Over the last few months we've been bombarded with the latest information on Covid and what you can do to protect yourself from it. The focus has been on staying at home, wearing a mask and washing your hands, which is all good. But why not as well inform people on how to boost their immune system so that they stand a better chance if they get it?
It's been known since the very beginning of lockdown that Covid hits people with poor health and a run-down immune system much harder than people who are fit and healthy.
One of the main nutrients you need for a well functioning immune system is Vitamin D, and the latest research shows a clear link between your level of vitamin D and the severity of your symptoms if you get Covid. I.e. people who have been hit badly have have been deficient or severely deficient in Vitamin D, whereas people who have had mild symptoms from Covid has had sufficient levels of Vitamin D.
We get vitamin D from being out in the sun, and the darker skin you have, the longer you have to expose your skin to the sun (without sunblock!) to get the same amount of vitamin D. This could be one of the reasons why people with darker skin have on average been hit harder by Covid as they tend to be more deficient in vitamin D.
In the UK we can get vitamin D from the sun from mid March to mid September, and we need ca 20-30 min of exposure to a large part of our body (so not just hands and face) to make vitamin D in our skin. We can store vitamin D for 3 months, so by Christmas time we tend to be deficient if we live in the UK (unless you have travelled to sun and/or have taken supplements).
Even during the summer months I find that almost everybody I see at the clinic are deficient in vitamin D. This could be due to the increased use of sunblock, not being enough in the sun, or just not being able to absorb it and convert it to its active form. To find out more about vitamin D, read my blog on vitamin D here. (link)
So, how do you boost your immune system?
Sleep! A good nights sleep will help your immune system.
Drink plenty of clean water!
Avoid processed foods and sugar that inhibits your ability to fight infections.
Take a good quality vitamin D supplement throughout the year. Vitamin D can be overdosed, so if you are worried that you are taking too much, have a blood test done, and aim to be at the higher part of the interval.
Eat lots of foods high in vitamin C. You can't really get too much of it as you wee out any excess.
Find out if you have enough zinc in your diet, or take a zinc supplement.
Exercise and move your body to encourage blood and lymph. It will also give you an endorphin kick and make you feel awesome!
If you have an infection I would also recommend testing out a herb that will help you fight that particular infection. This could be Olive Leaf, Noni berry, neem etc.