BACK TO SCHOOL with Coronavirus: How to Boost your Immunity
Though many parents and kids are excited to head back to school this month, returning to the classroom brings up some complications with the coronavirus in play.
Wearing a mask and social distancing may be possible, but there is no doubt that students will be in close proximity to each other for many hours of the day, and it only takes one accidental cough or sneeze when a mask is down to spread airborne germs.
The best defense is a stellar offense, we have to support students’ (and teachers!) immune systems to protect them from not only coronavirus, but the flu, common cold, and the many other bugs kids often come down with at the beginning of the school year.
Here are our recommendations for immune-boosting supplements and lifestyle practices you and your child can use to stay healthy all school year long!
Immunity Boosting Supplements
Even with a healthy diet, we could all use some additional support for our immune systems these days. Coronavirus aside, the amount of toxins, chemicals, pollution, and pathogens we come in contact with on a daily basis in our modern world is astounding.
These are a few of the basics we always come back to when recommending supplements for boosting the immune system, for kids and adults.
Vitamin D is important for just about every process in the body, including the immune system. As a recent Healthline article states, vitamin D supports the production of immune cells that protect your body against all kinds of pathogens, including viruses.
And unless you’re already supplementing, you almost certainly aren’t getting enough of this essential nutrient.[x] Even in the warmer months, we spend most of our time inside, away from our primary source of vitamin D–-the sun. Plus, our bodies use up vitamin D rapidly for the multiple functions it performs to keep us going.
For immune system support, (and mood support, and energy support, and hormone support… the list goes on) we recommend at least 5,000 IUs of a good vitamin D like the Orthomolecular D3/K2 sublingual liquid. Plus, this liquid form is easy for kids to take and tasteless. Just drop directly under the tongue, or add to a small amount of juice or water.
If you have to choose one supplement to incorporate into your family’s back to school routine, choose vitamin D!
If you have to choose one supplement to add to your family’s back to school routine, choose vitamin D!
Everybody knows about the immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C, and again, many are deficient in this key nutrient. A 2017 PubMed article explains that “Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. In turn, infections significantly impact vitamin C levels due to enhanced inflammation and metabolic requirements. Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.”
Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant, lowering inflammation and stress in the body. It also supports energy levels, mood, and even skin and bone health.
We recommend vitamin C powder or capsules, up to 1,000mg per day to get the immune-boosting benefits.
As you may have heard, there has been some research suggesting that Zinc is helpful for both preventing and treating COVID-19. It works in a few different ways, but possibly the coolest method is that Zinc actually prevents the virus from attaching to the cell (i.e. you) and replicating. Basically, it shuts down the pathogen before it can even start causing damage!
Zinc also supports both the innate and acquired immune system, allowing the body to better recognize and defend itself against invaders.
It definitely doesn’t hurt to add this known viral fighter to your back-to-school supplement rotation. We recommend 30 to 50mg daily for adults and kids.
Of course, vitamin D, C, and zinc are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to immunity supporting supplements. Maybe you’re interested in adaptogens like ashwagandha or rhodiola, trendy medicinal mushrooms like reishi and chaga, or probiotics that support a healthy gut environment–-which is absolutely key to good immune health.
We also offer frequency-boosted VBF Defense drops, which you can get customized to you or your child’s needs. These cutting-edge nanoceuticals are the top of the line in immune protection and pathogen fighting support.
If you’re interested in a customized immune defense program, give us a call today!
Lifestyle Practices for a Healthy Immune System
When we think about the immune system, it’s easy to frame it as an independent operation unrelated to the rest of the body. But as integrative medicine tells us, there is no such thing as an independent system in the body.
The body is constantly working as an interdependent, highly complex system that relies on a framework of wellness practices that support the body as a whole. Therefore, it is essential that we also manage stress, eat well, exercise, and sleep to support our immune health.
Research has shown that chronic stress causes the body to lose its ability to regulate inflammation, which leads to chronic disease.
“Chronic stress is one of the greatest catalysts to disease,” Susan Rohr, owner of BHW, said.
We all find ourselves working through new and unprecedented stressors right now. At our clinic, we love recommending IASIS Microcurrent Neurofeedback, BrainTap, and Alpha Stim–-three tools that ease the nervous system back into the rest and recovery state vs. the fight or flight state–-which many of us may feel we haven’t left since 2020 started.
What does stress management look like for you and your family at home? For parents, this might be getting up that extra hour earlier to fit in a workout or yoga practice, or simply have time to do a relaxing activity before the kids wake up–-maybe reading, meditation, or simply enjoying a hot coffee or tea.
For kids, this could mean having time after school for play unrelated to school sports, just for fun. Parents can encourage children to pursue a creative hobby like drawing or music as well as encourage mindfulness practices like guided meditation and a daily gratitude list.
One easy technique to teach is deep breathing–-in for a count of 3, hold for 4, out for 5. Try doing a few deep breaths with your child before bedtime and encourage them to do so whenever they feel stressed.
There is no such thing as an independent system in the body.
Food writer Michael Pollan sums up the philosophy for healthy eating in just seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
We would add to aim for as much fresh organic food as possible and to eat mindfully, together as a family without distractions. That means no TV, no phones, just conversation and thorough chewing.
Even when supplementing, we should still be getting most of our nutrients from healthy foods, and a poor diet is a surefire way to get sick. So prioritize healthy family meals that everyone will enjoy.
Research throughout the past several decades has shown that moderate exercise = decreased illness risk, and exercise is an anti-inflammatory practice for the whole body.
The beautiful thing about exercise is that it doesn’t have to look like lifting weights at the gym or running 12 miles a day. It can look like a daily morning walk, or yoga, or sports, or even stretching. The key is to do something you enjoy and to do it consistently. Again, this helps with stress management too!
Make sure kids are getting some activity each day, especially if they are participating in school virtually. Encourage stretch breaks and outside play to get away from the computer screen for a little bit, between classes if possible.
Sleep was a mystery to science for centuries, but we now know that it is essential to the body on so many levels, including the immune system.
Specifically, sleep supports the production of T cells, aka the pathogen fighters.
Adults should get at least 7-8 hours per night, and kids typically need 9-11 or more, depending on age. To promote restful sleep, turn off all devices one hour before bedtime, and practice a nighttime routine (for both kids and adults!). Having adequate activity during the day will help everyone sleep soundly too.
Already doing the basic steps and still not getting restorative sleep? Give us a call–-we have supportive treatments that can help!
With a few added supplements and small tweaks to encourage a healthy lifestyle, your family can get off to a strong start this school year, even amid a global pandemic.
It’s super important in these times of distress to focus on what we can control and release what we can’t control.
You can’t control the virus. But you can control how you respond to it and fortify your family’s immune defenses.
For additional advice, you can check out our first coronavirus blog here.
Otherwise, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about our supplements or services!
Call us today at 262-395-4023 to schedule your initial appointment.