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TOP TIPS ON HELPING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
by Dara Winters on March 06, 2020
At Tonic Health, we’ve always been about championing your immune system to help you stay healthy in times of need. We wanted to take the opportunity alongside The Institute for Functional Medicine to remind you that there are several steps you can take to reduce your chances of being exposed and to help your immune system.
What to Do During the Outbreak
Hand washing: The most well-established and proven way to prevent infections is frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water. Scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Hand sanitizer: When you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands, alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol can help to reduce the spread of infection.
Covering your mouth and nose: Please remember to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
Avoid touching your face: Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Harder than you might think when the average individual touches their face an average of 15 times per hour. Your eyes, nose, and mouth can provide the virus with a route of entry into the body.
Tips to Help Your Immune System
Beyond behavioural and habitual changes that we need to make, there are also proactive things we can do to help our immune system, such as eat extra nutrient dense foods, vitamins and minerals.
A leading immunologist, notes that most over-the-counter medications based on paracetamol or ibuprofen, may not always be the best solution. Ignoring our symptoms by popping pills? The symptoms are the physical reactions to our body fighting infection. For example, our body raises our temperature to reduce the rate of viral reproduction and help our immune cells function optimally.
Here are some natural ways you can use to harness the natural power of your immune system.
Natural Ways to Support Your Immune System
There are several nutrients, plant extracts, and supplements that can help immune function.
Vitamin D: Numerous studies have shown that it is one of the most important and powerful nutrients for helping the immune system (references below). Unfortunately, around a third of the UK is deficient in the winter months, as our main source is the sun.
*This document is only intended to identify options that may help your immune system. It is not meant to recommend any treatments, nor have any of these items discussed been proven effective against viruses, infections or the coronavirus. Always consult your doctor. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, please refer to NHS guidance https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
Bergman P, Lindh AU, Björkhem-Bergman L, Lindh JD. Vitamin D and respiratory tract infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2013;8(6):e65835. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065835
Goldman RD; Canadian Paediatric Society, Drug Therapy and Hazardous Substances Committee. Treating cough and cold: guidance for caregivers of children and youth. Paediatr Child Health. 2011;16(9):564-569. doi:10.1093/pch/16.9.564
Hojsak I, Abdovi S, Szajewska H, Milosevi M, Krznari Z, Kolacek S. Lactobacillus GG in the prevention of nosocomial gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections. Pediatrics. 2010;125(5):e1171-e1177. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-2568
Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017;356:i6583. doi:10.1136/bmj.i6583
Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Muller CE, Creasy RA, Stanilka JM, Percival SS. Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and ??-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Clin Nutr. 2012;31(3):337-344. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2011.11.019
Perry KA, Coulliette AD, Rose LJ, Shams AM, Edwards JR, Noble-Wang JA. Persistence of influenza A (H1N1) virus on stainless steel surfaces. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016;82(11):3239-3245. doi:10.1128/AEM.04046-15
Prasad AS. Zinc is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent: its role in human health. Front Nutr. 2014;1:14. doi:10.3389/fnut.2014.00014
Rondanelli M, Miccono A, Lamburghini S, et al. Self-care for common colds: the pivotal role of vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea in three main immune interactive clusters (physical barriers, innate and adaptive ) involved during an episode of common colds—practical advice on dosages and on the time to take these nutrients/botanicals in order to prevent or treat common colds. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:5813095. doi:10.1155/2018/5813095
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