In the midst of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus ( COVID-19), many people are looking for quick-fixes sometimes dubbed “immunity boosters.” But what does it actually mean to “boost” your immune system, and is it really possible?
We know that the immune system is your first line of defense against all infections, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus or mold. It is also the consensus among expert immunologists that the white blood cells (WBC’s) and their component parts including T-cell and NK natural killer cells play a vital role in combating foreign invaders whether they are ingested, inhaled, or spread by person-to-person contact.
When we consider everything in the body when it comes to staying healthy, at the top of the list is homeostasis or internal balance. “Boosting” just means balancing the immune system. Obviously, there is no single fast-acting magic bullet or solution. It generally takes a combination of preventive measures to ensure your immune system is at its peak performance most of the time.
To start to balance the immune system it is recommended to work on the lifestyle factors first. The main lifestyle factors we need to concentrate on are sleep, stress management, nutrition, and maintaining a super healthy microbiome. And to ensure these lifestyle shifts are sustainable, the practices should fulfill you, rather than feel like a difficult chore, or something that you know you will have difficulty being consistent with on a daily basis.
Beyond washing your hands and getting more sleep, which are incredibly important practices, there are other activities that can help strengthen your immunity, not just supercharge it.
Some common-sense recommendations include:
- Stay hydrated – drinking good quality water will help keep your lungs moist and mucus flowing which clears the lungs of the gunk that can collect and create conditions for opportunistic infections to thrive.
- Drink green or black tea – Studies show that certain teas have tremendous antioxidant polyphenols that have been shown to support the immune system by fighting off free radicals.
- Limit your sugar intake – Eating a healthy diet, and limiting ( or eliminating) inflammatory foods, like sugar, not only helps the body recover faster, it also helps build up your immunity so it is more resilient and dynamic.
- Get good quality sleep – Sleep is fundamentally one of the most important practices in self-care. Quality REM ( rapid eye movement) sleep where one achieves several cycles of REM deep sleep helps to boost the immune system and keep hormones in balance.
- Manage your stress levels – Deep breathing from the abdomen several times in a row, meditation, prayer, or mild exercise, for example, can keep cortisol levels in check and help to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Take pharmaceutical-grade supplements to boost immunity- Recent clinical studies are suggesting that taking a nutritional supplement protocol may be as effective in preventing various forms of bacteria and viruses as prescription medication. My immune-boosting regimen includes a daily probiotic, vitamin C twice daily, vitamin D3, selenium, and zinc. This supplemental combination should help to support a healthy immune system.
- If you are feeling ill- Stay home!
Since this has been an active viral season with colds, flu, and now the coronavirus, here is a brief review of the details of viral function. Viruses are non-living particles consisting of protein and nucleic acid that infect cells in biological organisms. They can reproduce only by invading and taking over other cells as they lack the cellular machinery for self-reproduction. A virus is about ten times smaller than a bacteria. Some viruses you will recognize are influenza, herpes, measles, and the common cold. Some viruses are particularly dangerous because they can undergo a period of latency, during which they are hidden in the cell and do not reproduce. Influenza and HIV are examples of viruses that frequently mutate, thus making it nearly impossible to achieve a long-lasting immunity.
So, as you can see, the immune system is quite complex. The body, however, is very intelligent and will respond if given the opportunity to heal and you follow best practices to avoid viral illnesses.
For further questions, you may call Cypress Pharmacy at ( 239)-481-7322 or go to http://www.cypresspharmacy.com for more information on how to keep your immune system performing optimally. Cypress Pharmacy’s staff of caring professionals is always available with answers and information regarding your medication and wellness questions. However, our professionals are not equipped to test for or diagnose Coronavirus. If you have symptoms of a viral illness including coughing, shortness of breath or fever, please consult your nearest medical professional.
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