Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Support your immune system during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

With the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and increasing number of people being infected, it is only prudent that everyone of us should be supporting our immune system.  Why wouldn’t you?  The statistics show that the number of deaths has way surpassed the number of deaths during the SARS epidemic in 2003 and MERS epidemic in 2012.

Put a group of people in a room and have the same virus present, not all the people are going to come down with the disease.  Those who are immune compromised or have other ongoing health issues (also called comorbidities) will be the ones most susceptible.

In situations like this, it is wise to be proactive rather than reactive.  Sure, put on your masks and wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds(basic personal hygiene) and avoid crowded places, but what else?

Here’s what you can do:

1.    Get your vitamin C up.  Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin C, but only if they are fresh.  If you have irregular intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, you should supplement.  I would recommend the sodium ascorbate form of vitamin C rather than any other form considering bioavailability and cost effectiveness, about 3000mg or upto maximum bowel tolerance. 

2. Increase your antioxidant intake.  This comes easily from dark coloured fruits and vegetables, minerals like zinc and selenium , and vitamins A, C and E.

3. Get your vitamin D from the sun, eggs, sardines, shitake mushrooms.  Get a test at Labtest to know your levels.  If your levels are too low, supplement.  If you just need to maintain, get vitamin D from the above sources.

4.  Keep your body alkalised.  Adopt a 80:20 rule when it comes to alkalising and acidifying foods.  Minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium increases alkalinity.  Squeeze half a lemon in water or 1 Tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar in water daily.  Detox if you feel sluggish, heavy or tired. 

5. Manage your stress.  What do you do to de-stress?  Do you practise yoga, deep breathing exercises, have a hobby, go for a walk, exercise or keep a pet?  These activities can help to de-stress. 

6.  Adequate amount of sleep.  Making sure that you have restorative sleep is crucial to building a strong immune system.  Lack of sleep with difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep can wreck havoc on your immune system.  An express detox, increasing mineral intake and keeping a healthy gut microbiome is important to maintaining good sleep.  

7.  Hydration, keeping your fluid intake adequate is absolutely crucial.  30ml/kg of body weight is what you require daily (excludes coffee and alcohol). 

8.  Do not panic – there is no reason to panic.  Although it seems like this pandemic has spread far and wide, the mortality rate is relatively low compared to SARS and MERS.  The best strategy is still preventative and keep your immune system healthy is crucial. 

9.  If you love herbs, use them.  Immune modulating herbs are useful in supporting the immune system.  When a virus infects a body, it latches onto the surface and enters through a vesicle.  Once it is inside this vesicle, the virus releases its RNA and hijacks the cells mechanism to produce viral proteins.  These viral proteins assist with the virus replication.  Nature has provided us with many antiviral herbs and essential oils. 
Culinary herbs like garlic, ginger, oregano, turmeric (ingested internally) and essential oils of tea tree, clove and eucalyptus put into a burner or used to clean surfaces can be good preventative measures.  NOTE: DO NOT ingest essential oils, these should only be used externally.  

10.  Eat good nutritious food, lightly cooked, steamed, stewed, baked or panfried.  Avoid processed foods.  

11. Cut down on sugar, high fructose corn syrup, glucose syrup and artificial sweeteners.  If you have diabetes or are prediabetic, this is the best time to naturally work on improving your blood sugar control and support your immunity.  

12.  Have plenty of rest if you are coming down with an infection and do not attend work or school or any social events.