Immunity Basics

We wash our hands and wear our masks, and we’ve heard plenty about herd immunity this year. But, there are still other germs out there too, and we need to be conscious of other symptoms to assess if our immune system might be weakened. 

Here are some facts about basic immunity, which will come in handy when you need to fight back. 

Do you feel fatigued frequently or after normal activity, inappropriate to your age or wellness level? When your immune system is overworked, so are your energy resources. Your body may be using your good energy to fight germs. 

Is your stress level off the charts? High stress and emotional situations allow your body to produce a lot of cortisol, which, over long periods will suppress immunity.  Stress also decreases your white blood cells. 

Do you feel like you always have a cold? Most people have 2-3 per year and bounce back with antibodies. If you ‘catch’ another quickly, you may be lingering with the first cold because antibodies aren’t doing the job. 

Do you have a lot of stomach “issues”? Research shows nearly 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. Frequent problems may mean a low count of beneficial bacteria. 

Do your cuts take forever to heal? The body sends nutrient-rich blood to the injury to help regenerate new skin. If your immune system is not at optimum, the skin doesn’t regenerate quickly.

HOW TO BOOST IT

Most of us know we should eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. 

Add fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and natto. NIH research tells us that is one way we can get that beneficial bacteria, which will help immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful invaders. 

SUPPLEMENTS*: While vitamins may not entirely protect you from flu, all of these are good for wellness and immune function

  • Vitamin C: 1,000–2,000mg/day may help shorten colds.  
  • Vitamin D: Vit D deficiency may unbalance your immune response, and may increase your chances of infection. Research shows it is particularly helpful in reducing respiratory infections. Ask your doctor about appropriate dosage; more is not necessarily better. 
  • Zinc: Daily doses of 75mg or more has been shown to reduce the duration of common colds. It is also generally recommended for older adults. 
  • Garlic: Supplementing with garlic has been shown to reduce the incidence of the common cold by about one-third. Experts say more research is needed and, although it is natural, it is important to speak with your physician about blood-related side effects and possible allergies. 
  • Antioxidants: Selenium, gluthathione, vit E, vit A, alpha-lipoic acid, coQ10 play a protective role in infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
  • Stay hydrated. Water won’t save you from germs, but it does keep your brain and organs from poor performance, which leaves you susceptible to illness. Your organs will be better prepared to filter out toxins… when you do a … 
  • Dry scrub. Using a soft brush, start at your toes and work your way up, brushing your skin, gently, toward your heart. This will stimulate lymph nodes (just under the skin surface) to produce fluids that wash toxins out of your system. 

*Georgetown View is not recommending the use of any supplements. This column is intended only to provide data and shed general information on a topic we find to be trend-worthy for entertainment purposes. Please consult your physician with questions about the most appropriate ways to support your health.

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