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Let's talk COVID-19

Your endothelial health probably isn’t something you think about often or maybe ever. COVID-19 has us all thinking more about the intricate processes of our body and how we can stay our healthiest. Understanding how COVID-19, and other factors, can impact endothelial health can help you practice lifestyle habits that target these pathways.

The endothelium is the tissue that lines the thousands of miles of veins and arteries that direct blood all throughout the body. While endothelial cells are stretched thinly through the circulatory system, they’re incredibly important and influential for health maintenance.

The endothelium is largely involved in the following processes:

● Facilitating uptake of glucose into cells and managing blood sugar levels

● Preventing plaque buildup and inflammation

● Keeping blood pressure levels normal and arteries relaxed

● Preventing blood clots that aren’t supposed to happen

● Supporting healthy circulation of nutrients to cells

You can see why maintaining endothelial integrity is so important for everyday health. Understanding what can cause harm to your endothelium, like contracting COVID-19, can help you practice habits that help maintain endothelial function.

In general, the endothelium can be damaged by things that are known to put people at risk for problems with the heart and arteries. For instance, smoking, obesity, and elevated blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood glucose can all be straining on the endothelial system. Having high levels of the amino acid homocysteine can also be damaging to these tissues.

When it comes to COVID-19, researchers have found that this disease affects not only the lungs and respiratory system, but also the endothelium specifically. Because of the nature of the endothelium and its widespread presence throughout the body, the effects of COVID-19 can cause microcirculatory damage that leads to impaired organ function.

Overall, damage to the endothelial cells combined with the whole-body inflammation that can result from COVID-19 infection can lead to a pro-coagulative state that’s been observed in hospitalized patients. While more research will unveil further details, this pattern indicates a need to consider how you can support your endothelial health regularly.

In order to support optimal health, it’s important to keep your endothelium healthy as well. After all, endothelial cells run for thousands of miles throughout your body and touch every part of your circulatory system. Intentionally doing things that support a healthy endothelial system is a good idea whether you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or not.

A few great ways to promote endothelial health include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and enjoying regular physical activity, and eating a diet rich in foods that promote nitric oxide production.

Eating a diet rich in foods that are good sources of polyphenols or the amino acid L-arginine can help promote nitric oxide (NO) production. NO is a gas that helps dilate blood vessels and open the circulatory system. It helps reduce inflammation and prevent adhesion, promoting healthy and steady blood flow.

Studies have found that inhaled NO can provide immediate relief to hospitalized COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and help slow respiratory deterioration. Eating NO-rich functional foods as part of your regular diet may help boost endothelial health and respiratory function all the time.

Some foods that may help promote NO production include:

● Garlic and onions

● Leafy Greens like arugula, kale, spinach, and bok choy

● Beets

● Rhubarb

● Citrus Fruits and strawberries

● Watermelon

● Pine Nuts

● Oats (Organic/Non-GMO)

● Dark Chocolate

*It's SO important to know sourcing and quality testing when purchasing ANY food/drink* Not all things are created equally sadly - and this is where people make the most mistakes, without meaning to!

Additionally, certain supplements may be helpful in improving the health of your endothelium by targeting this pathway. For instance, vitamin D deficiency is associated with endothelial dysfunction. Vitamin D supplementation has also been found beneficial in improving COVID-19 outcomes among hospitalized patients. A vitamin D supplement may be helpful.

COVID-19 can significantly impair endothelial health, which may be one of the biggest drivers of severe outcomes in hospitalized patients. Whether you have COVID-19 or not, practicing lifestyle and dietary habits to protect your endothelium is easy and worthwhile.

If you are interested in working on your inner wellness please contact me and we can customize an obtainable plan of action to start you on the path to living a happy, healthy, holistic lifestyle with confidence.

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