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Boost your immunity by increasing your intake of Vitamin D and Zinc

covid19 health wellbeing Oct 18, 2020

We are all very aware of the threat of Covid-19 - I can't believe that anyone could have escaped this....

We are also aware the benefits of a 'healthy lifestyle'. But just what does this mean? And, how do I 'get one'!

Well, surprise surprise this is not something that you can just buy. It is a commitment to doing a range of things that support your body to operate as it is intended to.

Our bodies are pretty amazing. They operate pretty much independently of our mind and conscious control. They are adept at responding to things we throw at them and generally do a pretty good job of clearing up the aftermath. Think of your body as having an army of amazing cleaners and responders to react and fix whatever is needing attention.

In reality this army is our immune system. If we seriously damage our immune system we live with the consequences, which can be significant. I recently learnt about someone who survived Carbon Monoxide poisoning and who, for the rest of her life, has had to really control all potential threats to her body as the immune system has been seriously compromised. This lady has been wearing masks for years...

How do we support our immune system to be as efficient as possible?

Building, and supporting, a healthy immune system does not need to cost a fortune. It is not a privilege of the very wealthy, in fact, in many cases the wealthy abuse their health through their lifestyle choices!

So what is needed? Where do we start?

There are some fundamental basics to a healthy lifestyle that supports a strong immune system. 

I did a webinar a few months back that looked at six key pillars. Within each I discussed a few options that we can all achieve with some thought and planning; and with very little impact to our day but with a significant benefit to our wellbeing.

The six pillars are:

You can access this webinar to view at your convenience and learn more. Many of the points introduced are things we all know about but very few of us are actively engaged in consciously doing them regularly - hmmm... why?

These six pillars are the foundation of the FLOW Academy - the teachings and experiential learning, exercises and activities. The premise has always been the integration of ancient wisdom and modern science. The understanding of why and how various aspects affect us, provides a basis for us to determine if the change is something that we would like to integrate into our lives as a routine and eventually a habit.

The choice to take active control over our lifestyle and habits - the good, the bad and the ugly...

Over the past six months, during the Covid-19 pandemic we are learning about the importance of these from more and more experts, studies and modern scientists.

I have been listening in to Dr John Campbell on a fairly frequent basis as he shares the studies and suggests actions that not only make sense but are infinitely doable.

The flow of fresh air to reduce the incidence of Covid-19 

Weeks back, before schools started, Dr John was talking about the importance of a healthy flow of fresh air through classrooms. Some schools have taken a sensible approach to this and every 30-minutes all windows are opened to allow a refresh of air in the classroom. Some are insisting on all doors and windows being open all day - oh dear.... So we expect our children to sit still for 45-90 minutes in the freezing cold, or worse still a howling gale, and this will keep them healthy and strong!

It will eventually make them strong but blimey many will get very sick long before that and I am not convinced of the attention capabilities of someone who is freezing...

Fresh air in our daily lives

Never-the-less, I still advocate sleeping with bedroom windows open, even just a little, to enable fresh air into the room during the time when our bodies are naturally repairing, cleaning and healing.

Secondly, I recommend spending at least 10-minutes outdoors early in the morning, within 30 minutes of waking, for two reasons.

One, to breathe in the fresh early morning air and encourage a strong gaseous exchange to take place with deep breathing. Two, to get sunlight on your eyes and support a balanced circadian rhythm which is essential to so many of our immune systems and general wellbeing.

There is a third reason too. And that is to be quiet and notice what is going on around you. Be present in the moment. This is a form of meditation and really important to our mental wellbeing.

So a few minutes outside, soon after waking, does not cost us anything but the potential benefits are immense :).

And it is lovely to witness the goings-on around you. Nature caries on regardless. Whether you are living in a city, a town or the country; in a flat, house or any other accommodation; this is something that we can all do. Perhaps it is just standing at your window, with it flung wide open, and just taking a moment to notice and breathe.

There are so many things that we can do to make our lives feel a little better and most stem from helping our bodies to operate as efficiently as they can.

Supplements in focus right now - Vitamin D and Zinc

In the last few days Dr John has shared some research and facts around a couple of very cheap supplements and the benefits to us all, and especially in the fight against Covid-19. In particular the benefits of Vitamin D and Zinc.

The links to both of these videos are shared below. I recommend that you take time to take a look and consider for yourself. [ps: I tend to watch all videos at a faster speed - click on the settings (cog symbol) and select a speed that is comfortable for you].

Vitamin D

Personally I was recommended to take a Vitamin D supplement years ago as it is indicated in Calcium absorption. As a coeliac I do not absorb vitamins and minerals as well as I possible could/should.

Vitamin D is produced in our bodies by the skin which converts UVB light into Vitamin D. Fair skinned people produce more than dark skinned people. Younger people are also more efficient at this production.

There is some evidence that people who live in very sunny climes may not be as efficient at this production as they don't need to be - a regular top-up dose is sufficient for their healthy Vitamin D levels. As someone who lived in Africa in my younger years, there appears to be a slower conversion of sunlight into Vitamin D in my body than in a similar individual who has always lived in a less sunny climate.

A great source is to get exposure to sunlight for 20-30 minutes each day. The perfect way to do this is to take a midday walk outdoors - exercise, fresh air, time to unwind and time to top up your Vitamin D levels - so many wins in this small commitment!

The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D has been around 10-20mcg (400-800 IU), however the thinking now is that we should be taking significantly more than this. There is an upper recommended limit of 100mcg (4000 IU). 

In this video, Dr John Campbell walks you through the details and the how, why, what is happening etc, but in a very understandable way with evidence that a healthy level of Vitamin D is indicated in better recovery from Covid-19 and even, possibly, in prevention.

So why isn't this being encouraged by Governments and other medical studies?

Well, there is no money to be made in the production and sale of Vitamin D. It is dirt cheap to make.... Wow!

Vitamin D2 vs Vitamin D3

A few people have asked about the difference between Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D is not a single compound, it is a family of related nutrients. The most common dietary forms are D2 and D3.

Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources and Vitamin D2 is from plants. D2 is cheaper to make and is the form usually used in fortified foods (bread and cereal, etc).

Vitamin D3 is the type that we make in our skin - we are animals ;). 

Both are effective but there is debate on whether D3 is absorbed, and utilised better, by us humans.

It is a fat soluble vitamin - what does this mean?

Essentially Vitamin D is absorbed into the fatty cells and can be held there until required. It is possible to store up on your Vitamin D levels - which could be why we tend to love a sunny holiday break...

Whilst we can store this vitamin, we are creatures of habit, so it is advisable to create a routine around your intake of Vitamin D. Take it at a regular time each day and make it part of your commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

Zinc

For years we have known about the importance of healthy zinc levels and this has always been a constituent of a good multivitamin supplement.

There have been some studies on the recovery rates from Covid-19 of patients with healthy vs low zinc levels. President Trump is taking zinc according to the Wall Street Journal!

In this video the case for increasing your zinc intake is presented with compelling results in various studies.

Zinc balances immune responses and has a proven direct anti-viral action against some viruses. It is also very common for older people, and those with chronic conditions, to have a zinc deficiency.

Zinc is a trace element with potent immunoregulatory and antiviral properties. It seems to make sense to ensure that we are boosting our zinc levels daily too.

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