Boosting The Immune System Could Be A Treatment Strategy For COVID-19

Boosting The Immune System Could Be A Treatment Strategy For COVID-19

  • August 6, 2020

Since the beginning of this outbreak holistic practitioners and the health conscious around the globe have been encouraging people to make better lifestyle choices and boost their immune system , and to be honest they have been for decades. Now Washington University appears to be joining that cause and is suggesting that boosting the immune system could be a treatment strategy for COVID-19. 

“We think if we can make our immune systems stronger, we’ll be better able to fight off this coronavirus, as well as other viral and bacterial pathogens”

A large portion of research into this virus is focused on the immune system’s role in those who became seriously ill. One of the emerging theories suggests that the immune system works so hard at fighting off this virus that it can result in fatal organ damage, particularly in the lungs. 

Researchers from Washington University St.Louis are pointing to another theory that is getting overlooked which suggests that patients become ill because their immune system is not able to do enough to protect them from the virus, and as such the team is suggesting that boosting the immune system could be a potential treatment strategy. The team has also been investigating a similar approach with sepsis, according to a release. 

“People around the world have been treating patients seriously ill with COVID-19 using drugs that do very different things,” said Richard S. Hotchkiss, professor of anesthesiology, of medicine and of surgery. “Some drugs tamp down the immune response, while others enhance it. Everybody seems to be throwing the kitchen sink at the illness. It may be true that some people die from a hyperinflammatory response, but it appears more likely to us that if you block the immune system too much, you’re not going to be able to control the virus.”

Autopsy studies were used to show large amounts of the virus present in the organs of those who had lost their battle with the virus, which suggests that their immune system was not working well enough to fight the virus off leading to death. 

“But when we actually looked closely at these patients, we found that their tires, so to speak, were underinflated or immune-suppressed,” said Kenneth Remy, assistant professor of pediatrics, of medicine and of anesthesiology at WashU. “To go and poke holes in them with anti-inflammatory drugs because you think they are hyperinflated or hyperinflamed will only make the suppression and the disease worse.

Blood samples were gathered from 20 COVID-19 patients to test the activity of immune cells in the blood; the team compared those samples with blood of 26 hospitalized sepsis patients and 18 others who were very ill but did not have sepsis or COVID-19. Those with COVID-19 were found to have far fewer circulating immune cells than what is typical and the immune cells present did not secrete normal levels of cytokines. Cytokine molecules are suspected to be the cause of organ damage in death in COVID-19 patients. 

Similar trials and studies focused on boosting immunity are underway in Europe and America which includes Washington University. According to the team finding ways to boost immune responses should help COVID-19 patients, and should also be helpful in avoiding another similar pandemic. 

We should have been geared up and more ready when this pathogen appeared,” said Hotchkiss. “But what Ken [Remy] and I and our colleagues are working on now is finding ways to boost the immune system that may help people during future pandemics. We think if we can make our immune systems stronger, we’ll be better able to fight off this coronavirus, as well as other viral and bacterial pathogens that may be unleashed in the future.

For anyone interested in boosting your immune system, while it is not guaranteed to prevent you from becoming ill, it could help to give you a better chance of recovery. According to Harvard Health the first line of defense when it comes to the immune system is choosing a health lifestyle. Every part of the body functions better when it is protected from environmental assaults and is bolstered by healthy living strategies, such as what is promoted by here at WHN and the A4M.

Healthy lifestyle choices include:

  • Not smoking
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Keep levels of stress in check/minimized 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding being sedentary
  • Going outside more
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoiding alcohol, and if you drink only do it in moderation
  • Being socially active face to face in person when possible
  • Proper hygiene
  • Thoroughly cooking meats
  • Limiting added sugars
  • Staying hydrated
  • Supplementing wisely as needed 

Sandra Darling, DO who is a preventive medicine physician and wellness expert at the Cleveland Clinic says that while there is no magic pill, there are tried and true ways to take your immunity up a notch: 

“Let’s start with the basics: Wash your hands for 20 seconds, don’t touch your face and take distancing seriously,” says Dr. Darling. “If you only do these three things, you’ll be well on your way to staying healthy.”

Dr. Darling prescribes 4 stay healthy strategies. “I believe in the power of immune-boosting foods,” says Dr. Darling. “Choosing whole, unprocessed foods does wonders for overall health.” She recommends garlic, prebiotics, vitamin C rich foods, antioxidants and natural immunity aids as immunity boosters in the focus on food. 

She also recommends simple lifestyle improvements like managing stress, getting enough sleep, meditation, and exercise. “Exercise increases your resilience so you can fight off infection,” says Dr. Darling. “Our bodies function better when we’re physically active every day.”

Like many others Dr. Darling also suggests that a positive mindset is key to health and well being. Positive thoughts have been shown to reduce stress and inflammation while increasing resilience to infection. “The COVID-19 pandemic is scary, so it’s easy to spiral down in negative thoughts,” says Dr. Darling. “The story we tell ourselves is crucial. Change it from ‘It’s not going to be OK’ to ‘I am safe at home with the people I love.’ Start your day with a positive thought or even a mantra such as, ‘I am well.’

“A lot of people are deficient (or low) in vitamin D, and a deficiency may increase your susceptibility to infection,” says Dr. Darling. “Get outside for fresh air and sunshine, but I also recommend taking a daily supplement of 1,000 to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D.

According to healthline some studies indicate the following supplements may help to strengthen the body’s general immune response: vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, elderberry, echinacea, and garlic. 

  • According to a review in over 11,000 people, taking 1,000–2,000 mg of vitamin C per day reduced the duration of colds by 8% in adults and 14% in children. Yet, supplementing did not prevent the cold to begin with.
  • Vitamin D deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick, so supplementing may counteract this effect.
  • In a review in 575 people with the common cold, supplementing with more than 75 mg of zinc per day reduced the duration of the cold by 33%.
  • One small review found that elderberries could reduce the symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections, but more research is needed.
  • A study in over 700 people found that those who took echinacea recovered from colds slightly more quickly than those who received a placebo or no treatment.
  • A high quality, 12-week study in 146 people found that supplementing with garlic reduced the incidence of the common cold by about 30%. However, more research is needed. 
Stay Healthy and Strengthen Immune System with Exercise and Yoga; Providence Health and Fitness Adapts to Online Classes

Stay Healthy and Strengthen Immune System with Exercise and Yoga; Providence Health and Fitness Adapts to Online Classes

  • August 6, 2020

“Exercise and Yoga is vital in helping fight viruses like Covid-19,” says Kathy McCready, owner of Providence Health and Fitness.

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Providence Health and Fitness is now into week 20 of the pandemic and so far has held over 540 classes thanks to all of their dedicated instructors. Click here for complete class schedule. 

If you have never tried a class with Providence Health and Fitness, the first class is always free, and they currently are offering a summer special – 30 days of unlimited classes for just $64.99. “This gives you the opportunity to try out all the classes and get to know us,” said McCready. Providence Health and Fitness also offers free classes on Sundays where you can try out their fitness and yoga classes being offered.

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“Exercise and yoga is vital in helping fight viruses like Covid 19 and Larry [Heisler] and I have made it our mission to help you all take measures to keep yourselves as healthy as possible and to strengthen your immune system,” said Kathy McReady, owner of Providence Health and Fitness.

Back in March when zoom classes began, McCready said, “This was a whole new thing for me and I have had to learn all kinds of new technology! Thank you for bearing with me as I got to grips with it all. There have been some bumps along the road but all in all things have gone well and most importantly we have kept you exercising.”

“We’ve also held a session on nutrition with Larry and his favorite immune boosting foods and strategies like meditation,” she said. They followed that up with a three part newsletter featuring practical immune boosting strategies like alkalizing your body, plant based nutrition and oxygen increasing exercise. “We are working on adding this information to the website for future reference.” Providence Health and Fitness has also offered twice a month non-denominational meditation classes.

And through this pandemic, their instructors continued to learn and attended online courses. “One of those was an educational meeting for MLD and Massage Therapists,” said McCready. In a time of forced closure, Providence Health and Fitness also adapted to teaching DIY techniques to clients for services they rely on. “We held a session on how to do Manual Lymph Drainage on yourself, to clean up your lymph – waste management system – a.k.a. our bodies built in detoxification system. MLD helps strengthen your immune function,” she said.

McCready added, “There has been an increased interest in ‘proning exercises’ or respiratory recovery exercises.” These are an exercise routine to enhance pulmonary function that help build strength back up and help you breathe more easily. “Interestingly, the exercises are similar to some of our Yoga Asana Poses,” she said. Those mentioned were cat/cow, child pose with hips extended back and chest reaching forward and downward facing dog. Also suggested are diaphragmatic breathing exercises where you lift your ribs and lungs and give space to your torso, getting the breath deep into your body, very similar to our Yoga, she said.

During these 20 weeks, Providence Health and Fitness has built an extensive library of recorded classes for everyone to enjoy when their clients miss the zoom class. She added, “One of the perks of being a monthly member is you get these videos for FREE! If you are not currently a monthly member, now is a great time to join.”

Contact Kathy McCready at 908.898.0008 for more information regarding monthly memberships.

Providence Health and Fitness is located at 18 South Street in New Providence.

Editor’s Note: Are you a business interested in advertising with TAPinto? Our Special Introductory Packages provide our local businesses with social media marketing, content marketing, and brand awareness as well as the flexibility to market in neighboring towns.  For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3gi5QJ7.

pink algae water

10 Vegan Astaxanthin Supplements to Boost Exercise Tolerance

  • July 31, 2020

If you haven’t heard of astaxanthin, don’t worry! Even though this antioxidant has been around for as long as you want to look backward, it’s relatively new to hit the research world.

With that said, turns out that this potent antioxidant may be incredibly important for our overall health!

Astaxanthin is sourced from bright red microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis. It “bioaccumulates in organisms that eat it, and it is responsible for the pink to reddish hue of krill, shrimp, salmon, and even flamingos.”

So, what’s great about Astaxanthin?

It’s an incredibly protective antioxidant and studies have found that it “provides significantly greater antioxidant protection than the carotenoids [including] beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein, [as well as] alpha-tocopherol.” This means that Astaxanthin is more equipped than other antioxidants at “protecting cellular membranes” and “eliminating free radicals.”

Along with protecting your body from harmful free radicals, Astaxanthin has been found to improve heart, skin, and brain health, relieve joint pain, and can even boost your vision. Yet, the most recent research discovered that Astaxanthin may have powerfully positive health benefits on cardiac health, which in turn boosts athletic and exercise performance.

If you’re itching to get your daily dose of Astaxanthin, but you’re also a strict plant-based eater then you’ll want to look at supplements! While this antioxidant is sourced from microalgae, the food industry hasn’t quite gotten around to providing it as a consumable at your local grocery store.

Therefore, here are a few of microalgae-based Astaxanthin supplements!






1. BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin

BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin

BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin/Amazon.com

This BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin is a great supplement to give a try! The astaxanthin is sourced from non-GMO, microalgae that is naturally grown on a certified GMP facility farm in Kona, Hawaii. They promise high-quality, farm to bottle product and offer one of the most potent doses of astaxanthin with 12-milligrams per serving! This product is verified all-natural, pesticide-free, herbicide-free, and gluten-free! A 75-capsule bottle costs $38.99.

Mary Krieger Chalaire says “I’ve been in excruciating pain for 19 years. Yes, you read that right. I’ve had 2 knee replacements and multiple surgeries and nothing and I mean nothing has eased any of my pain. I don’t even know how I stumbled on this. I guess it’s a God wink. I take 1 a day with lunch. It took a good 2 weeks to kick in. I can say I have NO PAIN anywhere in my body. I went to my doctor on June 18, 2019 and was taken off of 4 medications. I am also doing no, carb no sugar diet to lower A1C and I feel like I’m 20 years younger. Everyone I see says that I’m glowing I wire my pain on my face. No hiding it. I’m 69 and I’ll never be without Bio Astin. Never!!!!! I also take 1 dropper of CBD OIL. I guess the combo may be the answer. I don’t know but I’m telling you to buy this and never stop taking it. Everyone has a different way something kicks in, if ever. Don’t give up. Thank You, Lord Jesus. I’m not getting paid or received anything for this review. This is my own words.”

2. Sports Research Vegan Astaxanthin with Organic Coconut Oil

Sports Research Vegan Astaxanthin with Organic Coconut Oil

Sports Research Vegan Astaxanthin with Organic Coconut Oil/Amazon.com

What’s so great about this Sports Research Vegan Astaxanthin with Organic Coconut Oil? Yes, it’s vegan, but it’s also mixed with a unique blend of cold-pressed, organic fat-rich coconut oil, which increases the absorbency and effectiveness of this antioxidant! Plus, this astaxanthin is also purely sourced from microalgae — meaning it’s 100 percent vegan-friendly! — and it’s free of GMO’s and gluten. A 60-capsule bottle costs $24.95.

STUBBS says “This is my favorite brand of Astaxanthin. I am a tow truck driver and my body gets real sore and feels like it is beat up from the long hours and physical work. I noticed that taking Astaxanthin makes the pain go way down. I first started taking it when I learned it powerful as an antioxidant. But I noticed that it not only gave me the antioxidant results of not getting nailed by colds, but it made my body go from an always painful state to just sore. I did a little research and found that people with all kinds of muscle and nerve problems have the same result. I have tried 6 brands now and Sports Research is my favorite. Some are fishy tasting and come back on you like cheap fish oil supplements. Sports Research brand only has a coconut taste and smell from an occasional burp. Also, because they use the highest quality AstaReal brand harvested astaxanthin I know it is not loaded with toxins. I also notice being in far less pain with Sports Research brand, I assume because of their pairing it with coconut oil for better absorption. I have tried other brands instead 3 times to save $5 or $6 and each time notice the lessened effect on my body. I am staying with Sports Research brand from here on out.”

3. Deva Vegan Astaxanthin

Deva Vegan Astaxanthin

Deva Vegan Astaxanthin/Amazon.com

Deva is a great brand if you’re looking for trustworthy vegan supplements! They are also one of the few vegan brands offering astaxanthin. This Deva Vegan Astaxanthin sources its astaxanthin from microalgae. The product is 100 percent natural and free of GMOs! On top of that, this supplement is also allergen-friendly and is free of gluten, yeast, wheat, soy, sugar, salt, hexane, shellfish, or any other animal products. A 30-capsule bottle costs $9.79.

Maryann says “Thank you.”

4. NOW Astaxanthin Supplements

NOW Astaxanthin Supplements

NOW Astaxanthin Supplements/Amazon.com

NOW is yet another trusted brand that offers supplements that are free and clear of any harsh chemicals or additives and also offers a slew of vegan-friendly options. This NOW Astaxanthin Supplement hits all the marks! It’s not only vegan-friendly, but also free of nano-particles nutrients, artificial colors, artificial flavors, aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, harmful pesticides, PCBS, dioxins, artificial sulfites, hydrogenated oils, hidden steroids, and unlabeled allergens. As is similar with most NOW supplements, this product was manufactured in a certified GMP facility! A 60-capsule bottle costs $13.60.

Abi Diaz says “I’ve been taking this product for a while now and I have noticed that my immunity is better and I don’t get sunburned as bad. Great product at a great price. I’ll continue to buy it!!”

5. KAL Astaxanthin Capsules

KAL Astaxanthin Capsules

KAL Astaxanthin Capsules/Amazon.com

These KAL Astaxanthin Capsules provide a great, simple way to get a powerful, potent dose of astaxanthin! This supplement focuses on infusing the body with nutritive support for normal, healthy eyes and vision. With only a few simple ingredients including haematococcus pluvialis sourced astaxanthin, veggie cellulose, plant-based magnesium stearate, and silica, this is a great supplement to add to your plant-based medicine cabinet! A 60-capsule bottle costs $16.85.

caribbean arteest says “From what I’ve read online and on Dr. Mercola’s website, astaxanthin has properties that help the body rid itself of the chemo drugs. I purchased this product for my mother. She received chemo and radiation treatments for 6 months…thank God, she is now cancer-free. We were both ecstatic about the fact that there are no side effects with this and that her hair went from frizzy back to normal within months of taking this product! I read all of the anti-aging benefits that astaxanthin has, so I began taking it to see if it would clear up one particular age spot on my face and to my pleasant surprise…it did! Mom now takes CBH Super Multivitamin for Men and Women, which contains astaxanthin.”

6. Nutrex Hawaii BioAstin Supreme Astaxanthin

Nutrex Hawaii BioAstin Supreme Astaxanthin

Nutrex Hawaii BioAstin Supreme Astaxanthin/Amazon.com

A second astaxanthin supplement from BioAstin! This Nutrex Hawaii BioAstin Supreme Astaxanthin offers a supreme blend of six milligrams of astaxanthin in a vegan-friendly formula. Both doctors and nutritional experts worked on this blend specifically to support joint, tendon, skin, eye, and brain health, as well as boost recovery after physical activity and exercise. Like most BioAstin supplements, these capsules are non-GMO, vegan-friendly, and utilize healthy extra virgin olive oil to increase the bioavailability of the astaxanthin. A 60-capsule bottle costs $25.28.

7. Doctor’s Best Vegan Astaxanthin

Doctor's Best Vegan Astaxanthin

Doctor’s Best Vegan Astaxanthin/Amazon.com

Doctor’s Best is a great vegan brand that you can trust is actually that … vegan! This Doctor’s Best Vegan Astaxanthin offers all the health benefits of Astaxanthin without the unhealthy animal products of other supplements. Doctor’s Best focuses on a blend that supports the health of blood flow, vessel integrity, immune response, and vision. This product is also non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, and, as always, vegan-friendly! On top of that, this supplement sources healthy fat for increased bioavailability from super healthy extra virgin olive oil! A 90-capsule bottle costs $24.34.

Anthony Gentele says “I found the product to meet my needs. It was packaged and delivered well. I have been taking it for 2 weeks now and I feel it is offering me good eye protection and protection against free radicals. I definitely will continue to use the product.”

8. Douglas Labs K2-D3 with Astaxanthin

Douglas Labs K2-D3 with Astaxanthin

Douglas Labs K2-D3 with Astaxanthin/Amazon.com

This Douglas Labs K2-D3 with Astaxanthin is a super unique way to integrate vitally important vitamin D and K into your Astaxanthin daily intake! This supplement blends together vitamin D and vitamin K — both of which “play important roles in maintaining healthy calcium balance in the vascular system” — along with a dose of antioxidant powerhouse astaxanthin. This supplement will keep your blood system and skeletal health in check while infusing your body with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. A 30-capsule bottle costs $34.30.

ROSE says “My chiropractor/acupuncturist recommended this kind of D3 supplement because it helps the calcium go to the bones and not the soft tissue. K2 is good for cardiovascular help too. The capsules are small and easy to swallow and easy on my stomach. I haven’t been to my PCP nor have I had lab work done, so I don’t know if it has helped my cholesterol or triglycerides. I have noticed my skin on the bottoms of my feet is much softer and my sleep quality is better. I’m guessing this is the reason because nothing else has changed. I think there are less expensive brands, but I’m going to stick with this one for now.”

9. Barlowe’s Herbal Elixirs Astaxanthin Vegan Max

Barlowe's Herbal Elixirs Astaxanthin Vegan Max

Barlowe’s Herbal Elixirs Astaxanthin Vegan Max/Amazon.com

This Barlowe’s Herbal Elixirs Astaxanthin Vegan Max is labeled to match its potent dose of astaxanthin 12-milligrams per serving! This unique blend seeks to support eye, skin, joint, brain, and immune system health. Plus, this supplement is free of stearates, artificial colors, preservatives, fillers, adulterants, gluten, starch, wheat, corn, and rice! On top of that, it’s vegan-friendly. A 60-capsule bottle costs $25.95.

Michael D. says “Made with AstaReal and vegan capsules make it the best choice for those wanting to avoid gelatin.”

10. BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin OmegaAstin

BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin OmegaAstin

BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin OmegaAstin/Amazon.com

The final BioAstin Hawaiian supplement makes the list! This third BioAstin Hawaiian Vegan Astaxanthin OmegaAstin is included for two reasons: first, to show you the options for healthy fats that can be mixed with astaxanthin in order to boost its bioavailability and secondly, as this supplement offers a portent, heart-boosting eight-milligram dose! This unique blend uses omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 in a synergistic formula in order to increase the absorbability of this wonderful antioxidant. This supplement focuses on supporting the health of your cardiovascular and neurological systems, joints, skin, and eyes. As is the same with the other BioAstin supplement, this astaxanthin was soured from naturally grown microalgae from Kona, Hawaii in a unique farm to bottle process that ensures you’re getting the highest-quality product! A 60-capsule bottle costs $15.95.

DivaKitty says “I first started taking astaxanthin a couple of years ago as a sort of internal sunscreen (it’s meant to help your body prevent & recover from sunburn). Then I discovered it is also meant to be particularly effective against Alzheimer’s, which is strong in my family, so I kept taking it. Discovered EyeAstin when I went looking for a refill of astaxanthin, and thought, “Ah, I used to take bilberry for my eyesight and other things, let’s try it.” I had finally broken down & bought +1.25 readers and stashed them around the house and in my purse. About 50 days into taking one EyeAstin daily, I started to notice that I kept “forgetting” to put my glasses on, because I mostly didn’t need them. Impressive! And it costs about the same as plain astaxanthin, so I will definitely keep buying it.”

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

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Boosting Immunity Is A Dangerous Myth

Boosting Immunity Is A Dangerous Myth

  • July 31, 2020

Mythological tales, from Achilles to Dracula, are rooted in immunity. And since medicine’s earliest days, physicians have relied on metaphors—using images like armies, orchestras, communities, weather, and gardens—to try to explain what is, in fact, an extremely complicated system that controls the health and well-being of virtually every aspect of the human body. New York Times journalist Matt Richtel, author of An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System, describes it as the “Festival of Life.” Our immunological system exists both inside and around our bodies, he says, with organisms and agents swarming everywhere, from our gut to our car’s steering wheel—some beneficial, some more dangerous. Microorganisms like fungi and bacteria, and infectious invaders such as viruses, are the party crashers. Our immune system operates like a workforce of janitors and laborers, kicking out the rowdy, unwelcome guests and cleaning up after their messes.

An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives

“Festival of Life” could just as easily describe our lives before this pandemic—before the novel coronavirus, with its lethal spiked crown, crashed our festive existence as we knew it. Some experts predict the virus will return in waves this fall and beyond, so it’s best to shore up the bouncers while we can. And by that, I don’t mean “strengthen” or “boost” your immune system. Instead, it needs to be balanced and optimized, so it functions as it’s designed to.

There’s no such thing as boosting immunity

              “Boosting your immune system is a dangerous, ill-conceived concept and probably not even possible,” says Richtel, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a prime example. When most people are seriously ill from the disease, the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and fill with fluid, making it difficult for oxygen to pass through. It’s the body’s overzealous immune response, which sends in artillery—proteins called cytokines, immune cells such as T-cells and B-cells (aka lymphocytes), macrophages, and others—to attack the virus. The result is called a “cytokine storm,” a cascade of inflammatory responses that wreak havoc on our body’s equilibrium. An overactive, confused immune system also manifests itself in autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease, asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Stronger is not always better.

              Some immune system factors are beyond our control, like aging (since immunity decreases as we get older), genetics, and gender. Though women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases and are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s (which some researchers believe may also be caused by an overactive immune system), women also tend to fend off viruses and bacteria more effectively, which is supported by their lower death rate from COVID-19.

              But there are factors we can influence, mainly nutrition, exercise, stress management, and sleep. If you ever wonder whether your daily routine can really make a difference, consider the coldsore or the canker sore, which can seem to pop up out of nowhere when you’re stressed, not sleeping well, or eating poorly. Your immune system lets down its guard (a gated-castle metaphor?), and voilà, the infection travels from where it’s been hiding in nerve cells to the mouth.

              Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome

              Immunity is directly linked to what you eat

              Why is diet so important? “Seventy to 80 percent of the immune system lives in the gut,” says Will Bulsiewicz, MD, a gastroenterologist in Charleston, South Carolina, and the author of Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for LosingWeight, Restoring Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome. “There is literally just a single layer of cells that separates the gut microbiome from our immune system. They are in constant communication.” He believes that optimizing your gut microbiome is the best way to support immunity. Bulsiewicz says that fiber, derived from plants like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes, is the heart and soul of gut healing. He’s also obsessed with broccoli sprouts, saying they have 100 times the active phytochemicals of broccoli. He cites a study published in the journal Immunity in which mice with influenza were given a high-fiber diet and improved their lung function, but those on a low-fiber diet had more damage to their lung tissue and died faster. “A high-fiber diet can change what happens in your lungs in response to a virus,” he says.

              Healing the gut reduces inflammation, which is an immune response, says Mark Hyman, MD, author of 16 books about diet and health, including his latest, Food Fix. “Inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, start in the gut. Thecytokine storm has a lot to do with the gut: If we understand how to keep our gut healthy, we will be more resilient against viral threats.” He suggests prebiotic foods, such as dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, apples, barley, oats, burdock root, flaxseed, seaweed, and jicama; and probiotic or fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir, and yogurt, all of which can help restore the healthy bacteria of the microbiome.

              Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet–One Bite at a Time

              Little, Brown Spark
              amazon.com

              Though the jury is still out on the efficacy of supplements, many experts believe antioxidants (such as vitamins A and C and beta-carotene) and vitamin D support immunity. L.A.-based nutritionist Serena Poon, who advises clients like Kerry Washington, recommends zinc picolinate, oil of oregano, nettle leaf, quercetin, and astragalus, as well as a blend of therapeutic organic oils in a diffuser, such as wild sage, wild oregano, wild thyme, wild bay leaf, cinnamon, and cumin. And mushrooms such as reishi and cordyceps (I give Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee as gifts to friends) have been shown to enhance immunity in some limited studies. (Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any dietary supplements.)

              What not to eat is just as vital. Sugar suppresses immunity, and those at risk of high blood sugar levels—such as diabetics—have more difficulty controlling infections, which thrive on sugar. Hyman says processed food, junk food, sugars, starch, bad fats, salt, thickeners like xanthan gum, salt, and chemical additives will have an adverse effect on the microbiome, creating inflammation. He goes on to say you’re 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19 if you have heart disease, seven times more likely if you have diabetes (“One out of two Americans has diabetes or is pre-diabetic,” he notes), and three times more likely if you are obese.

              The right type of exercise can strengthen your immune system

              Even if losing weight isn’t a concern, physical exertion is critical. “Exercise has massive antiaging benefits and immune-strengthening abilities. Very active exercise makes sirtuins go up,” says Robert Huizenga, MD, a physician in Beverly Hills you may remember from NBC’s The Biggest Loser. “Sirtuins are this great control system inside the body that lowers the inflammation level. If there was ever a time to stay fit, eat healthy, and knock off central stomach fat, this is it.” He suggests intermittent fasting combined with jogging, speed-walking up inclines, swimming, and jumping rope, as well as strength and interval training. Aerobic exercise also helps reduce plaque formation in the arteries by keeping HDL levels higher.

              Stress can put your immune system’s guard down

              You may know that stress puts us into fight-or-flight mode, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and stress hormones like adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. When that happens, we are focused on fighting the lion in front of us, not the virus, Richtel says. Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, gratitude, and mindfulness are proven ways to calm the nervous system and keep stress at bay, so our bodies don’t suffer as a result.

              Studies suggest that negative mental states such as anxiety and loneliness affect immune responses, too. Married couples with a troubled relationship may have increased stress and depression, a pathway to immune dysregulation, inflammation, and poor health. And in that situation, divorce can actually be beneficial to immunity. (Married couples can also start to share some gene-related traits, such as their microbiome.) Steve Cole, PhD, a professor of medicine, psychiatry, and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA School of Medicine, studied the link between loneliness and gene expression and found that loneliness can affect a gene’s inflammatory response and our ability to fight disease. (A stressful lifestyle can also cause the body to release excess norepinephrine, which destroys the pigment-producing cells of your hair follicles, causing prematurely gray hair.)

              Stress often interferes with a good night’s sleep, which can have disastrous effects on our health. “If people don’t sleep at night, their internal clock becomes disturbed, which has all kinds of consequences for inflammation and our immune system,” Huizenga says. Melatonin is the key hormone here, which is “definitely connected to immune regulation,” Hyman notes, “and even the restriction of cancer.” He says that may be one reason why children, who naturally have higher levels of melatonin, may not be at risk of serious infection or death from COVID-19.

              Practice good hygiene (but don’t go overboard)

              Another way to keep the party crashers out is to stay scrupulously clean. Though many of the bacteria swirling in and around us are helpful to the functioning of the body, it’s not a bad idea to try to minimize harmful foreign germs (hence the constant hand-scrubbing to wash away the novel coronavirus). Be diligent about regularly washing your clothes, your home (dust mites can cause allergies!), and the food you buy, like salad greens, which may contain salmonella or E. coli. Of course, too much wiping out of good bacteria isn’t advised either, as in the case of antibiotics that kill off friendly flora in the gut.

              Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder and CEO of the wellness company Moon Juice, is living, breathing proof that all these habits can add up to an optimized immune system. “I put an autoimmune condition [Hashimoto’s] into remission when I was told by my doctors that wasn’t possible.” How? “By consciously changing my life drastically,” she says, basically doing all of the above.

              As for the future, Bulsiewicz says, there are other promising ideas, like personalized probiotics and custom dietary plans based on your individual microbiome. But many believe we have the tools right now. Huizenga stresses that if there’s a known and safe vaccine available for a virus, as there is for HPV, get it. Many people don’t. “We already know what is required to help fix the immune system: optimizing our health in every aspect,” Hyman says. We just need to do it.

              This article appears in the Summer 2020 issue of ELLE.

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        NDTV News

        7 Impressive Health Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise Other Than Weight Loss

        • July 21, 2020
        7 Impressive Health Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise Other Than Weight Loss

        Regular exercise can help control risk of potential diseases

        Highlights

        • Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight
        • Cardio is beneficial for your heart health
        • You can ensure better sleep with the help of regular exercise

        Aerobic exercise involves activities that involve large muscle group and gets your blood pumping. This involves a variety of exercises including brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing soccer and even heavy cleaning and gardening. Aerobic exercise and activities are often called cardio (cardiovascular). During these exercises, your heart rate increases and you breathe deeply. It maximises the amount of oxygen in your blood. Practicing aerobic exercise helps in weight loss. But not many are aware of the other health benefits these exercises many offer. Here are some amazing benefits you should not miss.

        Health benefits of aerobic exercise other than weight loss

        1. Regulates blood pressure

        It is important to manage healthy blood pressure numbers to avoid the complications linked with it. Regular exercise contributes to healthy blood pressure numbers. People with hypertension are advised to exercise daily.

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        Aerobic exercise may help control blood pressure numbers
        Photo Credit: iStock

        2. Control blood sugar levels

        Diabetes requires constant management of blood sugar levels. Exercise is one of the effective ways that can help in controlling blood sugar levels. But you should consult an expert before adding cardio to your daily routine to avoid a sudden drop in blood sugars.

        3. Boosts heart health

        Aerobic exercise makes your heart work efficiently in pumping blood. It can also strengthen your heart health. Studies also recommend aerobic exercise for optimum cardiovascular health. It also controls risk factors linked with heart diseases like bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, unhealthy weight and more.

        Also read: Exercise At Home: Follow These Workout Tips To Maximise Results

        4. May reduce chronic pain

        Aerobic exercise makes your muscles move. Aerobic exercise can help with better muscle function and endurance. It will also help in weight loss leading to less stress on the muscles.

        Also read: Exercises to relieve back pain

        5. Helps you sleep better

        Inadequate sleep is linked to several health risks. Regular exercise can keep you energetic throughout the day and help you sleep better at night.

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        Exercise can help you ensure better sleep
        Photo Credit: iStock

        6. Boost immunity

        Healthy immune system ensures better protection against potential diseases. According to studies, aerobic exercise can boost immunity.

        7. Improves your mental health

        There is a strong relationship between your mental health and exercise. Exercise boosts mental health and freshens up your mind. Exercise is also linked with controlled symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.

        Also read: Walking Benefits: 30 Minutes Of Daily Walk Can Provide You With These 5 Long Lasting Benefits

        Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

        Are exercise and sleep your best bet to boost immunity against COVID-19? Find out how much

        Are exercise and sleep your best bet to boost immunity against COVID-19? Find out how much

        • July 16, 2020

        So what can you do to protect yourself against the new coronavirus and other germs? First of all, focus on preventing exposure to and spread of pathogens, Experts say. Wash your hands, and if you cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue and throw that tissue away. (The CDC has published additional guidelines on how to prevent exposure to and spread of the new coronavirus.)

        The other part of the equation is practicing the health-promoting behaviors that keep your own immune system functioning at top capacity (and that help prevent underlying chronic health problems that ultimately do make you more susceptible to infections), according to Lin and Starnbach. More specifically:

        Get enough sleep. Healthy sleep supports the immune system in a lot of really critical ways, Lin says. Research finds that there are actually very important parts of the immune response that occur during the different stages of sleep and are regulated by our bodies’ circadian systems.

        Besides that it is crucial to eat healthy foods, including lots of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and minerals in our food are the lifelines all the systems in our body rely on to function well (including the immune system); the better you feed the body with the nutrients you need, the better it runs and can avoid chronic and acute disease, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Also avoid consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, which can interfere with immune functioning, according to an Alcohol Research review paper from 2015.)

        Stay active but moderately

        . Researchers haven’t yet pinpointed the mechanism through which staying active keeps the immune system functioning best, but they do know exercise helps keep other systems in the body functioning properly, so they suspect there’s a link, according to NIH. (There’s even evidence that older adults who exercise regularly can keep their immune systems functioning similarly to people decades younger, according to a study published in April 2018 in Aging Cell.)

        A cascade of viral particles enters the body through the nose, eyes or mouth. Breathing carries some of these particles to the lower part of the respiratory tract where the spike proteins of the coronavirus, acting like a key, grip into epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract as well as those in the the airsacs in the lungs.

        SARS-CoV-2 is able to stay undetected longer than many flu or coronaviruses and its spike proteins are able to gain entry by unlocking the ACE2 protein on the lung cells. Once in, they hijack the cell’s machinery, replicate and multiply and infect adjoining cells. Like the defining ACE2 proteins on the epithelial cells, viruses too have a tell-tale signature on their surface called antigens and spotting these is what kicks the immune system into play by producing antibodies to fight the virus.

        How to sleep with an intention to beat stress?

        To alleviate those effects, recording enough sleep hours at night is the best bet.The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours every night.

        What about a nap, though? It can help, and the effects are immediate. “If you’re excessively sleepy, which can increase stress levels, studies suggest that a well-planned nap can be beneficial,” Aloia says. A study published in March 2015 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that a 30-minute nap helped reduce stress in men who had slept only two hours the night before.

        Two rules you need to remember:

        Keep that nap under 40 minutes, and time it so that you’re napping in the early afternoon, generally before 2 p.m. Nap too long or too late in the day, and you’ll have a tougher time falling asleep during the same night.

        Exercise keeps stress hormones at bay

        The connection between exercise and stress is better understood. “Although we don’t know the exact mechanisms behind it, we know that exercise helps reduce stress,” says Jack Raglin, PhD, professor of kinesiology at Indiana University in Bloomington.

        You may have heard of a “runner’s high” — that euphoric feeling people often report after logging a marathon aerobic workout courtesy the release of feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators, essentially calming you down and making you feel good.

        “A cocktail of hormones, including dopamine and endocannabinoids, interacts when you exercise, and together, they help dissipate stress,” Dr. Raglin says.

        This neurochemical effect of exercise, in addition to stimulating these stress-busting hormones, also reduces levels of adrenaline and cortisol, your body’s stress hormones, helping you better manage stress.

         

        PNN/Agencies

        Prescription to fight cancer: Exercise

        Prescription to fight cancer: Exercise

        • July 10, 2020
        Prescription to fight cancer: exercise
        Sally Morgan, who has been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, says that participating in an exercise study helped her move up a level on her country club tennis team. Credit: Duke University

        Sally Morgan strides to the top of a treadmill, swinging her arms. She wears a head piece that anchors a plastic tube that snakes from her mouth. A sensor inside the tube measures the oxygen she takes in and the carbon dioxide she breathes out.

        “Good job Sally!” exclaims exercise physiologist Megan Reaves, who operates the treadmill controls. “Keep going. I’m going to boost the speed now.”

        “Sally, looking good,” says exercise physiologist Grace McDonald, as she pumps the blood pressure cuff around Morgan’s arm.

        Reaves calls out, “Here comes some incline: 3, 2, 1— climb that hill.”

        Morgan, who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2019, is taking a clinical progressive exercise test after participating in 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training. She has no symptoms from the disease and is in a “dynamic monitoring” period, which means she isn’t currently receiving treatment.

        She says the has made her feel better and have more energy. And she moved up a level on her tennis team.

        Can it also help her keep the cancer at bay? That is what Assistant Professor in Medicine David Bartlett, Ph.D., is trying to find out. He and other scientists have a hunch that exercise, in essence, acts like an immunotherapy—a treatment that boosts the body’s own ability to fight cancer. Bartlett’s early findings look promising, and if he can find support to do more and larger studies, he hopes to addexercise to the toolbox of personalized cancer treatments that doctors can prescribe.

        Readying For a Fight

        Plenty of evidence shows that exercise makes people generally less susceptible to disease, including cancer. And, Bartlett says that colleagues in the United Kingdom are finding that lifelong exercisers have an increased ability to produce new immune system cells, compared to .

        Bartlett aims to put a finer point on how exercise may be able to help the body fight cancer.

        He explains that during the minutes we are exercising, cells that fight off invaders—Natural Killer cells and T-cells— temporarily rush from the lymph nodes and other tissues into the blood. Bartlett points out that some people think that evolution favored this phenomenon in our ancestors; if you saw a lion or other predator and began running, survival was more likely if the body sent infection fighters to the blood, preparing for a bite wound.

        If exercise readies the immune system for a fight, what better way to prepare for what is likely the fight of a person’s life—cancer?

        Prescription to fight cancer: exercise
        From left, exercise physiologist Grace McDonald, study participant Sally Morgan, and exercise physiologist Megan Reaves during Morgan’s clinical exercise test at the Duke Center for Living. Credit: Duke University

        Bartlett and Associate Professor of Medicine Mike Harrison, MD, are investigating whether an “acute dose” of exercise boosts the effectiveness of an immunotherapy treatment. People with bladder or kidney cancer ride a stationary bike while receiving a 30-minute infusion of a checkpoint inhibitor—a drug that removes the “brakes” from certain immune system cells so they can recognize and kill cancer.

        Bartlett is still analyzing initial results from 15 patients in that study, so he can’t reveal much yet, but he is excited about his early findings. “We may have the potential to be able to use exercise to shift your immune system around just enough that it’s working with the drugs that you’re getting, to treat your tumors,” he says. If all goes well, he will seek funding to conduct a larger study with more patients.

        Right now, a single stationary bike sits on the fourth floor of the Duke Cancer Center; Bartlett’s team rolls it around to whatever infusion bay is empty. Curtis Garbett, who is fighting bladder cancer with Duke’s help, is raising funds to change that. What if there were a whole room of bikes where patients could pedal and talk to each other while receiving treatment? Garbett, who was one of the first patients to participate in the study, is beginning to raise funds for bikes, which cost $5,000 each, through the foundation he founded to raise awareness about bladder cancer—the Crush it for Curtis Foundation.

        “Participating in the study gave me a feeling of empowerment over cancer,” Garbett says. “Even though the study may not directly impact me, I felt I was doing my part to advance cancer research and the way infusion therapy could be delivered in the future.”

        As a junior faculty member, Bartlett puts in long hours analyzing data and writing grant proposals. He and his wife also have a young baby at home. So he doesn’t have the time he once did to participate in 12-mile extreme exercise events like Tough Mudder. Instead, he does simple high intensity interval training of his own. At nearby hiking trails, he sprints for two minutes or so until he’s exhausted, then slows down for about a minute, until he can go full bore again. Thirty-minute sessions like that give him similar benefits as longer periods of moderate exercise, he says.

        It’s not too different from the training that the participants in the CLL studies, like Sally Morgan, do under supervision at the Duke Center for Living. They work at 90 percent of their maximum cardiorespiratory ability for one-minute intervals, then one minute of active rest, for 30 minutes at a time. Because the exercise is tailored to their baseline fitness level, it’s not as intimidating as it might sound.

        “For many people in our study, high intensity interval training is walking up a hill, or walking up and down stairs,” Bartlett says. With the speed and incline, Morgan says, the sessions were more challenging than she expected. “I was definitely in much better shape by the end of it,” she says. Ideally, the training will teach the participants the exercise intensity they need to maintain the gains they’ve made.

        “What I really want is at the end, they’re able to go back into their community and do it themselves,” Bartlett says.

        Because CLL has not been linked to obesity the way some other cancers have, the effect of exercise is little studied in this disease. Collaborating with Assistant Professor of Medicine Danielle Brander, MD, and Medical Instructor Andrea Sitlinger, MD, Bartlett found some surprises. First, they conducted physical functional testing in 140 people with CLL. Then they compared immune system cells from the 10 most fit patients with cells from the 10 least fit. “We found that the fitter people have a completely different immune system than the unfit people. They have different levels of circulating factors that can affect their leukemia cell biology,” Bartlett says. And, when he incubated the blood plasma of the patients with tumor cells, the blood from the fittest patients slowed the growth of the tumor cells better than blood from other patients. These preliminary findings won Bartlett a young investigator award from the American Society of Hematology to continue this work.

        The team also found that, overall, people with CLL scored lower on function tests than people their same age without the disease. And when the patients received strength training, they became stronger, but the degree of change was not as great as Bartlett would have expected. In previous studies, he saw people with diabetes achieve a 15 percent increase in fitness level, and people with rheumatoid arthritis averaged increases of 12 percent. But people with CLL have showed smaller gains.

        “This implies that the exercise is having an effect, but their cancer is probably causing them to be physically unfit to some degree,” Bartlett says. “If that’s the case, can we intervene to stop that happening?” He wants to one day be able to measure certain markers in the blood that pinpoint whether a particular patient’s frailty and decline is caused mostly by their , or by normal aging.

        In the meantime, Sitlinger and Brander say that the exercise training is helping their patients feel better. Sitlinger was overjoyed to see one woman who had previously used a cane start coming to her appointments without one. They also hope to find that can improve the course of the disease. About 80 percent of patients with CLL will need treatment at some point, but many may wait years to start. Treatment is not recommended until the patient reaches certain parameters–extreme fatigue, increased rates of infection, enlarged spleen or lymph nodes.

        “We don’t want to wear treatments out, so to speak,” Sitlinger says. “And we want to delay the time until a patient develops resistance to treatment.” This period of “dynamic monitoring,” as Brander calls it, can be frustrating for people. Sitlinger says, “Patients are always asking, ‘What can I do in the meantime to fight my disease?’ Exercise may be a good answer.”


        Combining cardio, resistance training best for breast cancer patients, study suggests


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        Prescription to fight cancer: Exercise (2020, July 10)
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        Focus on Fitness: Regular exercise may boost your immune system

        Focus on Fitness: Regular exercise may boost your immune system

        • July 9, 2020

        Keep your family healthier by making exercise a regular activity for you all to do together.

        Some of the things that can affect our immune system include stress, sleep, nutrients from food and obesity.

        Regular exercise helps boost our immune system by reducing stress and contributing to a more restful sleep. Exercise also encourages us to eat more nutrient-dense foods that help us perform better during our workouts and aid in reaching or maintaining a healthy weight.  

        A healthy body composition (amount of body fat and muscle mass) is key in keeping our bodies healthy and regular exercise plays an important role in weight management. Exercising as a family teaches children from a young age the importance of taking care of themselves, what to put in to their bodies and what their bodies can do. When we exercise, we also feel good about ourselves and the more we move, the more we understand the need for food as fuel for our muscles.

        As a mom of three, I know it is not always easy to get kids up and moving. Here are five fun things you can do together as a family to keep your body moving and reduce your risk of catching a cold, flu or infection. 

        1. Build an obstacle course in the yard and run it together as a family. Take turns or even make it competitive by timing each person to see who can get through it the quickest. Here’s a tip: Let the kids participate in setting it up. I’ll bet they will have some great ideas!
        2. Play games together. Kids tend to get bored with repetitive exercises. Games will keep them engaged, so they will not feel like they are “working.” A family game of kickball is a fun way to get your heart pumping and does not require a lot of skill, making it a fantastic choice for all ages. Switch things up and play reverse kickball, where you run the bases backward. Have a Nerf gun war. They are so much more fun when mom or dad gets involved! All you need are a few Nerf guns, some ammunition and some boxes or trees for hiding. Smaller families can enjoy hopscotch, jump rope or hula hoops. Get as creative as you like. Family dance party, anyone?
        3. Go for a walk. Most kids are not very enthusiastic about taking an “after-dinner walk” with their parents. Make it more interesting by calling it something exciting like and Adventure Hike or Nature Walk. Invite them to bring a bag or basket to collect things (leaves, sticks and rocks can be used for crafts later), or ask them to see how many creatures they can spot along the way.
        4. Run or bike together. One day, we will run 5Ks again. Many races offer shorter distance runs for younger kids and it is so exciting to receive a medal at the end. Include them in choosing a race to run together. Now is also the perfect time to dust off your bicycles and take off those training wheels.
        5. Kids emulate what they see. If you are a parent who is a regular gym-goer, it is not unusual for kids to want to participate in the same kind of exercise they see you doing in the gym. Start with bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks, squats, push-ups and crunches. You can use these four exercises in a circuit format and do it along with them for a certain number of repetitions or time. Anything that you enjoy doing for exercise, whether it is Yoga, Zumba, running or biking, are things they are likely to enjoy doing with you.  

        How much exercise is enough? Kids should get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day, but the good news is it does not have to be all at once. Have fun incorporating some of these in to your daily routine and the whole family will reap the immunity-boosting health benefits.

        Angela Fulgieri is a Program Director for the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA. Write her at observerfitness@gmail.com.

        Regular exercise ’ll boost immune system against COVID-19 – Nutritionist – Punch Newspapers

        Regular exercise ’ll boost immune system against COVID-19 – Nutritionist – Punch Newspapers

        • July 3, 2020

        Dayo Ojerinde

        A consultant nutritionist, Dr Olusola Malomo, has recommended the regular intake of fruit juice and regular exercise  as measures to boost the immune system and combat the coronavirus disease.

        Malomo, who is also the Publicity Secretary of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, gave the advice at a healthy living dialogue organised by CHI Limited.

        He said the World Health Organisation and other global public institutions have confirmed that the severity of the COVID-19 infection was linked with the overall state of the body’s immune system.

         “COVID-19 is a respiratory infection which causes fever, tiredness, sore throat and in severe cases, shortness of breath.  This is the reason why people with pre-existing health challenges are most vulnerable to the virus.

        “Deficiency in Zinc, Iron, Copper, Folic Acid, Vitamins A, B6, C (which is contained in large quantity in fruit juice) and E have  impacts on immune responses.

        The Cable News Network reported that the United States retail sales of orange juice jumped about 38 per cent in the four weeks ending on March 28, 2020, when compared to the same period last year. Also, the Florida Department of Citrus disclosed that there was a spike in demand for orange juice within the same period.

        “Regular exercise is an essential component of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, helps control body weight, removes toxins in the body, increases blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.

        “The result of these is a strengthened immune system that protects the body against infections and diseases. Regular exercise is most valuable when one shuns junk foods and stick to healthy eating habits and a balanced diet,” Malomo said.

         He added that pure fruit juices, where available, could be substituted for raw fruits since it was difficult to ascertain the level of hygiene maintained by those who sell raw fruits.

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        Pamplin Media Group - Burton: Exercise and your immune system

        Pamplin Media Group – Burton: Exercise and your immune system

        • July 1, 2020

        ‘Exercise directly improves our bodies’ abilities to fight infection and disease.’


        Without an immune system, we would stand no chance in the face of sickness and disease. Fortunately for us, Mother Nature did give us an immune system, and it helps us each day to fend off everything from the common cold to the flu.

        Considering the state the world is in, a lot of people have been asking how they can improve their immune systems, and one of the best ways is to exercise regularly.

        Exercise improves your immune system in both direct and indirect ways. Directly, exercise has been thought to flush bacteria out of your respiratory tract, and exercise has been shown to increase white blood cell counts in individuals. White blood cells are also known as leukocytes, and are our immune cells.

        By increasing our white blood cell count, exercise directly improves our bodies’ abilities to fight infection and disease. But perhaps the most profound improvement to our immune system through exercise is not caused directly, rather it is indirectly brought about by our exercise routines.

        Exercise is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, and for many people, it acts as a stress reducing therapeutic hobby. Although stress may seem like a random emotion that can come and go whenever, excess stress can create an inhibited immune system, increasing your likelihood to get sick. Seeing as exercise reduces stress, you can increase white blood cells, reduce stress, and get in better shape all at the same time. What’s not to love?

        But wait, there’s more! With exercise comes the need for better fuel for your body, so you can have the energy to exercise. As it turns out, eating healthy also boosts your immune system. By eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, you increase the number of micronutrients your body receives, which directly boosts your immune function.

        Another indirect way exercise benefits immune function is by improving your sleep patterns. Studies have shown that exercise increases the amount of “slow wave,” a.k.a. “deep sleep,” you get every night. Increased deep sleep also has been shown to improve immune function. Another way exercise benefits your immune system is by helping you to maintain a healthy body weight, as excess body weight has been shown to increase the likelihood for disease.

        Now, I fully understand the concern that in order to benefit from exercise, you may need to get up and start training like you’re going to compete in the Boston Marathon next month, but luckily, that’s not the case.

        Most studies show that in order to get the previously mentioned benefits, it’s enough to go to the gym every other day, or to participate in a low intensity exercise like walking for 30 minutes every day. So, if I told you that you could lose weight, sleep better, eat better, boost your immune system, and become happier, all by walking down the sidewalk for thirty minutes a day, would you do it? I think you should definitely try to.

        While it may be hard to start up a workout program, it’s absolutely worth it. The increase in quality of life you obtain from exercising is practically immeasurable.

        You shouldn’t go through life never knowing what your body is truly capable of. Make the change in your life and start exercising today. Your body, mind, and immune system will thank you.

        In order to do my part during this pandemic, I’ll be making all of my personalized in-home workout programs entirely free until people are able to return to normal living. With the program, you’ll be open to ask me any fitness-related questions 24/7 in order to make sure your program works for you. Please don’t hesitate to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or text me at 503-935-6682. Thank you, and stay safe.

        Will Burton is a personal trainer and the owner of Mobile Training Systems in Sherwood.


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