Q & A - Top 10 Natural Immune Boosting Tips
- 'Do you guys have any natural immune boosting tips you could share?'
With the unfortunate spread of COVID-19 around the world, one of the best things we can all do to prevent / fight off infection, is ensure our immune system is at it's most strongest. To best answer the above question, we call upon Switch Nutrition founder Greg Haglund, who has written a very helpful article highlighting the top 10 naturals ways we can boost our immune system and be ready to fight off any harmful infections our bodies may encounter. Full article below;
'As the world braces for what is now being called a pandemic (COVID-19), we should be doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our family by supporting our immunity, reducing our stress and getting quality sleep. Many of you know that when you get stressed you get sick. Especially around cold and flu season. Below are the TOP 10 things you can do to naturally support your immune system'.
'While most gyms are vigilantly employing healthy practices to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria that can cause illness, going to the gym might not be top of your list. Either way, you need to maintain some level of moderate to high intensity movement or resistance training'.
'Studies of immunology have shown moderate exercise performed regularly may reduce the risk of upper respiratory infection by 33%. However, intense exercise performed too frequently or long duration (marathon’s etc) saw a 200 -300% increased risk of infection (lowered immune function)'.
Tip: Exercise 3-4 times a week for 30 – 60 mins at moderate to high (not extreme) intensity. Preferably outside in the sun away from crowds.
2. Reduce Stress
'Easier said than done when there is so much hysteria and misinformation around the coronavirus spreading across the planet. However, there is no doubt high levels of physical, emotional and psychological stress reduces lymphocyte (B-Cell & T-Cell) number and activity. Not to mention stress reduces digestive function which may lead to malnourishment and stress may reduce
sleep quality which we will talk about more soon'.
Here are some tips to reduce stress...
- Have fun – find things you like to do that may not involve too much public interaction.
- Yoga – clinically proven to improve all health parameters and profoundly reduce stress
- Meditation / Breathing – Found to lower cortisol, lower blood pressure and support immunity.
- Exercise – while it is acute stress it helps improve overall markers of stress due to endorphin and dopamine release.
- Supplement – Magnesium, L-Theanine, Glycine and Ashwagandha have been shown to reduce markers of stress, reducing oxidation and supporting our endogenous immunity. Adrenal Switch contains these ingredients.
3. Reduce Drugs, Alcohol & Cigarettes
'It is commonly known smokers with upper respiratory tract infections have more severe symptoms and are more likely to develop pneumonia. Not to mention smoking, alcohol and drugs contain or are themselves toxins that have immunosuppressing effects. Alcohol damages the lining of the gut allowing for more pathogens like bacteria and viruses to get into our body. Alcohol also kills some of the good bacteria in our microbiome that act as our first line of defence against pathogens'.
Tip: Keep alcohol, drugs and cigarettes to a minimum while viruses are in circulation. If you feel like a drink, stick to 1 – 2 glasses of red wine since resveratrol (found in red wine) possess antioxidant and immune boosting benefits. These benefits are lost once you go past 2 small glasses.
4. Reduce Sugar
'Excess sugar consumption has been shown to reduce immune function by essentially putting neutrophils into a coma. Immune suppression post sugar intake can last for 2-3 hours. This could be all the time it takes for you to be exposed to a spreading virus or bacteria. However, if you do contract a virus avoiding carbohydrates all together might be counterproductive. In fact,
one recent study showed faster symptom relief from a flu virus on a balanced diet vs a ketogenic diet'.
Tip: Minimise processed packaged foods that are over 40% carbohydrates or over 10% sugar. Try to eat more whole foods and remove added sugar where possible. However, if you contract a virus do NOT deprive your body of carbohydrates.
5. Increase Sun Exposure (Vitamin D)
'There are several reasons colds and flu viruses are less prevalent in
summer. One of the major reasons is more sun exposure leading to higher vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 has been shown to boost immune function by increasing T-cell number and activity. A 2010 double blind placebo-controlled study showed a 42% reduction in the contraction of influenza when a
therapeutic dose of Vitamin D was administered. Close to 75% of adults in Australia have low to deficient levels of Vitamin D thanks to working indoors and covering up when we are outdoors. Also, not having adequate levels of high-quality fats in our diets can significantly reduce vitamin D'.
Tip: Get 20 -30 mins of midday sun exposure on as much skin as possible or alternatively supplement with Vitamin D3. Alpha Switch contains 1000iu of Vitamin D3 in a daily dose.
6, Eat More Veggies!
'Over 83 peer reviewed published studies have linked increased vegetable intake with higher levels of immunity. Its not new news to most of us that the micronutrients that should be found in fruits and vegetables will support our health and well-being. The problem is our food isn’t supplying enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants due to adulterated farming practices that leave the soil depleted.
This lack of nourishment means the vegetables can no longer defend themselves from invaders and must be sprayed to protect them from bugs. However, these toxic sprays also kill the bugs that populate the ecosystem
of our digestive tract which reduces our innate immune defence system'.
Tip: Eat fresh fruits and veges every day that are spray free or organic if possible. If you can’t find spray free, be sure to wash them in water and apple cider vinegar. To get the nourishment of 8 serves of vegetables, plus probiotics, digestive enzymes, immune boosting mushrooms and more... consume 1 – 3 serves of Vitality Switch. It tastes great and is a powerful immune booster!!
7. Get More Quality Sleep
'Sleeping 8 hours is a good start but getting 8 QUALITY hours is even better. During sleep our body releases less immunosuppressing stress hormones and we go into repair mode. This includes clearing out inflammation, bacteria and viruses. In fact, our natural killer cells are more active during deep (delta) sleep than any other time of the day. One study conducted by Dr Michael Irwin and colleagues showed sleep deprivation led to a 30% decrease in natural killer cell activity'.
Top tips for better quality sleep:
- Most deep sleep is achieved before midnight so be sure to get to bed around 9pm.
- Shut off all blue light emitting devices 1 hour before bed or use blue light blocking glasses.
- Don’t eat a big meal within 2-3 hours of bed.
- Don’t exercise too late in the day.
- Don’t consume caffeine or other stimulants to close to bed.
- Avoid sugar and alcohol within 4 hours of bed.
- Consume Adrenal Switch to lower cortisol and improve deep quality sleep.
8. Add Herbs
'There are many herbs that have powerful antiviral benefits. Here are just a few you will find in Vitality Switch...'
- Oregano – This herb contains carvacrol which has been shown to kill murine norovirus within 15 minutes of exposure. It has antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus, rotavirus and more.
- Rosemary – Contains several healthy plant compounds including oleanolic acid which has been shown to kill influenza virus and more.
- Astragalus – Contains powerful polysaccharides that have been shown to combat herpes virus and influenza H9 virus.
- Ginger – Contains gingerols and zingerone that exhibits powerful anti-viral defence against avian influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) & human norovirus. Also, ginger has been shown to prevent viral replication.
- Dandelion – Has test tube research showing powerful virus killing potential against hepatitis B and influenza. Also, dandelion inhibits the replication of mosquito born viruses like dengue.
9. Much on Medicinal Mushrooms
'Several mushrooms have been shown to prevent and treat respiratory viruses like the common cold and influenza virus. This is incredible considering viruses are notoriously difficult to prevent and treat due to their highly infectious nature and ability to mutate'.
Here are 4 mushrooms you will find in Vitality Switch that may be helpful.
- Shitake - When specifically studied on influenza, shiitake was found to inhibit the growth of the virus by preventing the entry and uncoating process of viral infection. Researchers also tested an intranasal vaccine of shiitake extract, which increased the survival of flu-infected mice.
- Reishi – Contains substances called triterpenes and beta-glucans which are the main beneficial anti- viral compounds. Reishi can combat many viruses, such as herpes, Epstein-Barr, and hepatitis. It has also been found to be effective in killing influenza A virus, which causes many outbreaks of flu throughout the season, including the very virulent and dangerous H1N1 strain.
- Cordyceps - The anti-influenza effect of cordyceps is thought to be driven by increased natural killer cell activity along with other virus-killing cytokines. In addition, cordyceps have been shown to improve lung health by decreasing inflammation.
- Chaga – Considered the king of mushrooms and one of the most antioxidant rich foods on the planet, Chaga is a powerful immune booster. Animal and in vitro studies suggest that chaga extract can positively impact immunity by reducing long-term inflammation and fighting harmful bacteria and viruses. Chaga also promotes the formation of beneficial cytokines that regulate the immune system and stimulate white blood cells, which are essential for fighting disease.
10. Zinc & Vitamin C
'This duo has been recommended for many years by practitioners, doctors and
naturopaths to help support immune health and recover from colds and flus.
Many of the symptoms we experience during a cold or flu are as a result of our innate inflammatory immune response getting out of control. Recent studies showed Zinc supplementation may put the brakes on this
response reducing the severity of symptoms while simultaneously supporting our immune system'.
'Vitamin C supports the production of interferons and the function of phagocytes leading to a robust immune system and an effective viral defence network. 80 times more Vitamin C is found in immune cells than in plasma, indicating its importance during cold and flu season'.
'Look after your gut!! Consuming fermented foods or a quality probiotic (bacillus coagulans), marine collagen or collagen boosting ingredients plus L-Glutamine will help to support your gut lining and prevent pathogens (bacteria & viruses) getting into your system. Good gut health is the central to overall health. In fact, your gut wall houses 70% of the cells that make up your immune system'.
'It’s clear there are many things you can do to minimize infection of colds, flu’s and coronavirus which include healthy hygiene practices and avoiding large gatherings. However, there are dozens of healthy plant-based nutrients found in Vitality Switch and Adrenal Switch that may help support your immune function and minimize your symptoms should you contract one of these viruses'.
'As of today, I am personally consuming 2-3 serves of Vitality Switch and 1 – 2 serves of Adrenal Switch to ensure reduced stress, better sleep and support a healthier more robust immune system. I will also be endeavoring to get
more sunlight, exercise regularly in the morning and avoid alcohol and excess sugar consumption. For a full list of immune health and stress support supplements available at Supps42, check out the below link!'
Greg Haglund - Managing Director, Switch Nutrition