What Is A Cytokine Storm?

Cytokine Storm is a severe, life-threatening reaction to infections and diseases that can damage the lungs, causing pneumonia, respiratory failure and even death. Recent research has shown that Cytokine Storm can also damage other organs in the body, including the heart, liver, brain, kidneys and intestines.

During a Cytokine Storm, the body's immune system overproduces inflammatory Cytokines. Cytokines, similar to T-Cells and Macrophages, are chemical messengers that increase inflammation to fight infection, pathogens and injury. In a Cytokine Storm, those inflammatory chemicals trigger a dangerous hyper-immune reaction.

Research has shown that inflammation is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. As we just learned, cytokines activate the inflammatory process. Therefore, by reducing the inflammatory response, you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Coronavirus is an infection that attacks the lungs and cardiovascular system. The Cytokine Storm can be triggered by the body's exaggerated immune response to this virus, and many more. Luckily, there are a few things that you can add and/or take away from your daily routine to help ensure your physical safety from Cytokine Storm:

#1 Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

One way to help fight the cytokine storm is by eating an anti-inflammatory diet. This means including plenty of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. The Mediterranean Diet is a perfect example of an anti-inflammatory diet. It includes lean protein sources, fiber-rich carbohydrates, healthy fats and plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and olives.

This diet has a great track record of naturally taming the uncontrolled hyper-immune response, which causes the potentially deadly Cytokine Storm and severe inflammation.

A study in the April 2011 issue of "Journal of Neuroinflammation" found that following a Mediterranean Diet reduced levels of inflammatory markers in mouse models for MS (multiple sclerosis), which is an autoimmune disease where the immune system is attacked by a Cytokine Storm.

Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, both lower inflammation. These acids can lower inflammatory compounds called leukotrienes in the body. Data from many epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials show that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

The American Heart Association recommends that everyone eat a variety of oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines) at least two times a week to get the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

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#2 Follow Basic Health Guidelines

In addition to eating an anti-inflammatory diet, there are other things you can do to help fight cytokine overproduction. Getting plenty of sleep, managing stress, managing weight and exercising regularly are all great ways to help keep your immune system in check.  Additionally, certain supplements, such as Curcumin, ginger and Resveratrol have proven effective in reducing inflammation.

#3 Cut Back On, or Even Eliminate Inflammatory-Foods

There are still some other things to cut back on to prevent Cytokine Storm. Some of the most common inflammation-triggering foods and drinks include: processed foods, sugary drinks, artificial sweeteners, red meat and dairy products, alcohol and foods high in sugar.

It is best to avoid these items when trying to keep your body's immune system from going into overdrive. The FDA announced that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen and Naxprocen, can also increase the risk of having a heart attack and/or a stroke. So, cutting back on unnecessary pills may also help keep your Cytokine activity at bay. 


A healthy nutritional diet and lifestyle – some examples include the anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet – may help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of a potentially deadly Cytokine Storm and its relationship with Covid-19. There is no cure for the Cytokine Storm because it is a part of your body's natural inflammatory response. However, by putting these tips to practice, a cure won't be necessary. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment is key to preventing the Cytokine Storm from causing serious damage. Consult with your health care provider if you have any concerns.