The number one key factor in supporting your immune system is SLEEP.
1} Regular sleep patterns and eating patterns: The circadian rhythm, involved in sleep and eating has an influence on IL10 an anti-inflammatory chemical that can prevent your immune system from over reaction. This is important in later stages of an illness when the immune system has done its work and needs to re-balance. This is particularly important in elderly that tend towards higher levels of IL10 and chronic inflammation in general. Regular sleep and eating patterns can modulate the inflammatory response.
2} Modulating the stress response: daily relaxation and breathing techniques.
3} Anthocyanins help regulate the immune response and are found in blackcurrant, elderberry, blackberry, black grape, sweet cherry, pomegranate, black olives
4) Role of the Gut Microbiome
Another very important factor is a healthy gut microbiome as 70-80% of your immune system is in the gut. The bacteria from pre-biotic foods goes through a fermentation process that produces metabolites and these metabolites have been found to improve function of immune response. Prebiotics are special plant fibres that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the gut. Beta hydroxybutyrate, a short chained fatty acid, is produced in the gut from fermentable carbohydrates which are prebiotic fibres. This has been shown to inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome, that is involved in viral infections. Consume regularly: leeks, onion, garlic, artichoke (jerusalem), dandelion greens, apples, carrots, radish. intermittent fasting, exercise, lots of greens, bone broth and polyphenols can also support your microbiome.
Probiotics are sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt and miso.
Polyphenols -blueberries, strawberries, grapes, green tea, dark chocolate, oregano, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, black cumin seed, thyme, holy basil Bone Broth -boosts immunity and supports gut health.
BONE MARROW AND ORGANIC VEGETABLE SOUP (if vegetarian-add miso instead of bones) 6-8 small marrow bones from organic chicken 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 2 onions chopped 1 cup cooked barley ( optional) 2-3 garlic cloves sliced Seaweed (optional) 3-4 carrots chopped 1 tsp Himalayan salt 2 chopped celery and celery tops Pinch of thyme, basil, rosemary, marjoram, coriander or any other herb for seasoning Cook bones separate and bring to a boil. Add apple cider vinegar and salt. Simmer for 10 hours while skimming gray matter frequently. Chill and remove any fat. Add vegetables to marrow water and bring to boil, simmer for an hour, add herbs and cooked barley.
What else can you do to support your immune function, reduce risk of getting viral illnesses as well as support with any vaccination?
1) Avoid alcohol prior to vaccination - 3 days to a week and at least a week after as it compromises liver function and suppresses immunity.
2) Stop smoking
3) Avoid refined sugar as sugar has an immediate effect on lowering T cells and immune function.
4) 7-8 hours of quality sleep -this is number 1 It has been shown that less than 7 hours of sleep causes a dysregulation of your immune system. The melatonin that is produced during sleep is an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory. Melatonin inhibits inflammasome NLRP3, a component of our innate immune system.
5) Stress management -increased cortisol is immunosuppressive Reduce stress by Walk in nature, breathing exercises (nasal breathing to increase nitric oxide which inhibits replication virus), humming raises nitric oxide and improves vagal tone, which in turn supports digestion and relaxation, yoga, mindfulness
6) Hydration -drink 1-2 litres of filtered water daily
7) Moderate exercise -30 minutes most days. Moderate exercise can improve the immune defense system but if you over do it can suppress.
8) Anti-inflammatory and low glycemic diet -it is important to reduce comorbidities such as insulin resistance and inflammation. Chronic inflammation can put you more at risk for more severe symptoms during a viral infection. Follow the Anti-inflammatory Food Guide and Glycemic index chart found on our website: www.betterbalance.co.nz
9) Include foods high in zinc, vitamin C, D, A, magnesium and trace minerals -found in fruits, vegetables and wholefoods. 10) Include foods to support detoxification and cellular defense: Sulforaphane-cruciferous vegetables -broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, brussels sprout, bok choy, broccoli, watercress, kale
11) Glutathione support -Glutathione is your internal antioxidant and cellular defense. Building blocks needed for glutathione production are cruciferous vegetables, spinach, avocado, asparagus High selenium foods -garlic, brazil nuts, mushrooms. Cysteine foods -legumes, yogurt, whey protein, free range eggs and organic chicken
12) Flavonoids from vegetables and fruit, these support immune regulation, microbiome balance and down regulate the inflammatory response when it is over active: Quercetin mast cell control -onions, apples, cherries Myricetin -tomato, orange, berries, nuts, tea Curcurmin-turmeric, use this with fats or black pepper for better absorption Apigenin -celery, parsley, chamomile -make a chamomile infusion, steep for 15 minutes for its apigenin effect and also support for sleep. Glycyrrhiza licorice-antiviral, inhibits replication of virus and is anti-inflammatory. Licorice can increase blood pressure if used long term so avoid if you have high blood pressure. Baicalin herbs -baical skullcap, plantain
13) Zinc -many people are deficient in zinc including the elderly. Zinc lozenges are an excellent way to reduce risk of viruses. Increase foods high in zinc -nuts, seeds, pumpkin seeds, vegetables, whole grains, seafood
14) Mushrooms -use the Full mycelium extract, better for viral infections. The individualized components polysaccharides. lentinan, beta glucan are good for general immunity and integrative cancer support. Eat the whole mushroom -reishi shiitake, chaga, cordyceps and maitake
15) Vitamin D -Try to get daily exposure to sunlight for 20 minutes. Ask your GP for a test and if low, take a supplement. 16) Vitamin A -Cod liver, carotenoids found in orange and yellow vegetables and fruits -mango, pink grapefruit, melons, carrot, pumpkin, spirulina dark leafy greens
17) Daily Nasal irrigations -can help reduce respiratory viruses from taking hold and causing infection -try saline or saline with xylitol or colloidal silver.
'Fermented Functional Foods; Curr Opin Biotechol; 2005 Apr; 198-203 Mechanism of inflammatory response.pubmed.ncbi.nih.90
Disclaimer: These are general recommendations only and you need to consider your own biochemical individuality and adapt accordingly and get advise from your health practitioner particularly if you are on any medications or have underlying health conditions. The author accepts no responsibility for use of this information.