Elderberry extract, Corona virus (COVID-19), and you.

Elderberry extract; to take it or not to take it during the Corona virus outbreak…

I think there is no one-size-fits-all here, and understanding what is going on when you take elderberry and how that relates to the Corona virus disease is crucial in making an informed decision.

My position: take it until symptoms show up, then stop taking it. Here’s why that is my personal choice, based upon what I understand about it thus far:
The Corona virus disease now known as COVID-19 develops in your body as a result of contracting the virus now known as SARS-CoV-2.
So…we get COVID-19 only if we contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus – and only after we have of course, because one causes the other, or importantly: one FOLLOWS the other.

A virus is a piece of code that is enveloped in a delivery vehicle. Once that delivery vehicle has entered into the bloodstream, it attaches to a cell and injects the payload of code into the host cell. The code then hijacks the cells own machinery to start replicating itself. Once this happens once, before long, copies of the virus start emerging from the cell and circulating through the bloodstream doing the same thing…increasing replication of the virus in the body exponentially.

This eventually triggers an immune response, and thank goodness! Your body’s immune system, once it is aware of the threat, will deploy it’s defense systems and do the most effective thing possible: destroy the hijacked cells which have now become the production factories for copies of the virus.

‘Eventually’ is the key term here though, because depending upon how long it takes for your body to create an immune response, the virus will have more or less time to replicate itself and continue hijacking cells.
Cue the antiviral properties of Elderberry…

Elderberry has been clinically proven to elevate the production of cytokines in your body. (See here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518)
Cytokines are a group of proteins used as a signalling mechanism by your immune system. Cytokines are peptides released by cells into the circulation or directly into tissue which locate target immune cells and interact with receptors on the target immune cells by binding to them. The interaction triggers or stimulates specific responses by the target cells.
An elevated production of cytokines can certainly be a good thing during cold & flu season because of how cytokines cause your immune system to be in a higher state of alert, which causes your immune system to respond more rapidly when a virus has begun production of itself somewhere in your body.

So yes, all the stuff you read about how tasking elderberry during cold & flu season is true, it really can help you to avoid the cold or flu by increasing your body’s cytokine production.
Incidentally, this also means you don’t want to take Elderberry ALL the time…only during cold & flu season!

It naturally follows therefore, that taking Elderberry can potentially increase the chance that your body will prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from ever causing COVID-19 in your body in the first place!
Cue the potential negative effects of an elevated immune response if you have COVID-19…

Covid-19 triggers in some people something called a cytokine storm, where one’s own immune system goes berserk and overreacts because of an over-abundance of cytokines. This “virus-activated” immune response can be deadly, causing severe respiratory distress and the subsequent shutdown of multiple organs. Indeed, how one’s immune system reacts appears to be central to Covid-19′s severity.

For some people whose immune systems are compromised by age or for often-subtle genetic or environmental reasons, the normal immune response doesn’t retreat when it should. It goes into overdrive, leading to “a flood of immune cells into the lung.” This has a rapid cascading effect in the body.

SO…in summary, should we take or avoid Elderberry for “Corona virus”? That is a choice each individual must make based upon their particular context. Again, no one-size-fits-all is my first opinion in the matter.
Personally, I think it may be good to take it in order to first avoid the SARS-CoV-2 virus from taking hold in our body in the first place – so, yes, I’ll be taking it during cold & flu season from now on, just as I always might – in order to help my body fight off viruses at a time when they are known to be proliferating in the environment.

However – once ANY symptoms show up, of ANY virus, I will STOP taking the Elderberry – because of how it can now potentially increase my RISK of a “cytokine storm” due to the effects of COVID-19.

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