By: Dee Gorski, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.
At the time of writing this, the Covid-19 virus is spreading and the news is aflutter with talks of pandemic. The biggest thing we can do to protect ourselves from infection are maintaining basic health practices (ie washing hands and surfaces) and supporting our own immune systems. Below are some simple options to help you strengthen your immune system:
Stress and anxiety destroy your immune system. The more you are investing energy in worrying about getting sick the more likely you are to get sick. Remember to breathe and do the things that help you to relax and find peace in yourself. If you need more help with this, I would recommend getting acupuncture, massage or energy work to help release tension, and your practitioner will likely have more suggestions for how to calm your system.
Preventative Care Services
There is an old “joke” that our medical system is actually practicing sick-care. It’s pretty true, and very important, but what you need in order to avoid getting sick are health-care practitioners; people who are working to increase your health and vitality. Acupuncture, massage and energy work all support your immune system (directly and indirectly) through a variety of methods including de-stressing, increasing circulation of blood and lymph and increasing white blood cell count!
A good exercise routine boosts your endorphins (lowering stress) and increases your vitality. Getting 30-60 minutes of mild cardio 3+ times per week can have significant effects on mood and immunity. Exercise, especially cardio, is excellent at supporting lymph movement (how we flush garbage and infection) and increases the motility of immune cells making your immunity much more efficient.
Vitamin C is best known for being taken when we are sick, but that’s silly. It is an important cofactor for our immune system that needs to be built up and regularly available, not a magic pill (or lozenge as the case may be.) Taking additional Vitamin C, regularly, will strengthen your immunity.
Vitamin D is used by our body to create larger immunoglobulin and is crucial for the immune system in our skin. Whether being used to kill or capture invading cells, an increase of Vitamin D can be a huge help. Usually sold as D-3, taking double the standard dose can be a significant boost. Only take larger doses for small bursts of time to avoid a toxic build up (double for 5 days, standard or off for 2 days or double a month and then a week off, etc.
Vitamin A is actually a family of fats, and should be taken as a blended capsule, not as only Beta Carotene. Like D, Vitamin A is used in our immunity as a larger globule, but in our mucosal linings rather than skin. As with D (and all fatty vitamins), there is risk of toxic build up, so the same guidelines of moderation apply: Double the dosage, but only for a while.
Garlic has some strong antibacterial properties, as well as some mild to moderate antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Any method of garlic ingestion can be good, but raw garlic is the best. Raw garlic contains Allicin, a strong immune booster which converts easily to other compounds in heating and treatment. If you want to make eating a raw clove of garlic easier, try wrapping it in a piece of cheese or bread.
Research has shown that echinacea boosts white blood cell count, though not to a major degree. Easy to find in capsule or tea form, this herb is ubiquitous. Here’s the catch though: to keep effectiveness up, you need to stop taking it. Like the recommendations around Vitamins A and D, consider a 5 days on 2 days off approach, or taking echinacea for 3-4 weeks and stopping for 1 week.
We are honored to be here for you in this critical time. We hope you will let us be your safe haven for building your immune system for many years to come!