Over 45million people in the UK have now received their second C*19 vaccines (we can’t say the C-word for censorship reasons!) with a proportion of people having to start thinking about booking their vaccine booster. Thanks to this vaccine, hospitalisations and mortality rates have dramatically decreased.
But what about the people who are relying on their immune systems to fight this fight? Are they utterly bonkers? Let's take a deep dive into this controversial topic looking at what the science says on natural immunity versus a vaccine, specifically in relation to C*19.
A study carried out on 700,000 people in Israel September 2021, showed that people who had been infected with C*19 were 27 times less likely to experience symptomatic C*19 infections compared to those who have been vaccinated. In addition, another study from the Washington University found that even people who experience only mild symptoms of C*19 resulted in long-lasting immunity (5 to 7 months of antibody production).
There is an immense amount of evidence, over 100 studies to be exact, that shows the importance of vitamin D in strengthening immune health, preventing illness and reducing recovery time from illness. But vitamin D also improves response to the C*19 vaccine as it improves T-cell response. Another trial study carried out in elderly people showed that those receiving a complete nutritional liquid supplement containing vitamins and minerals had higher antibody levels after 1 month of receiving an influenza vaccine compared to the placebo group. If this teaches us one thing, it is that we should say yes to more nutrient dense foods and supplements!
It’s important to note that not all natural immunity and response to vaccines are the same. Obesity is a major risk factor for mortality and morbidity from C*19. The highest death rates were seen in countries with the most overweight populations and in the UK 73.7% of people who were critically ill from C*19 were overweight or obese. It is safe to say that obese people would be classified as high risk so getting them the vaccine is crucial.
However as a result of low-grade inflammation that obese people experience, T-cell response is reduced and production of immune antibody producing cells is severely decreased. Evidence of this was seen in Italy where vaccines given to obese healthcare workers saw half the amount of antibody production compared to healthy people. So whether you’re for natural immunity or for the vaccine, it’s clear that obesity is a risk factor for a decreased antibody production from the vaccine.
Acquiring immunity through vaccination is the solution to get antibodies without getting an infection but what the data suggests is that if you’ve already acquired natural immunity, rushing to get the vaccine may not be as urgent as you may think.
Now, we aren’t downplaying the importance of the vaccine. The UK's swift rollout of the vaccine in response to C*19 has dramatically helped decrease the number of hospitalisations therefore, saving lives and relieving a lot of pressure on the NHS. But whether you’re vaccinated or not, what this science highlights is that our immune systems are an incredible powerhouse. So, it’s down to us to make sure we take the right steps in taking care of our immune health using the fundamental pillars of health that include getting enough sleep, exercise, supplementing vitamins and minerals, getting out in nature, reducing stress and a good diet.