Before you start reading this, put down the hand sanitizer and take a deep breath. There’s no question that this epidemic has been sensationalized and catastrophized in the media, and while there is certainly reason to be cautious and take measures to protect yourself and others, giving into fear is unproductive; it will only serve to make you sick, depress your immune system, and increase your risk of getting infected. Be prepared, not fearful.
As coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S., we’re beginning to see its effects in everyday life; universities are cancelling in-person classes, people are buying grocery stores out of toilet paper and bottled water, and face masks are even being stolen from hospitals and urgent cares.
You’re probably wondering what you can do to protect yourself from getting infected, so here are some simple things you can do to prepare without panicking. Plus, following this guide applies to preventing everyday illnesses like the common cold, strep, and the flu; it will help you live a happier, healthier life as well as protect you from coronavirus!
There are several things you can do to boost your immune system, but the most single important and effective tool is nutrition. The gut is directly connected to 90% of the immune system, and when exposure to toxins and lack of micronutrients create unbalance in the gut, the delicate intestinal lining is damaged--allowing toxins to leak from the gut into the bloodstream and make you sick.
Our world is filled with more chemicals and toxins than ever before, and as food has become more processed and engineered, it has also become much less nutritious. Every single American is at serious risk of nutrition deficiencies and toxin exposures that damage immune health and cause disease.
The best thing you can do to strengthen your immune system so you don’t get sick as often--and recover faster when you do--is give your body the nutrients it needs. When the microorganisms in the gut are getting the right balance of micronutrients, health promoting populations flourish while health damaging populations die off.
A nutritionist can help you identify and correct any deficiencies you may have with a tailored whole food and herbal supplement regimen. This will ensure your gut microbiome is getting the right balance of micronutrients to keep your gut lining intact and doing its job of protecting the rest of your organs from harmful microbes.
In addition to supporting general gut health, taking certain vitamin supplements can specifically boost immune health. Nutritionists recommend eating more garlic for its anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects. Elderberry syrup and vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E can also help boost the overall strength of your immune system.
Getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day stimulates and strengthens the immune system and lowers your risk of getting sick. This is not to say that you should go exercise as much as possible to keep yourself from getting coronavirus; high intensity training is actually associated with greater illness risk. Moderate exercise, however, will be an effective tool in boosting defense activity and metabolic health to keep you from getting sick!
Chiropractic care boosts the immune system to give you a better defense against illness. When the spine is out of alignment, it produces a stress response that weakens the immune system. Spinal adjustments have been shown to strengthen immune function by correcting this neural dysfunction caused by spinal misalignment. Getting regular adjustments will boost your immune system by stopping immune resources from being burned up by stress.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with depressed immune function and increased susceptibility to illness. Luckily there’s an easy fix for it! The body is very responsive to the effects of supplementing Vitamin D, so getting a little sun will help bolster your body against illness. Get outside and get some exercise, and you’ll get the ultimate natural immunity boost!
Sleep is essential in maintaining a strong immune system because several very important immune boosting processes happen exclusively during sleep. In fact, people who don’t get quality sleep are more likely to fall ill when exposed to a virus than people who do get quality sleep.
When you sleep, your body produces and releases cytokines. Cytokines are the immune system’s chemical messengers--telling it when to trigger an inflammatory immune response and when to soothe inflammation. People who get poor quality sleep or not enough sleep have elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines in their blood.
Cytokines also play a role in regulating our sleep cycles; therefore, the consequences of poor sleep on cytokine production can create a vicious cycle of disrupted sleep and lowered immunity. If left uncorrected, this chronic inflammation can cause disease--obesity, depression, diabetes, and heart disease to name just a few.
This is probably the most important thing you can do during an epidemic like COVID-19; don’t give into the contagious fear and sensationalization of this illness. When your body is stressed, it uses the same micronutrients used by the immune system in its stress response, only serving to take resources away from your immune system and leaving you more susceptible to illness.
A Toronto based infectious disease specialist said it best when he said, “temper your fear with reason, panic with patience, and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmittable diseases in our society. Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation, and catastrophizing. Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts.”
If the fear has affected you, there are plenty of ways to reduce the wear and tear on your body caused by stress. Adaptogenic herbs--the most common being eleutherococcus senticosus, rhodiola rosea, and schisandra chinensis--have a stimulatory effect that is key in moderating the stress response. These herbs temper the intensity of all phases of the stress response and even diminish the body’s sensitivity to future stressors.
Acupuncture also has powerful stress relieving, anti-inflammatory, and immune boosting properties. Acupuncture works by telling the immune system to slow down the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, stopping the chain reaction of inflammation in its tracks and soothing the inflamed body. It even comes with the added benefit of stimulating blood flow for increased healing effects, as well as triggering the release of beta-endorphins, which elevate mood and relieve pain.
At Tristar, we have countless strategies at our disposal to help you achieve peak health and boost immunity in preparation for this epidemic. Come see us, and let us help you reduce your risk for getting coronavirus!