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  • Neha Deol

Immune Health




So, what can we do to protect ourselves?


By boosting your immune system, you stand a chance to help keep away cold flus at the best of times.

We can do a lot naturally through nutrition and lifestyle interventions to strengthen our immune defences. The important of nutrition and lifestyle plays a big part.

Those individuals with existing underlying medical conditions as well as young children, elderly and pregnant or breastfeeding ladies are especially at risk.


Keep your immune system nourished with the nutrients it requires to function properly, chiefly those with general anti-viral properties such as vitamin C, D, A and Zinc. Consider supplementing them on a daily basis from a therapeutic supplement to work on prevention.

Vitamin C

Always at the top of the list for immune support. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory activity and supports the body’s ability to fight infection. Vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration of the common cold, and even prevent it in some conditions, for example when people are exposed to brief periods of intense physical exercise.

It is worth taking vitamin C at a high dose, short-term.

Up to 6-8g per day spread throughout the day can reduce the symptoms of the common cold, and a high dose may be protective against other respiratory issues, including pneumonia.

It is easiest to achieve a high dose of vitamin C using a powdered vitamin C product. Since it is a water-soluble nutrient, it is advisable to spread this dosage over the course of the day (rather than taken all in one go) to support absorption and help maintain a steady supply of vitamin C in the bloodstream. Be careful with high dose vitamin C if you are on medication (especially anticoagulants) or have a history of kidney stones. Furthermore, if you are under medical supervision, please consult a health professional before supplementing.


Some foods rich in Vitamin C :


Oranges

Blackcurrants

Sweet Yellow peppers

Green Chillies

Kale

Broccoli

Lemon

Strawberries


Vitamin D

Many immune cells express vitamin D receptors and vitamin D also enhances the antimicrobial properties of immune cells. In addition, our bodies naturally produce substances called antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which act as the first line of defence against foreign invaders. This first line of defence is so effective that AMPs are often referred to as ‘natural antibiotics’. There are two main types of AMPs - cathelicidin and defensin, and research has shown that vitamin D specifically upregulates cathelicidin, thus supporting a robust immune response.

Optimise your vitamin D status guided by a vitamin D test. This is available for you to carry out at home from www.vitamindtest.org.uk

We are all prone to sub-optimal vitamin D levels during winter and the last thing we need is something as basic as this increasing our infection risk.

Adults and children can start by taking a conservative daily dose of 1000 IU and 400 IU vitamin D3 respectively.


Some foods rich in Vitamin D :

Salmon

Herring

Sardines

Mushrooms

Egg Yolk

Beef Liver


Vitamin A

Up to 5000 IU a day. Supports normal functioning of the immune, skin, mucosal cells, lining the airways, digestive tract, and urinary tract function as a barrier and form the body's first line of defence against infection.

Be careful with high dose vitamin of Vitamin A if you are on medication, have an existing condition related to or a history of Liver or heart issues or pregnant. Furthermore, if you are under medical supervision, please consult a health professional before supplementing.


Some Foods rich in Vitamin A:

Yellow Peppers

Sweet red peppers

Carrots

Beef Liver

Broccoli

Sweet potatoes

Butternut Squash


Zinc

A severe deficiency of zinc is known to suppress immune function, and even mild to moderate deficiency can have a negative impact on the immune system’s ability to deal with infection. Zinc supports the function and proliferation of various immune cells


15mg – 30mg a day.

Zinc hosts defence by maintaining the structure and function of the membrane barrier and this is particularly important in the intestine, which is continuously exposed to a myriad of pathogens and noxious agents.


Foods rich in Zinc:


Beef

Kale

Garlic

Broccoli

Mushrooms

Oysters

Spinach



Prebiotics and Probiotics

Support the resilience of the gut to infection by increasing your intake of prebiotics (the fibre) and probiotics (the good bacteria). This works alongside supportive micronutrients such as vitamin A and vitamin D. To help you reach a therapeutic dosage, consider supplementing with prebiotics and well-researched human strains of beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

The Lactobacillus combination can stave off intestinal pathogenic overgrowth and support the barrier function of the gut wall which can then have a positive knock-on impact on the overall strength of our immune system.


Foods for Prebiotics:

Onions

Leek

Garlic


Foods for Probiotics:

Miso

Sauerkraut

Kefir

Kimchi

Kombucha


All of the above nutrients are important for children’s immunity too, but at a dose that’s appropriate for their use. Therefore, use a product that’s been specifically formulated for children.


Sleep

Sleep is the opportunity for our body to ‘rest and repair’ and is just as important as nutrition when looking to strengthen our immune system. Strikingly, research has shown that those with less than 7 hours sleep per night were up to 3x more likely to develop the common cold after experimental exposure to rhinovirus than those with more than or equal to 8 hours sleep per night.

Therefore, aim for 8 hours or more uninterrupted sleep per night with the help of an eye mask, ear plugs, aromatherapy oils such as Lavender and a increased intake of calming nutrients such as magnesium (magnesium salt baths) and meditation before bed, to facilitate the protective effect of sleep on our immune defences. Given the anxiety that we are prone to feel when it comes to the current coronavirus outbreak, this recommendation could not be more important!


Stress & Smoking

We know that stress and smokers are depleted in vitamin C levels and should be extra vigilant in upping vitamin C levels. Stress regarding life, work and the Coronavirus will naturally deplete your body of Vitamin C too hence the emphasis on Vitamin C uptake throughout the day at a high dose.


Sugar and Alcohol

Watch your sugar and alcohol intake. Try to choose healthier alternatives, such as dark chocolate, nuts, and non-alcoholic drinks (e.g., kombucha), since both can have a draining impact on our immunity.


Activity

Now is not the time to start the gym if you have never been before, but that does not stop you from doing some workouts at home or taking a stroll around your residential area or a park. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better and boosts your overall mood. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.


Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Functional Medicine and Immune health

If you are low on your immune support and want a one-to-one consultation to support and explore how to naturally support boost your immune system a consultation with me can help you reach your health goals. Contact me to find out more.


Neha Deol

Email: neha@iamhealth.co.uk

www.iamhealth.co.uk


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