I hope you’re doing well in these incredibly uncertain times. This is truly unprecedented stuff we’re going through right now, but I want to help you by providing what I know, and what you can do to protect you and your family during this time.
We’re all playing our part right now when it comes to self-isolating, quarantining, and seeking to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. As part of that, there are steps that we can take to ensure our best health during this troubling time.
That’s why, today, I’m going to share with you the top 12 things you can do to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
The Top Thing Not To Do
I want to start off this discussion by recommending the number one thing not to do during these times. That surrounds antibiotics.
I have heard a lot of talk around this subject, and having antibiotics on hand. This is to use them for symptoms and to use them for prophylaxis.
You might hear of them in terms of hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine or azithromycin, the former being more readily available in the United States.
While it may reduce the viral presence in respiratory samples, there is no proof of any clinical benefit. It might be encouraging on its own, but it’s not definitive of any real results.
Trials are currently enrolling for mild to moderate infection and for prevention. This is simply to see if this theory has any weight to it, but is in its infancy.
That said there is no discernible data right now, and both of these medications have cardiac side effects when combined. At this stage, most early ideas like these do not pan out.
Key Insight: In fact, the odds are highest that these could cause more harm than good. It is definitely not appropriate for home treatment or for home prophylaxis.
1. Reducing Exposure
The first thing that you can do is reduce your exposure. This is what we talk about when we discuss “flattening the curve.”
If you reduce how often you are potentially exposed to the virus, you can help prevent not only getting it – but spreading it, as well.
This is for real, and social isolation works. Within months of instituting a full-isolation policy, China has gone consecutive days without any new cases.
It may seem extreme, but isolating yourself at home is one of the most pivotal and impactful things you can do to slow the spread of this particular virus.
And, to be honest, most of the people here in the United States are not practicing this level of social isolation. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fact.
It takes time and it takes effort, but it is worth doing. We have to get to full social isolation to lower the spread of COVID-19, and even then it’s going to come back.
Then, there’s washing your hands.
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. That means washing your cuticles, the space in between fingers, the fronts and backs of your hands, and for twenty seconds. Afterward, feel free to use some hand lotion to keep your hands from becoming dry.
Basically, here’s the rule, wash your hands any time that you do something outside. And, even if you’re home all day, try and wash your hands periodically.
Finally, if you shop, you should consider wearing both a mask and gloves for when you are out of the house. The former is especially important if you do not feel well, or simply have a small cough. They will not make you immune, but you’ll be breathing in fewer particles.
Gloves, on the other hand, can help cut down your exposure when touching things at the grocery store or out in public. They can also keep you from touching your face, and fighting that automatic reflex of touching your face.
2. Protect Your HPA Function
This is one of the biggest variables determining how well your immune system works.
Your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is one of the keys to your overall health. When it is in good order, your body goes through cycles of repair and regeneration.
Our HPA response is stable or not dependent upon our stress load and our daily circadian rhythms. These are things we can change or bolster in a helpful way.
The first is to get more and more sleep. Get more than you’re used to. It can truly be as simple as adding 30 to 60 minutes to your current amount of sleep.
Also, consider going to bed early rather than waking up later. It is far easier to train our bodies to go to bed sooner than it is to keep them in bed for longer.
Binge on your sleep when you can, it will certainly help.
Another thing that I would encourage is to consider meditating. Try and get into a regular practice, as it can help augment a compound called IgA.
The more we can boost IgA, the more the barriers of our skin and digestive tract can help keep the bad things out of our system.1
If you take time regularly to be in a quiet setting and to repeat something over and over again in your mind, it is a great place to start.
What you say doesn’t even matter, it’s really just the repetition of it all. That’s what matters most and what can help your IgA response.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Set up a 10-minute session where you are quiet and alone
- Try having a session at least once per day
- Enjoy your session in the morning (first thing, ideally)
- Sit with your back straight and maintain good posture
- Close your eyes and keep your hands still
- Repeat something that allows you to inhale and exhale
- Breathe in and state the following (in your head): 1, 2, 3, 4
- Breathe out and state the following (in your head): 4, 3, 2, 1
- Do this continuously for the next ten minutes
This can make a measurable impact on your health and your IgA response. Give it a try right now, along with some additional sleep, and you’ll like what you find.
Bottom Line: There is so much depth and complexity that we can go into when it comes to meditating, but often it’s best to simply try it the easiest way and see how it works for you.
3. Staying Hydrated
This probably goes without saying, but hydration is key to your health.
Think of it like this: ½-1 ounce of water, per pound of your body weight, per day.
The higher side, closer to 1 ounce, is relevant if you are someone who is more active, especially if you are outdoors and in a warm climate.
This is a bare minimum, though, so I don’t want you to think that it’s all you need. It’s basically an easy place to start, and what you should be looking to get every day.
Key Insight: That’s water, and water alone, and you should not consider any other liquids you have as part of this mix. It should just be water.
The relevance of water is that it improves your body’s barrier function and mucous membranes. Any level of dehydration does make them less able to do their job.
Therefore, it makes your body less able to filter out the various things that we might be exposed to throughout the day.
4. Getting More Dietary Protein
When we think about foods these days, we need to be mindful of things that have long shelf lives and things that come with a low cost.
Protein is one of the most critical elements for a good immune response, so it is important that it plays an active role in your diet.
Our immune cells are made of proteins, and they are made of ones that are essential and ones that can be difficult to get from a diet that is lower in protein.
So, you do want quality protein in your diet. You also want to have that relative to the size of your body.
Think of it like this: you should have a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. So, a 140-pound woman with a quarter body fat, would have about 105 pounds of lean body mass. This would equate to 25 grams of dietary protein around four times a day.
That’s a great place to start and a great way to maintain a strong immune response. That also has effects on the barrier integrity, IgA function, but there is so much data saying that lean body mass is one of the biggest determinants for your risk of severe respiratory disease.
Our big thought right now, as it concerns COVID-19, is who’s getting pneumonia and bad respiratory versions of that. That means that the better your body mass is, the more you can survive during those occasional stressors.
Exercise is still important, but your protein is still a bigger single variable.
5. Introduce More Culinary Spices
We have so much data surrounding common cooking ingredients and how good they can be for your immune system. It’s simply, but it works!
It’s no coincidence that these things have always been favorites, throughout the world’s cultures. They truly have beneficial effects.
It takes the form of a lot of those good staples you likely already have in your pantry:
- Black Pepper
Those are probably the top few, in terms of culinary spices, based on their data contents. And, you can even find versions of those to introduce into your diet.
You can find them fresh, dried, and pretty much all versions have their own benefits.
Something you’ll also see, too, is an idea that massive amounts are necessary (and supplementing with extracts). Truly, though, once you get outside of the amounts you simply get from food, the data gets weaker.
Key Insight: Basically, you get all that you need when you use these culinary spices in your cooking. There is less and less of a need to supplement with them.
6. Getting Adequate Micronutrients
This isn’t a question about mega-dosing or pumping your body full of these micronutrients, but avoiding deficiency and ensuring you are getting just the right amount.
The best documented, single micronutrient would have to be vitamin D. Soon to follow would be both zinc and molybdenum.
Vitamin D is an especially interesting one. We can see narrow blood levels that correlate with the lowest risks of total mortality (otherwise known as early death).
If you have been thinking about your health and educating yourself, one of the most surprising things might be that you’re getting far too much vitamin D.
It’s no joke, you may be getting more than necessary. While we do base this on blood levels, right now is probably not the ideal time to get a blood test.
7. Leverage IgA Agonists
These are things that are specifically shown to increase this aforementioned IgA level in the body. Of those, one of the best documented is what we call saccharomyces boulardii.
This is tricky, because this is often categorized as a probiotic. That said, it’s not a bacteria. I wrote recently about it, but I think it’s worth mentioning again here.
Key Insight: I would not take bacterial probiotics if you have recently taken or have been on antibiotics. Or, if you have had some ongoing immune stress
Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast-based compound, and it supports your body’s own anaerobic bacteria. The other probiotics we talk about are aerobic organisms, they are ones that exist in oxygen.
But, the bulk of your important flora is anaerobic. And, the pills that you take for probiotics don’t help that – and they may be making things worse.
There is good data suggesting that saccharomyces boulardii cuts the risk of exposure and conversion to infection, and it also protects the immune system after usage.
Then, there’s resistant starch. There are truly mountains of evidence to suggest that your general immune defenses are inextricably linked to the amount of short-chain fatty acids in your diet.
These are 5-10 carbon fats that are super fuel for your good, protective immune cells that live in the gut lining. We get these primarily from sources of resistant starch.2
In the diet, this is going to look like the inclusion of:
- Potatoes (especially boiled)
- Bananas and Plantains
This is also built into the Daily Reset Shake. So, when you’re using it you already have a quality standalone meal with the resistant starch that you need in your system. It also has a long shelf life, and can be the perfect addition to your long-term pantry.
Lastly, we have agaricus bisporus mushroom. These are otherwise known as common white button mushrooms, the kind that we see in the store all the time.
They are helpful because they help the body become resistant against viruses, and they also activate relevant immune cells while lowering inflammatory markers.3
These can be worth adding in supplemental form, as well, and can simply be added into your diet. While it may not have a great shelf life, it can be cooked quite easily.
8. Try Citrus Bioflavonoids
These are things which have been shown to inhibit the development of the virus, while blocking its replication. Basically, there is a molecule in it that fits in a binding site that makes the virus unable to attach to a host cell.4
There are essentially extracts, from citrus, that inhibit the anchoring of the virus that stunts its ability to spread more readily.
The more you are consuming citrus, especially the zest (the outer peel), may provide some benefit that way.
In fact, I have also included the most pertinent bioflavonoids in the Daily Reset Pack. I thought it was crucial to include them and share them with you for this reason.
9. Licorice Extract
Another powerful, natural antiviral is licorice extract. Licorice is a medicinal compound and can interact with some medications. It may not be suitable for all health conditions. As such it is worth using if given under the advisement of your health practitioner.
Licorice has been approved, by the Chinese version of the FDA, for having powerful effects on benefitting overall immune response. It has been studied specifically as an antiviral.
There are even some clinical trials going on using it in conjunction with vitamin C, but it has been known to have antiviral properties against hepatitis B and others.
The drawback is that licorice itself has compounds that can raise blood pressure. There is a compound within it that can delay an enzyme which can cause more sodium to build up.
So, there is another compound called deglycyrrhizinated licorice. It is a version that does not have the risks of sodium retention.5
The good part? It happens to be chewable, tasty and has no big drawbacks. Licorice candy, though, does not have licorice in it. Don’t consider those.
10. Immune Adaptogens
These are also not natural antibiotics. They happen to have a more regulatory effect, but the best-studied version of this is called astragalus (or milkvetch).
It is pretty cool stuff! They come as large, tongue-depressor-looking sticks, and they are tasty.
While some herbal supplements are quite exacting, and toxic if overindulged, there are some others that are very food-like and delicious (like a carrot).
Astragalus is on that site. No real drawbacks, it is palatable, and it even improves kidney function. It has also shown that coronavirus compounds can be inhibited by its inclusion (Read More: The Latest Research On Coronavirus).
Apart from antiviral effects, it also has general immune adaptation effects. It has also been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a staple.
11. Adding In More Mushrooms
While I mentioned white button mushrooms earlier, I really want to take this piece and expand upon it. Mushrooms can really, truly help.
One of the top examples of medical mushrooms includes what we know as “cordyceps.”
This mushroom has been shown to regulate humoral cellular immunity and improve your body’s ability to remove foreign “intruders.”
Other medical mushrooms even include:
These all likely have similar effects, but there’s been a lot of documentation and data around cordyceps.
These are things that you can get from food and may be worth adding.
In addition, they are also included in the Daily Reset Pack as a way to fortify your immune system. That’s more of a bonus because your best bet is to get them from your diet.
So, the best way to get more beta-glucans is from oats. Steel-cut oats, whole oats, old fashioned oats, all types have beta-glucans.
Oats don’t have gluten, but some may have it as a contaminant. That said, gluten-free oats still contain the beta-glucans that you’re looking to get.
You can also find some of these in barley, too.
Keep Your Immunity Strong Today
In terms of action steps, those are the top 12 things that I would love for you to consider.
During these uncertain times, I really feel committed to bringing you the truth, the latest updates, and what you can reasonably do to help safeguard your health. I hope you’ll join me on this journey, and we can figure out the next steps.
Please, be well, stay healthy, and I’ll talk to you again real soon. Trust me, we are going to get through this, and we’ll do it together.
1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3516431/
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5471141/
3 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266512/
4 – https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202003.0214/v1
5 – http://www.chictr.org.cn/showprojen.aspx?proj=49131
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.