With the looming fear and hype around COVID19, many of you are probably wondering what supplements you should be taking. First of all, let me be very clear….there is currently NO EVIDENCE that vitamins or herbs can prevent or treat COVID 19 infections. Although there is much research underway and many claims of a “cure” or “treatment”, I urge caution and common sense.
Your immune system is designed to protect you and it does this by mounting a response whenever it is threatened by a foreign invader, such a virus. In most cases it does a very good job. However, it is vulnerable to wear & tear and dysfunction if not taken care of properly…so I’m going to provide you with some key areas so focus on to help keep your immune system strong.
These suggestions DO NOT however preclude you, nor should they give you a false sense of security, from doing the most effective thing you can do to prevent illness; which PREVENTION by washing your hands, not touching your face (while out and without washing your hands first), SOCIAL DISTANCING and staying away from those who are sick. So do those things first & foremost AND then you can also consider these items:
1. Prioritize sleep! I could talk about this forever, but to make it real simple…your immune system cannot function properly if you’re not getting enough sleep. Get back to the basics by focusing on your sleep hygiene and aim for 7-9 hours each night!
2. Manage your stress: I know I sound like a broken record, and it probably seems half facetious since most of us are stressed out with all the unexpected changes right now, but now more than ever you have to prioritize this. Stress weakens your immune system & makes you more vulnerable to infections & illness. So take a walk around the block, spend 5-10 minutes belly breathing, consume less caffeine/alcohol/sugar, write in your journal, burn some incense in your home, just try to do something each day.
3. Keep your gut healthy: Again, this is such a dense and rich topic (and something I LOVE talking about) but I’ll keep it succinct. Your gut is lined with immune cells & it actually houses over 70% of our immune system. So what happens in there matters! So chew your food, slow down to eat, avoid food sensitivities, eat probiotic rich foods and try periodic intermittent fasting or a low FODMAP diet if you have “IBS”.
4. Optimize the intake of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Zinc: Do this first & foremost through food & then consider supplementing if you need extra support. You’ll want to talk with your healthcare professional about what dose is appropriate for you. Here are some fantastic food sources of each vitamin
Vitamin C: peppers, black currants, citrus fruit, strawberries, spinach, kale, broccoli, parsley, kiwi, etc.
Vitamin D: eggs, cod liver oil, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) & sunlight!
Vitamin A: beef liver & cod liver oil are best (contain preformed Vitamin A = easily absorbed and utilized), although yellow/orange coloured vegetables are considered to be provitamin A compounds called carotenoids (precursor forms, meaning they are slightly less bioavailable as they have to be converted in the body) and includes sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe, etc.
Zinc: eggs, meat & seafood are most bio-available sources.