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It seems like the Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be sticking around for quite some time. While some of us may catch the virus and have none or few symptoms at all, others may be severely affected with symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, nausea. loss of taste and smell and even more disturbing symptoms like shortness of breath, a feeling of pressure in the chest, difficulty breathing. (1) Most of us should recover without complications if we do get infected within 2 to 3 weeks. But while doctors warn that those with preexisting conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are at high risk for severe illness, if they catch the virus, there are cases where seemingly healthy individuals have required a hospital stay or even passed away.
The best we can all do right now to protect ourselves from the virus is to adhere to the recommended safety precautions like washing our hands, not touching our mouths or noses, and wearing a mask in public settings. It’s also a great time to work on getting healthy and giving our immune system what it needs to be able to perform when we need it most. Keep reading to see a few ways you can immediately improve your health, support your immune system, and help those around you do the same. You can find all the recommendations at online health and wellness superstore iHerb.com. As always be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.
1. Take Your Vitamin C
An essential nutrient that our bodies can’t produce or store, Vitamin C plays several roles in keeping our immune system strong. Not only does it act as an antioxidant protecting immune cells from damage from free radicals, but Vitamin C also enhances immune cell function while helping the body make new white blood cells responsible for fighting off infections. Vitamin C can also recycle vitamin E in the body from its oxidized form. (1) Vitamin C can be found in fresh vegetables, leafy greens, tomatoes and fruits like strawberries, oranges, and lemons and should be eaten every day. There hasn’t been studies yet showing the effectiveness of Vitamin C and COVID-19 specifically, but previous studies have shown that Vitamin C can help shorten the duration and the severity of symptoms of the common cold which is also caused by a virus.
Recommended Product: Lake Avenue Nutrition Quali-C Vitamin C
2. Melt Away Stress
Believed to be the root cause of 90% of all illnesses, research has shown that a life of chronic stress can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to germs than those who have their stress under control. Stress can come in a variety of forms and can include mental stress, emotional stress, as well as physical stress that can be induced from pollution, poor diet, injury, surgeries, illness or chronic diseases. Stress can even fuel symptoms like anxiety, depression, and poor sleep which can in turn cause even more stress on your body and further weaken your immune system.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress that goes unchecked over time can eventually lead to even more serious health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Stress has even been linked to other nasty physical symptoms including ulcers, allergies, and migraine headaches, and can make preexisting conditions even worse. It’s also not uncommon to feel tired, overwhelmed, sad, or irritable.
It’s impossible to completely eliminate stress since it is just a part of life. But there are some healthy ways to relieve it including eating healthy, exercising (walking, yoga, bicycling, jogging, etc), taking time to do something you enjoy (painting, reading, photography, etc.), spending time outdoors, and meditating. Even meditating for 5 to 10 minutes a day can do wonders for your health.
If you get burned out easily or are experiencing stressful times (like most of 2020) it may be a good idea to try a stress support supplement like this one from ZŌI Research Stress Support. It includes a blend of adaptogenic herbs that have shown studies to balance stress hormones. The ashwagandha in this formula has been specifically shown in studies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, help symptoms of anxiety, and promote more restful sleep. The B vitamins in this formula nourish, boost mood and promote a strong and healthy nervous system while the amino acid L-Theanine found in green tea leaves has shown in studies to promote relaxation while maintaining a state of alertness which makes it perfect for while you’re working. Other ingredients like zinc are known immune boosters. With this formula, you should begin to feel balanced and calm without feeling drowsy.
Recommended Product: ZŌI Research Stress Support
3. Get A Daily Dose Of The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin” is a super important anti-inflammatory fat-soluble vitamin that helps to activate the germ-fighting power of immune cells to protect us in the presence of infection.
If left unchecked in the body, low Vitamin D levels have been shown in studies to decrease proper immune response and have been linked with a weaker lung function. Not getting enough Vitamin D leaves us more susceptible to viral and bacterial respiratory infections which in turn can be harder for our bodies to fight without it. (3, 4, 5)
Since our body needs sunlight to produce Vitamin D it can be easy to become deficient, especially for those who are older, have darker complexions, live in colder climates, or are now forced to quarantine indoors. Some foods are considered good sources of vitamin D including salmon, shrimp, egg yolks, milk, and mushrooms, but it’s extremely difficult to get all the Vitamin D you need from diet alone. It’s recommended to supplement with 1,000 to 4,000 IUs of Vitamin D per day but it’s a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor to determine if you need a higher therapeutic dose to bring low levels back to normal.
Recommended Product: Lake Avenue Nutrition, Vitamin D3 1,000 IU
4. Try Vitamin E
In addition to promoting skin, hair and vision health the body also uses vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong in order to fight off viruses and bacteria. (6) An important fat-soluble nutrient and a potent antioxidant, Vitamin E has also been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory properties helping to protect and repair cells damaged by free radicals that can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells, helping to strengthen the capillary walls, widen blood vessels and possibly reduce the risk of dangerous blood clots. Much research still needs to be done, but Vitamin E supplementation may in time prove beneficial for those who get COVID-19. In fatal cases of the virus, autopsies are revealing an unusual amount of blood clots in not only the lungs, but in every organ of the body despite the patients being given typical anti-clotting medications.
According to the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 93% of the US adult population does not meet the estimated average requirement (EAR) for vitamin E. ( 7)
For an easy way to get more Vitamin E in your routine on the go try the Vitamin E from Lake Avenue Nutrition available only at iHerb
Recommended Product: Lake Avenue Nutrition Vitamin E 400 IU Softgels
5. Wear A Mask To Stop The Spread
We all get that wearing a mask is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it is one of the most important things besides washing our hands and social distancing to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. It’s very possible for any of us to carry and spread the coronavirus even if we don’t feel sick or realize we’re yet infected. It’s the right thing to do to protect other people and the at-risk loved ones in their lives.
The CDC advises:
“COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. ”
Right now it is recommended that anyone over the age of 2 who does not have breathing issues should be wearing some sort of cloth face covering when they’re around people from other households, in public settings or especially when it’s difficult to maintain 6ft or more social distancing measures.
According to the CDC a mask or cloth face covering is defined as:
“a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face-covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.”
If you’re still looking for that perfect face mask that combines breathability with protection, iHerb has a selection of different masks for you to choose from at special trial prices (they really are a great deal) including reusable fabric masks, KN95 Respirator Masks, and the Korean designed KF94 Masks. Give a few a try to see which styles you feel most comfortable in.
The KN95 Masks filter up to 95% of particles up to .3 microns in size whereas the KF94 masks will filter at least 94% of airborne particles and are specially designed with a 3D flat-fold shape to give the wearer more comfort and space to breathe.
Recommended Product: Tony Moly CTT KN95 Respirator Mask
My favorite protective mask to wear so far has been the reusable Kosette mask. Lightweight and comfortable, this mask is made with nylon, spandex, and 5-layers of a special nano filter technology fabric that filter out micro particles like dust and bacteria while increasing your airflow by 95%. This means you can breathe easily even when the weather is hot and humid. What I also like about it is there is a moldable nosepiece that helps to secure it on your face and the ear straps are adjustable so you can really get a good fit. To keep this mask clean it’s easily washable and I recommend giving it a good washing in the sink by hand with a little soap and hanging it to dry to preserve its life.
Recommended Product: Kosette Nano Reusable Face Protection Mask
6. Support Your Gut Too
Once believed to be only for food digestion, we now know our guts are responsible for supporting over 160 different types of living bacteria which account for at least 70% of our immune system. That means it’s important to keep our gut microbiome happy if we want a strong immune system and a healthy body. To do so, it’s important to eat a clean diet that is low in sugar, high in fiber, and rich in plant-based foods. It’s also important to introduce new good bacteria into your body by eating a variety of naturally fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt (look for sugar-free or low sugar brands, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir that can be found in the refrigerated section of your health food or grocery store. Look for words like ‘naturally fermented,’ ‘live food’ or ‘contains live cultures’ on the label.
Taking a daily probiotic is a great way to keep your gut populated with more of the good guys. Look for formulas with a variety of different bacterial strains to get the best benefits. Not only will you be improving your immunity but in time you may also notice other health benefits as well. Besides suppressed immunity poor gut health has been linked to other health issues and symptoms including but not limited to skin breakouts, sugar cravings, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and even food allergies and sensitivities, depression and anxiety.
If you want to really kick your gut health into high gear opt for a more intensive formula with at least 20 billion CFU’s. One of my favorites is HealthyBIOM™. It’s a really great high potency probiotic formula that contains a blend of 50 Billion CFU’s with 12 probiotic strain as well as a prebiotic (fructooligosaccharide) for an effective and high potency digestive for super immune support.
Recommended Product: HealthyBiom High Potency Probiotics 50 Billion CFU’s
7. Omega 3’s To The Rescue!
The building blocks of cell membranes, omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most important nutrients that research shows 90% of us are not getting enough of. Even if you do have a diet and consider yourself healthy, it is still easy to be deficient in this important anti-inflammatory nutrient that has an important role to play in healthy immune system response. The importance of omega 3’s have been studied since the 1970’s and researchers learned early on that, like all good things, a balance of essential fatty acids are key to a properly functioning of the immune system. (8)
According to Dr. Michael Murray a leading world expert on natural medicine, omega-3 fatty acids regulate the gene expression of white blood cells, which helps regulate proper immune function, reduce the production of inflammatory compounds that can damage the immune system and improve the way immune cells communicate with each other, leading to improved immune system function.
With the modern American diet and increasing prevalence of foods made with soy and canola oils, we get plenty of omega-6’s and just not enough omega-3’s. Our bodies can’t produce omega-3’s on their own so that’s why it’s important to supplement. Try adding a fish oil supplement to get in the omega 3’s you need to support your immune health. We love the California Gold Nutrition Omega-3 Premium Fish Oil from iHerb. These are an awesome value that provides 680mg of omega 3 fatty acid that are molecularly distilled to remove any impurities.
Recommended Product: California Gold Nutrition Omega-3 Premium Fish Oil
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