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Category: Boulder Holistic Blog

Melatonin: Why this sleep-inducing hormone is a surprise hero in COVID-19

Many of us are familiar with the use of melatonin for better sleep, but did you know that melatonin might also be helpful in managing some of the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection?

Over the past few months, we have learned more and more about this new virus. Much of what we know about those individuals who become very sick from COVID-19 is the devastating effects this virus has on the lungs and respiratory system. Many of those who become hospitalized with coronavirus end up there because the inflammation in the lungs is so great that they are no longer able to get enough oxygen on their own.

Fascinatingly, there is new research that shows that in addition to helping induce sleep in the brain; melatonin has been found to have a very positive and potent anti-inflammatory effect on the lungs.

Our own body’s production of melatonin drops as we age, and may contribute to the development of sleep issues later in life. It is now being postulated that this drop in melatonin level may also be a player in why the coronavirus is hitting those over the age of 60 even harder than those who are younger and likely have adequate melatonin levels.

While the dose of melatonin needed to help with sleep is often somewhere between 3-5 mg in most, the doses of melatonin recommended for those patients who are sick with COVID-19 tend to be much higher.

Recently, studies have shown that higher doses of melatonin, around 20-50 mg up to twice daily, may be helpful in reducing inflammation in the lungs and promote better breathing in those who are sick with coronavirus.

It is important to understand that those recommendations are for those who are currently sick with the coronavirus. If you are looking for prevention strategies, I would recommend starting at much loser doses (like those doses used for sleep support) and working up over time.

Only recently we discovered that melatonin also functions as a potent antioxidant with direct effects on the brain. The science shows that as we sleep, the brain uses it’s own specialized detoxification system called the glymphatic system. Melatonin helps to support glymphatic detoxification and is now being widely recommended to promote brain specific detoxification. The use of melatonin is neuroprotective, and may support better cognition and help to stave off dementia-like symptoms.

If you feel groggy in the morning after taking melatonin, many doctors consider this a good sign that the brains detoxification system is working. You can try to reduce the dose to 1 mg for a time before continuing to build up your tolerance to using melatonin as a supplement to support brain health. Breath through it, grab a cup of coffee and embrace it as an effective detox strategy for your brain that may also help to protect your lungs from coronavirus.

Be well,

Dr. Amy Reidhead

Melatonin products we recommend
We also recommend these products that combine melatonin with l-theanine and 5-HTP to promote deeper sleep, immune function and brain health:
Here are our favorite melatonin products available both in our office and through Fullscript, our online pharmacy. These liposomal formulations offer a more efficient melatonin delivery system.

References: 

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7102583/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32314850/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32574327/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32347747/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32422305/
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Plant medicine may be a key strategy for COVID-19 prevention

Healers have used herbal medicine for thousands of years. Unlike prescription medications that typically have one specific function and target organ, plants hold within them the power to perform multiple actions across many body systems.

Adaptogenic herbs are some of the most amazing herbs because they contain the knowledge and power to respond and change their action depending on the body’s need.

The word adaptogenic means just that… adaptogens are plants or herbs that have the ability to change and adapt their action depending on body need and conditions.

When focusing on the immune system, adaptogenic herbs respond to an up-regulated immune system by “cooling” things off. When the immune system is down regulated, these herbs bring up the “fire”. Think of them like great balancers, bringing the body back into homeostasis.

Some of my favorite adaptogenic herbs for COVID-19 include:

  • Astragalus
  • Eleuthrococcus
  • Licorice Root
  • Rhodiola
  • Don Quai
  • Cordycepts

We have seen in clinical practice as well as in the literature that coronavirus has been affecting organ systems outside of the lungs including the heart, gut, kidneys, nervous system and brain as well as the circulatory system. Much of the multi-organ system affect is due to the virus’s ability to down regulate some parts of the immune system (we are seeing the lowering of white blood cell counts for example) and firing up the inflammation and the cytokine cascade (causing organ damage and even strokes).

Herbs that support specific organ systems affected by COVID-19 include:

  • Hawthorne has known properties that protect the heart
  • Berberine may be helpful in addressing gut issues associated with coronavirus infections
  • Japanese knotweed is very specific to protecting the lining of our blood vessels
  • Ginko biloba is protective for the brain
  • Isatis and Baikal skullcap have shown strong anti-viral activity against past coronaviruses

This virus has been stealthy, causing severe respiratory failure in some patients while leaving others asymptomatic.  Our medical system has been scrambling to find interventions that work in those who become critically ill.

My focus has been to help people get and stay well. In the event that you do become ill with COVID-19, the goal is to support the body as best we can to fight the virus at home as safely as possible.

Herbs are very safe and can be used by most people to help the body respond appropriately to viral and other body stressors.

Please consult with your medical provider if you are a woman who is pregnant or nursing as well as those patients taking prescription medications, as some medications may have interactions with herbal protocols.

These herbal recommendations come from an interview with the renowned herbalist, Stephen Buhner.

Be well,

Dr. Amy Reidhead

References:  https://iseai.org/stephen-buhner-interview/

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Boulder Holistic stands in solidarity with LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities

We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities and are pledging to donate 10% of all IV sales for the months of July and August to organizations that support the health and wellness of these communities.

It is a fact that Black and LGBTQ+ persons have been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic. As we witnessed the collision of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movements unfold before our eyes, we were sharply reminded of the lifetimes of systemic discrimination and limited access to healthcare suffered by both communities. 

These disparities have resulted in poorer health outcomes for these groups and laid bare the longstanding public health crisis experienced by LGBTQ+ and black indigenous people of color (BIPOC) communities.  

If you would like to join us in supporting, here are a few well-researched, national and locally based organizations specifically supporting the physical and emotional heath and wellness of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people.

  • The Center for African American Health: CAAH is a local Colorado based organization focused on empowering the health and well being of BIPOC in the metro Denver area by offering evidence based, disease prevention and management programs and events. https://caahealth.org/
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative: Established in 1983, this organization has been dedicated health equity, and improving the physical mental and emotional health and well-being of black women and girls. https://bwhi.org/
  • The Okra Project: This organization sends chefs to black trans homes and communities to teach healthy eating and provides meals for food insecure black trans people in New York City https://www.theokraproject.com/
  • Black Lives Matter: BLM is a movement dedicated to fighting for freedom, liberty, justice and equality for all BIPOC. https://blacklivesmatter.com/
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Empowering your immune system with vitamin C

Vitamin C has a unique ability to support our body’s immune system, especially against viruses.

Vitamin C allows the body to more effectively and efficiently combat viruses. How exactly does vitamin C work against viral infections? As a extra- and intracellular antioxidant, Vitamin C helps our body fight viral infections by supporting and moving our immune protective cells (macrophages, lymphocytes and natural killer cells) to the site of the infection, as well as promoting the recycling of our internal antioxidant systems (glutathione, catalase) that protect us from the damage of reactive oxygen species produced by these viruses.

While we always encourage all our patients to eat a whole food diet rich in vitamin C containing foods, during COVID we also recommend that you supplement orally with higher doses of vitamin C.

For immune system support, we suggest taking 2000-4000 mg of vitamin C daily in divided doses.

If you want to supercharge your body’s ability to fight viruses and the antioxidant depletion these bugs can cause, we also recommend getting intravenous Vitamin C (aka the Myer’s Cocktail). An IV Myer’s contains between 17-25 grams of vitamin C… far exceeding the doses we can achieve orally. While oral vitamin C dosing is limited by “bowel tolerance”, we can give much higher doses intravenously without these unwanted side effects while quickly building vitamin C storage in the body.

Boulder Holistic is happy to offer IV therapy two days per week in clinic. Please call or email soon to set up your IV therapy appointment and safeguard your health.

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We Are Here For You!

Boulder Holistic is dedicated to providing the best possible service to you and your family during this crucial time. We are excited to announce that we will be re-opening for IV therapy and blood draws on Wednesday and Friday through the month of June.

OUR OFFICE HOURS ARE EXTENDED

M-F 10am - 4:30pm

Utilizing the guidelines put forth by the CDC and the state of Colorado, we have instituted rigorous cleaning and social distancing measures to keep our patients and staff safe as we make this transition. Due to the size and layout of our office, please be aware of the following guidelines:

·         We ask that you call the office when you arrive in the parking lot. Patients are asked to wait in their cars until their appointment times to minimize contact with other patients.

·         We will be meeting every patient at the entrance to the building to assess your temperature and ask about any suspicious symptoms before being escorted into the office space.

·         Patient appointment times will be staggered to assure no interaction.

·         Any drivers, friends and family members will be asked to remain outside in their cars unless the patient requires accompaniment. Please arrange with the front desk ahead of the appointment.

·         We ask that all patients wear their own mask. Our doctors and staff will be wearing theirs.

·         Our doctors will continue to conduct appointments by telemedicine as much as possible to minimize exposure.

·         We are also booking chiropractic, acupuncture and cranial sacral appointments. Due to the extensive cleaning and cross-contamination measures taken, these appointments will be condensed into one day per week.

Please be patient and join us as we take these next steps.

We are in this together and are looking forward to seeing you again.

Take good care,

Dr.’s Terri Fox and Amy Reidhead

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2355 Canyon Blvd.   |   Suite 102   |   Boulder, CO 80302

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