Our immune system is Intelligently Designed to fight the good fight against colds, flus, and viruses. However, when our immune system is compromised or neglected it will not be equipped to fight as it was designed. To give our immune system its best shot at being successful at its job, let’s look at some very practical things that we can do.
1. High (daily) intake of fruits/vegetables that contain carotenoids. These are the dark red/green/yellow/orange pigments made by plants. Carotenoids are converted to vitamin A if thyroid levels are adequate. Vitamin A helps fortify cell membranes so that viruses cannot get inside and make millions of copies. It is the release of these millions of viral particles that cause the cytokine storm. This puts a virus in a position of a would-be burglar trying to break into a house that has a security system. The longer that burglar stays outside, the more likely he will be detected by neighbors or law enforcement.
2. Get adequate Vitamin D3, with daily supplementation when necessary. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is actually a hormone that stimulates your cell DNA to produce a variety of proteins. One class of those proteins, cathelicidins, are your internal antimicrobials. If viruses are locked outside the cell due to adequate vitamin A, they get destroyed by cathelicidins. Less sun exposure in the Fall sets you up for low vitamin D and more viral infections, including flu viruses. Optimal range is between 70-100.
3. Be sure your gut health is in check. Supplementation with hydrochloric acid may be necessary. As in the Bible story, a pestilence that affects some will “pass over” people who have adequate hydrochloric acid. Children are often born not producing adequate hydrochloric acid, and the elderly experience significant decline in production. Thus, these two populations are more vulnerable to infections. Symptoms of “low hydrochloric acid” are available at the stroke of your fingertips and a quick search on your favorite web browser. Another indicator of inadequate HCl production is found on a CBC (complete blood count). Contained within a CBC panel is the value for MCV (mean corpuscular volume). This number tells you how large your red blood cells are. Red blood cells start to increase in size and become less efficient at carrying iron and oxygen if B-12 levels decline. Since B-12 levels decline as hydrochloric acid levels decline, this is an indirect marker for low hydrochloric acid production. This number should be around 85. A number that is greater than or less than 85 is an indicator of a nutritional deficiency. If hydrochloric acid production is inadequate, B-12 cannot be absorbed.
4. Maintain optimal thyroid hormone levels.
Thyroid hormone allows mammals to burn sugar in the presence of oxygen. The energy and heat from this combustion is critical to keeping your “critter” levels from getting to the cytokine storm tipping point. As body temperature drops below 98.6, we see the same effect that causes food poisoning. Food allowed to get cold on the buffet line will grow more critters and cause illness. The same thing happens if your body temperature drops from inadequate production of thyroid hormone. Levels normally start dropping around age 27. As with production of hydrochloric acid, the young may have immature production and the elderly will have senescent production. If your TSH is above 1.0, suspect inadequate production of thyroid hormone. The energy produced by the
combustion of sugar in the presence of oxygen and thyroid hormone allows your immune system to be effective. Low thyroid = weakened immune system.
5. Intake adequate Vitamin C
Ascorbic acid, like cathelicidins, is virucidal – it kills viruses on contact. Again, a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables will supply you with vitamin C. Most mammals produce vitamin C in the liver. Humans do not. You must eat it or take a supplement.
6. Iodine/iodide supplementation
These mineral moieties have the same effect in your bloodstream as chlorine does in a swimming pool or municipal water. Minerals in this class, called “halogens,” are potent critter killers. Iodine and iodide attach to human cells (if you have adequate omega 3 fats) and “ride shotgun” to keep your critter levels in check. If you are eating large amounts of seaweed daily, you may not need a supplement, but that’s not the case with most people.
If you are not already in the habit of “moving your body” for the purpose of exercise, start where you are and gradually improve. Work your way up to walking three miles in 45 minutes at least four times/week. Aerobic exercise should be vigorous enough to make it difficult to engage in conversation.
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