Immune Health – What can you do for yourself?

It’s the end of September and here in Leeds, we are about to enter tier 3 lockdown in a couple of days time. As frustration builds and anxieties rise, it is super important to consider your immune health and what you can do for yourself to support it. I really want to keep this blog apolitical but I can’t hide my bewiderment at the lack of public health information given to the UK public by our Government / Public Health England around this topic.

Hovering above everything that is going on, we have a system of restrictions that are ramped up or down to ‘control’ the virus. In reality, we are not controlling it at all. We can slow it down so that our health care system can cope but we should not kid ourselves we are in control of the virus. The worrying reality is that we are being teed up to think that the vaccine is the solution. Undoubtedly there are some incredible minds working round the clock to come up with a safe vaccine. Click HERE to read a recent publication in The Lancet that gives an overview of this work. My personal fear is that the front runners for the vaccine employ RNA technology. This new technology alters the genetic code of the recipient. Never before has this been authorised for any vaccine.

Whether you are at the front of the queue for this pioneering therapy or not, you may be left thinking what you can do to support your own immune health right now. A great question which has not been clearly addressed by the public health information. Yes, we have been told to wash our hands to reduce transmission. Yes, we have been told to to maintain a distance from others and wear a mask to reduce the risk of airborne transmission. But the reality is that despite all our best efforts, a proportion of us will come into contact with the virus and will rely on our own immune system to defend us. This is where the public health advice seems to come to a halt.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks to a media crew near the Houses of Parliament on September 24, 2020 in London, England. As Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the UK, earlier this week the British Prime Minister announced new measures to help curb the spread of the virus. These include shop assistants, taxi drivers and waiting staff to wear masks, pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm and only offer table service. Further restrictions on sporting events were also announced. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

So what can I do to support my own immune health?

  1. The first and probably the most important thing everyone can do is to work on achieving a healthy body weight. Whilst data on the incidence of those who catch COVID 19 in relation to BMI is sketchy, death rates in the obese are clearly higher in those with higher BMI. Achieving a healthy weight is a smart thing to do regardless of COVID 19. This is not new information.
  2. Sleep. Yes sleep …. lots of it. Ideally 8 hours per night or more. Sleep is where you heal and recharge. Your immune health loves sleep and if you do get a viral load of COVID 19 high enough to contract the virus, you are now reliant on the strength of your immune health to fight it off. The younger you are and the healthier you are, the more likely it is you will have nothing more than a few days of feeling off colour. Many people don’t even know they have had the virus. For more information on all the benefits of sleep, the book ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker is a great resource. There is a link HERE. The benefits of sleep in relation to immune health is well documented. It is not new information.
  3. Lastly and by no means least is nutrition. We are what we eat. Every cell in our body relies on the nutrition we consume to perform it’s actions and to regenerate. Our immune health is no different and certain compounds we get through food are known to be of specefic value, notably Vitamins C, D and Zinc. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock took the step of encouraging all adults to take a nutritional supplement to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D. Did you hear this announcement? Do you think everyone knows? Read about his statement HERE. I personally think this and all the messages shared about supporting your own immune health need repeating, just like hands / face / space. For information on a supplement called ‘Immublend’ that has Vitamin C, D and Zinc in safe quantities, follow the link HERE. This is especially relevant for athletes who train hard, for those shielding and not getting much sun light and black asian and ethnic minorities who struggle to produce enough Vitamin D themsleves. The benefits eating a healthy, fresh diet and the specific benefits of Vitamin C, D and Zinc on immune health is not new information. None of this is new information ….. so why is it taking so long for it to be shared?

This blog has very much focussed on the physical; giving 3 simple steps to support your own immune health. What’s evident is that stress and anxiety are on the increase due to Covid 19 and we know that both impair the body’s immune system. Strategies to manage stress are vital for us all so whether you take a daily walk, chat with a friend or listen to music …. whatever it is that helps you feel calm is really important to do. You need to take time to relax EVERYDAY. For those people who need ugent help, you can call the Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123. There are also private providers of psycholoical therapies who can help you develop strategies and solutions of your own to manage issues. One such therapy, which can be done remotely, is called Psych-K. For more info and to watch a short explanatory video click HERE.

Always remember, this terrible time will pass. I don’t know when …. but it will pass. In the meantime, let’s do everything we can to stay fit, well and happy. 🙂

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