The theme of 2020 in the health world is shaping up to be immune support and being healthy, and achieving optimal health as best as we could. While we don’t have enough research to identify anything that can prevent or treat COVID-19 yet, ensuring our health is in balance can aid to support your immune system. This involves a lot more than just finding an “immune-boosting” supplement or two.
Dr. Suhani's 8 fundamental pillars to achieving health balance that you want to address and optimize so they can support a healthy immune system are:
For some, it can be as simple as popping a melatonin tablet but often there is a lot more that is happening behind the scenes that may impact sleep like various lifestyle habits that need to be corrected such as exercising or eating too late at night, hormonal imbalances, and possible inflammation in the body that can be affecting sleep. If melatonin isn’t working for you, then let’s work together to find a solution and what can help you catch some great ZZZzzzzzz!
This usually looks like shopping for most of your groceries on the periphery of the grocery store where all the whole foods are located. Eating fruits and vegetables to load up on your vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants; Getting enough protein in your diet since the cells of our immune system are composed of protein like antibodies and signalling proteins; Minimizing all the fried and greasy foods; Reducing alcohol consumption as it impairs your detoxification system and uses up glutathione plus alcohol can turn into sugar and stored as fat in the body; Picking complex carbohydrates like starchy vegetables, ancient grains, whole-grains over the white refined flours and grains because they have more nutrients and fibre to help you stay regular; and trying to keep sugar on the low end even though baking and carb consumption is really tempting during this current situation. Sugar can be inflammatory and trigger inflammation which will throw off your hormones like insulin and cortisol and reduce immune function. Sugar is also a food source for many microorganisms.
Nutritional supplements can be recommended by a healthcare professional where necessary to fill in the gaps that your dietary regime isn’t covering.
IV nutritional therapy can be also beneficial to help fill the voids on some quick vitamin and mineral repletion directly into the blood.
At this current moment, I would say most people are in the resistance stage where cortisol levels are at an all-time high and we need ways to bring this down. Furthermore, if we don’t address our cortisol hormone levels now and keep that in check while we are experiencing “pandemic stress”, we will exhaust our adrenal hormone production and this will push us into the burn-out phase which could make inflammation worse and make us more susceptible during a second wave if that were to occur.
Abdominal fat is considered inflammatory and will increase inflammation in the body plus it will promote insulin resistance which increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lighter exercises are preferable over very intense exercises, especially if you are prone to stress and high cortisol levels because intense exercise will pump up your cortisol even more.
Exercise can be a stress release and add some self-care to your day.
This is why sometimes you need to work with a healthcare professional that specializes in nutrition like a nutritionist or a naturopathic doctor to determine which foods are right for you. YES! Sometimes vegetables, whole-grains, and fibre can make people feel more bloated, gassy and worse which indicates something needs to be fixed.
Overdosing on vitamin D can be bad because it does increase calcium absorption and can increase your risk of developing calcification or kidney stones. It is best to test your vitamin D levels before you start supplementing and if you have been supplementing for a long time, consider checking your blood levels to ensure the supplement is doing its job. Medical doctors are not able to test Vitamin D unless you pay for it but a lot of MDs also refrain from ordering the test due to healthcare policies. Naturopathic doctors can order vitamin D testing (for a cost) and if your levels come back low in spite of supplementation, we can figure out what might be going on preventing you from absorbing it.
Some food sources include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, egg yolks; liver; and dairy products fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation might be your best option for therapeutic levels especially if you are deficient.
General Health/Energy Optimization Program
Rhodes JM, Subramanian S, Laird E, Kenny RA. Editorial: low population mortality from COVID-19 in countries south of latitude 35 degrees north supports vitamin D as a factor determining severity. Aliment Pharmacol Therap. 20 April 2020; 51(12):1434-1437.