Regular viruses are worrisome enough. Every year we face stomach viruses, upper respiratory viruses, and, of course, influenza.
But over the years, alarms have been raised about new types of viruses, most originating overseas, that potentially pose a deadly threat. MERS, SARS, bird and swine flu comes to mind.
We’re just starting to hear about a new coronavirus from China that’s made landfall in the US and is identified as 2019-nCoV.
A coronavirus virus, named for the crown appearance it has when viewed under a microscope, causes an upper respiratory infection, the kind that affects your nose, sinuses, and upper throat.
The truth is that most coronaviruses are not dangerous and are not unlike viruses that cause colds, like the rhinovirus. Symptoms would be similar to what we usually experience with a cold, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and a sore throat.
A coronavirus can, however, spread to the lower respiratory tract, which includes your lungs, and can cause pneumonia, especially in people with a compromised immune system, the elderly and anyone with heart disease.
So, what can we do to protect ourselves? The best line of defense against any pathogen is to have a robust immune system. Following certain practices can make you less likely to be infected with a virus of any kind.
According to the CDC, human coronaviruses are passed through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, touching contaminated objects, and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
But to avoid a viral infection, especially if your health is already compromised, ramp up these practices:
- Wash your hands more than you think you need to. Experts advise washing with soap for at least 20 seconds. In between trips to the sink or if you’re out and about, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Keep your hands away from your face. For microbes, your nose, eyes, and mouth are easy gateways to infiltrate your body. If you’re in the habit of touching your face a lot, develop a practice that deters your hand.
- Don’t share food or drinks with anyone. During cold and flu season, you have an excuse without offending anyone.
- Wear a mask when you are in large crowds. They do it in China, so why not? At worst, you might feel funny the first time you do it. At best, you won’t get sick grocery shopping around the sick people who don’t or can’t stay home. They are not so much a preventive but will help to keep from touching your nose and mouth when out in public.
- Carry disinfectant wipes with you. They make small flat packs now that could fit in a purse, backpack, or coat pocket easily. Use them to wipe off the grocery cart. And clean surfaces at home a little more often with them.
- Pump up your immune system. Proper nutrition is one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy. Whole foods, less sugar, and good clean water, and warm, soothing teas get you through these cold and flu winter months.
But because the viruses don’t play around, you shouldn’t either. There’s no reason not to take advantage of potent nutritional sources that are known to improve the immune response. The following supplements are the best ones you can take to build up your immune system.
ZINC: Your immune system is there to fight off all of those germs you’re exposed to when the people around you cough and sneeze. And, if you want that immune system to function at its best, you need to get plenty of the trace mineral zinc in your daily diet. Not only does zinc help activate specific types of immune cells, but it also keeps your immune system in balance to prevent the out-of-control inflammation that can often accompany infection.
ELDERBERRY: Elderberry practically stops the flu in its tracks. It directly inhibits the ability of the flu virus to enter and replicate in your cells. And, as an added benefit, it also boosts your immune system’s response to the virus, so that if you do end up with it, you’re better able to fight it off.
VITAMIN C: Vitamin C boosts your immune defense by helping your system stay adaptable to ward off the germs you come into contact with daily. It also supports the function of your epithelial barrier to prevent those germs from passing in the first place and even encourages the killing of dangerous microbes.
VITAMIN D3: Supplementing with vitamin D could cut the risk of respiratory infection in those who are deficient by half. It’s a good idea to take it year-round. The Vitamin D Council recommends you take 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day. That sounds like a lot, but you can take up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily before you experience any unwanted side effects.
PROBIOTICS: Beneficial strains of microbes in probiotics help to increase the expression of genes related to immunity, fight harmful invaders, and support the production of critical enzymes and nutrients for immunity and overall health.
One of the best ways to support immunity is by incorporating mushrooms into your diet, both medicinal and culinary. Mushroom cell walls contain beta-glucans, a family of carbohydrates that have been shown to energize immune cells and help them orchestrate a strong response against invaders. Mushrooms are particularly helpful because they seem to train the immune response. In other words, they help immune cells to react appropriately to invaders, without under-responding or acting too aggressively, creating an autoimmune response. Essentially, medicinal mushrooms help to balance and modulate immunity to function optimally, while supporting other areas of health as well.
Our Myco-Excel mushroom formula supports immune health with a blend of highly researched and effectively concentrated mushroom extracts combined with the polyphenol nutrient support of green tea. Myco-Excel Capsules provides beta 1,3/1,6 d-glucan and a range of bioactive compounds that have been shown to potentiate immune response.
Arabinogalactan: Arabinogalactan has shown the capability to activate immune cells involved with the body’s first line of defense and to promote cytokine production, the communication and signaling compounds of immune cells. Arabinogalactan can also stimulate natural killer cells. Larch arabinogalactan is a fiber that ferments in the intestine and increases intestinal bacteria, such as Lactobacillus. It has other effects that are beneficial to digestive tract health to strengthen the immune system.
To find out what all you can do to strengthen your immune system, call Doctor’s Nutrition today at 228-897-0070 or place your supplement order online to get started today.