The importance of our immune system should not be dismissed but, in saying that, can actively building it up help combat today’s pandemic of COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus?
There is still much to learn about this virus which has disrupted our world. Prevention is absolute key, however, implementing good quality immune building supplements is only part of the necessary steps that we should follow.
Our immune system is a bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances by producing the immune response. It is up to us to protect our immunity through various means both internally and externally. In keeping our systems healthy, taking Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, and a good probiotic regularly can become our new powerhouse. Don’t forget adequate sleep and a nutrient dense diet as well.
- Vitamin C – Unfortunately, our bodies can’t make vitamin c so it must come either from good food sources or a quality supplement. While it may not keep us, per se, from catching any virus, evidence has shown that it may decrease the length of its symptoms.
- Vitamin D - Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system by acting like a so-called volume control – turning our immune cell actions either up or down. Sunshine can be our best source but if you live in an area where this is not an option, be sure to supplement with this daily. Vitamin D is fat soluble so be sure to take it with a food containing fat for best absorption.
- Zinc – This mineral has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Research has shown that deficiency can lower immune system response so if your diet tends to be not as nutritionally sound as it should be, be sure to incorporate this daily.
- Probiotics – I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy gut. 70 per cent of your immune system resides in your gut so taking a first-rate probiotic is beyond essential. The friendly microbes (bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) help protect the body from disease-causing microbes. They also produce substances that keep the lining of the gut healthy, improve immune function and ward off inflammation.
These supplements, while effective, are only a small part of the necessary steps to staying healthy. Adequate sleep is crucial and another powerful way to help fight infection. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which aid in promoting sleep. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep. If sleep is an issue for you consider melatonin or a cal/mag (calcium with magnesium) supplement to help you get the proper sleep your body desperately needs.
Unfortunately, based on the current situation, COVID-19 is persisting, so please practice the following to help protect yourself and others:
- Maintain excellent hygiene
- Wash your hands often throughout the day
- Try not to touch your face as much as possible
- Practice social isolation if you have been exposed (or even if you think you may have)
- Social distance yourself if you do need to go out
- Eat nutrient dense foods
- Take all or some of the supplements mentioned above
- Sleep well
Be kind to one another... this too shall pass!
Karen Ryan, NNCP, RHN is a registered clinical and holistic nutritionist and Integrative ADHD and mental health practitioner specializing in drug free strategies for managing ADHD and mental wellness. She is a firm believer in the correlation between food and mood and believes that a clean diet is the best medicine for sound health of body and mind. Guided by her extensive education, research and experience in both nutrition disciplines, Karen dedicates her focus to helping all people, including children and teens, eat healthier, live happier and increase better levels of mental wellness for improved quality of life.
Karen is an active member of several organizations and is the founder of vancouverADHD and The ADDvocates, both of which are aimed at raising awareness of ADHD and mental health. Her book, ADHD is Not a Four-Letter Word: Drug Free Strategies for Managing the Gift that is ADHD was released in May 2014. Karen also currently runs a Mental Health Program out of the Finlandia Health Centre
Disclaimer: This is not intended to replace medical advice. If in doubt or have questions about your current health status, call the nurse’s hotline at *811 or contact your general practitioner.
For Government prevention methods, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html