By Dr. Debbie (Deborah Malka MD, PhD)
Read Time: 3:30min.
By this point we hope that you have read the CDC recommendations to protect yourself from the coronavirus (Covid-19). All of these precautions are important, and we can’t stress enough that you follow them. But what the CDC doesn’t tell us, because it’s not their job, is how strengthen your first line of defense against the virus– your immune system. How can you increase your chances of staying in the 98% of the population that may get a mild case of the CoVid-19 virus, or not experience its effects at all? We answer these critical questions.
Coronavirus or Covid-19 and What It Does to Us
CoVid-19 is an RNA (Ribonucleic acid) virus which, in simple terms, means it won’t leave a permanent change in your DNA. But what it can do is sweep through you, take over the function of your vulnerable cells, leave your body after making many replicas of itself, and move on to someone else. It’s like a fire–it can move through quickly, be a slow controlled burn or, if you have a “well-protected house”, cause little to no destruction at all.
In this case, you want that “well-protected house” to be your body. But how do you protect it? By giving your immune system the tools it needs to stand strong, and reduce destruction. Some destruction is normal and natural. Diseased and vulnerable cells get weeded out all the time. In fact, it is our immune system’s job to do that. But how do you make sure this process does not get out of hand? It comes down to the health of your immune system.
Our Immune System
When the body senses foreign substances (called antigens), your immune system works to get rid of the antigens. Your body trigger B lymphocytes to make the antibodies you need to attack the antigen (i.e. a virus like Covid-19) and destroy it. Once your body has come into contact with a substance it recognizes as “foreign” for the first time, it usually stores information about how to make antibodies again in the future when such a substance comes around again. This is known as acquired immunity. You also have natural immunity, which is non-specific and mounts a general defense. New viruses initially activate the natural immune system, which recognizes viruses, but has no back-log of antibodies to draw upon. So you can see that it’s in your best interest to keep your natural immunity as strong as you can because it’s your first line of defense against viruses.
How to Help Keep Your Immune System Strong
What can you do to keep your immune system strong, especially now? Of course, the CDC and our government are doing the right things by telling us to thoroughly wash our hands, distancing and even quarantine. But who is talking about how to stay in the majority of the population that handles this virus just fine? We are. Right here and right now. Let’s review what you can do to possibly help strengthen your first line of defense – you immune system.
First of all, your immune system needs these 4 basics to operate:
- Enough water-hydration
- Good clean, non-toxic nutrition, preferably from a whole food, non-processed diet
- Enough rest/sleep
- De-stress. Stress is known to depress immune system function. That’s the tallest order on this list. As we are faced with the added stress of not having enough work or money, of being contained in a restricted environment, of worry about our future, stress is our greatest enemy.
The first order of business in protection against this virus, is to pro-actively maintain daily de-stressing activities, such as a walk in fresh air (practice safe distancing), meditation, yoga or stretching, prayer if you are religious, chi gong, watch a good comedy and laugh, play with your kids or your pet, or listen to relaxing music. Focus on relieving your body of tension and avoid the worry-zone as best you can. You can also take some supplements to boost your immune system. Here is where the choices can get overwhelming and please consult your physician before taking anything. Everyone has a favorite supplement to help immunity. It’s really a personal choice. But for review I can offer some suggestions:
- Vitamin C – an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory that helps the common cold – at least 1000-2000 mg/day
- Osha root tincture – an herb that is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral for the respiratory system – 1 dropperful 2x/day
- Propolis tincture – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral herb – 1 dropperful 2x/day
Also, you can take an “adaptogenic” booster– this influences multiple processes to improve the ability to deal with different types of stressors and normalize your body functions. This can contain things like Siberian ginseng, licorice, astralagus, or elderberry. Elixirs with some or all of these components can be purchased in a premix tincture– 1 dropperful 2x/day.
Another way to consider to boost your immune systems is a balanced cannabinoid mix, possibly a CBD/THC 1:1 ratio tincture. Be careful about how much THC you take because it can be too stimulating; perhaps a 10 mg dose, 2x/day, if you’re already using cannabis. If you’re new to cannabis you might want to start with a higher percentage of CBD your first week, maybe a 20:1 tincture, then gradually move to a 1:1. The important thing here is to not overwhelm your body with cannabis at this time. You want to use as little as possible and let your body be the guide of that fine-point of not too much and not too little.
If you’re smoking cannabis PLEASE try to switch to another delivery mode. Taking cannabis orally is best but vaporizing is preferable to smoking. Your lungs and your health will appreciate it.
Stay relaxed and keep your natural immune system strong. It’s your best first line of defense against the coronavirus and others that you may face.