The current world seems to be extremely polarized into two different groups of people: those who believe the Covid-19 pandemic to be as deadly as the media depicts it to be, and those who feel it’s being blown way out of proportion and therefore creating overhyped panic and fear. This division seems to come from deep-rooted fear among both groups: one is in fear of the horrific ramifications of illness and death, and the other has a fear of the horrific ramifications of giving up our civil liberties and freedom of choice.
No matter what side you stand with, there is one important thing I believe we can ALL agree on: a strong, robust immune system is absolutely vital for human health and survival.
One could argue that our immune system is the single most important component to thriving as a human being, as it shields your body from thousands, if not millions, of harmful pathogens on a daily basis.
This is why it is so important to oftentimes quarantine someone who is immune-compromised, as their weakened “shield” doesn’t adequately protect them from these pathogens and could therefore lead to serious illness or death, even from something as trivial as the common cold.
I am continually amazed at just how resilient the human body is when it is equipped with a strong and healthy immune system, which is why I’ve chosen to study this subject for so many years.
From the moment we are conceived, our bodies start developing this protective system. It begins in the womb with healthy bacteria that is present in the placenta. Once we are born, we immediately receive antibodies from the colostrum and breast milk from our mother, which start the building blocks to our immune system in some pretty miraculous ways.
We now know that a new mother can smell the head of her newborn baby while breastfeeding, and through her olfactory nerve, she can innately sense the nutritive needs of her child. These newborn pheromones communicate to the mother what specific, individual needs the baby has, and the mother’s breastmilk will instinctively alter to accommodate those needs. This is the very beginning stages of building a healthy immune system, and it is simply fascinating to me!
When a baby starts to grow into a toddler, have you ever noticed how often the baby will put things in his or her mouth? This is not just to ease the discomfort of his or her gums while cutting teeth. It’s also an instinctive way to expose themselves to pathogens, viruses, and bacteria, to build a variety of healthy microbes in their gut as a foundation for their immune system.
It has been proven that the majority of our immune system lies in the microbes in our gut. A strong immune system is dependent on balanced levels of bacterial flora, which is built through constant exposure to various microbes. A diverse microbiota is much more likely to bounce back from unhealthy fluctuations and withstand outside intruders, which means a more tolerant and well-regulated immune system.
Studies have shown that when animals are raised in a sterile environment, thus never having been exposed to beneficial microorganisms, they have incredibly weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to harmful viruses and pathogens.
With all of these findings, it makes sense that if you’ve ever taken an antibiotic throughout your lifetime, you have inadvertently stifled your immune system. While sometimes taking an antibiotic is necessary for extreme circumstances such as streptococcus or Lyme disease, they should not be taken for every little ailment or sniffle, which has unfortunately become the norm in Western society. Chances are, all of us have been over-saturated with antibiotics and are missing the adequate number of healthy bacteria our immune systems need to thrive.
On top of being overly inundated with antibiotics, we are also saturating ourselves with antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, which destroy even more of the friendly bacteria that would provide us with a powerful “shield” against harmful pathogens.
Now, factoring in the current stay-at-home lockdown orders that have been mandated due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are putting ourselves at a much greater risk for incredibly weakened immune systems. Lack of contact with an environment outside of our own homes, coupled with the increased use of anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners, we are much more susceptible to getting sick once the lockdown orders are lifted.
This is why it is of great importance to start building our immune systems now before we congregate with others once again and are exposed to pathogens that we have been hiding from for several months.
I’ve compiled a list of ten things that will help you do just that, and hopefully build a resilient shield to help protect you and your family as you ease back into society:
1. Take a high-quality probiotic every single day, preferably one with a potency count of 50 Billion or higher. Make sure they are not made with bioengineered ingredients and are manufactured while following current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). It should contain multiple strains including Lactobacillus acidophilus and plantarum, and Bifidobacterium lactis, longum, and bifidum. Try not to use the capsules that need to be refrigerated, as the product may be too fragile and could’ve been compromised during its commute. Most non-refrigerated brands are freeze-dried and protected from damage.
Here’s a great brand I would recommend: https://amzn.to/2WkQLim
2. Incorporate fermented foods regularly into your diet. These foods are rich in naturally-occurring bacteria and are highly beneficial to consume regularly. Some of the fermented foods I recommend are kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, and kombucha, to name a few.
One of my favorite brands of high-quality fermented veggies is Pickled Planet: https://amzn.to/2LkXmD3
3. Take a high-quality multivitamin that contains high doses of vitamin B1 (thiamine), C, and zinc. I would suggest taking a separate B complex formula as B1 works best when taken with other B vitamins. Here is a good B-complex formula: https://amzn.to/2Lh1Yu3
Through my research, I am convinced that liposomal Vitamin C is the best kind of supplement since it is absorbed much more thoroughly than capsules or pills. Here is a Vitamin C supplement I highly recommend: https://amzn.to/3boTDig
A great overall multi-vitamin that is made by a fantastic company I have grown to love is here: https://amzn.to/2WmoKXx
4. Increase Vitamin D levels. Countless studies have shown that Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for optimal health but is the one vitamin that most people are deficient in. This is because Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, it is a hormone that the body produces when exposed to the sun. Since you cannot get Vitamin D from food, it is imperative to supplement if you do not get daily sun exposure. When supplementing, Vitamin D should also always be taken with Vitamin K2, so make sure to read the labels. Most high-quality supplements will contain both.
Here’s a good Vitamin D/K2 I would recommend: https://amzn.to/3co1ezf
5. Include high-quality Mushroom powders and/or tinctures in your daily regimen. Mushrooms are the fruit of mycelium, which is a cobweb-like cellular network within the soil. Mushrooms contain long-chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha and beta-glucan molecules, which are critical in maintaining a healthy immune response. Make sure to choose organic mushroom powders and tinctures that include a variety of mushroom strands such as reishi, chaga, and lion’s mane.
One of my favorite mushroom brands is Host Defense. You can find it here: https://amzn.to/2Wo2VHp
6. Consume antiviral foods such as coconut oil. Coconut oil is a well-known superfood, but it also has natural antiviral and antifungal properties. It is incredible for the immune system, and it’s high in medium-chain fatty acids that help to balance cholesterol levels and can even help you lose weight. I add one or two tablespoons to my daily protein shakes and I also slather in on my hair and body. Make sure you only get organic, non-GMO extra virgin coconut oil.
Here’s a brand I like: https://amzn.to/2yOkas7
7. Boost nitric oxide with 30 minutes of daily exercise. Nitric oxide production is essential for overall health because it allows blood, nutrients, and oxygen to travel to every part of your body. Regular exercise also helps the body to sweat and release toxins that might be stagnant in your blood. Infrared saunas can accomplish with this as well.
8. Get plenty of fresh air and oxygen. Continuously breathing stale, recycled air in an enclosed room can ultimately hinder your immune system. Try to go outside and breathe fresh air whenever possible. If you cannot go outside, open your windows daily and allow fresh air to circulate in your home. Deep breathing exercises like those found in many yoga practices can also help to stimulate your immune system and relieve stress.
9. Regularly practice grounding, or “earthing” whenever possible. Research has revealed that electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. It makes sense that people who garden and grow their own food seem to experience fewer health problems than those who do not, (although there are probably multiple reasons for this outside of just being in contact with the earth).
There is an incredible book that explains the “Earthing” phenomenon. If you’d like to read it, here it is: https://amzn.to/2LjoLWb
10. Last but certainly not least, maintain a positive outlook! Release any negative feelings or thoughts when they surface and try to stay as joyful as you can, even during trying times. Studies have shown that optimism, happiness, and joy stimulate the immune system almost as much (if not more) than a healthy diet and supplementation.
Our brains are extremely powerful. If they weren’t, then there would be no such thing as a “placebo effect.” Every single thing you choose to focus on will ultimately affect your health. Let go of anger, judgment, fear, and guilt. Remember how uniquely amazing you are, and try to focus on the things you are grateful for!
If you can implement these steps to build your immune system, then you are much less likely to contract a bad case of any viral infection, including COVID-19. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever “get” a virus, it means you will be equipped to handle it, which is exactly what a healthy immune system is supposed to do.
p.s. – While passionate about this subject, I am not a medical doctor, so please don’t take any of the aforementioned information as medical advice. I am merely sharing with you some pretty fascinating research that I’ve compiled here in a short little essay to share with others. Feel free to research more for yourself if you feel so inclined. As always, use common sense, and please consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.