Defend the virus from within by boosting your immune system during COVID-19.
By Olya Piccirillo
As we frantically stock up on masks, disposable gloves and sanitizing products to protect ourselves from COVID-19, we still have a high risk of getting sick if our immune system is not strong.
How well your body is going to shield you from and fight the virus depends on the strength of your immune system. I have always been a believer that it is not what we are exposed to, but how healthy and strong we are, physically and emotionally, that will influence our response to a virus or any other pathogen. It’s never too late to change your lifestyle and improve your health.
As we have seen with the Spanish Flu, SARS, Zika, and other global pandemics, some exposed people became mildly sick, some developed severe symptoms, some died and there were others who didn’t contract anything at all.
Just think about all of those New Year’s resolutions when you wanted to take better care of your body, exercise, meditate, or lose weight and always found an excuse that you didn’t have the time.
Now, time is no longer an issue! We can use our time at home to create a better version of ourselves.
My two personal tips that I have incorporated in my daily routine during the pandemic:
I use essential oils to sanitize my hands and put a few drops on my mask before leaving the house, either eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, lavender or orange.
When returning home and after doing grocery shopping, I spray colloidal silver in my nose, by deeply inhaling it. Silver is historically known as an antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral remedy.
Here are four areas for starting a better life exactly where you are:
Your body is just like a car: the engine will run more efficiently when it is filled with top-quality fuel. Objectively reevaluate your eating habits. Limit or eliminate alcohol, caffeine, sugar, white flour and junk food. Instead, make wholesome, nutritious soups, lots of veggies, green smoothies and fresh juices. The goal is to reduce your overall inflammation in the body in order to support your immune system.
When we are stressed (and, certainly we are these days) we crave more sugar and comfort foods. Try to use the best ingredients when cooking and baking. Garlic, ginger, fresh herbs of rosemary, oregano, parsley and cilantro are powerful immune-boosting helpers. There are many recipes online and you can start incorporating them in your meal planning.
When trying to decide what you should eat, ask yourself a question , “Is it going to nurture my body or feed inflammation?
2. KEY SUPPLEMENTS
I always advise my clients to take at least the most essential supplements: multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and probiotics. Make sure that all of your supplements are certified non-GMO, contain no fillers and additives and come from reputable companies. Organic is always best.
There are many published medical papers demonstrating the powerful antiviral action of vitamin C, and how helpful it can be to protect us from cold and flu during winter season. Studies suggest that taking an increased dose of vitamin C can be beneficial for most respiratory issues, and may decrease the risk of dying in the elderly. In 1940, Dr. Klenner, a board-certified pulmonary physician, published a research paper on reversing pneumonia, caused by a virus, in 72 hours by using high doses of vitamin C.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, both Chinese and Korean doctors started implementing intravenous vitamin C for treating COVID-19 and reported positive results.
Since Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties and the coronavirus is known to create inflammation in the lungs. It can be helpful to patients affected by the virus, along with the prescribed medical protocol.
Getting enough vitamin D can also boost our immunity and prevent respiratory tract infections. When children are given vitamin D in the winter they have usually fewer cold and flu incidents. Unfortunately, the majority of US population is severely deficient in this vital nutrient, as I see it in my clients’ bloodwork. Supplementing with D will improve these levels and make a difference in your energy and mood.
Magnesium is another essential nutrient I recommend, as it is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body and crucial to supporting the heart, strong bones, healthy blood pressure, and so much more. Magnesium has anti-inflammatory benefits, which adds another “warrior” on your side to defend against the pathogens.
When we talk about boosting our immune system, we can’t leave out probiotics. That is one supplement that all of us, from babies to elderly, need to function normally, or at least close to it, in today’s life. The soil, the air, the water and food are no longer the same. As the world becomes more polluted, and we get attacked by new viruses and bacteria, we rely on our own gut and the friendly bacteria in it for a strong support.
In addition to these daily “must haves,” during this challenging time, I like to add one more booster to the immune system - zinc. The individuals deficient in zinc are usually more susceptible to getting sick and affected by viruses. Zinc has also been found to help produce and activate T-cells, which trigger the body to respond to infections. It has been studied for many decades and is known to help with shortening the length of rhinovirus colds. It has been also used for relieving nasal congestion, sore throat and soothe cough.
Keep in mind, it’s always easier to prevent the viruses than treat them when they hit you hard. Best, start taking your supplements when you healthy. Consult with your doctor to avoid any interactions with your current medical condition and prescriptions.
3. ESSENTIAL OILS
Fall in love with essential oils! For me personally, once I started using them, I wondered how I had lived my life without them. The use of essential oils goes back to ancient times to prevent and cure various diseases. There are stories about thieves during the Bubonic Plague in Europe who used a mixture of different oils: rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, and orange on their clothes to ward off the plague when they robbed dead people’s homes and graves (and didn’t get sick!).
Oils can be used topically, applied to different parts of the body, or inhaled to receive the benefits. Make sure to use only organic or therapeutic-grade oils and dilute them properly to avoid any skin and eye irritations.
4. (LAST, BUT NOT LEAST!) STAY CALM
Being in a constant state of fear and stress keeps your body in fight-or-flight response, thus decreasing your natural defense against viruses, or any other disease. You need to reprogram your fear to restore your body’s proper functions. Switching your focus from fear to peace resets the brain and body. To do this, I would recommend the following:
Take a warm bath with Epsom salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil. The Epson salt will help you relax by increasing your magnesium levels through the skin, and lavender is also known to have stress-relieving aromatherapy benefits.
Make sure you get enough sleep, as it is essential to proper immune system functioning and for emotional balance. A recent study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NBCI) indicates that just one bad night of sleep can reduce immune cells by up to 70 percent.
Limit your exposure to the news and virus-oriented social media content. Shift your focus to something more positive. Since this pandemic is out of your personal control, see what new skills you can learn, books you can read, or virtual classes you can take
Start practicing mindful yoga and meditation - even five minutes twice a day can make a profound difference.
Just like the Black Plague, the Spanish flu, Zika, and SARS, this challenging time will end. However, there will be a new strain of a virus that will hit the world again in the future, and we may not be the “lucky ones” who don’t get sick. We need to be prepared for it.
A strong immune system, a nourished body, and a calm mind can create the best shield against any disease.