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Patient Advocate: Wear your mask, but what else are you doing?

By now, we all have our favorite masks. We have come to terms that face coverings are here for a while. As a doctor, I am asked daily about the coronavirus and its impact on individual health.

My advice sounds something like this: “Yes wear your mask, but what else are you doing?”

Our society is obsessed with quick results. The old saying, “A pill for every ill,” is the reflex response and is not necessarily the enlightened response. That is why people are on so many (TOO MANY) pills and potions.

Pills are not like an arrow — just targeting a single desired effect. Rather, they are more like a splatter gun, with multiple possible effects on your body and brain. While face coverings are an important part of staying healthy, they’re just that — a piece of the puzzle. There are other factors that are just as important.

I read an article regarding the idea of disease tolerance: “The ability of an individual, due to genetic predisposition or some aspect of behavior or lifestyle, to thrive despite being infected with an amount of pathogen that sickens others.”

In other words, there are additional steps that people can take, such as having a healthy microbiome and proper micronutrient supplementation, to keep individuals healthy even with exposure to pathogenic agents such as coronavirus.

These people are collectively known as asymptomatic — the body can keep the disease at bay and produce no symptoms.

Disease tolerance is not a new phenomenon and can be witnessed across species, including the plant world. Take for example the microbiome, the genetic material of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live on and inside the human body. Integrative doctors have known for decades that the microbiome not only is affected by lifestyle but plays an integral part in our immune system. Scientists now know that the microbiome can be activated during an infection to fight off pathogens.

Lifestyle, proper nutrition, sleep cycles, detoxification and controlling our environment have a direct link to our health.

What we eat, breathe and do every day can either keep us healthy or make us sick. Our environment can turn on and off certain genes, genes that can predispose us to disease or repair damage.

Dr. Sadi Jimenez is a naturopathic doctor who practices integrative medicine in Carlsbad. For a consultation, please visit her website here