I’m sure you’ve all been getting a bit nervous about the coronavirus. So much of what we are hearing about on the news and from the CDC is about limiting possible exposure which is important. What I’d like to address here, however, is how to improve your immune system so that if you do get exposed, you’ll be in a better condition to fight it off.
First line of defense to fight this virus?
“Vitamin D is involved in over 100,000 immune system reactions”, according to Dr. Petra at Swiss Mountain Clinic. The correlation between between vitamin D deficiency and increase in viral infections has been proven. So far, the people who have died from Coronavirus have been significantly deficient.
Vitamin D Levels are measured in nmol/L in most countries but measured in ng/mL in the US. According to Dr. Petra, vitamin D levels should be at 100 to 170 nmol/L or 40 to 68 ng/mL. Other functional and naturopathic doctors that I’ve worked with prefer to see D levels at 50 ng/mL when fighting off infection, viruses or regrowing bone. Note that this is higher than what most allopathic or conventional doctors would call a normal range which can dip as low 30. This isn’t optimum however.
If you’re particularly low then supplementing with high doses of vitamin D3 is recommended. Always work with a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor to determine dosage for you as pre-existing conditions can make high dosage supplementation toxic to some. To give you an idea of what that could look like (especially if you live in the pacific northwest like I do), I take 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 with 100mg of vitamin K per day and it’s taken nearly a year to boost my levels up from 19 to the high 40’s measured in ng/mL.
- Take high doses of vitamin C, Zinc and L-Lysine each day. Again working with a health care professional on dosage may be helpful especially if you haven’t had a full spectrum nutrient test lately. Note also that high doses of vitamin C will require that your Iron levels be within a normal/optimum range. That means your iron saturation and stores should be optimal.
- Consider adding some more traditionally used herbal supplements that boost your immune system such as Rhodiola, Elderberry, Liquorice, Oregano and my favorite, Olive Leaf. As always, if you have a reaction to one, then try another. Whenever testing out new herbal supplements I recommend starting with just one at a time so if you do have a reaction, you know exactly which it is.
- Get yourself to a sauna! A full spectrum infrared sauna is best however if you only have a dry sauna readily available then go with that. Try to avoid steam saunas as the water vapor is high in chlorine which isn’t good for your immune system or thyroid.
- Be happy! When you aren’t stressed, but instead relaxed or happy, your body is much better able to fight off infections and viruses.
- Drink plenty of water. It’s much more difficult for viruses to attach themselves in your mouth if you’re well hydrated.
- Get plenty of sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours per night. Prioritize this! This is your body’s opportunity to detox and get ready for another fabulous day.
- Consider adjusting your diet to be anti-inflammatory by eliminating dairy, grains (especially wheat) and sugar.
- Allow more time for food to digest between meals to relieve your gastrointestinal tract. This is where 70% of your immune system is! When its functioning well, you’re better able to fight off viruses and infection. Note that this excludes children and may exclude you if you have any specific medical conditions requiring frequent smaller meals.
Remember that to protecting yourself from any virus, not just the coronavirus, your immune system function matters.
I will also add that in the midst of this scare, continuing to live your life filled with joy and purpose is the best thing you can do AND continue to follow CDC and local government precautions to limit your exposure.
In health and wellness,