Answers to Top 11 Coronavirus Questions by Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, MD is a two-time New York Times bestselling author and an internationally acclaimed Functional Medicine doctor. Dr Myers specializes in empowering those with autoimmune, thyroid and digestive issues to reverse their conditions and take back their health. She is also a wife, mother and the founder/CEO of Amy Myers MD®
The following is a useful article she wrote about Coronavirus-19 and posted on her own website: Your Top 11 Coronavirus Questions Answered. It’s her answers to the most common questions she’s been receiving about how to stay healthy or respond to Covid-19 should you get it.
These are her answers, copied from her own site. See the article as it appears on her site for links to the information sources she has used:
1. How does COVID-19 affect the immune system?
There are two ways the immune system responds to this virus. The less severe response is your typical adaptive immune response which is triggered by your body’s “intruder alarm system” and used to fight off an infection. This is the common response after being infected with the coronavirus.
Once you recover from COVID-19, your immune system has learned how to fight yet another virus! It can use this information to fend off similar viruses in the future.
A different response occurs if your immune system is severely compromised by the virus, leading to a “cytokine storm.” 1 Cytokines are a group of proteins responsible for signalling and communication in your body, including regulating your immune response. 2
During a cytokine storm, your body releases too many cytokines into the blood too quickly.3 With COVID-19, this particularly affects lung tissue and prevents inflammation from going down. Then a build-up of jelly-like fluid in the lungs due to proinflammatory activity causes respiratory distress. This severe immune response may require medical attention.
2. I have an autoimmune condition. How will COVID-19 affect me?
Generally speaking, autoimmune conditions are a result of an imbalanced immune system rather than a suppressed one. Therefore for most people having an autoimmune condition does not inherently put you at more risk of getting COVID-19. The exceptions to this are those who are on immunosuppressive drug or have an autoimmune condition such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis that can impact lung function.
Following preventive measures, such as I write in my book The Autoimmune Solution, which support, rather than suppress, your immune system. Refer to this article for steps you can take to avoid COVID-19.
3. Are there special concerns for those with thyroid conditions?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Thyroid dysfunction is generally not related to an increased risk of viral infections. There’s no evidence that you will be in a higher risk group if you are not over 60 and don’t have any other underlying illness.
However, it is possible that if you were recently put on medication for hyperthyroidism such as propylthiouracil (PTU) or methimazole (also known as Tapazole), you may be at higher risk of a complication if you are infected by the virus because hormone levels in your body are fluctuating. Contact your healthcare professional if you are concerned about your medications. Don’t stop or reduce medications without talking to your doctor.4
In my New York Times bestselling book, The Thyroid Connection, I provide details on The Myers Way® to reverse the symptoms of thyroid conditions naturally. Now’s a great time to settle in with a book! You can also support a healthy immune system with the right vitamins and minerals. Try to ensure you’re getting optimal amounts of copper, folate, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D. 5 I specially formulate my multivitamin for my thyroid patients to ensure the optimal amounts of these vitamins and minerals.
4. Am I more likely to get the virus if I’m taking immunosuppressive drugs?
You could be at increased risk because your body’s ability to defend itself against pathogens is lessened. Because there are a lot of variables including which medications you take, your age, and the severity of your symptoms, you should take every precaution to protect your health. Additionally, speak to your doctor about the advisability of reducing or changing your immunosuppressant medications during this time.
Immunosuppressed patients who contract the flu may not get a fever. That means if influenza is suspected in an immunosuppressed patient with acute respiratory symptoms, even without a fever, they should be tested for the flu.
That may also be relevant information for COVID-19. If you are immunosuppressed and are experiencing the following symptoms, even without a fever, contact your healthcare provider about testing for COVID-19.
Shortness of breath
Sputum (mucus) production
Aches and pains
Nasal congestion or runny nose
5. Is it ok to take NSAIDS for COVID-19?
I recommend following the instructions of your personal healthcare professional. Your conventional doctor will likely treat mild cases of COVID -19 with fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and NSAIDS including aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), and naproxen (Aleve®).6 French researchers initially warned against ibuprofen because they hypothesized that an enzyme boosted by that anti-inflammatory drug could worsen the symptoms of COVID-19.7 However, the World Health Organizations, as well as other groups, have now determined that is not true.
However, NSAIDS can be extremely damaging to your gut, you may wish to add Omega-3 fish oil and/or my Liposomal Curcumin to your daily regimen. Both support a healthy inflammatory response. If you are recovering at home, rest and stay hydrated with plenty of fluids such as my gut-nourishing Bone Broth Collagen, which tastes just like a comforting bowl of chicken soup. Collagen from bone broth is full of amino acids and peptides that help maintain and promote a healthy gut lining health for optimum nutrient absorption.
6. What are the treatments for more moderate cases of COVID-19?
Some more moderate cases are being treated with the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. These are primarily used to treat malaria and several autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. These drugs seem to make it harder for the virus to attach itself to a cell and enter it. If the virus does manage to get inside the cell, the drugs kill it before it can multiply.
These antimalarials have also been used in combination with azithromycin, an antibiotic that’s often used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and infections of the ears, lungs and other organs. You may have heard of a “z-pack” which is a five-day course of this medication.8 If you are given antibiotics, it’s especially important to support the good bacteria in your gut, the home of 80% of your immune system. My Probiotics 100 Billion contains 14 of the most important probiotic bacteria strains for maximum digestive and immune support.
When you’re under stress, your body quickly works through its natural supply of the critical detoxifier, Glutathione. Made in your liver, it’s your body’s number one free radical scavenger. You may also wish to support your liver, your body’s main detoxifying organ, with my custom-formulated Liver Support.
7. What’s the best supplement for me to boost my immune function now?
My number one recommendation right now is the product I custom-formulated to support immune function, Immune Booster Powder. It offers high-quality colostral whey peptides. These peptides are protein fractions from colostrum, which is teeming with beneficial compounds such as bioactive proteins and novel growth factors.
Immune Booster Powder is a concentrated source of immunoglobulins, special proteins created by your immune system. Your white blood cells create these glycoproteins to bind to all kinds of antigens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and even inflammatory proteins from the foods we eat. Once they’re bound by immunoglobulins the antigens can be destroyed or carried out of the body through the bowel.
8. What are some other inexpensive ways I can support my immune system?
Whether or not you test positive for COVID-19, I recommend continuing a diet of nutrient-dense, organic foods. This includes fruits and vegetables as well as grass-fed meats, organic chicken, and wild-caught fish. If you can’t purchase organic foods right now, concentrate on what you can do. Select foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Buy large sizes if you can — the big bags of frozen vegetables are less expensive than single servings of fresh vegetables in the long run.
Many food banks are actually gearing up to serve more people, not less. You may not be able to enter to select your groceries, however many sites offer pre-boxed or bagged groceries. Feeding America has a site that can help you find resources near you. Try to avoid resorting to cheap, toxic and inflammatory foods including gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol.
I know this is an extremely difficult time. Many families are facing economic hardships while they try to remain healthy. To help ensure my community has access to the supplements they need, I’ve extended free shipping on everything in my store for everyone in the contiguous US. You can also sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on promotions and special offers on my supplements and programs.
9. What personal care & cleaning products should I use?
The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds frequently. You don’t need any special antibacterial soaps! Just wash in hot water and work up plenty of lather because the foam actually breaks down the fat layer on the outside of the virus, causing the virus molecule to disperse and break down on its own.
Fortunately, there’s also no need to purchase expensive disinfecting supplies. You can use chlorine-free bleach and dilute it with ⅓ cup per gallon of water.9 A spray bottle of a solution of 50/50 isopropyl alcohol and water works great too.
10. Does drinking extra water help prevent COVID-19?
No amount of water will prevent you from getting the virus if you are exposed. However, staying hydrated with plenty of filtered water can support your immune system, and prevent dehydration from side effects of illness such as fever and/or vomiting.
You may want to boost your hydration with a liquid that includes electrolytes such as an infused water. However, if you have diarrhea or can’t eat, consider a beverage with some added carbohydrates. Instead of a sports drink, which can be filled with all kinds of colorings and additives you don’t want, you can get the same effect by mixing one quart of water with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup of the fruit juice of your choice such as orange (if you tolerate citrus) or cranberry.
11. If I take Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN), does that mean my immune system will work better?
There is no evidence that LDN bolsters your immune system against this virus in either protecting you from contracting the virus or lessening your symptoms.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain. These receptors are meant to respond to endorphins — your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals. These effects may be beneficial for autoimmune patients due to the fact that endorphins play a role in immune system modulation. Autoimmune patients typically have lower levels of endorphins than people without autoimmunity.
No one knows exactly how endorphins help modulate the immune system or why they are decreased in autoimmune patients, yet studies have shown anti-inflammatory benefits. You can learn more about that in this article.
– Amy Myers, MD (4/10/2020)
Myers, A. (4/10/2020). Your Top 11 Coronavirus Questions Answered. See: https://www.amymyersmd.com/2020/04/coronavirus-questions-answered/?utm_term=coronavirus-questions-answered-article-email-coronavirus-questions-answered-article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=content&utm_source=klayvio&utm_content=coronavirus-questions-answered-article&_ke=eyJrbF9lbWFpbCI6ICJqcmhhcmRpbkB1c2EubmV0IiwgImtsX2NvbXBhbnlfaWQiOiAiS2padXpRIn0%3D
© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Comments submitted prior to 8/25/2021
She has a lot of interesting things to say. A good bit of common sense, too. I just wish she didn’t push only HER supplements and books. It becomes more of an infomercial in feel than an article. At least to me. Which becomes a turn off. Too many people are trying to sell their stuff as ‘cures’ or ‘preventatives’ and when it is only her own stuff it … well … detracts for me. I think it would have more benefit/merit if she also suggested other good supplements/books – surely there are others she knows who offer good stuff. …
May we all stay healthy. N.
In reply to Na'ama Yehuda.Na’ama,
I agree. Would have been better if she’d put the information about her supplements & books into an addendum to the article. However, I do have to say that her supplements are high quality & her books are very useful.