Coronavirus…Your Best Defense

Digestive symptoms may be the first sign of infection…

We are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and I wanted to share with you some information that hopefully you find helpful. I see this COVID-19 from two different perspectives. 

  • Try not to become infected 
  • Prepare your body and immune system to kill the virus if you do become infected. 

You are already aware of the precautions you can take to avoid exposure to the virus such as limiting social contact, washing your hands, etc. I would like to emphasize what you can do to prepare to body if you are exposed to the virus. You can take all of the recommended precautions and still become infected. 

The common symptoms most doctors are looking for include: 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue

The earliest signs of infection can be digestive symptoms!

The CDC reported that digestive symptoms of the virus include: 

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Experts have also reported that: 

“Clinicians must bear in mind that digestive symptoms may be a presenting feature of COVID-19…suspicion may need to be raised earlier in these cases rather than waiting for respiratory symptoms to emerge.” 

The Wuhan Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19 reported that “Diarrhea and other digestive symptoms are the main complaint in nearly half of coronavirus patients…the early stages of the outbreak show that digestive problems are prevalent in many patients with COVID-19.” 

The medical system has no treatment for the virus…so what about a functional medicine? 

Your best (and only) defense is a healthy immune system!

Regardless of all the precautions one may take, the possibility of becoming infected are still very high. Cases are underreported and many have the virus and don’t even know it; this will result in high rates of infection. For most people, getting the virus does not represent any significant danger. The elderly and those with other health conditions are the most at risk: 

“It’s very clear that this virus has greater mortality and morbidity in older individuals and those with chronic conditions,” says Mark Mulligan, director of NYU Langone Health’s division of infectious diseases and immunology in New York. 

Your gut and your immune system

Our patients are telling us every day how surprised they are that they are feeling well and NOT GETTING SICK! “I did not get a cold or the flu this year” or “Everyone in my household is sick but I am doing great.” 

Most of your immune system is located in and around your digestive system. Your best  defense against the coronavirus is a healthy immune system. Taking care of your gut is the best way to support your immune system. 

What supports a healthy gut and healthy immune system?

  • Not eating foods that are inflammatory or that trigger and therefore burden the immune system. This is best determined through food allergy and sensitivity testing because it tells you what your immune system is ok with and what it is constantly fighting against. You want your immune system attacking the virus and not the foods you eat every day. 
  • Healing a leaky gut. A leaky gut puts a huge burden on your immune system.
  • Treating SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
  • Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome (the organisms in your gut); killing off bad bacteria, parasites and excess yeast. Maintaining healthy levels of beneficial microbes.
  • Good digestion: producing or taking digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid supplements if needed.
  • Making sure you have the basic gut and immune nutrients including vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc and vitamin C. L-lysine is an amino acid that has antiviral properties. There are many other supplements that support the immune system; but these are the basics.
  • Reducing stress and optimizing cortisol levels from the adrenal glands. Stress and excess cortisol cause gut lining breakdown and suppress the immune system.
  • Optimal thyroid hormone levels.
  • Getting sufficient sleep.

A healthy gut is the foundation of a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system is your best defense against the coronavirus. It is also the main system that needs to be addressed if you have any immune system disease, such as an autoimmune disease. 

In summary, do what you can to avoid exposure but don’t neglect the other half of this virus equation…prepare your immune system to defeat the virus in the event that you do become infected. With the help of a functional medicine doctor you can optimize your immune system. Functional medicine not only deals with reversing chronic diseases; it also focuses on prevention of disease…including the coronavirus. Take care of your immune system! 

The purpose of functional medicine is: 

Understanding how the body works, knowing how and where to investigate health issues, knowing what to look for, understanding the significance of what is found and creating a plan of action to reverse and correct the root cause the health problems.

My wish for you…health, happiness and a better quality of life! 

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations. 

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. This article is for information purposes and is not a substitute professional healthcare services. Contact our office for more information.