You should not consider this information as a remedy against Coronavirus disease or COVID-19. Rather this informations help in Boosting immune health naturally to prevent disease. This virus is new and Scientists yet to find the accurate answer to it. You should follow the WHO’s guidelines for self-protection and prevention. Overall a well trained healthy immune system gives protection against foreign pathogens. There is some incidence that demonstrated the immune system of one otherwise healthy person was able to fight the virus within days. (1)Although we may not always have the same result, boosting immune health gives higher protection level than weak immune health.
In an unknown situation, strengthening own health may be another strategy. Turkish academic suggests bolstering up your immune system against coronavirus. They recommend eating healthy, sound sleep and being physically active to fight infection. (2)
Boosting immune health naturally to prevent disease
Foods and Lifestyle factors that boost immune function
Exercise and Immune function
Exercise has many benefits. The immune system is very responsive to exercise. Exercise bout improves the activity of immune cells against harmful pathogenic substances in parallel with an enhanced recirculation of antibodies, immune cells as well as anti-inflammatory signals. A recent 2019 review of various studies concluded exercise improves the regulation of the immune system and reduces inflammation. Moreover, exercise reduces the risk of illness, delays in aging improve day time activeness and nighttime sleep. (3)
Doing some exercise and sitting for the whole day is also not good. Apart from exercise move your body, do some of your favorite Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) like gardening, walking, playing with your pet and similar.
Sleep and immune function
A night of good sleep helps in growth, repair, and rejuvenation of your body According to a new study, sleep improves the potential ability of some of the body’s immune cells such as T cell to attach to their targets. Moreover sleep deprivation can lead to stress, increased inflammation and can make your body more susceptible to illness. (4,5,7) A normal person needs 7-9 hr uninterrupted sleep that may vary from person to person. Best time to sleep in between 9 pm to 6 am. I will tell you later what science exists behind it. Late-night sleep doesn’t mean modernization.
Related articles on sleep:
Nutrients that give strength to immune functions
Vitamin C and immune health
In vivo, vitamin C shows anti-viral immune responses at the early time of infection. (7) Vitamin C participates in the production of lymphocytes and phagocytes known as white blood cells which protect our body from infection. (8) It also helps your body to heal from a wound at a faster rate. Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. It also supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and prevents free radicals damage to the skin, thereby potentially protecting against environmental oxidative stress. Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. (9) For the case of foods like lemon or orange, consider a portion of the peel also.
Vitamin D and immune function
Vitamin D not only works as a vitamin it also works as a hormone. It has important roles in modulating the immune response. And it also had shown protective against infections. In a 2019 Meta-analysis as published in the European Respiratory Journal pooled data from 1,850 patients from eight countries found vitamin D helps to boost the immune system to speed up the clearance of tuberculosis bacteria from the lungs of people. Another Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 25 clinical studies found overall vitamin D have a mild protective effect against acute respiratory tract infection. (10)
Sunshine not only helps to give you vitamin D but also kills many germs. Having enough sunshine is beneficial to health. Vitamin D deficiency has also an association with chronic fatigue and body pain. Know more about this as well as food sources and daily upper limited read with this link.
However, if you are taking vitamin D you also need vitamin K2. Read more why without vitamin K2 vitamin D and calcium can be disastrous.
Zinc and immune function
Apart from many other functions, mineral zinc has healing properties. Your body’s immune system needs zinc to do its job. An individual with zinc deficiency has a higher risk of getting pneumonia and other infections. (11)A meta-analysis of seven clinical studies found in five studies with zinc supplementation with doses of 80-92 mg/day reduced common cold duration by 33%. The other two studies found a dose of 192-207 mg/day reduced the duration by 35%. (12)
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Zinc: (13)
Food sources include oyster, meat, eggs, Sea-foods like crabs, lobster, poultry and some fortified foods. Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dairy products, which provide some amount of zinc which may also depend on soil quality.
Proteins and immunity
Apart from many other functions your body also needs protein to make antibodies against germs. Whatever your choice of protein whether animal source or plant source, you need a healthy choice of proteins. We can’t consider contaminated fish, egg, meat or poultry loaded with hormone and antibiotics and preserved or processed meat with cancer-causing nitrate as healthy. Similarly, vegan proteins with lots of harmful chemicals can’t be healthy sources. Whatever your choice is, ensure it is from a good source. With vegan sources combining different sources of protein such as beans, legumes, lentils, etc, you can get complete proteins. Alternatively, if your food doesn’t contain enough protein, you may choose a good protein supplement free from caffeine, artificial flavors or other artificial additives.
Present RDA recommendation of daily protein intake 0.8 g per kg weight for the basic nutritional requirements. (14)
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) and Glutathione Restoration
Glutathione (GSH), one of the main body antioxidants, that gives protection to cells and tissues of your body from free radical damage. A deficiency in glutathione can become devastating to health. The body’s antioxidant defense highly depends on the glutathione status of the body. Therefore many also call it mother antioxidant. (15,16) Glutathione plays many vital roles in your body, including (17,18,19)
- Direct neutralization of reactive free radicals
- Cofactor for several antioxidant enzymes
- Regeneration of vitamins C and E
- Support immune function
- Sperm cell formation
- Participate in the neutralization of free radicals, harmful chemicals in Phase I and phase II detoxification process of the liver and kidney and make them water-soluble for excretion by the kidneys
- Transportation of mercury out of cells and the brain
- Assisting cellular reproduction and death
- Vital to mitochondrial function and maintenance of mitochondrial DNA
But its concentration decreases during aging. (20) Moreover, researchers found low blood glutathione in unhealthy people with chronic diseases. (21,22) Which indicates faster use up of glutathione also with an unhealthy lifestyle.
However, to restore glutathione level there is a debate of oral consumption of glutathione in efficacy probably due to degradation by digestive enzymes. Your body needs three conditionally essential amino acids, glycine, cysteine, and glutamine combine to form glutathione. Researchers identified cysteine as rate-limiting, which provides the reason to study more N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). (18)
Fortunately, we can do to optimize glutathione levels. While oral cysteine does not make it through the digestive tract, supplemental cysteine in the form of whey or N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has shown effectiveness in the optimization of glutathione levels. (17) Moreover, researchers also surmised that the typical reduction of glutathione in the elderly was due to a lower supply of glycine and cysteine. (18)
Daily dosage and safety of NAC
There are no universal guidelines on the appropriate daily dose of NAC. Usually, 600-1000 mg is taken per day. (17)
NAC is likely to be safe for most adults and also found in health food stores. But, NAC may increase the excretion of trace minerals. However, also suggests that this effect is too minimal to make a real difference. (23) This can be easily offset by a good multivitamin multimineral supplement in the case of the use of NAC for an extended period. Again more is not always better. NAC has evidence for tumor initiation in animals when used regularly at high doses. (24)
Other nutrients that participate in immune function (25)
Copper and immune function
Copper is an important component of another body’s main antioxidants superoxide dismutase that protects immune cells from oxidative damage. It may also help cells of the immune response to kill bacteria. Food sources include Nuts, bean, lentils, peas, oysters, crab and more. Drinking water from copper container also helps to have copper.
Selenium and immune function
Selenium is an integral component of antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase, that protect immune cells. Food sources include meat, seafood, brazil nuts, sunflower seed, egg, cottage cheese, fortified foods and more.
Vitamin A and immune function
Immune cells that generate antibodies need vitamin A for proper functioning. Food sources include egg, cod liver oil, sweet potato, orange and yellow colored vegetables and fruits, fortified foods and more.
B-Group of vitamins and immune health
Your body needs vitamin B6 and B12 or folate to generate immune cells as well as for proper immune response. In fact, deficiency can negatively affect your immune health. In general B groups of vitamins work in synergy.
Other nutrients that help in immune functions include vitamin E and Iron.
Development and Education of the Immune system
Probiotics and prebiotics
The mammalian intestinal tract is the largest immune organ. The human body is a residence trillions of bacteria majority of which reside in the gastrointestinal tract and collectively called collectively known as the microbiota. (26)
There exists friendly, harmful and some neutral bacterial colony. All of them live like an ecosystem along with the host human and have numerous vital roles in human health. Apart from many other functions, the Gastro-Intestinal microbiota stimulates the nonspecific and specific immune system components development, just after birth and during the entire life and it acts as an anti-infectious barrier by inhibiting the pathogen activity. Gastrointestinal microbiota contributes to immune system development and education. (27)
Without education, your immune system becomes like a strong army without a commandant. And an uneducated strong immune system can become a liability rather than an asset. Therefore such an uneducated army can become hostile even against the host human. That’s why gut dysbiosis or imbalance of gut bacteria can lead to many autoimmune diseases where immune cells become attack the body’s own tissue. Moreover, friendly bacteria fight against foreign pathogens.
Therefore supplementing good probiotics with friendly bacteria help to develop a friendly bacterial ecosystem. Probiotic foods such as kefir, yogurt or curd, kimchi, etc with friendly bacterial culture also help in a similar way. However, if you are critically ill you should not use probiotics.
Also, read what to look before buying a probiotic.
Prebiotic foods like dietary fiber feed gut bacteria and thus improve gut health. Usually, vegetables, whole grains, fruits contain varying amounts of dietary fiber. However, if you have a condition like SIBO, IBS high fiber diet may make it worse.
Natural products that fight germs, viruses, bacteria
Colostrum and immunity
Colostrum is the milk-like fluid released by mammals including humans immediately after birth to a newborn. Apart from other nutrients, it contains specific kinds of proteins called antibodies that fight disease-causing agents such as bacteria and viruses.
Bovine colostrum i.e. colostrums from the cow contains IgG, IgM, and IgA as antibodies. (28) In studies, bovine colostrums consumption had shown to improve antibodies and immune function in humans. (29,30) Another study has shown to fight and reduced the risk of upper respiratory infection in cyclists with the consumption of bovine colostrum. (31) You can find bovine colostrum in the health food stores. For a daily dose, you can check with this link.
Honey Bee Products
Honey bees have a unique system that protects their eggs and young from infection of the external environment. Can bee products give you some protection that way it gives to bee? Humans are using bee products for many years for promoting health. And there are also some results.
Propolis and immunity
Bees make propolis a glue-like mixture to build and seal open spaces in their hives. In a study, the challenged bees in a propolis-enriched environment had an increased immune response compared to challenged bees in the cage environment with no propolis. (32) Propolis exerts antibacterial. anti-fungal, antiviral, immunomodulatory, antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Bee propolis is also used for sore throat, skin wounds, and mouth disorders. Researchers suggest anti-inflammatory efficacy as the most important feature of propolis in sore throats and upper respiratory diseases. (33,34) But propolis lacks extensive research and does have enough studies to establish the recommended dose. Propolis is possibly safe with oral intake but not evaluated for pregnant, breastfeeding women. If you have allergic to bees or bee products, asthma or surgery in ahead then avoid propolis. (35)
Honey has also many uses and has properties like antioxidant, anti-bacterial, cough suppression and more. Manuka honey is the most powerful form of honey. Other good quality honey like mountain honey and forest honey also works well.
If you have elevated blood sugar levels, honey intake may elevate it further. Read more about the top natural sugar-free sweetener.
Bee Pollen and immunity
Worker honey bees gather bee pollens to use as the primary food source for the hive. Honey bees make this mixture from flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions. In studies, bee pollen had shown antibacterial activities against harmful bacteria. (36,37) Furthermore, researchers indicated the adaptogenic properties of pollen-based on resistance to harmful physical, chemical, and biological factors. They also indicated that bee pollen may improve the immune system’s strengths against infection and help to prevent illness. Generally, bee pollen is started with ¼ of a teaspoon and gradually increased up to 2 teaspoons. (38)
Bee products are mostly safe when using within the limit. However not mostly evaluated for pregnant and breastfeeding women. If you have a bee or flower allergy you should avoid bee products.
Garlic has a long traditional use for its germ-fighting abilities. One study showed that garlic had some inhibitory effects on a coronavirus but not sure about this new coronavirus (COVID-19). (39) Garlic water can increases your germ-fighting abilities. Moreover, garlic helps to reduce high blood pressure. However, we can’t eat much garlic. For more information about garlic and daily intake limit for garlic read more with this article.
Some other natural products that help to improve health include holy basil, turmeric and more.
Periodic fasting and immune health
Periodic fasting like intermittent fasting or time-restricted fasting i.e. eating in a time of window helps to reset your health in many ways. That also helps to improve your immune function.
In a study, aging and longevity scientist Valter Longo and colleagues found in both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial involving patients receiving chemotherapy, long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. That, in turn, killed older and damaged immune cells and generate new ones. White blood cells or lymphocytes are key components of your immune system. (40)
Researchers also found intermittent fasting reduced risk of heart disease by improving markers including blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. (41) However, before trying intermittent fasting you must consult with your healthcare provider and evaluate your health.
A New Study on Potential Inhibitor of COVID-19 from Plant Compounds
A new study suggests that quercetin, curcumin, EGCG or green tea extract, gingerol, and some other plant nutritional compounds may inhibit COVID-19 by interfering with proteases involved with viral replication. However, that needs more research. (42)
Quercetin and immunity
Quercetin, a plant nutrient, has a wide range of biological actions including anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral activities; as well as preventing cholesterol oxidation (a major risk factor for heart disease). In test-tube and animal studies, quercetin exhibited anti-inflammation and immune-enhancement. (43) In a human clinical study, quercetin (500 mg/day) significantly reduced early-morning stiffness, pain and after-activity pain in arthritis. (44)
Food sources include capers, peppers (yellow and green), onions, shallots, asparagus (cooked), cherries, tomatoes, red apples, red grapes, broccoli, kale, red leaf lettuce, berries (all types), tea ( green tea and black) You can also found quercetin as a supplement in the health food stores. The typical dose of quercetin ranges from 500mg per day. (45)
Turmeric or Curcumin
Curcumin is the most active compound of turmeric. This might curcumin exerts a wide range of health beneficial biological activities. However, your body can’t absorb curcumin efficiently through the intestine. Read how to enhance the absorption of curcumin in your body.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a green tea extract, has shown to have multiple beneficial effects on human health in cancer, blood circulation, bone regeneration, nervous system, and brain health. It also exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties. (46)
EGCG is not completely risk-free and supplementation has been associated with liver and kidney damage, dizziness, low blood sugar, anemia. One group of researchers suggested 338 mg of EGCG per day in solid supplemental form as a safe intake level. Some expert relates the negative effects of toxic contamination, not ECGC itself. However, you need to be cautious before supplementation. (47)
You can have EGCG directly from green tea powder or supplement form in the health food store. Japanese matcha green tea claims the highest EGCG contains. Green tea also contains caffeine. Therefore you should consume in limitation and avoid it after the evening.
Gingerol is the phenolic compound found in ginger. Read more about the health benefits of ginger as well as risk and safety.
Including colorful plant-based foods in your diet, you can have those health beneficial plant nutrients.
Sauna Bathing helps to raise core body temperature. Temperature helps to kill some of the viruses. Sauna may help you as a preventive measure against some viruses and shown positive results in common colds. However, we still don’t know sauna bathing can go against COVID-19.
Foods and lifestyle factors that destroy your health & immunity
You may take some measures to improve your immune function. But you equally need to give attention to factors that destroy your immune health. Probably you need lesser time to destroy than to build.
Sugar, processed carbohydrates/foods
These foods actually can bring your health down in many ways. Evidence suggests that elevated blood sugar levels may increase your risk of infection as well as many other health complications. (48)
Many people know that sugar and processed foods are bad for their health. But many don’t know how bad are them? I have seen many tried to overcome those foods but failed in the long term. A diet that demands an enormous amount of willpower fails in the long run. We will explore later the hidden sciences behind why people eat more sugar and processed food and how to beat such craving permanently.
And You must bring down your chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation is the key driver to most of the chronic diseases. And chronic inflammation damages your tissues, organs and makes your system weak as well as disease-prone.
Boosting immune health helps to prevent disease. But that doesn’t mean you will not be infected. Better immunity improves health and your chance of living. According to a study by the country’s national health authority more than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions. (49)This Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is new and yet to find a definite solution. You must follow the WHO’s guideline and find this public guideline with this link. And in the case of any suspicion, you should immediately contact your doctor. Stay healthy, stay safe and be happy.
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