The coronavirus has gone viral, and while governments’ efforts to contain it have succeeded in some places, in other places they are failing. No matter where you are in the world, your own immune system is the best defense against the coronavirus, should you be put in a situation where you contract it.
You have more control over your immune system than you think, and a few key lifestyle changes and supplements can boost your immune response so that you do not land in the ICU if you get sick with the coronavirus.
Before jumping into the supplements, let’s run over some of the simple lifestyle changes you can make.
- Get plenty of sun. It’s been theorized that the virus is spreading in the populous regions of the northern hemisphere that are currently still in winter, where UV radiation is minimal. During these times of the year, you need to go out of the way to get some sunshine on your skin. This will boost your vitamin D levels and also kill any pathogens that are lingering on your skin—viruses in particular do not like UV radiation. (If you live close to the equator, remember to not overdo the sunshine.)
- Get fresh air. Viruses don’t like the open air either. They thrive in climate-controlled environments where air is circulated. Don’t be afraid of a little bit of cold air if it means you are getting fresh, uncirculated air. It may be the case that the coronavirus in particular does not like extremes of cold or hot, so exposing yourself to air below freezing may actually help you. And it’s good for your lungs, too.
- Get regular exercise. Working out boosts your immune response and strengthens your heart and muscles. Strong things are more difficult to kill, and a lack of musculature is one of the main reasons that the elderly are so at risk of dying from common illnesses, such as the flu. Now is not the time to overdo exercise, however, since that can blunt your immune system until you recover. Also, it’s probably prudent to avoid gyms. Do your workout in the sun and fresh air instead.
- Avoid toxic substances, such as junk food, excess alcohol, and drugs. As most people are aware, a single night of heavy drinking is often followed by a cold or the flu. When your body has to prioritize ridding itself of toxins, it cuts down on its immune activity. This is not the time to experiment with substances. Some moderate drinking is probably fine, but don’t over do it.
- If you get sick, avoid Ibuprofen and try to limit your intake of other NSAIDs. There is mounting evidence that NSAIDS, in particular Ibuprofen, are reducing the natural immune response to the coronavirus and making it worse. Tylenol may be safer if you need it to get through the day, but it’s probably safest to avoid painkillers altogether if you can tough it out.
Now it’s time to talk supplements. These are no substitute for a healthy diet, but deficiencies in these vitamins and minerals are widespread and, in times like these, it’s probably better to be supplement to make sure you are getting enough vital nutrients to prevent this terrible illness.
- Vitamin D. Many people speculate that seasonal vitamin D deficiency is the primary driver of the flu and cold seasons. Getting sufficient vitamin D is difficult in winter, and there’s no harm to supplementing.
- Vitamin C. This has long been known to be a powerful immune booster, especially when you feel you are coming down with something. At a time like this, it’s crucial to get sufficient vitamin C.
- Zinc. In South Korea, the use of zinc lozenges may be why the death rate from coronavirus is so low. Viruses thrive on zinc-deficient cells, and it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet.
- Iodine. Your body naturally uses up its iodine stores during an illness and it is very easy to become deficient over time. Start supplementing slowly with iodine to make sure your TSH levels are normal and your immune system is functioning properly.
There are many other supplements that you can take, but because of their widespread availability and affordability, these may be the easiest to introduce. Let us know what you think in the comments.