Summer is winding down, and while Covid still seems to be an issue, there are some things that we can all do to prepare our immune system better to combat this and the myriad of other viruses that are bound to be out there. We’ve talked about general nutrition ideas, but here we are going to discuss my favorite immune boosting trick. And the best part of this one, it’s completely FREE! It’s actually really simple.
Go. Out. Side.
Yep, it’s as simple as getting outside and enjoying some fresh air, and more importantly, some sunshine. Few things help us generate Vitamin D better than 15-20 minutes of sunshine. If you’re of European descent, you can generate 20,000 IU of Vitamin D in that time. If you have a darker skin tone, you may need more.
Checking your Vitamin D levels might also be a good idea. You may find that you need to add supplements before the next flu season. Vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL is considered deficient, and many severe cases of Covid have been associated with deficient levels of Vitamin D. If you need help getting your Vitamin D levels checked, give me a call and we’ll get a test ordered.
There was a recent study in Medscape that was critical of Vitamin D supplementation, suggesting it wasn’t helping in the population studied, but it was also only giving about 25mcg, which is only about 1000 IU. (For some reason all the measures for Vitamin D changed about 2 years ago, so if you’re used to IU’s instead mcg, you’re not alone).
In general, when I look at studies on Medscape, I first read the study and conclusions, but often find that the real education comes from reading the comments left by the doctors and nurses who also look at these studies. In this case, their comments are almost comical; one after another, readers comment about how the dose was too low for any immediate meaningful use. But the one comment that really caught my eye was the suggestion that like all things, you need to build it up. There’s some compelling science that suggests adequate levels of Vitamin D may be what we need to be healthy during a viral infection.
You’re Not Going to Lift 300 Pounds All at Once
Just like anything else, you need to build up your immune system. Remember that a single change may not make an immediate impact. We put a lot of faith in our immune system to do some heavy lifting, but we need to give it what it needs to be strong. We need to eat clean healthy food, cut back on the sugar and junk carbs, and reduce our vegetable oil consumption.
In short, we just need to eat real food. Vitamin D is one of the heavy lifters in your immune building arsenal, along with exercise & keeping a well-balanced spine. Get a free boost to your immune system by going for a walk outside, preferably when the sun is higher (when you’re taller than your shadow) and enjoy some time in nature. Even in the middle of the city, we have a pretty natural environment.
What to Keep Doing to prevent COVID-19
All of these are natural ways to boost your immune system:
- Get outside and enjoy the weather.
- Get some sun exposure without sunscreen. (Be careful not to get a burn!) UV-B rays help you produce Vitamin D, but are also blocked bu sunscreen. (UV-A rays are the ones that can be damaging to the collagen matrix of your skin.)
- In addition to supplementing with Vitamin D, be sure that you are eating Vitamin D rich foods, like farm fresh eggs, organ meats (you can grind them up to incorporate into hamburger), and shellfish like oysters
- Get your vitamin D levels tested.
- Get in to get adjusted. Note that normally I would say “get checked”, but with everyone at home, I’m finding almost everyone is getting adjusted more. It could be that your office set up at home is less than desirable, the stress from having everyone home, or from not being to plan effectively.
- Stay positive
- Support your local businesses. Remember, they all need us right now. If you’re a local business and need some help getting the message out, reach out to us, and we’ll do our best to share in future communications.
Don’t forget, if you’re at risk (co-morbidities, diabetes, obesity, heart disease), stay at home.
What Does COVID Look Like?
If you’re wondering what COVID-19 looks like symptomatically, the Top 3 symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
If you have any of these symptoms, stay at home, especially a fever. If you develop any symptoms shortly after visiting us, please let us know so we can take appropriate steps. We’re practicing social distancing between patients, spreading visits out over a longer period of time through the day to make sure we don’t have too many people here at one time.
A quick note on Vitamin C, have some on hand. While there is no good evidence to show that extra vitamin C when you’re healthy has an improvement on antioxidant status, when you’re fighting an infection the benefit kicks in. So use your Vitamin C WHEN you’re fighting the fever, not just because you have to go to the store to get groceries.