Artificial vs Natural Immunity
Previously, I talked about whether we are blindly placing more faith in a Covid-19 vaccine that is being developed in less than a year, and bypassing usual and customary practices vs. trusting our own innate and adaptive immune systems which have been protecting us for tens of thousands of years. If you want to receive some hate mail, challenge the validity of vaccines. It is not my intention to tell you what to do when it comes to protecting yourself or your family from potential infection from Covid or any other virus for that matter. It is my intention to EDUCATE you so that you can make the BEST decision possible. Decisions have consequences and those consequences can save your life or cost you your life. The decision to vaccinate or not is generally not a decision based on logic or informed decision, it's usually an emotional one because "that's what everyone does". 99% of people who choose to get this vaccination are doing it out of FEAR (false evidence appearing real) rather than conscious and logical deliberation.
So for those choosing to get the vaccine, I wish you the best of luck because that's just what it may require. For those of you that place more faith in your immune system's ability to protect you, let me share with you the how's and what's of a balanced and healthy immune system.
If 20 people walked into a room or 100 people walked onto a plane and one person was sick (knowingly or unknowingly) with the flu or with Covid, would all 20 people in the room or all 100 people on the plane come down with the flu or Covid? If you answered no, you are correct. How do some people "catch" it and some don't? Our bodies have an army standing guard through our immune systems waiting to attack foreign invaders that cause disease. This army consists of an "innate or cell-mediated branch" and an "adaptive or antibody-mediated branch". Think of the innate branch as the initial attack, the infantry, swift, and powerful but not very specific. These are your white blood cells. Think of the adaptive branch as the targeted attack, the snipers, specific, and calculated toward a known target. These are your antibodies, B and T cells. Because your immune system sometimes can overreact, the goal is to kill the pathogen without creating too much damage to the host that the pathogen is invading. In other words, kill the virus without killing the host.
In fact, doctors around the world have been treating Covid using drugs that suppress the immune system and the resultant "cytokine storm" and we have been using drugs that enhance the immune system. Which one is the right strategy? Enhance or suppress the immune response? The answer is a strong, swift, and balanced immune system. If a fire starts in your kitchen and you call the fire department, if they get there quickly and know what to do, they can put out the fire before it destroys the whole house. Moreover, because the kitchen is on fire doesn't mean they have to water down the whole house and destroy the rooms that weren't on fire. A swift and balanced, not too much and not too little.
So your immune system HAS to be strong and balanced, not overreact, not underreact but just the right response. So, what are the keys to a balanced immune system? I think an easy way to remember it is by learning the "4 S's of a Balanced Immune System"
The 4 S's of a Balanced Immune System
1. Sound nutrition- Research indicates that brightly colored fruits and vegetables help your immune system because they contain phytonutrients and antioxidants. Shoot for 8-10 servings a day and including fermented fruits and vegetables because they contain essential probiotic bacteria that are important for your gut.
2. Sleep- Sleep is critical to a healthy immune system because it gives our body a chance to rest and heal. I wear an Oura ring that tracks my sleep quality and quantity. Most people need 7-8 hours. Create a sleep routine, keep screens out of your bedroom, keep the room and/or mattress cool, avoid alcohol and caffeine late at night. I recommend a product called "Calm Sleep" that has magnesium and melatonin in it that really help with sleep.
3. Stress Management- Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and when the sympathetic nervous system is turned on, immune function is down-regulated and suppressed. Why do we tend to catch colds when we are stressed and tired? Practice meditation and breathing techniques that help with mindfulness. I can't "stress" how important managing the stress in your life is. There are 2 things in life, things we have control over and things we don't. Stop worrying about all the things we don't have control over which is MOST everything!
4. Supplements- Here are the supplements that are critical to a properly functioning immune system.
· Vitamin D3- In a 2019 review of randomized control studies in 11,321 people supplementing with Vitamin D3 significantly decreased the risk of respiratory infections in people deficient in this vitamin and lowered infection risk in those with adequate vitamin D levels. You should take 40 IU's per 10 lbs of body weight.
· Zinc- Zinc is needed for immune cell development and communication and plays an important role in the inflammatory response. Zinc deficiency affects around 2 billion people worldwide and is very common in older adults. In fact, up to 30% of older adults are considered deficient in this nutrient. The proper dose is about 30mg of Zinc daily.
· Vitamin C- This vitamin supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection. It’s also necessary for cellular death, which helps keep your immune system healthy by clearing out old cells and replacing them with new ones. Typically, around 2,000 mg per day is the right dosage.
· Probiotics-Microbes in the lower intestinal tract help us digest food, fight harmful bacteria, and regulate the immune system. When the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. They've been shown to secrete protective substances, which may turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold and creating major disease. There are many probiotics on the market and we carry 2 that are safe and effective due to the quality in which they are manufactured.
· Elderberry- Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), which has long been used to treat infections, is being researched for its effects on immune health. In test-tube studies, elderberry extract demonstrates potent antibacterial and antiviral potential against bacterial pathogens responsible for upper respiratory tract infections and strains of the influenza virus. This is usually taken at the first sign of symptoms and usually 1 teaspoon 4 times daily.
I will be doing a Zoom seminar in early November on Immune Health so look for it. I hope you find this information useful and helpful and please share it so that others can benefit from the information as well.