Respiratory Health, Precautions, and Strengthening the Immune System
This blog has not been approved by your local health department and is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice.
In this article:
- Simple Steps to Boosting Your Immune System
- Key Steps to Boosting Your Immune System
- Vitamin D is Critical to Immune Health
- Optimize Intake with Liposomal Vitamin C
- Natural Approaches to Boosting Immune Health
With the increased attention, many people are asking what they can do to help protect themselves from a viral infection. While washing your hands, wearing a mask, and avoiding travel are key precautions, it is also important to focus on building a stronger immune system. In a previous article, I discussed natural approaches to addressing low immune function. With a strong immune system, you are safer from attack by all but the most virulent microorganisms. It is also likely that you would experience fewer colds or viral infections and have better overall resistance to infections.
The principles involved in boosting your immune system are quite simple. The first goal is to make sure that you provide the immune system with vital nutrients by consuming a health-promoting diet and utilizing proper nutritional supplementation. A deficiency of virtually any single nutrient can significantly impair immunity. The next step is following a healthy lifestyle that includes getting enough sleep and engaging in a regular exercise program. Supplying optimal nutrition and learning to effectively deal with stress go a long way in supporting central control mechanisms to keep the immune system functioning in a peak state. Boosting your immune system not only increases your resistance to colds and flu and other infections but also can help protect yourself against chronic diseases.
- A healthy lifestyle is essential for immunity. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, exercise, avoid toxins, maintain appropriate body weight, and get enough sleep.
- Stress lowers immunity. Take steps to manage stress. Practice techniques to activate the relaxation response, such as breathing exercises, visualization, or meditation.
- Avoid refined sugars and saturated fats, but make sure you get plenty of quality protein and essential fatty acids.
- Take a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement. Vitamins C and E, B vitamins, zinc, and selenium are especially important.
- Take extra vitamin C, 500 to 1,000 mg up to three times per day, or consider taking liposomal vitamin C at a dosage of 1,000 mg once or twice daily.
- Boost your vitamin D levels. Take 2,000 to 5,000 IU daily.
Everyone knows how important vitamin D is good for healthy bones, but its role in human health goes well beyond that. Modern research now shows that vitamin D targets over 2,000 genes (about 10% of the human genome) in the human body.
Since it is estimated that one out of every two Americans is likely to have blood levels below 20 ng/ml, widespread vitamin D supplementation may prove to be effective. To ensure optimal vitamin D status, recently most health experts, myself included, are advocating daily dosages of 2,000 to 5,000 IU, even in apparently healthy adults. The research definitely supports this higher dosage level, especially during the winter months.
Liposomal vitamin C is an advanced form of vitamin c designed for better absorption and utilization within the body. Liposomes are small spherical cells that are composed of an outer layer made of fatty acids known as phospholipids derived from either sunflower or soy. Liposomes also have an inner compartment composed of water and water-soluble active ingredients. The water-soluble ingredient like vitamin C is protected within the inner compartment by the liposomal structure.
The primary advantage of liposomal vitamin C is improved absorption. The ability of our intestinal cells to uptake higher doses of vitamin C has a threshold. That is why higher doses of vitamin C can cause excessive gas and/or diarrhea. The bioavailability of liposomal vitamin C is significantly greater than regular vitamin C, it is taken up into the body at almost double the level that of regular vitamin C. Liposomal vitamin C is often promoted as an oral alternative to getting an intravenous (IV) dosage of vitamin C. Take 1,000 mg once or twice daily for added protection during the cold and flu season.
There are no natural products with proven clinical efficacy against the coronavirus, but there are several that make a lot of sense to provide general support. Here are some of the best considerations:
Epicor and Wellmune
Epicor and Wellmune are special preparations produced from Baker’s yeast via proprietary processes. Both are a rich source of beta-glucan and other immune-enhancing compounds. Both Epicor and Wellmune also have been shown to be effective in boosting immune function in humans in a total of over 20 clinical trials. For example, EpiCor has been shown to increase the levels of secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) as well as enhance natural killer (NK) cell function. Secretory IgA protects the lining of our mucus membranes from infection while NK cells are a type of white blood cell that circulates in our blood to destroy foreign cells. There have been eight double-blind, placebo-controlled trials with Epicor in humans. The most relevant to viral infections were studies conducted in both adults who had received a flu shot and those who had not. In both cases, EpiCor supplementation at a dosage of 500 mg daily had a beneficial effect on reducing the incidence of cold and flu symptoms.
Monolaurin is a fat found in coconut oil that is also available as a dietary supplement. It exerts some interesting antiviral effects with confirmed activity to viruses similar to coronavirus. Many viruses, as well as bacteria and protozoa (parasites) are enveloped by a protective membrane composed of fatty substances (lipids). Current research indicates that monolaurin dissolves lipids in the fatty envelope, basically disintegrating the organisms’ protective shield and causing them to be easily destroyed by the immune system. The typical dosage of monolaurin in 1,000-1,500 mg twice daily.
Serratia peptidase or serrapeptase is a digestive enzyme that also helps keeps mucus secretions in an optimal state – not too thick and not too watery. Originally isolated from a bacteria that resides in the intestines of the silkworm, it is also called “silkworm” enzyme as it is what breaks down the cocoon to free the silk moth. In addition to its nonspecific effect on host defenses against infection, serrapeptase was recently shown to exert antiviral effects by digesting proteins that coat the virus. Other proteolytic enzymes, e.g., bromelain, may also be effective. The dosage for serrapeptase is based upon enzyme activity: 80,000-100,000 SPUs twice daily between meals on an empty stomach.
Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus) is a traditional Chinese medicine. It has also been shown to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms of the common cold. Research in animals indicates that astragalus apparently works by stimulating several factors of the immune system. In particular, it appears to stimulate white blood cells to engulf and destroy invading organisms and cellular debris as well as enhance the production of interferon (a key natural compound produced by the body to fight viruses). Follow label instructions.
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