There are immune system basics we should be following every day,
but during the coronavirus outbreak, we could all use an extra boost.
Not only do we just want to live without illness or disease, but we want to optimize our health so we can feel our best and thrive. In general, your immune system is designed to attack and neutralize threats such as bacteria and viruses. Threats also include toxins found in our food, air, water, beauty products, and cleaners. When your immune system is strong and running at an optimal level, it is quite powerful. However, if your immune system is compromised, your body may have a harder time fighting off germs and dealing with toxins. Strengthening your immune system will positively impact your daily life. A strong immune system is necessary to look and feel your best, but it’s also vital to fight off infection, virus and disease.
Kimberly Knauf holds a Masters in Clinical Nutrition and Biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati. Kimberly also holds a B.S. in Pre-Med, and also is comprehensive secondary education. She has been conducting nutritional consultations and workshops for 20 years, and has been a Personal Training and Group Exercise Instructor for 34 years.
Simple guidelines to boost your immune system :
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water
- Stay home when you’re ill. Practice social distancing.
- Air out your home and workspace.
- Get plenty of sleep and rest. 7-9 hours per night. When it comes to sleep, creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it is your best bet. Unplug from the world during this time. Soak in a warm bath. Read a novel. Journal your thoughts. Or cuddle with a loved one.
- Find healthy ways to manage your stress levels such as exercise, reading, cooking, music, hobbies, and prayer or meditation Spend less time on social media and more time outdoors soaking up the sun and fresh air.
- Enjoy nutrient rich foods and spices for extra immune boosting power. See food list below.
- Focus on your gut’s health and make bone broth a part of your regular diet (more information below)
- Clean and sanitize your phone, keyboards, and car steering wheel regularly.
- Get plenty of vitamin D and take walks in the sunshine: 10 – 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure as many days as possible.
- Take immune boosting supplements: List to follow
Suggested Immune Boosting Supplements:
- Echinacea: The active compounds in echinacea have been shown to play a significant role in immune system regulation and helps the body fight against viruses and bacterial infections as well as cancer. Thus, a daily cup of echinacea tea is great for boosting your immune health.
- Vitamin D: Since our main source of Vitamin D is the sun, many of us fall short during the winter time, so supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day may help support healthy levels when you’re stuck inside around the clock.
- Bone broth & collagen: More information to follow.
- Vitamin C: An impressive antioxidant that can help boost your natural defenses
- Elderberry: Also known as sambucus or black elderberry, this plant has been used to support immune health for generations. Elderberries are naturally high in the antioxidants vitamin C, flavonols, and anthocyanin..
- Oil of Oregano: Excellent for sinus health and keeping nasal passages free from bacteria and viruses.
- AHCC: A standardized cultured extract of medicinal mushroom mycelia. AHCC is one of the world’s most researched specialty immune supplements, supported by over 30 human studies. AHCC has been clinically shown to maintain optimal NK cell, T cell, macrophage, and dendritic cell activity. Unlike most other medicinal mushroom extracts, AHCC has a very low molecular weight of just 5,000 daltons and is rich in alpha-glucans, increasing absorption and efficacy, AHCC is currently used by an estimated 1,000 clinics worldwide.
- Probiotics: Since yogurt will only last so long, keeping probiotics on-hand can help ensure you get your fill throughout a quarantine period. These live microorganisms populate the gut and help maintain a good balance of the right bacteria that is important for immune health. Your gut is your first line of defense against outside invaders and houses 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system In fact, even the bacteria in your gut play a significant role in the health of your immune system. This means that anything that harms your gut as well as your gut flora, is also harming your immune system. Remember your gut is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, keeping out toxins and producing nutrients.
The foods and practices best avoided to keep the gut healthy:
- Artificial food additives in processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Antibiotics and other medications (i.e., ibuprofen)
- Lack of sleep
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Alcohol and drug overuse
- Genetically modified foods and ingredients
- Gluten-containing grains (i.e., wheat, spelt, rye, barley)
- Stress – can affect the immune system independently of the gut. For example, when you’re under stress, the endocrine system is activated and hormones are released to prepare your body to flee or fight. And this “stress response” shuts down your immune system. This is a good thing in a moment of danger and is only designed to be temporary, but many of us are dealing with non-stop stress. In addition to emotional stress, there’s also physical stress such as injuries, chronic inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, and a lack of sleep that can negatively impact your immune system.
9. Quercetin: May offer benefits as a treatment for SARS coronavirus infections. According to a study in the Journal of Virology, as an FDA-approved drug ingredient, quercetin offers great promise as a potential drug in the clinical treatment of SARS.
In addition to the above, provisional daily dosage suggestions offered by McCarty and DiNicolantonio to help control RNA viruses, including influenza and coronavirus infection, are as follows :
|Ferulic Acid||500 to 1,000 milligrams (mg)|
|Lipoic Acid||1,200 to 1,800 mg (in place of ferulic acid)|
|NAC||1,200 to 1,800 mg|
|Selenium||50 to 100 micrograms (mcg)|
|Glucosamine||3,000 mg or more|
|Zinc||30 to 50 mg|
|Yeast beta-glucan||250 to 500 mg|
|Elderberry Extract||600 to 1,500 mg|
Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2020 Feb 12. pii: S0033-0620(20)30037-2, Table 1
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease Consult your healthcare professional before use if your are pregnant or have or had a medical condition, or are taking prescription drugs.
Food and Nutrients to Help Boost Immunity
Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet: To function at high speed, your immune system requires a steady stream and abundance of nutrients.. This means eating healthy, pasture-raised animal proteins, wild fish, nuts, seeds, and an abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables. A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology concluded that approximately 7.8 million premature deaths every year may have been prevented if 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables were consumed daily.
Frozen or Fresh Fruits and Veggies: Frozen berries and vegetables are amazing sources of polyphenols (antioxidants) and fiber. Cruciferous vegetables (i.e., broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower have been shown to activate immune defense cells within the lining of the gut.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms are also high on my list when it comes to immunity. Essentially, they have been shown to stimulate the production of small proteins known as cytokines. And these cytokines play a huge role in immune system activation and regulation.
Greens Powder: In addition to fresh and frozen produce, consider a green food supplement, which typically contains a blend of dried veggies, fruits, and grasses, and offers extra antioxidants and fiber. It’s an especially good option for those who know they don’t eat enough fruits and veggies
Protein Powder: If your freezer is already stuffed with bags of fruits and veggies, a quality protein powder is a convenient, shelf-stable way to keep your muscles and other tissues healthy and strong throughout an extended stay at home. Stock up on a tub and mix it with plain water, milk, or almond milk. Add spirulina or frozen fruits and vegetables.
Garlic: Garlic has been used for centuries to help people fight viruses and bacteria. When crushed, sliced, or chewed, garlic releases the compound allicin, which is thought to have medicinal properties and has been shown to boost our white blood cell response, which helps us fight germs. Most of the immune benefits of garlic come from the sulfurous compounds which give it its pungent odor and flavor. These compounds have been shown to stimulate the immune system as well as attack and neutralize free radicals. Other effects include increasing white blood cell counts when needed and releasing nitric oxide, which is protective against viruses as well as rapidly spreading diseases.
Turmeric: People have been using turmeric for its immune boosting benefits since ancient times for a myriad of health ailments. It has been shown to help combat systemic inflammation which causes over-activation of the immune system, meaning we are both more susceptible to catching something, and that our symptoms may last longer
Yogurt: Yogurt is an excellent source of the good-gut bacteria we know as probiotics which are extremely important for a healthy gut microbiome and strong immune system. Pro tip: Make sure your favorite yogurt says “contains live cultures” on the label.
Kombucha: This fermented, ever-so-slightly alcoholic, tea-based drink happens to be a great source of probiotics. Research suggests that probiotic-containing beverages, such as kombucha, may have a positive effect on the immune system, gut microflora, vitamin synthesis and absorption, bowel health, and digestion
Ginger: Ginger has been used traditionally by many cultures for centuries to boost the immune system. It works in several ways, including reducing inflammation Ginger is also great for reducing the harmful effects of the many chemicals our bodies are burdened with these days. You can add ginger and garlic to many recipes even if they don’t call for it, such as soups, dressings, sauces, and stir-frys. I also love to throw a knob of fresh ginger in my shakes.
Fermented veggies: These are an excellent source of nutrients as well as good bacteria. They strengthen the health of your gut, which in turn will boost your immune system.
Bone broth: Bone broth is packed with proteins (glycine and proline) that are well-known for nourishing the lining of your gut and boosting your immune system.