Immunity and COVID-19: Strategies for improving immune function

The developing COVID-19 situation is difficult, and in many ways an unprecedented moment we’re living through. 

In this moment, we believe it’s important that our actions be guided not by the stress and fear most media outlets are transmitting, but by a calm and compassionate assessment of the best information available.

There are many resources on social and personal hygiene practices (social distancing, hand washing, etc) to reduce risk of transmission, so I won’t attempt to add anything there.

As a metabolic biochemist, it looks to me like not enough attention is being given to immune system health, another significant ‘lever’ we can pull to protect ourselves from viral infection.

Our innate immunity can be improved - or impaired - on a day-to-day basis by our behavior and nutrition. Below are what the literature shows to be the most effective strategies to promote a resilient, quick-responding immune system:

Don’t miss sleep!

If you take nothing else away from this article, please take this: Cheating yourself of sleep - even by one hour - can significantly suppress your immune cell count and function. 8-9 hours per night is a complete night of sleep for most people.  [1][2][3]

Avoid drinking alcohol.

Alcohol is always a bad way to manage stress, but particularly so in this moment when a continuously healthy immune system is so important. Alcohol suppresses multiple components of our immune system, leading to an increased risk of infection. [4]

Don’t stress.

It may be difficult, but do your best not to get pulled into the prevailing climate of stress. Continuously elevated levels of the adrenal hormones associated with stress (cortisol, etc) will reliably lead to immune dysregulation. [5]

Supplements
There are probably dozens of supplements that get mentioned in the same sentence with “immune system”, but only three for which I think the research is convincing with respects to a short-term improvement in immune function:

  1. Liposomal Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) - Vitamin C appears to be particularly important for immune cell metabolism and function, and levels are generally many times greater in immune cells than in other cell types. Using a liposomal vitamin C is important, as non-liposomal is absorbed too poorly to have a significant short-term impact. Shoot for 3000-5000mg/day. [6][7]

  2. Licorice Extract - Glycyrrhizic acid, found in licorice, has been shown to increase total immune cell count. Take 1000-1500mg/day of a whole-root licorice extract. [8]

  3. Liposomal Full-Spectrum Turmeric - A compound found in turmeric root, ar-turmerone, has been shown by researchers to significantly increase production of B- and T-Lymphocytes, the immune cells responsible for protection against viruses and other microbial invaders. [9]

    Curcumin-only extracts (which make up 95+% of the turmeric products on market today) do NOT have this immune-stimulating property, so it is important to use a full-spectrum extract of turmeric like our Gold Liposomal Turmeric.

I hope you find this information helpful in navigating this difficult moment.

Wishing you peace and health,

Graham Ryan

Lead Scientist/Founder, SYNCHRO 



References

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S088915910200003X

[2] https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05300.x

[3] https://www.nature.com/articles/nri1369/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3887500/

[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S147149060300173X

[6] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.628.8679&rep=rep1&type=pdf

[7] https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/mrmc/2014/00000014/00000005/art00005

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5732493/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23229920

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