Concerns around coronavirus and the body’s ability to fight the infection have soared in the face of this devastating pandemic. While it is nearly impossible to completely stop the body from getting an infection, you can do some things to help your immune system prepare to fight infection.
What is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have defined Coronavirus as “a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).’’ The most recently discovered strain is known as Corona Virus Disease 2019, or COVID-19 for short.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest people showing any of the following symptoms should seek medical attention.
- dry cough
- aches and pains
- nasal congestion
- runny nose
- sore throat
The symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develop breathing difficulties. Older people, or those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
How to protect your immune system
It is important to know that there are simple actions you can take to boost your immune system. These steps will give your body the best chance of defence.
- Ensure you have sufficient vitamin D
Vitamin D has been recognised as contributing to normal functioning of the immune system and a deficiency may restrict the body’s ability to fight off infections. Vitamin D is required to produce the antimicrobial proteins that kill viruses and bacteria. A recent analysis published in the British Medical Journal demonstrates the overall protective effect of vitamin D supplementation against acute respiratory tract infections.
“If you don’t have adequate vitamin D circulating, you are less effective at producing these proteins and more susceptible to infection,” states Dr. Adit Ginde, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and lead author. “These proteins are particularly active in the respiratory tract.”
- Lower your stress
There are clear links between increases in chronic stress and detrimental changes to the immune system. This impact on the immune system is often exacerbated by advancing age, physical illness or vulnerability. Everyday concerns such as work, children and mortgages can be multiplied by other stresses caused by wider concerns around coronavirus and its impact on the global economy.
Minimising the level of stress is key to giving your immune system the best chance of fighting infection. Stress-busting activities, such as exercise, meditation and yoga can help to reduce stress. Anti-stress (anxiolytic) supplements should also help.
- Get more sleep
A healthy immune system can fight off infection. A sleep-deprived immune system doesn’t work as well. A recent study in 164 volunteers exposed to the cold virus showed short sleepers — those who regularly slept less than six hours a night — were 4.2 times more likely to catch the cold compared with those who got more than seven hours of sleep. The risk of infection was even higher when a person slept less than five hours a night.
Improving your sleep habits is a good way to strengthen your immune system. A good target is six to seven hours sleep a night. Supplements that improve sleep may prove useful and develop a regular night-time routine, avoiding screens, night-eating and exercise before bed.
Satipharm Advanced Active capsules are an ideal food supplement to help with the three points above, as each capsule includes:
- Vitamin D - 200% Recommended Daily Allowance/ Nutrient Reference Value for the immune system
- Vitamin E - 100% Recommended Daily Allowance/ Nutrient Reference Value to contribute to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
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Original NYT article can be found here