The best defense
Boost your immune system now to fend off coronavirus later (hint: less beer, more veggies)

The best defense
Jim Forleo, D.C., P.C. - 05/14/2020

Pandemics often bring pandemonium. It is easy to be fearful about coronavirus. But we already possess the greatest weapon on Earth against it: our amazing body and its powerful immune system.

Once we know how best to support our immune system, pandemonium can play less of a role in our lives. It is important to realize that no matter what drug or vaccine we put into our bodies, it is ultimately our body’s immune system that does the work. There is no fighting anything without our immune system being fully in charge. An effective immune system is always the most important factor in health.

One thing I have learned as a chiropractor and natural health practitioner for over 40 years is that the best thing one can do for any condition is to increase one’s level of health and well-being. Our bodies have an amazing ability to fight off viruses or disease if we implement the things that strengthen our immune system and avoid the things that weaken it. According to the CDC, most people who get sick from coronavirus have mild to moderate symptoms. Most of the people who die from this exposure are already sick. They are the most vulnerable and are likely already taking numerous prescription drugs. The average American takes 13 medications. Their bodies are already seriously compromised. These are important distinctions to understand.

Our body’s ability to resist the agents of disease – such as viruses, bacteria and fungi – is the key to understanding how the immune system works and how we can help it function more effectively. When we are healthy, which includes the health of our gut, our immune systems have the ability to fight off disease from the inside out, and many times we aren’t even aware it. Our understanding these days has been limited to trying to fight off microorganisms from the outside, using prescription drugs that attempt to provide what the body would if it were working properly. Unfortunately, prescription drugs can have significant to serious side effects, which actually further compromise the ability of our bodies to achieve the desired goal: to get and stay healthy! Prescription drugs work great in emergency situations, but in most cases, long-term use is not sustainable.

The thymus, which is the master-control endocrine organ for our immune system, has the ability to make the perfect antibody to whatever we get exposed to, including COVID-19. Thus, we want to prepare the thymus for the coming virus before you get exposed!

A study in the peer-reviewed medical journal Vaccine has cautioned people, especially seniors, to avoid the flu shot right now as it creates “virus interference” and actually increases the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. These principles hold true for any virus or bacteria for that matter. So, things that weaken and strengthen our immune systems should be our major concern.

Things that weaken the immune system:

1) Poor diet – By far the largest part of our immune system, what we put into our gut is crucial. Avoid refined carbohydrates and processed foods like sugar, white rice, refined grains, cereals and breads – basically anything we buy from the supermarket in a bag or a box. These foods create nutritional deficiencies and inflammation in the body. These convenience foods actually bog down the body, compromise gut health and weaken the immune system. Fast food is also in this category. Most city water contains chemicals that negatively affect your thyroid, another endocrine organ. Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces/day of filtered, spring or RO water.

2) Drugs and alcohol – These weaken and toxify the liver and the body. Limit medications to those that are absolutely essential. Ask your physician to de-prescribe any pharmaceuticals that are not. This is especially true for seniors who are more susceptible to coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, the average senior takes 18 prescribed medications. This is way too many for the immune system to handle and still work effectively if and when you get exposed.

3) Stress – Weakens the body. Stress can be physical, caused by overworking, overtraining, being out of structural alignment, or being physically out of shape. Stress can also be thermal, by getting too hot or too cold.

Mental stress can often be the result of poor nutrition. Too many refined foods, too much alcohol, not enough rest, too much screen time or too many toxic drugs, whether prescribed or otherwise, can cause mental stress.

Emotional stress can come from past traumas. Fear, anxiety and anger weaken the immune system. Try to stay clear of these toxic emotions to protect your immune system. Some people handle stress better than others. Recognize your weaknesses and don’t go past your limitations.

Things that strengthen the immune System:

1) Balanced Diet – Eat a diet of whole foods, just the way they occur in nature. They contain all the synergists that help us digest and utilize our food and contain phytonutrients that strengthen our immune systems. When possible, buy organic. A good rule of thumb is to eat six vegetables, two fruits, one starch and one protein each day. Or, follow the well-publicized guidelines of the Mediterranean Diet. Fermented vegetables also support gut health, as does adding a diverse amount of fiber to your diet. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.”

2) Nutrition - Vitamin C has been used by the Chinese to stem the tide of coronavirus. I recommend taking frequent dosages of a whole-food vitamin C complex, which has all the diverse components of Vitamin C, not just ascorbic acid.

Vitamin D3 taken at two 6000 IU per day also helps the body to fight off infection.

Essential fatty acids such as fish oil and flax seed oil are just that; essential.

Herbs are an integral part of what the Earth has provided us as natural medicines. Use echinacea, goldenseal, astragalus and olive leaf tinctures for this virus; osha, yerba mansa, yerba santa and pleurisy root for breathing problems; and boswellia and turmeric to combat systemic inflammation. These herbs are inexpensive, effective and have no side effects. Many drugs try to copy the healing effects of herbs but may not be as effective.

Minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium and trace minerals, available at health food stores, assist the body and immune system to work more effectively.

A whole foods multiple vitamin and mineral is helpful, but additional vitamin C, D3 and essential fatty acids are necessary.

3) Reduce Stress – Physical stress can be reduced by chiropractic adjustments, exercise, breathing exercises, rest, and one of the biggest factors, sleep. Sleep is the elixir for the human body. Seven to eight hours of sleep a night are required for the body to function properly. During sleep, the body works to repair itself. If you can’t sleep, explore taking melatonin, in 5 or 10 mg doses each evening.

Mental stress and fatigue are reduced by morning practices like meditation, yoga, stretching and exercise. Eating a whole foods diet and avoiding too much mental stimulation are also a big help.

Embrace the positive emotions of love, joy and compassion on a daily basis. Practice these positive emotions and watch them spread throughout your immune system and the community.

More than likely, in the next several months, we will all be exposed to COVID-19. The difference maker will be the health of your immune system. If it is healthy, in all likelihood you will resist this virus. You may experience flu type symptoms, but in a short time, if you continue to support your immune system, you will recover. Medicine has no remedy for this virus. Nothing from the outside in is going to rescue us. Yes, social distancing, masks and hand washing are important, but supporting your immune system is vital to resisting this powerful virus.

The fear we are experiencing is understandable, especially when we don’t know what will happen or what to do about it. But as we pull together as a community and a nation, we will see that the power of love and compassion brings out the best part of human beings. If you look closely, it is already starting to happen.