Dr. Birx of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force mentioned the fact that nobody is immune to Covid-19 but some are resisting it more effectively due to a better functioning immune system. So, why aren’t the powers to be talking about how to build the immune system from within in addition to how to prevent exposure from outside? We need both.
So, let’s take a look at the other side of the equation, what you can do to enhance your immune system’s ability to fight the virus if you do get exposed.
There are a number of influences on our immune system’s functioning. It can get complicated, so, I’m going to try to keep it simple. Without getting overwhelmed, realize that the more of these that you can integrate, the more you will bolster up your defenses against the virus to resist it, or, at the least, mitigate its effects. If you want more detailed information or instructions, access a copy of my book, Endless Energy, at drgregchappell.com.
First of all, key supplements are vitamins D3 and C, broad-spectrum probiotics, and zinc. Vitamin D3 activates T cells which help to fight off viruses. Vitamin C is essential for the production of antiviral properties. Zinc has been shown to inhibit the replication of viruses. And, probiotics help increase the health of the gut which has been shown to be a key factor in support of the immune system. To ensure the quality of the supplements you are getting, I would recommend getting them from a health food store or a reputable on-line supplier offering higher-quality formulations, not your local drug or big box store.
The gut is a critical element of the immune system functioning. Unfortunately, the American diet is full of substances that damage the lining of the gut which is called “leaky gut”. One of the main culprits is gluten in flour products such as bread, pastries, donuts, crackers, etc. Prescription antibiotics and antibiotic-containing meat and chicken destroy the good gut bacteria that are critical for optimal functioning. Look for “clean” meat and chicken which are antibiotic and hormone-free.
Other things that can damage the gut lining are artificial sweeteners and excitotoxins (discussed below), dairy, agricultural chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides), chlorinated water, sugar (interferes with immune function for several hours after ingested), vegetable and seed oils (safflower, sunflower, corn, soy, and canola – preferably cook with olive or coconut oil), excessive alcohol, heavy metals, and parasites.
In addition, intense cardio releases free radicals resulting in oxidative stress which can also cause damage to the intestinal cell walls. So, if you’re sitting at home cranking away on your Peloton, consider replacing long sessions of cardio with High-Intensity Interval Training, called H.I.I.T. or “burst” training. According to the journal Metabolism, H.I.I.T. burns about 450% more body fat than traditional cardio because of a boost in human growth hormone and it also increases testosterone.
Intense cardio and excessive mental/emotional stress over time can deplete the adrenal glands which are a key regulator of immune function. If you have been under a lot of stress, adrenal support supplements are an option. Two primary ways to reduce stress are meditation and moderate exercise. Meditation doesn’t have to be a formal sitting in a lotus position and chanting a mantra. It can be as simple as sitting still and focusing on a positive word or brief phrase for 15-20 minutes. If your mind wanders, just calmly bring your focus back to the word or phrase. A couple of other stress reducers are yoga and tai chi. Utilize YouTube for tutorials you can access online at home.
While we are stuck at home social distancing, moderate levels of exercise can be accomplished in several different ways without expensive equipment. For example, walk up and down the stairs, put on some music and let your body cut loose and dance, jump rope, jumping jacks, yard work, throw a ball with the kids, moderate housework (think of Robin Williams vacuuming in the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire”), walk in place while you’re watching TV (preferably watching a funny movie to keep your spirits up).
Because we have consumed so many things that are detrimental to our gut function it can take time to heal it and involves decreasing inflammation and healing the gut lining. Start by eliminating the causes listed above and enhance with coconut oil, foods full of microbes such as broad-spectrum probiotic supplements, Kiefer, cultured vegetables (such as sauerkraut and kimchi), and bone broth which you can make yourself or buy at the health food store. Google “anti-inflammatory foods”. Keep in mind, there are healthy pro-inflammatory foods. So, it’s not just about trying to eat only all non-inflammatory foods. Over time, shift your food choices more toward the non-inflammatory options. Shoot for about a 70% to 30% ratio.
Artificial sweeteners lead to metabolic chaos and change the balance of micro-organisms in the gut. The most common is Aspartame commonly known as NutraSweet, Equal and Spoonful. They are found in chewing gum, diet soda, sports drinks such as Gatorade and Power Ade, tabletop artificial sweetener packets, drink powders (Crystal Light, Kool-Aid), sugar-free foods, cereals, flavored water, children’s medications, and cooking sauces. Sucralose, commonly know as Splenda is another sweetener to be avoided as it has been linked to interference with the good gut bacteria, dizziness, migraines, and depression. If you need sweeteners, choose stevia or honey.
As a natural, healthy alternative to common sports drinks, try coconut water. It has more potassium than sports drinks and more natural sources of sodium and no toxic artificial sweeteners or colorings. For a little extra zing, to a court of coconut water, add about ¼ cup of lime, lemon, or pineapple juice, ¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt, and possibly some trace minerals such as crushed calcium-magnesium tablets or powder, or concentrated mineral drops you can get at the health food store or on-line. If you need to sweeten it up a bit, use Stevia or honey.
Excitotoxins are chemicals that are added to foods to make them taste better. When reading your labels look for MSG (monosodium glutamate), yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein of any type – actually anything “hydrolyzed”, natural flavoring, textured protein, malt extract, and sodium caseinate. These are the more common ones.
Another key element as to immune function is your body’s pH balance, or more commonly referred to as acid-alkaline balance. pH ranges from 1 -14, with neutral at 7. The lower the number is the more acidic you are, and the higher the number, the more alkaline. Ideally, you want to be in the 6.75-7.5 range. Pathogens such as viruses and bacteria have a hard time surviving in a neutral to slightly alkaline environment and thrive in an acidic environment. You can get an idea of your pH level by using pH strips that you can get at your local pharmacy. These strips can be dipped in either saliva or urine.
As a reference as to what you are ingesting for drinks, check this out:
1.00 Battery acid (for comparison)
2.63 Coke Classic
2.70 Monster / Red Bull
2.82 Hawaiian Fruit Punch
3.22 Mountain Dew
3.39 Diet Coke
7.00 Pure Water
A simple way to add some alkalinity is to put a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water a couple times a day. But be careful! Some common brands of baking soda contain aluminum. You do not want to ingest aluminum on an ongoing basis, as it may contribute to Alzheimer’s. You can find aluminum-free baking soda at your health food store, such as Bob’s Red Mill. Another easy trick is to squeeze lemon or lime juice into a glass of water. This a great way to begin alkalizing yourself in the morning and, if you drink it before meals, it also helps with digestion.
Unfortunately, the common diet is full of acid-producing foods such as grain-fed meat, corn and wheat products, sodas, energy drinks, processed and refined foods, etc. which create an acid environment in the body. Alkalinity is promoted by the consumption of grass-fed (not grain-fed) animal meat, fish (non-farm raised), fowl (free-range), fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, and pure water. Google “acid-alkaline foods chart” to get a list of foods that create more alkalinity.
Finally, get adjusted by your chiropractor. Dr. Ronald Pero’s research at New York University showed patients under long-term chiropractic care had a 200-400% stronger immune system than non-chiropractic patients.
Why is this especially pertinent now? Chiropractic played an important role in reducing deaths during the 1917-18 Spanish Flu epidemic, which brought death and fear to many Americans. It has been estimated that 20 million died throughout the world, including about 500,000 Americans. Walter Rhodes [“The Official History of Chiropractic in Texas.” Texas Chiropractic Association. Austin, TX. 1978] provides fascinating information about the profession during those years. The results were spectacular.
Rhodes reported that in Davenport, Iowa, medical doctors treated 93,590 patients with 6,116 deaths — a loss of one patient out of every 15. Chiropractors at the Palmer School of Chiropractic adjusted 1,635 cases, with only one death. Outside Davenport, chiropractors in Iowa cared for 4,735 cases with only six deaths — one out of 866. During the same epidemic, in Oklahoma, out of 3,490 flu patients under chiropractic care, there were only seven deaths. Furthermore, chiropractors were called in 233 cases given up as lost after medical treatment and reportedly saved all but 25.
Hopefully, you found this information helpful. Start by making a list of the things I have reviewed and which you are readily available to do. Integrate more at your own pace so you don’t get overwhelmed. Most importantly, keep up a positive attitude. Fear and anxiety are also immune system disruptors. We will get through this and my intent is to help you do it in a healthy manner.
Dr. Greg Chappell, author of “Endless Energy”
(This is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Chappell.)