Wash your hands, stay home... now what?
Disclaimer: This document is only intended to identify ways that may support your immune system. It is not recommending any treatments. Nor have any of these suggestions been proven effective against coronavirus. Always consult your physician or healthcare provider prior to using any of these suggestions. For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 virus, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.
We all want this whole coronavirus thing to end and go away. Many of us don’t even believe it will get as bad as they say. But what if it does, and what if either you or someone you love becomes sick? How can we better prepare?
Reducing the speed at which this disease spreads is the most important thing we need to do for ourselves and for our community. Therefore, preventing infection is our first and most important line of defense. We should all wash our hands, self-isolate and restrain from going to public places.
However, during the next few months, even with our best efforts to keep safe, there is an increasing probability that either we or someone we love may become sick with the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
What we know so far
Unfortunately, the information we have so far is that risk of death rises with age and is compounded with preexisting health conditions; making our elders and those with other illnesses especially vulnerable.
It is important to note that 80% of people who have tested positive to COVID-19 have only developed mild symptoms and some have even been asymptomatic.
Therefore, if we were to get infected, how can we improve the odds of being one of these mild cases?
There is extensive information about why and how this epidemic is spreading. However, there is very little information about how to stay as healthy as possible in the case of contagion.
Unlike bacteria that can be killed with antibiotics, there are currently no medications proven to “kill” the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
The only way in which we can effectively cure ourselves from a COVID-19 viral infection, is by having our immune system identify and eliminate the virus.
What you can do to boost your immunity
Because of this, the best way to prepare is to naturally boost the ability of our immune system to better respond to this assault.
Unfortunately, our immune system does not know how to identify this new virus because it has never been exposed to it before. If our immune system cannot accurately identify cells infected with the virus, it cannot locate and destroy it.
To eliminate a new virus within our bodies our immune system uses a trial and error process. It creates millions of different variations of T cells in the attempt to find one that can successfully identify the cells infected with the virus.
To make matters worse, the viruses in our body increase at an exponential rate. In a matter of days they can very quickly overwhelm our body’s ability to contain them.
As we may remember from our high school biology class, viruses replicate by entering our cells and hijacking them to produce more copies of themselves. Once infected, a cell will produce hundreds of thousands of copies of the virus. This cell will then burst releasing these new viruses that will then infect and hijack other cells to produce even more viruses, which will then spread again in an ever expanding progression.
While the viruses replicate faster and faster, our immune system is simultaneously trying to find a way to identify and eliminate infected cells by randomly generating as many T cell variations as possible. It is a race against time.
This is why risk increases for people whose immune system is slower, suppressed or overwhelmed.
Therefore, everything that supports or improves the responsiveness of our immune system will increase the odds of quickly identifying and eliminating a new virus in our body.
The essentials of at-home support
Fortunately, there are many ways in which we can support our immune system at home through nutrition and lifestyle.
At Suggestic, we are privileged to be working with some of the most knowledgeable researchers, experts and companies that have suggested ways to boost our immune system while at home.
We have put together a list of resources of those things that have been proven to support our body’s immune system and that increase the readiness and effectiveness to combat viral infections. We are publishing an expanded list of resources that will be continuously updated and revised in this link, along with discussions on each suggestion.
Top strategies to support your immune system
Drink a lot of water, mostly warm
- Can't emphasize enough - drink plenty of water and no ice
- Drink mainly warm water in herbal teas or broths
- Avoid sugary drinks like sodas and juices
- Avoid alcoholic drinks
Follow a diet that can boost your immune system
- Colored vegetables and fruits boost immunity better than most supplements. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, aim for 10 servings a day
- Increase antioxidant foods like berries, pecans, brazil nuts, beets and cabbage
- Reduce inflammatory foods like deep fried foods and processed meats
- Avoid sugar and refined carbs NOTE: If you currently follow a low-carb diet that is working for your goals, one major pro is the benefit to your immune system!
- Eat fermented vegetables, like pickles and sauerkraut
- For more immune-supporting foods, see our COVID-19 resources
Sleep more, exercise regularly and reduce stress
- Sleep - Go to bed early and regularly, sleep as long as your body needs. Sleep has a big influence on immune function. It is essential to get plenty of it.
- Exercise - Moderate, regular physical activity helps to boost immune system function through raising levels of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies, increasing circulation, and decreasing stress hormones.
- Stress reduction - Chronic stress can negatively alter the immune system responses, making you more likely to get sick. Identify your personal stress reduction strategies and practice them regularly.
Reduce strain on your immune system
- Gargles - Frequent warm salt water gargles are good prevention and help relieve sore throats. Add three drops of oregano oil for its antiviral properties.
- Probiotics - Improve your digestive health by balancing your gut flora
- Food sensitivities - Consider taking a food sensitivity test and eliminating temporarily foods that are triggering your immune system
- Mold - Reduce exposure that may be taxing your immune system
- Smoking - Avoid smoking and vaping
- Immune suppressors - Consult with your doctor for alternatives if you are on antihistamine drugs or any other immuno-suppresor medication
It's not unusual for packages to recommend safe dosages. However, always check with your doctor before supplementing.
- Vitamin A deficiency, supplementation can be extremely helpful in supporting our body’s ability to fight infections, particularly with regard to respiratory infections. It is also toxic in high quantities so consult a healthcare professional before taking
- Vitamin D3 (+K2 for better absorption) - is one of the most important and powerful nutrients for supporting our immune system. Numerous studies have shown that it helps reduce the risk of colds and flu. People with reduced sun exposure are generally deficient. Important to note that vitamin D can be toxic in high quantities and should not be taken by anybody with kidney disease.
- Zinc - plays a significant role in boosting immunity. Often available as lozenges, zinc can help to reduce the frequency of infections as well as the duration and severity of viral infections.
- Echinacea – is an herbal remedy that is used to treat infectious disease because it stimulates the body’s immune response and acts as a natural antibiotic and antiviral. Echinacea can be taken as a tea, tincture or capsule per dosage instructions and is an herbal remedy safe for children and pregnancy. It is typically taken at the first sign of a virus.
- Elderberry extract/syrup – can be helpful in reducing cold duration and severity. It has been shown to both help prevent infection with influenza viruses as well as demonstrating potent antiviral properties that can aid in reducing flu duration and symptoms. Caution in using elderberry may be needed in some people with autoimmune diseases due to the way it stimulates the immune system.
- Garlic – contains a variety of compounds that can influence immunity. Some studies have shown that both fresh garlic as well as aged garlic extract and some other garlic supplements may reduce viral upper respiratory infection severity as well as function in prevention of infection with viruses that can cause colds.
- Honey – preferably raw, is good at relieving minor pain and inflammation, has antioxidant properties, and has some antimicrobial effects. It is helpful for coughs, sore throats and can be added to hot tea. In particular Manuka honey has additional anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Follow this link for additional resources.
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