A Naturopath’s Guide to Immune Health & Viral Infections

Last week, we talked about the importance of your immune system, especially amidst the global and ongoing transmission of the novel coronavirus. This week, we had the pleasure of talking with women’s health expert and Naturopathic Practitioner, Caroline Mansfield, on how she’s approaching COVID-19 with her clients by focusing on supplementing your natural immune system. She was so kind to share her thoughts with us, which we’re now sharing with all of you.

Please note: the below includes a discussion of supplements, but this is in no way a direct recommendation on Baby2Body’s behalf. We are simply sharing information from our discussion with Caroline that you may find helpful at this time as it relates to immune health. We encourage you to speak with your doctor or healthcare professional before beginning any supplementation practices — whether you are TTC, pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Baby2Body: In your view, talk to us about the importance of immune health

Caroline Mansfield, ND: “As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, having an optimally functioning immune system is more important than ever. Your immune system needs you right now. If you are unlucky enough to come into contact with COVID-19 you must remember that the fight is already within your system. How well are you immune system cells functioning in order to win the battle?”

Baby2Body: What are you sharing with your clients who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding — what do you want them to be aware of?

Caroline Mansfield, ND: “Pregnant women are encouraged to take extra care at this time, and this is partly because we know pregnancy suppresses the immune system. Additionally, in the later stages of pregnancy, the fetus and uterus can start pushing against other organs, including the lungs. As a result, some areas of the lungs become less able to circulate air, leaving them more prone to infection. However, what we don’t know is if or how COVID-19 impacts pregnant women differently.

There have been a handful of initial published reports suggesting that COVID-19 should not pose more of a risk to mother and baby than any other viral infection or prolonged high temperatures during pregnancy. 

But just like everyone, it is important that all pregnant women and new mothers ensure they are taking precautions to protect themselves from getting ill, such as avoiding crowded areas and frequent hand washing.”

Baby2Body: As a Naturopath, what are you recommending to your clients to stay as healthy as possible right now?

Caroline Mansfield, ND: “You can of course help your immune system by following a healthful, balanced diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables. I also talk to them about supporting your microbiome, keeping down your stress levels, maintaining moderate exercise, getting adequate sleep, and stopping smoking or vaping — especially as we’re facing a respiratory virus like COVID-19.

Additionally, I have put together the top four basic nutrients I recommend my clients take as daily supplements in order to help boost their immune systems.”

Baby2Body: Could you talk us through those top 4 nutrients and why they’re so important?

Caroline Mansfield, ND: “Absolutely — here they are and why they’re additionally beneficial during pregnancy and lactation:

Zinc: Zinc is a building block of life and present in many foods. It plays an essential role in the construction of your baby’s cells and DNA during pregnancy. It is needed for cell division and tissue growth, supporting normal development as your baby grows.

Why it matters for COVID-19: In previous studies on coronaviruses, zinc has been shown to effectively impair the replication of the virus in cell culture — meaning it should help slow down the virus. Many studies have shown low levels of zinc to be associated with increased risk of infections such as pneumonia in elderly adults (which is being caused the new coronavirus strain).

Zinc Picolinate dosage recommendation in pregnancy: 15mg/day

Vitamin C: Not only does Vitamin C boost your immune system and reduce your risk of suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnancy, it is also key to your baby’s physical development too. It aids in the production of collagen, which supports normal growth, bone strength and wound healing.

Why it matters for COVID-19: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory activity and supports the body’s ability to fight infection. We know that Vitamin C (together with zinc) boosts the immune system by acting directly on white blood cells called neutrophils, helping them with their mobility to literally mop up bacteria and viruses that enter the system. Vitamin C is currently being used in China against COVID-19 and has been officially recommended by the Shanghai government.

Liposomal Vitamin C dosage recommendation in pregnancy: 1000mg/day

Vitamin D3: Everybody needs Vitamin D, not only does it boost the immune system, it helps us to absorb the right amount of calcium and phosphate. It is especially important in pregnancy as it helps your baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart and nervous system to develop.

Why it matters for COVID-19: Deficiency in Vitamin D3 is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Unlike most essential nutrients however, you can’t rely on food to keep your levels optimal. The main source of Vitamin D is sunshine; your bare skin produces it when it comes into contact with the sun’s rays. Because of this, those who live in colder climates are more likely to be deficient.

Vitamin D3 dosage recommendation in pregnancy: 2000IU/day

Iodine: Iodine helps the body to grow and develop, especially the brain. Because babies get iodine from their mothers, pregnant and breastfeeding women tend to need more iodine. 

Why it matters for COVID-19: Iodine is a mucolytic agent, which means that it can break down and thin mucus, allowing us to clear up congestion. Interestingly, of all antiseptic preparations suitable for direct use on humans, only iodine is capable of killing all classes of pathogens (including viruses).

Liposomal Iodine (Potassium Iodide) dosage recommendation in pregnancy: 150mcg/day

Baby2Body: Do you have any other resources you’d mind sharing with our audience?

Caroline Mansfield, ND: “For anyone concerned and wanting more details, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have an updated review and information on COVID-19 and pregnancy, that I’d recommend checking regularly. Also the latest from New Scientists on COVID-19 and pregnancy.”

Our thanks go out to Caroline for taking time to share this with us, so we could share with all of you. If you want to read more from Caroline, be sure to check out her website.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy rest of your week. Please be sure to follow us on Instagram @baby2bodyofficial and join our Facebook Group — the Baby2Body Squad — as we’ll be regularly posting updated resources and you’ll be able to connect and share with other moms around the world.


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