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Dr. Sears' Blog

Breaking down the latest research on Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition
Written By: Dr. Barry Sears, Ph. D | Creator of the Zone Diet

Written by Dr. Barry Sears
on March 25, 2020

Viruses were here long before we were and will certainly outlast us. So, when a new virus (like the coronavirus) crosses from its natural animal reservoir to infect humans, what are you going to do?

Our current way to treat pandemics of viral infection is to simply surrender to the power of a new virus and use vaccines and antibiotics and modern medical care for the infected person until they either survive or die. According to the CDC, we are still not doing a good job in the U.S. wherein during the 2018-2019 flu season it was estimated that more than 35 million Americans were infected (about 9 percent of the total population) with the flu and 34,000 Americans died, even though we have vaccines, anti-viral drugs, and antibiotics (1). 

The use of quarantine isn't new and stems back to the fourteenth century with the Black Death. It is unlikely though that the iron-fisted quarantine control that was used in China will work in the United States and Europe.

Is There a Better Approach?   

I believe the answer is yes. I call this the immune-nutrition approach. The body has a powerful internal system to fight viral and bacterial infections. It starts with the most primitive part of our immune system, which is the innate system. It works as our first responder to microbial invasion. The adaptive immune system is more sophisticated in that it uses immune cells that digest the microbial invader and remember its structure when it might return but needs the innate immune system to prime it. Unlike the adaptive immune system, the innate immune system is under strong dietary control and that’s where immune nutrition comes into play.

This is not as simple ainstructing individuals to eat a healthy diet. You need a highly defined nutritional program to optimize the innate immune system to make the adaptive immune system more responsive to microbial invaders. I call this Resolution Response which is composed of three distinct dietary interventions working together as a relay team to reduce, resolve, and repair the damage caused by an injury, such as microbial infections like the coronavirus.

A Quick Overview of Resolution Response 

Any injury (like a virus infection) causes an initial inflammatory response to alert your immune system that you are under attack. The more inflammation you have in your body, the less likely you can optimally activate your immune system to respond to this microbial challenge. Therefore, your first goal is to reduce inflammation in the body by following an anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Zone diet. That is only the first step.

You must also resolve the inflammation induced by the microbe by increasing the production of a group of hormones known as resolvins. This can only be done by taking high-dose omega-3 fatty acids. What is the right dose? Your blood will tell you. If your AA/EPA ratio is between 1.5 and 3, then you are taking enough. For most Americans, that is at least 5 grams of EPA and DHA per day to reach that ideal ratio as the AA/EPA ratio for the average American is about 20.  

You must repair the inflammation by activating the innate immune system using high-dose polyphenols that are water-soluble (like delphinidins) so that they get into blood to activate the enzyme known as AMPK. How many water-soluble polyphenols do you need? Enough to keep your levels of glycosylated hemoglobin between 4.9 and 5.1 percent. This will take about 1 gram of water-soluble polyphenols per day. Such polyphenols are found in low levels in blueberries or in higher concentrations in delphinidin extracts like MaquiRx. Once AMPK is activated, it then orchestrates your immune system to attack and neutralize the microbe. If anyone of the three steps (reduceresolve, and repair) is not working at optimal efficiency, your ability to control infection will likely be diminished which could mean the difference of either mild to severe symptoms. The choice of the outcome is yours.

For more on the science of the Coronavirus and how diet can help check out DrSears.com.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in the United States — 2018–2019 influenza season


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