How to Fight Viruses by Michael Edson, MS, LAc and Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

What are the best ways to avoid catching a virus? The Centers for Disease Control tell us to wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. Wash for 20 seconds with soap and warm, running water. Avoid touching your face and eyes with dirty hands. If your doctor recommends a flu shot, listen to their advice, particularly relevant for elders and people with immunity concerns.

Eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.

Various nutrients in food help your immune system fight off pathogens. Limit junk foods and fatty foods, avoid all sugar and reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates which lowers the immune system’s ability to fight pathogens.

Practice stress management techniques. Under stress, the immune system is weakened. Get regular exercise. Research has connected exercise with an improved ability to fight off pathogens.

Certain nutrients support the immune system: key are vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and folate/folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc. Except for vitamin D (most bioavailable in D3 form), these nutrients are readily available through your food.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the immune system make T-cells and B-cells, and helps kill microbes. A study found that having high levels of Vitamin C before getting exposed to a flu virus made mice produce extra interferons.1 Interferons are proteins the immune system makes to fight off viruses.

Whether D prevents flu and influenza is controversial, but researchers agree that it is a key regulator of immune defense against infection by activating genes and pathways that support immunity.2 Vitamin D is often found in fortified foods such as orange juice but you should avoid those that also contain sugar.  Good sources of D are egg yolks, salmon, sardines, and other fish, and swiss cheese.

Vitamin E is also considered helpful in support the immune system. Dozens of animal studied report that it offers protection against infections caused by viruses and bacteria.  A Finnish study reported that the incidence of pneumonia in elderly men who had been taking 50mg/daily vitamin reduced the incidence of pneumonia.3 Great sources of vitamin E are nuts like almonds, seeds like sunflower seed, as greens like spinach and broccoli.

Like C and E, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system.  Vitamin A deficiencies have a marked negative effect on immune protection against viral infections because the first line of defense against viruses where mucous (e.g. the nose), IgA, is inhibited if vitamin A is insufficient.4 Vitamin A enhances the effect of vaccination for viruses like H1N1.5 The colorful foods, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, are excellent sources of vitamin A.

Folate/folic acid deficiencies can contribute to alterations in the immune system functionality, which in turn can cause decreased resistance to infection.6 Legumes – beans and peas – are good sources of folate, as well as those all-important leafy greens.

Iron, selenium, and zinc, in balance also play important roles in supporting the immune system.  When your diet contains a wide variety of nutrients through vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seed, dairy, and for non-vegetarians, seafood and meat, you’ll get sufficient amounts of these minerals.


Certain supplements may help boost your immune system, and help balance immune functions. Echinacea Root, Astragalaus, Reishi Mushroom (medicinal), Milk Thistle, Thymus Extract, Cats Claw, andographics, elderberry, Vitamin A, vitamin D3, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), vitamin C, selenium, and l-lysine.

If you start to feel sick, seek medical attention. If you suspect you have been infected by covid-19, call your doctor or county hotline before going to the emergency room.  Self-isolate, hydrate, and rest.

Why Washing Hands Helps:

  • Viruses like covid-19 are:
  • a bundle of RNA,
  • surrounded by protein,
  • glued together by ‘grease’,
  • soap dissolves the grease,
  • breaking up the protein protection,
  • and destroys the virus.

Home Comfort:

Also, you can try this home recipe for comfort.

  • 2 red onions
  • 2 red apples
  • 4 limes
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 6-8 quarts of water

Cut the red onions, apples and limes in halves. Squeeze out some of the juice of the limes into the mixture. Drop the limes into the mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour. Keep warm and ladle out the juice to drink. After the first day, refrigerate the remainder and drink it warm for the course of the illness.

Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist is author of several books, including Natural Eye Care – Your Guide to Healthy Vision.  Since 1980 Dr. Marc Grossman has helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is best described as a Holistic Eye Doctor, dedicated to helping people with such conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches to tackle difficult eye problems. Dr. Grossman founded the Rye Learning Center in 1980, a multidisciplinary center for learning problems, in 1996 co-founded Integral Health Associates in New Paltz, New York, and in 1999 co-founded Natural Eye Care, Inc. For more information go to or call 845-255-8222.


Michael Edson is the co-founder and President of Natural Eye Care, Inc. He is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and co-author of Natural Eye Care: A Comprehensive Manual for Practitioners of Oriental Medicine and Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing, 2019. His latest book is Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing & Managing Parkinson’s. His upcoming book, Natural Brain Support: Ways to Help Prevent and Treat Dementia and Alzheimer’s Naturally, will published in the late 1st quarter of 2020

For more information on “Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Managing Parkinson’s”, go to where you can see the Table of Contents, an introduction and to order his latest book on Parkinson’s.

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