Natural strategies to protect your immune system during COVID-19


The coronavirus is taking over the news and social media platforms and creating a lot of panic among the population as the newest and latest health scare. But this state of panic will do no good in reducing your chance of catching the virus or falling ill from other illnesses. 

So today we want to arm you with the facts on the coronavirus and ways to protect yourself naturally and effectively so that you can stay healthy during this pandemic.

What is the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, according to the WHO (1)

The coronavirus, named COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that was first identified in China in late 2019 and thought to spread mainly through person to person contact. Symptoms of the virus may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, while complications may lead to pneumonia. 

The majority of infections have been reported in China, with authorities confirming over 80,000 cases of this new virus (2).

As of mid-March 2020, there have been 152 reported cases in Canada and 1,864 confirmed in the United States. However, very few result in a critical condition in the patient. The majority of those infected feel flu-like symptoms and can recover from the comfort of their homes. Most of those at risk of catching the virus and more complicated symptoms include those with a compromised immune system and the elderly. 

It is important to stay calm and avoid panic during this outbreak which will not only reduce anxiety and stress but also improve your resiliency.

At the same time, there are many things you can do to prevent yourself from falling ill to the coronavirus, or any virus for that matter, using holistic strategies and remedies.

If you have a strong immune system your body will be less likely to succumb to any sort of infection, which is why building resiliency is the most effective strategy you can take, while also avoiding exposure as much as you can by minimizing travel and social interactions, disinfecting surfaces regularly, avoiding touching your face with your hands, and washing your hands thoroughly especially around meals. 

How to boost your immunity naturally 

Avoid sugar consumption

Sugar is an immunosuppressant as it creates an imbalance in our gut microbiome by feeding pathogenic bacteria, increasing inflammation, and damaging mitochondrial function. Increased sugar consumption is also associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Limit your consumption of added and refined sugars and choose naturally sweet foods instead, such as fruit and starches. What if you have a sweet tooth? Check out some of our best tips on how to reduce your sugar intake and cravings for the white stuff.


Vitamins

Liposomal vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important part of any immune-boosting protocol. Administration of vitamin C has been shown to lower cold and flu symptoms as well as strengthen the body's ability to fight off infections in part due to its high antioxidant status (3)

However high doses of vitamin C are poorly absorbed and can cause digestive distress. This is why liposomal vitamin C is so effective because the vitamin C is transported across the gut membrane directly into the cell. This means you can take higher doses without the tummy discomfort.

Vitamin C may be a great ally to add to your medicine tool kit and in staying healthy during the cold and flu season.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that us Northern Hemispheres folks just don't get enough of. But it is vital as it supports a healthy immune function due to its ability to stimulate the production of antimicrobial compounds which may help to prevent illnesses such as the cold and flu and respiratory infections (4).
Because we do no get sufficient exposure during most of the year daily supplementation is recommended in the form of vitamin D3

Vitamin A

Commonly known for its benefits for eye and skin health, this vitamin is also critical for optimal immune function. Vitamin A has been shown to have a fundamental role in the regulation of immune defense systems in the body (5)

Vitamin A comes in the form of retinol, found in animal sources, or beta-carotene, found in plant sources. Be careful with high long term doses of retinol as this can create toxicity. 
   

N-acetylcysteine

N-acetylcysteine is the precursor to the master antioxidant, glutathione. This antioxidant is vital for lowering inflammation and fighting free radicals in the body but NAC has also been shown to be helpful in fighting viruses while weakening cases of influenza and reducing the risk of bronchitis (6)

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral known to play a significant role in immune function and development as it helps to regulate white blood cell production and acts as an antioxidant. Many immune cells can become depleted with zinc deficiency (7). Vegans and vegetarians are at a higher risk of deficiency, in which case supplementation may be a good idea.

Sleep

Sleep is massively underrated when it comes to immune health. Lack of sleep can compromise our immune system's ability to fight off infections. Getting adequate hours of sleep every night can significantly reduce your chances of falling ill by reducing inflammation and boosting immune cell activity which peaks during nocturnal sleep (8).

 Make sure you are making sleep a priority by aiming for 7-9 hours every night and preferably before 11 pm. If you feel wired before bed try a meditation routine which can significantly help to improve sleep quality and decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. 

Stress management 

During a time of outbreak with the diffusion of messages across social media platforms, newspapers, and television, it's normal to feel more stress. This is why it's essential that we are mindful of our stressors and take the necessary steps to manage them.

Chronic stress elevates hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in the bloodstream which suppresses the immune system and provokes inflammatory chemicals. This results in decreased white blood cells and natural killer cells, and an increase in pro-inflammatory compounds, which means your immune system is weaker and more challenged to fight off exposure to pathogens like viruses. 

Practice mindfulness with meditation or deep breathing, take a break from social media and limit your exposure to the media, and get plenty of sleep! 

Colloidal silver

Colloidal silver is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial agent that has been used for thousands of years as a therapeutic agent. It has the ability to prevent infections by destroying pathogenic bacteria without creating resistance or harming our own beneficial microbes. Colloidal silver has been used as an anti-viral treatment in viral cases such as HIV(9), pneumonia, and herpes. It is recommended to use silver in more acute doses when needed. 

Medicinal mushrooms 

Mushrooms are remarkable superfoods that can support healthy activity of the immune system by increasing the activity of immune cells like macrophages and natural killer cells. Their strong immune-boosting properties and ability to fight pathogens such as viruses have enabled them to be effective in preventing and treating respiratory illnesses including the common cold and influenza virus (10)

Medicinal mushrooms include chaga, reishi, shiitake, and maitake. Mushrooms can be taken internally in capsule, powder, tincture, or liquid form. 

Deep immune 

One of our favorite immune-boosting herbal blends, Deep Immune combines astragalus, eleuthero, schizandra, licorice, white atractylodes, codonopsis, and ligustrum to provide potent anti-viral protection. 

Deep Immune reinforces the basic functions of the body and helps maintain physiological and psychological equilibrium. It has a strengthening effect on our body's immune system, nourishing its very bone marrow and enabling it to produce more immune reserves. Deep Immune can be used to counteract the debilitating effects of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, as well as autoimmune and immune deficiency diseases while protecting against viral infections.

Essential oils

Many essential oils have potent immune-boosting effects in the body but also can be used as a nontoxic way of keeping your environment clean of pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

The lack of toxicity and potent specific viral inhibitory activity suggest essential oils may be helpful as possible antiviral drugs for control and treatment of influenza virus infections (11)

Essential oils shown to have anti-viral properties include clove, tea tree, eucalyptus, and cinnamon (12)

Always use essential oils with caution as these are potent forms of medicine and can be toxic, always use externally and diluted if you are unsure of its effects. We suggest diffusing essential oils around the house as a great way to receive the benefits from the oils.


Note: This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements. 


 


Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals. 

 

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