With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are focused more than ever on their immune systems. It's common knowledge that to stay healthy we need to keep our immune system strong. That's great advice, but the path to a healthy immune system can be complicated.
Why is this? Because there's still a lot we don't know about the ins-and-outs of the immune response. This means there's not just 'one thing' we can do (or pill we can take) to boost it.
Instead, we should focus on the only two factors we can control: (1) Defense and (2) Offense – so we can fight viruses and bacteria better, and successfully heal our bodies from within.
A Strong Immune System Defense
The best defense is avoiding or minimizing exposure to germs and viruses. You likely already know about the importance of washing your hands, avoiding contact with those who are sick and avoiding crowded places. However, here are three little-known risk factors you should also be aware of:
# 1: Credit Card Pin Pads and Screens
Who knows how many people touched the credit card checkout screen before you? Touching the screen with your fingers, or even grabbing the pen stylus means contaminating your hands. Touching these pin pads is dirtier than touching the phones of several strangers.
Solution: Use your credit card corner to push the buttons and tap on the screen, or use your own pen stylus when checking out on a credit card kiosk, or ask the checkout worker to process your purchase without you having to touch the screen.
#2: Public Door Handles
Door handles are touched daily and are not cleaned often enough, so they get very dirty.
Solution: Open doors with your foot by pushing your toe against the bottom of the door (for push doors) and for pull doors use your shirt to grab the part of the handle others normally don't touch, like the very top or bottom of the handle, not the middle.
#3: Shoes in the house!
Most people wear shoes inside their house even though studies show over 100,000 different types of bacteria, and even viruses can be found on the bottom of most shoes. This is especially risky if you have pets or kids that come in contact with the floor and then spread the contagions from the floor to the other parts of the house, such as furniture.
Solution: Don't wear shoes in the house! Take them off by the door, and ask your guests to do the same. A simple policy like this could mean the difference between getting sick and staying healthy.
A Strong Immune System Offense
Now that you're doing everything you can to avoid coming into contact with contagions, the other part of the equation is getting your immune system into strong fighting mode. There are several lifestyle recommendations below to keep your immune system strong. In addition, you will find lesser-known, but critical information, on how cellular health, inflammation, and age impact your immune system, along with my pro tips to strengthen it.
Ways to Boost Your Immune System:
- Eat a diverse diet of healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables. Nutrient-dense, anthocyanin-rich, antioxidant-rich foods provide you with the nutrients your body needs to produce immune proteins, enzymes, and cells. Studies have shown anthocyanins, in particular, can help your body fight viral infections.
- Take prebiotics-and-probiotics to promote a healthy gut.
- Take your vitamins to fill in the nutritional gaps not satisfied with food alone. When micronutrients are at optimal levels, our cells are healthy and in turn, boost our ability to fight infections. Here are a few examples of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. A lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Studies show very high dose Vitamin C can help your body fight viral infections.
- Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system.
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection.
- Zinc is a powerful mineral that inhibits viral replication.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid alcohol, or drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep. Lack of restorative sleep affects hormone balance, reducing your immune system response. If you have issues sleeping, check out natural sleep aids such as REM Sleep by Healthycell.
- Minimize stress. Excess stress can disrupt hormone function, which directly reduces your immune response.
- Reset your immune system with fasting. Research has shown that fasting for three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly.
Improve Cellular Health for Improved Immune Strength
Our cells and their internal DNA are constantly under attack by internal and external sources. [4,5] The body can only repair DNA damage so fast. Eventually, when cellular DNA damage outpaces the body's ability to repair it, it can lead to poor immune health.
Fortunately, there's a supplement that we can take to help protect our DNA from the onslaught of damage that happens around-the-clock.
It's a rare extract called AC-11® from the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon rainforest with nearly two decades of research and dozens of peer-reviewed, scientific studies.
AC-11 is one of few documented plant phytochemicals proven to support DNA repair  while supporting our immune system's response to inflammation. AC-11 increases the efficacy and life span of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell important for fighting bacteria and viruses. Healthy lymphocytes are also necessary for enhancing our immune system and preventing inflammatory disorders from causing age-related health issues. [6-13]
AC-11 is sustainably harvested, safe, natural, and has no side effects or drug interactions.
Age and the Immune System
As we age, our immune response is reduced, which contributes to higher risk and frequency of infections and disease. The reduction in the immune response is believed to be, in part, a result of cellular aging. This is where cells become less efficient in repairing themselves and at releasing stem cells that give rise to the cells of the immune system.
As mentioned above, there's a strong connection between cell health, nutrition, and immunity. According to Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, Dr. Bruce Ames, "micronutrient deficiency can mimic radiation (or chemicals) in damaging DNA by causing single- and double-strand breaks, oxidative lesions, or both," which in turn are the root causes of many diseases, and accelerated aging. This makes the case for eating healthy and using dietary supplements to support cell health and fill critical micronutrient gaps even greater as we get older.
Inflammation and the Immune System
As we age we produce more inflammatory substances due to changes in gene activity, weakening our immune system. Anti-inflammatory foods like salmon and cold-water fish are excellent sources of key anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Vegan omega-3 and fatty-acid sources include nuts, chia and flax seeds, extra virgin olive oil, Ahiflower oil, algae, and phytoplankton. Vegetables like beets, cauliflower, carrots, kale, and spinach are also packed with anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, specific supplements can help to reduce inflammation and boost immunity. Cellular health supplements like AC-11 and Healthycell Pro (containing AC-11) have been shown in published studies to reduce inflammatory biomarkers in human subjects. Healthycell Pro also supplies key antioxidants as well as probiotics and prebiotics.
By incorporating these immune-boosting tips into our lifestyle, and sharing them with our loved ones, we can help prevent illness and thrive.