With just under half a million cases reported worldwide, the coronavirus outbreak presents a potential threat to almost everyone worldwide. With the ability to fight off any virus (including COVID‑19) based largely on the capacity of your immune system, keeping your immune system healthy has never been more important.
While the worldwide pandemic continues to spread, we supply crucial next steps you can take to increase the efficiency and health of your immune system. But before we share those, it’s important to understand how your immune system works in the battle against a virus or infection.
How the Immune System Works
Your immune system consists of a complex collection of cells, processes, and chemicals that constantly defends your body against invading pathogens; namely viruses, toxins, and bacteria. When a pathogen enters our body, our immune system releases what are known as antibodies. Antibodies (also known as an immunoglobulin) are protective proteins that are produced by the immune system upon the detection of a foreign antigen (pathogen).
Those antibodies are produced by our B cells. When an antigen binds to the surface of a B cell, it stimulates the B cell to divide and mature into a group of identical cells called a clone. The mature B cells (called plasma cells) then secrete millions of antibodies into the bloodstream to fight the antigen. Antibodies work by recognizing and latching onto each antigen so that they can successfully remove them from the body.
As you can see this is a fairly complex process that requires many elements working optimally for the best possible immune response. This is why it’s so important that you take steps to bolster your immune system to prepare it for potentially having to deal with COVID‑19.
Steps for Boosting Your Immune System
Fortunately, there are many ways to boost our own immune systems through changes in our diet and lifestyle. Here are just a few of the things you need to be doing over the coming weeks to prepare your body to fight off infections.
Increase Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C helps increase white blood cell numbers (including B cells), which is why you see so many people turn to a cool glass of OJ after they are sick. Tumeric has also been shown to interact and potentially increase B cells. But it’s critical to stock up on vitamin C to be prepared to fight off infections. This means getting plenty of citrus fruits into your system including grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines.
And if you really want to max out your vitamin C levels you need to focus on red bell peppers. Pound for pound, they have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits, so load up.
Do the Same with Vitamin D
Vitamin D is just as important to the immune system as vitamin C, yet so many individuals are unknowingly vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D enhances the pathogen fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages, and decreases levels of inflammation, which helps promote an immune response.
We usually get our fix of vitamin D from sunlight on our skin. But in winter — or in the case of indoor self‑isolation — it’s likely that we aren’t getting optimal amounts into our system. Therefore, you need to increase your intake through fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks. You can also take vitamin D supplements to bump up your vitamin D levels.
Increase And Improve Your Sleep Quality
An underappreciated way to immediately boost your immune system is to improve both the quality and amount of sleep you are getting. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response.
Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep. This means if you don’t get enough sleep, you lose out twice in a kind of compound effect, running your immune system down to critical levels of cytokines. That’s why those that suffer insomnia don’t react as well to the flu vaccine, as the body has a limited capacity to respond. So get to bed and stay there for as long as possible.
Stay Active, Exercise Often
Exercising as if you’re heading into battle will actually help your body prepare should you have to face the COVID‑19 virus. This is because exercise increases not just our overall fitness but our body’s defense activity and metabolic health. According to several studies, exercise also has an anti‑inflammatory influence mediated through multiple pathways.
This doesn’t suddenly mean you should start running marathons. Moderate exercise should be enough to do the trick, as anything above your normal routine will help to stimulate increased white blood cell production. Even if you are self‑isolating, this should be very achievable through bodyweight exercises, aerobics, pilates, or yoga.
Don’t Fight the “Invisible Enemy” Blind
Without scientific testing, it’s almost impossible to tell what state our immune system is in, or which elements of it require the most work. That’s why we’ve developed a rapid‑response immunity test, to help you develop a tailored plan to boost your immunity over the coming weeks and months.
Our kit only requires a small finger‑prick blood sample, and within 10 days, you can view vital information concerning your vitamin levels, your levels of inflammation, and antibody (immunoglobulin) numbers within your profile on the secure BecauseHealth portal. With a clear picture of your immune system, you can begin to understand which areas need improvement and act immediately to address them.
You don’t need to visit a clinician face‑to‑face or even go to a lab. Instead, you can order one of our immunity testing kits here and get the information you need from the comfort of your own home.
So what are you waiting for? Go and prepare yourself for war against the invisible enemy by connecting to a specialist via telehealth for a personalized immunity package.