Innate Immune System Optimization (COVID-19)

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Living Document. Last Updated: July 17th 2021

Here is a brief summary to strengthen our ‘frontline army’ – our first responders, that are exhausted in some people who have COVID-19 infections.

See also: COVID-19 Phases & Targets – to learn more about symptoms of the various stages.

Innate Immune System Optimization – Summary

First Line of Defence

Mucosal barriers separate self from non-self and are essential for life. These barriers, which are the first line of defence against external pathogens, are formed by epithelial cells and the substances they secrete. (01) The mucosal immune system lines the passageways throughout our entire bodies (mouth, nose, airways, eyes, digestive system, reproductive tract, & colon). It’s important that these shields are functioning well, as it is a critical physical barrier to outside invaders and is especially vital in protecting the lungs.

Mucosal Barrier
Mediterranean diet – modulates both immune system & gut microbiota, enhancement of endothelial function, antithrombotic
(Fruits, Vegetables, Olive Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Legumes, Whole Grains, Seafood, Nuts, Seeds, Herbs, Spices) (02)
Vitamin A – Major role keeping respiratory, intestinal & surface linings healthy, & mucous membranes nourished (03) Crucial role in formation & protection of Epithelial & Mucous tissues (04)
Vitamin C – Stronger Cell Membrane, supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and promotes the oxidant scavenging activity (05)
Vitamin D – Cell Stability, Protects Mucosal Barrier (06)
Vitamin E – Protects the Lungs (07)
Probiotics – Regulates functions of systemic & mucosal immune cells & intestinal epithelial cells (08)
Selenium – Contributes to mucosal healing (09)

Improves different immune functions, important protective role in infections caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites (10)
Artichokes, Berries, Pecans, Red Cabbage, Beans, Red Grapes, Spinach, Beets, Kale, Orange Vegetables, Oregano, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Acai, Grapes, Berries, Nuts, Leafy green vegetables, etc.
Vitamin C, CoQ10

After just reading a 78 page document put forward by one of the doctors treating COVID-19 in a group I’m in (from Barcelona), I am now adding this as an urgent addition for anyone residing in a country that has chlorinated water.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 sublingually ( “under the tongue”) at doses 500mcg+, minimum 3 times per week.
“If they have any liver, kidney, other
severe diseases or they are under 8 years old, they should look for advice to their doctors”

(If he’s right, then the malabsorption of b12 in some populations are predisposing us to worsened outcomes) (11)

Innate Immune System Boost

Download (as PDF)

Mediterranean/COVID-19 diet

Strengthen Frontline Army

We also want to make sure our first-responders are not depleted. Many people experience mild flu-like symptoms, and asymptomatic carriers do not develop any symptoms at all. Infection for those with mild or no symptoms is cleared by a functioning, efficient and balanced immune response. (12)

The most concerning thing about the virus is it’s ability to replicate really fast before you get symptoms: the level of viral RNA copies rises from undetectable to millions in the 1-3 days before development of symptoms and then decreases after the time of symptom onset.

To prevent severe infection, the innate immune system needs to be activated straight away. It’s been shown that as the first line of defence, innate immunity must block the virus in the upper airways in the first 10-12 days from infection (5-7 from the disease onset) for an efficient resolution of the infection. (13) So a good time to get our army in tip-top shape is before exposure.

NK cells are our ‘natural killer cells’, and are the ‘first responders’ to detect & deal with cell intruders (virus, cancer, etc.). Adults, especially older adults, and those with compromised immune systems, have more of an impaired NK cell response against SARS-CoV-2, and children are less likely to become infected because they have more active NK cells and their ‘innate’ immune system is functioning well. (14)

Gamma Delta (γδ) T cells have the ability to rapidly detect viral infection and are also not functioning well against SARS-CoV-2. This delayed emergency response contributes to uncontrolled SARS-CoV-2 replication. (15) (16)

T cells of asymptomatic individuals produced greater amounts of two proteins called IFNand IL-2. These signalling proteins, or cytokines, help to coordinate the immune system’s response to viruses and other pathogens. (17)

Progressing to the more severe inflammatory stages seems largely due to a failure to activate the immune system during a critical early time window, and to a subsequent primary cytokine release syndrome triggered as a delayed emergency response to uncontrolled SARS-CoV-2 replication. (18)

Malnutrition impairs host immunity with particular detrimental effects on the T-cell system
a-Lipoic Acid – regulates T cell activity
Vitamin A – makes white blood cells, regulates immune system, NK cell activity is diminished when deficient
Vitamin A & Vitamin D – modulate immune systems influencing both adaptive & innate, T cells require Vitamin D to activate
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – critical role in cell development & function, B1 deficiency can potentially result in inadequate antibody responses, (19) improves immune system function, deficiency affects the cardiovascular system & increases inflammation (20)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – responsible for producing T cells & function and mediates the cellular immune response, (21) & enhances NK cell activity (22)
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid, Folate) – crucial for T cell maintenance
Vitamin C – helps T cells develop into functional T cells & natural killer cells reproduce more quickly when C is available, it also increases Quercetin absorption, strengthens immune system, helps body create antibodies, works synergistically with other vitamins to help them absorb better, antioxidant & much more (23)
Vitamin D3 – insufficiency directly related to inflammation & poor mucosal barrier function, vitamin D receptor plays critical role in mucosal barrier, protect against acute respiratory tract infections
Calcium – essential role in our immunity cells, invades viruses (24)
CoQ10 – improves energy, augments immune system, antioxidant
Copper – increase positive effects of T helper cells, involved in cell-mediated immunity, antibody production (25)
Vitamin E & Selenium – increase resistance to respiratory infections, increase number of T cells, enhances mitogenic lymphocyte responses (26)
Glutathione – optimizes killing power of NK cells
Iodine – enhances NK cells, can kill fungus, bacteria, & other microorganisms, immune system relies on this mineral to function
Vitamin K2 – helps your body maintain healthy blood vessels, protects lung tissues (27)
Iron – Insufficient iron and excess iron can lead to risk (deficiency causes reduction in peripheral T cells, overload causes dysregulation) (28)
Magnesium – deficiency associated with decreased immune cell activity & increased inflammation, activates Vitamin D in the body (29)
Melatonin – reduces oxidative lung injury & inflammatory cell recruitment during viral infections, anti-inflammation, antioxidant, immune enhancing (30)
White Button – enhances NK cell activity
Cordyceps – stimulates NK cells & macrophage activity
Turkey Tail – increases level & activity of NK cells & T cells
NAC – promote glutathione in cells, increase immune cells, reduce oxidative & inflammatory damage (31)
Protein – every cell in the human body contains protein, protein is needed to help body repair cells and make new ones, it also has immune properties (immunoglobulin production) & potential antiviral activity (32)
Zinc – deficiency impairs cellular mediators of innate immunity including natural killer cell activity & correlates with reduced T cell function (33) Zinc & Quercetin – super important for immune cells, prevents some pathogens from being able to latch on to your respiratory system, inhibits viral replication
Hot & Cold Showers
increases level & activity of NK cells, improve circulatory systems (34)
Physical inactivity has been shown to reduce NK cell activity (Exercise, Strength-Training, Massage, Yoga) (35) (36)
Forests, Natural Oil Aroma (e.g. Eucalyptus, Pine), Earthing – evergreen trees give off aromatic compounds (phytoncides) that increase NK cells (37)
Increase Restful Sleep (7-9 hrs) – Sleep-Deprivation reduces NK cell number & function (38)
Find Your Happy Place
NK cells are suppressed by chronic exposure to stress hormones (39)

Dietary sources of Vitamins

For references and more detailed-information about all things summarized on this page, visit the more in-depth fully-referenced post

Newest Version: 19th June 2021


Penny... on Health
Penny... on Health

Truth-seeker, ever-questioning, ever-learning, ever-researching, ever delving further and deeper, ever trying to 'figure it out'. This site is a legacy of sorts, a place to collect thoughts, notes, book summaries, & random points of interests.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not medical science or medical advice. I do not have any medical training aside from my own research and interest in this area. The information I publish is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, disorder, pain, injury, deformity, or physical or mental condition. I just report my own results, understanding & research.