Keep Your Immune System Functioning

I have recently been asked by many people for suggestions and advice regarding keeping immune function at maximum. Research has demonstrated that there are many things we have control over that modulate our immune function.

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is very important, your immune system depends on adequate sleep to function at its best. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality restful sleep each night. Please SLEEP!

Manage your stress

Emotional stress increases inflammation and reduces your immune function and ability to fight off infections including viruses. Ways to help manage stress include meditation, yoga, breath work and walking in nature. If you need extra support you can see a counsellor, psychologist, or hypnotherapist. Body work with a chiropractor or acupuncturist can also be helpful.

Support your gut

The gut and the immune system are highly linked, 70% of the immune system lives and works right next to the digestive tract. Eating whole nutritious foods is the foundation to gut health and leads to regular bowel movements to eliminate correctly.

Supplements

After good food and sleep hygiene, supplements can allow us to boost our immune systems natural responses and mechanisms. Here are some important ones:

Vitamin C – an antioxidant that is integral in immune function. Some reports suggest higher oral dosing 2 to 4 g per day can support our body’s fight against the corona virus by stopping excessive inflammatory response in the lungs, suppressing the growth and spread of the virus itself and boosting the immune system. (Patel V et al, 2020)

Vitamin D – modulates our immune function and deficiencies can compromise our ability to fight infections. Healthy levels of this vitamin may help lower your risk of respiratory infections.

Zinc – critical for immune cell activity. Supplementing with zinc may help protect against respiratory infections and reduce the duration of these infections.

B complex vitamins – especially Vit B6 are important for a healthy immune response.

Selenium – essential for immune health and animal studies have shown it may enhance antiviral defence against influenza strains.

Medicinal Mushrooms – many types of medicinal mushrooms, including cordyceps and turkey tail, may offer immune enhancing and antibacterial/viral effects.

Astragalus, Olive Leaf, and Echinacea are also well known herbal extracts that may significantly improve immune related responses and have antiviral effects.

A final word about COVID-19

While all of the above are known to assist immune function, during the Corona Virus COVID-19 pandemic it’s important to understand that no supplement, diet or other lifestyle modification other than social distancing and proper hygiene practices can protect you from being infected. Please follow the advice of the Federal Government to keep yourself and others safe, and avoid overwhelming our health system.

Reference

Patel, V.; Dial, K.; Wu, J.; Gauthier, A.G.; Wu, W.; Lin, M.; Espey, M.G.; Thomas, D.D.; Ashby, C.R., Jr.; Mantell, L.L. Dietary Antioxidants Significantly Attenuate Hyperoxia-Induced Acute Inflammatory Lung Injury by Enhancing Macrophage Function via Reducing the Accumulation of Airway HMGB1. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 977.