10 Best Ways To Boost Your Immune System Against COVID-19
Hello TNH readers, we hope you are well and making the best use of your lockdown period to make this Janta curfew effective and finally helping the government to flatten the spiking curve of COVID-19 cases in our nation.
Today we are going to talk about COVID-19 which is commonly known as coronavirus. To control this outbreak, let’s have a strategy on how not to contract and spread the novel coronavirus by boosting our immune system so that you are more resistant to exposure if that were to occur.
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The COVID-19 virus is new, therefore, we don’t have research as far as what prevents that exact strain of the coronavirus. We do know the influenza which is its close relative and so strengthening your immune system against the influenza virus will also likely work against this strain of novel coronavirus.
All around the globe, close to 3 billion people are practising the self-quarantine strategy as per their government instructions.
As we know that COVID-19 is an airborne disease, so increasing our immunity is the next best strategy along with cleanliness practices around us.
There is no doubt that it will be beneficial if we can get your immune system as strong as it possibly can be during this flu season.
So, here is the thing, the human immune system is a very complex entity. It’s full of intricate stages and pathways. Every stage of the immune response depends on the presence of certain micronutrients.
We’re still investigating many nutrients and their effects on the immune system but we do know of a few that are very well researched and we’ll talk about them shortly.
All of these micronutrients that I am going to discuss, happen to come from plant foods so it makes sense during flu season. It is much healthier to make sure your diet is packed full of fruits and vegetables. The worst thing you could possibly do is eat foods that have a low nutritional value like processed foods, fast foods, refined carbohydrates and refined sugars.
Here are the best 10 strategies to boost our immune system against novel coronavirus SARS-COV2 causing worldwide pandemic namely COVID-19.
Let’s discuss overall strategies to strengthen your immune system.
STRATEGY NUMBER 1
Make sure, you are getting enough Sleep to boost your Immune system
Sleep is crucial to immune system function. Studies have shown that a shorter sleep duration is associated with increased susceptibility to the common cold. One study at the university of California shows that the individuals sleeping less than 6 hours per night are at the elevated risk of contracting the common cold whereas those who sleep more than six hours are not. So in summary, make sure you’re well rested.
The amount of sleep required is different for each and every individual. So find out how much sleep you need and make sure you’re getting enough. Bare minimum sleep hours should be 6 hours. Doctors generally recommended to try to sleep at least for 7 hours every night. One may try taking a 20-minute power nap if some sleep shortage is noticed.
STRATEGY NUMBER 2
Engage in moderate Exercise to boost your Immune system
Here the keyword is moderate. The exercise should not be too intense and it should not be too mild. Research shows that folks who prefer moderate exercise on a regular basis report fewer colds. A regular consistent physical exercise leads to substantial benefits in the immune system health over the long term. Studies have shown that during moderate exercise immune cells circulate through the body much more quickly and they’re better able to kill bacteria and viruses.
You have to be careful though because there’s also evidence that too much intense exercise can negatively impact your immune system. One study showed that over ninety minutes of high intensity exercise made athletes more susceptible to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session. So in summary exercise can be an immune booster. It’s important though to get the right amount of exercise. Also it’s crucial not to sacrifice sleep in order to get that exercise.
STRATEGY NUMBER 3
Supplement with Vitamin D: 400-2000 IU per day
Vitamin D is the micronutrient that we have the most solid research on when it comes to the prevention of viral illness. We know that people who higher vitamin D levels have a lower risk of upper respiratory tract or cold. So, the first recommendation to get your vitamin D levels checked. That way you know whether you’re high or low. If you’re normal or high, there’s nothing really to worry about but if you’re low you might want to consider supplementing.
There are a plethora of studies demonstrating that supplementation with vitamin D anywhere from 400up to 2000 international units or IU per day will prevent influenza and other respiratory tract infections. Doctors generally recommend that it’s reasonable and safe to supplement with 1000 IU per day of vitamin D in order to optimize immunity and prevent infection.
STRATEGY NUMBER 4
Supplement with Vitamin C: 0.6-1 g of vitamin C per day
A large experimental review of 29 trials with over 11000 research participants showed that supplementing with vitamin C can help decrease the duration and the severity of the common cold. In adults, the duration of colds was reduced by 8% and in children, it was reduced by 18%.
One group of people that would benefit from vitamin C supplementation is athletes or people who engage in heavy physical activity. We find that often times their vitamin C levels may be depleted.
One study demonstrated that 0.6 to 1 gram of vitamin C per day in a group of people slashed the risk of getting sick in half. So, in summary vitamin C is safe and it’s very cost effective. During the flu season, it would be very reasonable to supplement with 1-2 grams of vitamin C daily.
STRATEGY NUMBER 5
Supplement with Zinc: 20 mg per day
Many studies have agreed that supplementation of zinc is helpful in reducing the risk of pneumonia and the common cold specifically in the elderly and children. Zinc also has been shown to shorten the duration of cold by approximately 33%. It’s important that the zinc is taken before the onset of the symptoms or within the 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.
It’s also worth noting that there re adverse effects of zinc supplementation namely bad taste. Zinc dosage of 20 milligrams per day is recommended for good immunity.
STRATEGY NUMBER 6
Supplement with Echinacea: For prevention: 2400 mg per day & For treatment: 4000 mg per day
A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial found that Echinacea reduced the total number and duration of cold episodes. Another meta-analysis demonstrated that Echinacea lowers the risk of recurrences and decreases the development of upper respiratory tract infection complications.
It mainly does this through antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects as well as by modulating the immune system in general.
What dose of Echinacea should we be taking? Well it differs whether it’s for prevention or if you already are infected. For prevention, it’s recommended to take 2400 milligrams per day. If you are unfortunate enough to get an upper respiratory tract infection, it’s recommended to increase this dose to 4000 milligrams. This supplement in particular I would start as soon as possible.
Most studies show that the longer you supplement before being exposed to the virus, the better you can fight it. The ideal time frame would be supplementing with Echinacea 4 months prior to viral exposure.
STRATEGY NUMBER 7
Add Garlic to your Regimen to boost your Immune system
Add some garlic to your regimen as Garlic is known to have antiviral properties. It’s also been shown to improve your immune system function. One randomized controlled trial demonstrated that garlic supplementation with a 180 milligrams of Alicin which is the active ingredient in garlic. That taken daily for 12 weeks decreased occurrences of the common and also decrease symptom intensity and duration.
Taking garlic may have some other things you may have to deal with like bad breath and bad body odor and a possible rash but if it prevents a corona virus infection, it just might be worth it.
STRATEGY NUMBER 8
Supplement with Probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
A recent meta-analysis revealed that probiotic supplementation resulted in significantly fewer numbers of illness compared to those of placebo. Because of the multiple studies included here, one particular probiotic could not be singled out but we do know that probiotics all belong to the lactobacillus and the bifidobacterium genera.
So, if you’re looking for probiotic in this capacity, it is best to look for that contains lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. It would prove even better if you work to add probiotic foods to your diet regimen.
STRATEGY NUMBER 9
Minimize Stress in your Life to boost your Immune system
May be it sounds a little woo but there’s actually some science behind it. There are some studies showing that chronic stress decreases your immune system function. There’s actually one study that was published in the New England Journal of medicine that found that psychological stress was associated with a dose-dependent increase in susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections. So, find a healthy coping strategy that helps you deal with the stress in your life and stick to it.
For some the coping strategy could be mindfulness or meditation, for others it could be exercise or sitting down to watch a good movie. Just make sure you stick to healthy coping mechanisms and avoid unhealthy things like drugs or excess alcohol as a coping mechanism.
STRATEGY NUMBER 10
Increase Flavonoids in your Life: 1000-5000 mg per day
Now, you might be asking yourself what are flavonoids? Well, they are the most common group of what we call polyphenols available in the human diet. And they’re found exclusively in plants. So, in a nutshell flavonoids are those good chemicals that we get from the plants that we eat.
A recent meta-analysis revealed that flavonoids supplementation decreased upper respiratory tract infection incidents by one-third or 33% compared to the control.
It was also found to decrease the sick day count by 40% and that’s really huge. So, what are some ways we can increase flavonoids in our diet? Well first off and obviously let’s make sure to pack our diets with tons of colorful fruits and vegetables. Additionally, good sources of flavonoids are green tea, quercetin, blueberries and dark chocolate.
Most of the studies we looked at recommended anywhere from 1000 to 5000 milligrams of flavonoids daily for upper respiratory tract infection prevention. Just to give you an idea, 1000 milligrams of flavonoids can be obtained by eating a 100 grams of blueberries, a 100 grams of dark chocolate or a 250 milliliters of green tea.
So, there you have it. I hope you learned some new tips to help you become less susceptible to contracting the novel coronavirus. These tips will also help improve your immune system in general and hopefully prevent transmission of the common cold as well.