In light of the current situation with Covid-19, commonly known as simply “Coronavirus”, I thought it would be useful to write a short, article on boosting the immune system.
Exposure to Covid-19 is very likely for most of us in the future and the good news is that for most healthy people, it shouldn’t be more than a tough cold. The problem is for elderly adults, those with health conditions, and immunocompromised people. As a mother of a preemie, I am deeply concerned about the impacts of this virus on the most vulnerable in our society, particularly the elderly and those with respiratory challenges.
So, while coronavirus may not be a big deal to you, it may eventually be a big deal to someone you love. I know many people with immunocompromised loved ones are already hunkering down for what could be a long quarantine, something that I can tell you from experience is no fun at all.
The most valuable thing we can do for society in general is help slow the spread of this virus, primarily by the most common precautions. Wash your hands. Cough and sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow. Avoid being around sick people and stay home if you’re sick.
There is not yet a vaccine for this virus, nor are there any magic pills or supplements. I’ve seen a lot of false information spreading about different herbs and supplements that can prevent you from becoming ill. It’s simply not true. When exposed to a new virus that our bodies haven’t encountered yet, our immune systems must deal with it, we cannot prevent that process except by preventing exposure.
However, there are many things we know about the immune system that can help give us the best chance of fighting the virus as gracefully as possible.
First, the obvious. Fresh (or frozen) fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that boost the immune system, prebiotic fiber that helps boost beneficial gut bacteria and is the most important piece of a healthy diet. Do not skimp on these. Blueberries and Spinach are particularly helpful, as are broccoli and cauliflower. There’s been a lot of talk about elderberry recently and some early research. I don’t have enough information to commonly recommend it, but nonetheless it is an option.
Second, 80% of the immune system lives in the gut, so I recommend helping build beneficial gut bacteria and helping thicken the mucosal lining of the gut. Again, diet is important for this. Avoid anything that damages the mucosal lining like alcohol, foods you have allergies or sensitivities to, fried food, and make sure to drink lots of water. I also use two supplements in my practice with many of my clients for this very purpose: Megaspore and MegaMucosa, both from Microbiome Labs. These are some of the best supplements on the market for gut health but they are only available through a certified professional and you cannot buy them online. If you would like to purchase some, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need to purchase something through Amazon, I have had good luck with this probiotic.
Third, we are just coming off of the winter season and many of us are probably Vitamin D deficient. It is important for most people who do not spend the majority of the day in the sun to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D3 is important for proper immune function and up to 92% of the American population is deficient. You can also boost your D levels by spending 30 minutes in direct sunlight that touches a majority of your body everyday. Food is not a good sources of Vitamin D3.
Finally, high levels of vitamin C in the diet are immune-supportive. This is not something you can take when you get sick, it’s something you should have in your system before you get sick. Vitamin C is best provided by fresh fruits and vegetables, but a supplement can also be helpful (like this one).
The most important thing to remember is not to panic. The panic is what is causes most of the problems in situations like these. Take care of yourself everyday, not just during a pandemic.