At this point, I’m sure you’ve seen it all - every tip and trick in the book on how to prevent catching a cold, the flu or more importantly - the dreaded COVID-19. If you’re ready for some more - please dive right in!
Can getting active help?
Research shows that regular physical activity and frequent exercise might limit or delay aging of the immune system. But what type of exercise is considered the best? The most consistent research posits that moderate (intensity) and moderate frequency (approximately 3 times per week) allows for a stronger immune response to infection - be it viral, bacterial or otherwise. Numerous studies find that regular exercise enhances immune competency and reduces the incidence of communicable diseases.
What about the sunshine vitamin?
Serum (blood) Vitamin D level is a marker which can help predict one’s ability to fight infection. Low therapeutic doses of vitamin d – may help in the prevention of infection. Studies show that healthy vitamin D levels enhance autophagy (the clearing and recycling of damaged cells), increases antibacterial proteins and promotes bacterial killing/ viral elimination. Vitamin D promotes production of Cathelicidin – which has antimicrobial properties (kills bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites). Check your vitamin D levels to make sure they’re at optimal levels.
We’ve all heard of this next one?
Vitamin C – 500mg twice daily can exert beneficial effects on both the innate and adaptive immune systems. It’s action as a cofactor for numerous biosynthetic and gene regulatory enzymes plays a key role in its immune-modulating effects. Stimulates neutrophil migration (a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection) to the site of infection, enhances phagocytosis (engulfing) and microbial killing. In sum, vitamin C enhances the body's ability to prevent respiratory tract infections. You can also obtain vitamin C naturally from your diet - some foods to choose are broccoli, kiwi and sweet peppers.
What about our microbiome?
Probiotics – Lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and numerous other strains are friendly bacteria that reside in the digestive tract, in the oral cavity and on the skin. They are well documented to help optimize the immune system. – They act as natural immune defence, and help fight off bacteria and viruses and well as other pathogens. Strains to specifically look out for are L. plantarum and L. reuteri and L. paracasei – can help in reducing the chances of acquiring viral and bacterial infections.
Hygiene - I think by now, we’ve all trained ourselves to be expert hand washers. Washing your hands often - preferably with soap and warm water is the best way to prevent infections bar none. The CDC breaks it down like so:
• Wet your hands (to the wrist) with clean running water and apply a good amount of soap.
• Lather up the soap. Don’t forget to spread that lather to the backs of your hands up to your wrists, between your fingers and under your nails.
• Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hum the happy birthday song from beginning to end end twice to get the “timing right”
• Rise your hands thoroughly under clean running water.
• Dry your hands using a clean paper towel or let them air dry.
If you want to know more, and learn how to best protect yourself, your family and your loved ones - I’m here to help you create the optimal conditions for a better immune system. Teleconferencing, phone appointments and In-person appointments are available at this time. BOOK ONLINE, call us or send an email to schedule a New Patient Complimentary Chat (a 15 minute free consultation to discover how naturopathic medicine can help you!).
During this time I wish you all good health and spirits over the next few weeks. I am only an email or phone call away. Remember prevention is better than a cure!
Note: the information above should not be taken as medical advice - you should check with your health care practitioner, as every case should be approached individually. Supplements, probiotics and vitamins have the potential to cause side effects/ allergic reactions if not taken as prescribed.