Mosquito-borne Diseases such as Ross River Fever and Dengue fever are well known to most of us. Japanese Encephalitis (JEV) is a very rare mosquito-borne disease normally only seen in far north Queensland.
JEV is a Flavivirus and the most common cause of viral encephalitis in Asia. The West Nile Virus is also a problem in North America.
Most cases are asymptomatic but symptomatic patients may be treated in hospital. Symptoms are fatigue, polymyalgia and polyarthralgia. Some people have even reported rare neurological symptoms such as paralysis, seizures and psychiatric symptoms. Most infections are seen in children but individuals of any age can be infected. Patients have reported ongoing fatigue which began with the infection, but if there is a lack of immune nutrients to fight the infection, it moves in to an unresolved, chronic phase. Nutrients may not only be deficient in the diet but their uptake may be blocked prolonging the viral illness. Key nutrients linked to the symptoms of fatigue and muscle pain are iron and magnesium. Patients can have many anti-nutrients present such as metals which also block metabolic pathways
The recent wet weather and flooding is to blame for the current spread as very few cases have been reported before. It has been reported in the Torres Strait region and Papua New Guinea. A person can only become infected after a bite from an infected mosquito.
One can test for 13 different viruses which have migrated from birds, and both wild and farm animals as immediate hosts. As well as nutrient deficiencies especially Zinc. A Hair analysis by spectrometry can be suggested.
As there is no treatment other than prevention such as spraying the skin with chemical insect repellents, it is advisable to wear long sleeves, long trousers and avoid being outdoors at dusk or first few hours after sunset.
WHO: Japanese Encephalitis. May 2019
WHO: Estimated Global Incidence of Japanese Encaphalities.
Queensland Health: Health Conditions/Japanese Encephalitis
|Posted in:Japanese EncephalitisMosquito born Japanese Encephalitis|
The prevalence of persistent symptoms after the acute viral illness is speculated to be around 30%. The most common symptoms reported in our clinic are fatigue, headaches, hair loss, memory loss, poor concentration, joint pain and chest discomfort. By definition, post-viral syndrome is any symptoms remaining for at least 12+ weeks after the acute infection. As life gets ‘back to normal”, we predict evolving symptoms to appear in our patients.
We have been told that the Omicron variant is a milder version, but is it? What we know today is that it’s at least 50% more contagious than the Delta variant, and therefore causes more illness especially in the younger population.
Individuals with low systemic Vitamin D levels may be at higher risk of post COVID-syndrome, but more studies are needed to assess the prevalence of low Vitamin D status in our society. Deficiency in Queensland and Northern Territory are lower than the other South Eastern states, but some people are still affected. A metabolite of Vitamin D is now recommended as an effective supplement, particularly in cases of malabsorption or impaired hepatic (liver) function. However, in cases of intestinal fat malabsorption (post-bariatric surgery) intestinal absorption may be severely impaired. It’s important to note that high dose Vitamin D supplementation without knowing your blood levels is not recommended. Your general practitioner or our clinic can provide a referral.
There have been suggestions that a portion of long-COVID symptoms may be the result of COVID-19 inflammation-induced Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) reactivation. This virus has infected roughly 90 % of the worlds population and is normally inactive in the body.
Auto antibodies have also been implicated with sequalae involving other infectious agents contributing to many long-COVID symptoms.
Patients suffering from a low cortisol state were also more likely to develop long-COVID syndrome. Uncertainty and stress initially lead to amplified cortisol levels, but over time a reduction is seen. This leads to issues with memory and concentration. We routinely test morning cortisol levels.
Symptoms of EBV reaction such as skin lesions, tinnitus and hearing loss resemble the symptoms experienced by COVID patients. Assessment of the EBV antibody Titers is an option to access the immune dysfunction.
Researchers found that mild cases of COVID, not just severe cases, can lead to long COVID. After infection, some respiratory, cardiac, vascular and renal function impairment is seen and should be screened for in patients with remaining symptoms.
One study found the amount of viral load is associated with a range of long-COVID symptoms. Naturopathically, therapies which target immune dysfunction should be considered.
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Gold J.E, Okyay, R.A., Licht, W.E., & Hurley, D.J. (2021) Investigation of Long COVID Prevalence and it’s Relationship to Epstein-Barr virus Reactivation. Pathogen (Basel, Switzerland), 10 (6), 763. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060763
Predicting Long COVID at initial point of COVID-19 diagnosis. Institute for Systems Biology, 21-Jan-2022
|Posted in:CoronavirusCovid19Post Covid Syndrome|
Supplements appear to have varied levels of evidence to assist our immune system. The supplement with the most evidence so far has been vitamin D. Definite benefits have been seen in patients with adequate levels of vitamin D and disease progression and outcomes.Currently there are no public health guidelines around vitamin D supplementation but we recommend around 3000 IU/daily. Routine testing of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is highly recommended as a measure of some currency. This will enable you to adjust your dose to suit. Vitamin D needs to be converted in the liver and this can pose a problem for certain people with genetic variants. Here we recommend an active form of vitamin D but only after checking your levels first.
Some evidence is currently emerging that there appears to be a synergistic interplay between vitamin D and K. Vitamin K2 is known to be protective for bone and cardiovascular health. Vitamin K2 is mostly from bacterial origin and can be found in fermented foods and animal organ meat.Another agent to consider in Quercetin. It has been shown to be effective in some viral infections such as Ebola and significant anti-viral activity has recently been reported. In combination with vitamin C and D it may have some immunomodulatory properties.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) has been researched to eliminate flu viruses. NAC also has evidence as an anti-oxidant supplement and can reduce oxidative stress.
But immunity isn’t all depended on supplementation. The importance of adequate sleep needs to be emphasised. The immune system seems to be more robust with at least 7 hours of sleep each night. The hours before midnight are the most beneficial because during those hours slow wave sleep is released. Growth hormone is released which is important for longevity and overall health.
Viral infections are known to increase oxidative stress and plays a role in negative outcomes after the infection. Melatonin can assist with sleep issuesand protects against oxidative stress. This is now available over the counter but only for patients above 55 years.
The importance of Zinc can’t be forgotten and we urge people not to self-prescribe. Discuss your plasma levels with your health care provider and supplement appropriately. The innate immune system seems to get weaker with age and Zinc uptake. Appropriate innate immune response is a critical factor in favourable disease outcome. People susceptible to severe viral disease aren’t able to mount an effective early antiviral response. Many herbals have strong antiviral properties and can be considered.
Thermal management during a fever has also shown to bring on a faster resolution of the infections. Researchers looked into measures to increase body temperature and were surprised to find the activation of the immune system. Hydrotherapy and sauna may be a consideration.
Please follow public health measures in order to prevent infections. Stay committed by observing distance, hygiene, ventilate your home and wear a mask when needed.
Stay healthy and contact us for an appointment to discuss your health.
P.K Agrawal, C. Agrawal & G. Blunden (2020) Quercetin: Antiviral significance ……Natural Product Communications, Volume 15 912) 1-10.
Nancy R Gough, Interferon responses could explain susceptibility…… (Https://medium.com/swhil/ interferon –responses-…….
J. Hadjadj, N.Yatim et al, Impaired type 1 interferon activity and inflammatory response in severe……, Science 7 August 2020, Vol 369.
Zeller M, Hegovics N, Roth E et al, Human monocyte stimulation by experimental whole body hyperthermia, Wiel Klin Wochensch, 2002 Feb 15, 114
Fibre is a group of materials and have different biological effects. Certain types of fibres are fermentable typically by Lacto & Bifido bacteria and this produces short chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are the preferred food for our colonocyte and keep the digestive tract healthy. Some fibres are also prebiotics. Short chain fatty acids also have immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. Pectins from both apple and citrus, guar gum and other legumes produce more short chain fatty acids than other fibres such as oat bran.There are many forms of fibres such as :
Soluble Fibres: Chia seeds, linseeds, oat bran, pectins (citrus rind, apple and onion skins), green banana, guar gum.Chia seeds contain both soluble as well as insoluble fibres.
Linseeds are the most balanced option and contain lignans. Lignans can act as antioxidants and anticarcinogenic. Lignans can also bind to oestrogen receptors and protect breast tissue.
These fibres slow gastric emptying and minimise cholesterol uptake and lead to better glycaemic control. Mucilages such as legumes, konjac root, slippery elm and marshmallow root can also chelate heavy metals.
These fibres will speed up bowel transit time and promote regular motions. Wheat bran does contain phytic acid which could give rise to mineral imbalances.
Rice bran has beta glucans (immune stimulants) but unfortunately most cultivated rice bran is contaminated with Arsenic. Studies have shown this to be true from products farmed in different parts of the world.Some recent research indicates that a viscous fibre such as psyllium can reduce glucose absorption by around 12%. Long-terms low fibre intake can result in reduced microbial diversity. High fat/low fibre diets have been directly linked to an increased risk in type 2 diabetes and an increased colonisation of pathogenic strains in the gut.
A significant less diverse microbiome was found in the elderly especially those in care facilities. This directly correlates with more co-morbidities.Fibre is recommended at around 30gr a day but our ancestors consumed around 100 gr/day. The introduction of extra fibre in the diet can lead to side effects such as bloating. Certain underlying conditions such as SIBO (Small bacterial bowel overgrowth) can aggravate. Start with low dose and include prebiotics with every meal. We recommend Fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) or Guar Gum as well as a balanced diet. FOS can be found naturally in Jerusalem artichokes, burdock, chicory dandelion root, leeks, onions and asparagus. It can be purchased as a nutritional supplement.
If you would like to book an appointment to discuss your fibre intake or purchase supplements please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 07 5525 2211.Please follow us on Facebook for up to date information and relevant immune support strategies.
|Posted in:WellbeingBuilding Your Immune SystemWeightlossHealthy EatingDietHealthFibre|
Research suggests the benefit of supplemental vitamin D to assist with immune function. Vitamin D controls the expression of selected genes as it's a steroid hormone. It can effect transcriptional changes within our genes. Further evidence suggests vitamin D to be an important regulator of immune function. An observational study in Germany showed reduced mortality to respiratory conditions with adequate vitamin D levels.
Many of my patients are aware of optimal vitamin D levels and osteoporosis but few know about the link to the immune system. White blood cells (WBC) have vitamin D receptors and have been shown to reduce the risk of infections such as influenza. It has also shown to increase antimicrobial peptides in human WBC.
A survey conducted in the United States indicated that people spend around 86,9 percent of their day indoors. Although figurers may be different for anybody living over the 34 degrees latitude. Viral infection are higher in the winter months and in cities more south.(Australia)
There are other factors leading to lower vitamin D levels such as a diet with an increase consumption of high fructose corn syrup, higher body mass index and patients with chronic kidney disease. Skin colour also effects vitamin D absorption and with aging the skin is no longer efficient to make adequate vitamin D levels.
Do you know your vitamin D levels? Consider doing a test.
Medicare only funds testing for patients with certain relevant health conditions. It is advisable to know your levels for optimal dosage.
You can contact us for a referral to have your levels tested. Some Pathology labs can test for both your storage and active vitamin D. This is important for anybody with chronic auto immune conditions. Some references.
MacLaughlin J & Holick M F (1985), Aging decreases the capacity of human skin to produce vitamin D, J. Clin Invest, 76 (4) 1536-1538.
Calder P C, Carr A C, Gombart A F, Eggersdorfer M (2020) Optimal nutritional status for a well-functioning immune system is an important factor to protect against viral infections, Nutrients,12:118
McCarthy D M, O'Shea P M, Faul J L et al (2020), Vitamin D and SARS-COV-2 infections evolution of evidence supporting clinical practice and policy development, Ir J Med Sci.Griffen T P, Bell M, Robinson T (2017), Vitamin D and Vitamin D deficiency in Ireland a call to action: UPDATE
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