As you would have guessed, this week is entirely focussed on immune function.
Before heading any further, I need to state that there’s no known food, strategy, dieting type or supplement that can fight COVID-19….so if you see anyone stating that there is, they are full of B.S.
At the time of writing this, we don’t even have a vaccine, how has anyone expected to have researched an entire dieting approach and its outcome? No chance.
Therefore, everything I’m suggesting below is to either improve immune resistance or immune tolerance. So we have a greater ability to destroy any nasty microbes and have the ability to endure them…again, not COVID-19 specifically.
In quick fire fashion, here are some areas to think about in addition to hand hygiene, self inncolulation and social distancing (Walsh, 2019):
– Nutrition status influences susceptibility to infection and the body’s response.
– Macronutrients are involved in immune cell metabolism/functioning and protein synthesis where micronutrients are involved in antioxidant defence. I.e. don’t be deficient.
– Very low calorie diets have shown to increase upper respiratory infection (URI) risk by 2-8 fold in female athletes. However this is association, not causation. Potential cause may be through increased anxiety, stress and depression…often associated with eating disorders, competitions etc.
– Calorie restriction may improve immune tolerance during bacterial infection (starve a fever…).
– Calorie restriction may accelerate the progression and lethality of viral infections (…feed a cold).
– Heavy training during or after incomplete recovery from viral infections can cause serious medical complications.
– Heavy exercise temporarily decreases immune function – a potential ‘open window’ for URI?
– Psychological stress, sleep disturbances and physical strain can influence immunity via the HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system.
– Zinc lozenges (75mg elemental zinc) appear to inhibit viral activity in your throat and may decrease URI by ~3 days on the onset of symptoms.
– Probiotics and prebiotics = tolerogenic effects by strengthening the intestinal barrier, reduce gut permeability and compete with pathogens to the intestinal wall.
– Probiotics also have anti-inflammatory effects and produce lactic acid after metabolism which can decrease pathogen growth in the gut.
– Vit C is a strong antioxidant and scavenges free radicals to reduce cellular damage.
– Vit C level falls in leyucocytes (white blood cells) during the common cold when oxidative stress increases. Therefore 250-1000mg daily can restore levels and decrease URI incidence.
– Vit D is anti-inflammatory in nature.
– Vit D is protective for respiratory infections and can enhance our innate immunity. Recommendations are to supplement 1,000IU (if you’re not deficient) per day during winter months as 80-100% of vit D typically obtained via sun exposure (UVB rays).
Knowing this, hand hygiene, self inncolulation and social distancing is still the main priority to reduce your susceptibility to any infections – please take this extremely seriously…the above points should be used to further protect yourself
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