance and highest latitude). The strong variation with location suggested that solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiance, through the production of vitamin D, reduced the risk of death following infection by this virus.
There was an inverse association between UVB irradiance (mid-day sun exposure) and case-fatality rate of influenza and the rate of pneumonia as a complication of influenza in the US.
There are two mechanisms whereby vitamin D can reduce the risk of death once the pandemic influenza virus infection took hold: reduced production of proinflammatory cytokines and reduced risk of bacterial pneumonia (caused by cytokine storm). Vitamin D (Sunlight) exerts its anti-inflammatory effects through genomic and non-genomic pathways.
And third, take a daily dose of resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit various human viruses in vivo and in vitro, including influenza virus, Epstein–Barr virus, herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, HIV-1, varicella-zoster virus, enterovirus 71, human metapneumovirus, human rhinovirus 16, polyomavirus, and cytomegalovirus. Resveratrol also downregulates inflammatory cytokine production as well as upregulates many anti-inflammatory genes.
There you have it. Get back into the sun and nature, make sure your vitamin D status is up to snuff and don’t shop at wet-markets in China.
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