We all come in contact with viruses of all kinds every day. Whether we develop an infection depends upon whether our immune system has the resources to fight infections effectively. Here are some naturopathic tips to help you avoid the Coronavirus and other infections.
Get plenty of sleep. Eight to 9.5 hours of sleep per night is optimal. There is evidence that getting 9.5 hours of sleep has a positive effect on blood sugar as well. Your body heals itself while you sleep so we need to give it time to do this. If you have inflammation in your body, you will likely need to address it before you will be able to sleep this much.
Get your vitamin D (25-OH) tested. I recommend keeping it between 50 and 60ng/ml. If you aren’t able to test your level, then taking 2000 IU twice daily through the winter will help get you in the ballpark. (If your level has tested higher than 60, this doesn’t apply to you). Vitamin D supports healthy immune function. I find, clinically, that taking vitamin D3 in the liquid or gel cap form is more effective than powder in a capsule for some people. There is evidence that taking more than 2000 IU at a time causes acid reflux in some people, and since you could have silent reflux (you don’t know it is occurring) it would be best to take it in smaller doses.
Take a multi-vitamin. The people who I have tested for micronutrient deficiencies are usually deficient in 4 or more nutrients. This tells me that the average person either can’t absorb enough of their nutrients or aren’t getting enough in their diet. Most people I have under naturopathic care take 1 cap of a high-quality multivitamin each day because they are usually eating a clean, nutrient dense diet. If this isn’t you, then you may benefit from taking the multivitamin as directed on the label. Since more than half of the population has a methylation defect of some sort, it would be best to take one with the B vitamins in the activated form. Smarty Pants is one brand that is available over the counter that has the Bs in the activated form. The downside of this product is that it is a gummy, so it has more sugar in it than a multivitamin in capsular form.
Take a high-quality probiotic and eat plenty of veggies. These two go together. Since fiber is food for the good bacteria in your stomach, eating a wide variety of vegetables provides them with the nutrients they need. 60 to 80% of our immune system is in our gut, so it is important to keep it healthy. Having diarrhea or constipation is not normal. Consider getting it checked out, as it is likely affecting your immune system. You should be having at least one bowel movement each day. If you haven’t been tested to find out which probiotic supplement is best for you, consider using a brand that contains several different strains of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Minimize the amount of sugar in your diet. Sugar is inflammatory and so it keeps the immune system busy.
If you know that you are sensitive to certain foods, then avoid them, so the immune system doesn’t waste its energy by doing something other than fighting infections and keeping you tolerant of foods.
Wash your hands. Your mom knew what she was talking about when she repeatedly reminded you to wash your hands. When many people are sick, they may touch doorknobs, money, shake hands and, thereby spreading their bug in the community or family. Washing hands with soap and water just makes sense to get off dirt, grime and germs. No need to use antibacterial hand soap. If you are out and about, you may want to carry an alcohol-based hand cleanser.
Use a neti-pot. Your nose is designed to trap dust, pollen, mold spores and other particles. A neti-pot washes these things out so that your immune system doesn’t have to deal with them. Use distilled or reverse osmosis water in your neti-pot, NEVER tap water. If you don’t want to use it daily, then using it after you have been around sick people or after a flight would still be helpful. Each person in the family should have their own neti-pot.
If you have an untreated infection, an auto-immune condition that is not in remission, or are on immunosuppressant drugs (Humira, prednisone, etc.) for an auto-immune condition or because you have had an organ transplant, then you are at increased risk for an infection like the coronavirus. Wearing an FFP3 mask while on buses or planes will minimize, but won't eliminate your exposure to bacteria and viruses that are in the air around you. Keep in mind that if the mask doesn't fit snugly or if it gets wet from your breath, it will have limited value. If you have an auto-immune condition that is not in remission, now may be a good time to invest in naturopathic care. We won’t promise to cure an auto-immune condition, but we usually can help you get into remission without the use of drugs.
Best wishes for vibrant health, Dr Waters
Practical Health Solutions, LLC has an office in Fort Collins, CO, but is there only very part-time. She has continued to do virtual (both video and phone) appointments since COVID.
Dr Waters is licensed in Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado and Kansas, and will soon be licensed in Wisconsin as well. Phone or videoconsultations may be available in other areas as well, depending upon whether that state has laid out a scope for naturopathic doctors. If you live outside of the states listed, please call 970-482-2010 to ask whether Dr Waters is allowed to consult with you.