This winter has been a challenge to everyone’s health. The spread of COVID-19 has utterly eclipsed an already unusually severe flu season in the news. Many people are getting sick not just once but twice or more. The lack of a vaccine for COVID-19, a coronavirus that creates respiratory illness, has people wondering what else they can do to support their immune system.
Both influenza viruses and coronaviruses are respiratory viruses that have an envelope that allows them to bind to and infect a host cell. These viruses are usually spread through close personal contact like shaking hands, through the air shortly after an infected person has coughed or sneezed, or by touching a surface with the virus present and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
Strategies to reduce your risk of infection have been widely publicized and include common-sense preventative measures like hand washing, disinfecting high traffic surfaces, covering your mouth to sneeze or cough, and avoiding travel to areas with high rates of infections. For more on the coronavirus and recommended actions to take, you can find reliable information at the following websites:
Although there is limited information about effective treatments for the coronavirus, implementing healthy habits and supplementation may give your immune system the boost it needs to put up a good fight.
Vitamin D is important to the maintenance of a healthy immune system. It is common to have lower vitamin D levels in the winter months when shorter days, heavy clothing, and lack of outdoor time minimize sun exposure. Lower vitamin D levels are independently associated with more frequent respiratory infections. Research suggests vitamin D may boost important antimicrobial peptides in the lungs, which are necessary to the body in a first line of defense against respiratory viruses. Metabolic Maintenance offers several options of high-quality vitamin D-3 supplements ranging in strengths from 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 25,000 IUs.
A lack of vitamin C can lead to impaired immunity leaving you more prone to infection. The actions of certain types of immune cells are enhanced by vitamin C. In addition, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can aid in protecting cells against free radical damage resulting from immune system activity.
Metabolic Maintenance offers a robust immune support product called Acute Immune Boost. It has been formulated to offer fast-acting immune support when viral threats are present in the environment at work, school, or during air travel. This potent blend contains top nutrients involved in positive immune function including Vitamins A, C, and D and zinc. Two top research-supported herbs for immune health, elderberry and Andrographis, complete this synergistic formula. Elderberry exhibits anti-viral activity by inhibiting the ability of a virus to bind to a host cell and disrupt its replication. Additionally, elderberry stimulates the immune system through upregulating certain chemicals important to the immune response.
Our immune system is a product of our genes combined with our daily habits. The foundations of health; a nutritious diet, exercise, sleep, and water can all contribute to a stronger immune system in the following ways:
As noted above, certain vitamins and minerals are necessary for a properly functioning immune system. Deficiencies of zinc, vitamin C and D in one’s diet can leave one with a higher risk of falling ill. In addition, more than moderate consumption of certain substances, most notably sugar and alcohol, can take a toll on one’s immune system and leave it less responsive to challenges.
Proper hydration is important for prevention as well as during illness. Fluids are an important component of mucus, an essential first line of defense against respiratory infection. In addition, good hydration thins mucus keeping it easier to expel. . The Mayo Clinic recommends about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men or about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
There have been enough upsets recently to challenge the calmest of persons, including worries about health and finances, evolving travel and workplace disruption, arranging care for elders and children, and scarcity of resources concerns. Managing stress might involve turning off the news for a time, going for a walk and making plans to implement your top coping strategies. Stress takes a toll on our immune system, proper sleep and decision making.
Sleep is an important foundation of health, one that is easily disrupted by stress. Sleep deficiency causes poorer immune function, including a decrease in natural killer cells, immune cells that are able to kill virally infected cells. Studies have shown, a night of sleep deprivation causes detrimental changes in the immune system’s response to an immune challenge. Allowing the time you need to get 7-9 hours of restful sleep is especially important during this time.
Please consult with your physician before making any major changes to your health regimen.
Stay safe out there!
Gombart A. “The vitamin D-antimicrobial pathway and its role in protection against infection.” Futur Microbiol. 2009 Nov; 4: 1151.
Krawitz C, Mraheil MA, Hain T. “Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses.” BMC Complement Alt Med. 2011; 11: 16.
Irwin M, Mascovich A, Gillan JC, et al. “Partial sleep deprivation reduces natural killer cell activity in humans. “ Psychosom Med. 1994 Nov-Dec; 56(6): 493-8.
Prather A, Hall M, Fury J, et al. “Sleep and antibody response to hepatitis B vaccination.” Sleep. 2010 Aug 1;35(8): 1063-9.