Coronavirus & Your Immune System
Coronavirus & Your Immune System: A Functional Medicine Perspective
The current situation has caused a lot of anxiety and frustration for many of us. It is a stressful time for all, but I urge everyone to stay calm and try to separate facts from fiction and fears. As a functional medicine health coach, all I want to address is the question that I’m being asked right now by family, friends and clients: what we can do to best safeguard ourselves and our families and lower our risk of getting ill?
- First and foremost: hygiene is king. Don’t be dirty! Masks only protect those who are sick from transmitting to others. Currently in HK, it is socially unacceptable to not wear a mask in public – so there may be instances where you may need to even if you are not sick. Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with antibacterial soap, use hand sanitiser frequently and sneeze into your elbow. DIY your own sanitiser by filling a small 100ml bottle with ¼ vodka, 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil, and completing the rest with aloe vera gel.
- Your immune system is your body’s defensive army. 70% of your immune system lies in your gut. Gut dysfunction will downregulate your immune system and lower your defences. Symptoms like leaky gut, bloating, diarrhea/constipation, acid reflux, burping may be indicative of gut health issues but sometimes, someone can be asymptomatic but still have gut problems. To keep your gut healthy, do these: > Avoid alcohol, processed food, gluten and dairy as these will irritate the gut. Increase intake of grass fed and organic meats, seafood, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit. Try to cook at home instead of eating restaurant food. > Start your day with my Immune Defence shake: 1 cup coconut water, 1 cup carrot/veggie juice, Juice of 1 organic lime, 1 sprinkle Himalayan pink sea salt, 1 packet Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C, 20g (female) or 40g (male) L-glutamine powder, and 1 tsp organic chia or flax seed. Pink salt is anti bacterial, glutamine directly heals the gut, and vitamin C boosts liver and immune system. > Make a high protein and fat breakfast, with little/no carbs, to help regulate blood sugar during the day. Have a Vitamin D/K and high quality fish oil with your breakfast. Beware low quality fish oil which is high in heavy metals! > Increase your intake of anti viral foods such as garlic, onions, green tea and herbs such as echinacea, licorice, sage and oregano. For those who need an immediate immunity boost, I would highly recommend doing an intravenous drip at LifeHub.
- Get your teeth cleaned and keep up dental hygiene! Anything that requires your immune system to send out forces like inflammation and stress will downregulate your immune system. The more soldiers in your army that are preoccupied right now, the less available resources to fight illnesses you have. Gum disease and inflammation in your mouth is chronic inflammation!
- If you feel that you have a sore throat coming on, a few sprays of Colloidal Silver down the throat or a licorice tincture will help.
- Work on better sleep quality to upregulate the immune system. Deep sleep is restorative sleep and it is during these stages of sleep that your body regenerates and recovers. Sleep deprivation has a profound impact on immune system, and a study done by the Sleep Foundation in the US found that the flu vaccine had a reduced efficacy when there was chronic sleep deprivation.
- Drink at least 3L of water daily. If you are dehydrated, this means your body’s immune system can downregulate as you cannot detoxify properly or shifts nutrients throughout your body.
Please note that these are general recommendations and for individuals who are suffering from specific illnesses, auto-immune conditions, chronic diseases, you may need to consult your doctor before embarking on anything new.
Written by: Tricia Yap, Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach ICANS Nutritional Medicine Coach Poliquin Performance Coach Level 2 YPSI A&B Licence Trainer