This is a copy of the an email I sent to my list on 12th March 2020, just in case you missed it..
As a front line health worker I’m thinking about the robustness of my immune system right now. What can I do to make it even better? What can I do to support it if I get ill?
I’ve also got friends and family I’d like to see weather the storm well too.
Over the last few days I’ve put together my thoughts and done a bit of extra research. This is by no means a definitive list of things you can do, and I initially had no plans to share this beyond friends and family as this is not my expert field. But I probably know a bit more than most of my readers so it seemed remiss not to share.
Basic Strategy To Stay Healthy
Don’t skimp on your sleep – this is when your immune system regains it’s strength.
Low carb/high fat diet, definitely watch the sugar – microbes love sugar and if you’ve just had chocolate cake or white toast before coming into contact with a virus you’ll have a big spike in your blood glucose and make it easier for a virus to get a foothold in your system.
Certainly if you get ill – zero sugar and refined carbs. Basically it’s about eating in healthy way, the sort of stuff I’ve been banging on about for years. Really important to get lots of antioxidants – lots of veg and some fruit.
My daily supplements that are supporting my immune system (some of which will increase if I get ill):
- Vitamin D3 – 4,000 IU – probably THE most important one. One reason flu is more common at the end of winter is because people’s vitamin d levels are low. If you’re not already taking it regularly I’d suggest taking up to 10,000 IU daily for a couple of weeks to get your levels up, and then reduce. Longer term you’d want to get your levels checked to make sure you’re not overdoing it, but for now just take it.
- Vitamin A – as retinol which is the active form of vitamin A. This is a must for veggies/vegans because the conversion of beta carotene (plant vitamin A precursor) may not give you enough, but I’d recommend everyone take it. Like vitamin D it comes as IU too and it’s best to take a similar strength to vitamin D, so they balance each other.
- Vitamin C – this is antimicrobial in its own right. I’m currently taking about 1gm twice daily but will increase this if I get ill. The only real problem with taking high doses is disaster pants – cut back a bit from a dose that causes that!
- Magnesium – 400mg daily. There are all sorts of compounds, good ones include magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium malate
I’ve recently learned zinc deficiency is the commonest mineral deficiency leading to poor immunity. I’m not taking this yet, but I would very much like to get my hands on zinc lozenges to suck on while I’m at work. They help prevent catching colds and flu. They also appear to be sold out everywhere I’ve looked so far! But if you manage to find some – let me know. Looking for 10mg lozenges to have 4 times/day. But any dose will be a bonus. Probably a good idea to research foods that are a good source too.
If You Get Ill
Don’t eat unless you’re hungry and keep it light if you do. The immune system needs huge amounts of energy and the gut and liver use loads to digest and detox things you eat and drink. Fasting frees up energy for what you need it for.
If you’ve got a temperature – plenty of mineral rich water. I put ½ teaspoon of Celtic sea salt in about a litre of water. Any sea salt will do.
Rest! Free up energy for what you need it for. Light exercise like walking is a good idea as it keeps things flowing in the lymphatic system, which helps the immune system, but anything more physical like running, is not wise – uses too much energy.
If I develop a high temperature the very last thing I will do is take anything to suppress it. I will absolutely not be taking any paracetamol or ibuprofen. Fever is a defence response from your immune system. Viruses don’t like above normal body temperatures. Because of that, generally keep warm and bundled up.
One of the things that concerns me as a front line health worker is being exposed to a lot of the virus in one go. This can really challenge an immune system so I wanted to know what I could do to really ramp up my support.
Small numbers of younger and fitter people are getting quite ill in Italy and China, partly because of a big and robust reactions from their immune system.
Whenever you have an infection there is a war going on between the virus and your immune system. This creates a lot of inflammation and free radicals. (Think about your skin going red when you’ve cut it – that’s inflammation caused by your immune system).
Free radicals and inflammation are very damaging to viruses, but too much of this is very damaging to your body too. It’s like friendly fire – unintended harm.
Antioxidants mop up excess free radicals.
Front line antioxidants which our body makes – and we can supplement, which I’ll be doing if I get ill:
- Glutathione – 1gm/day – needs to be in the liposomal form or it will be destroyed by the digestive system.
- Co-enzyme Q10 – I already take 100mg daily to help with energy but will up this to at least 200mg. Important to take it as ubiquinol.
- Superoxidase dismutase – this is new to me so I need to do more research before making any recommendations.
The above antioxidants pass their burden down to second line antioxidants:
- Vitamin A – should be taking it anyway, especially if you’re veggie/vegan
- Vitamin C – should be taking anyway
- Vitamin b12 – best taken sublingually. I normally take 1mg but will double it.
As you can see there’s a lot you can do to help yourself.
If you’ve found this helpful I’m send out more via email. Fill out the box below if you’d like to receive them.
But be aware of this..
Every time you’ve had a cold or flu in the past it’s because you’ve come into contact with something you have no immunity too.
None of us have natural immunity to this particular coronavirus yet, because it’s brand new.
But as individuals we regularly come into contact with viruses we are not immune too, we get ill, and then we’re ok as our body sorts it out for us. This is what will happen for the vast majority of people who get coronavirus. You will be ok.