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. 
The Good Patch Adds Rise Effervescent Immunity Tablets to Lineup of Wellness Products

The Good Patch Adds Rise Effervescent Immunity Tablets to Lineup of Wellness Products

  • August 6, 2020

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Aug. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Good Patch, a wellness brand that offers a variety of plant-infused patches, today announces their most recent wellness product – Rise. Rise, an effervescent tablet that quickly dissolves in water, infuses delicious flavors with vitamins and aims to help give a boost to your immune system.

Rise is available online in refreshing Berry and Citrus flavors – simply drop the tablet in water, watch it fizz, drink, and enjoy. Each Rise tablet provides a powerful burst of 1,000 mg of Vitamin C along with 13 other vitamins, minerals and herbs. Individuals seeking an immune boost can add Rise to their daily routine and seek the rich benefits of Vitamins A, C, and E. The tablets are high in antioxidants, have 350 mg of herbal blend including echinacea and ginger, and are an excellent source of zinc and selenium.

“The Good Patch is dedicated to improving overall wellbeing so we can feel as beautiful on the inside as we are on the outside,” said Betsy Scanlan, co-founder and CEO of The Good Patch. “Our team continues to develop innovative products keeping strong women in mind, and Rise is a prime example of this. We hope consumers can rise up physically and mentally with our new Rise tablets.” 

The Good Patch recognizes that in order to support overall wellbeing, support is needed in community, environment and education, which is why they have partnered with Ambition, a non-profit school-based entrepreneurial program for disadvantaged youth. With every purchase of Rise, a percentage of the sale will be directly donated to Ambition’s scholarship fund so that the youth can continue to rise up to their full potential. The Good Patch team will also be dedicating their time to weekly mentorship with the Ambition students.

“The Good Patch is excited to not only offer our new product, Rise, to consumers, but to also bring forth change and positivity in our community through our work with Ambition,” said Cedar Carter, president & COO of The Good Patch. “Our Rise customers can feel good that they are giving love to their bodies, while also brightening the future for all the youths that will directly benefit from these donations.”

The Rise tablets come after the recent announcement of The Good Patch’s newest product and first-ever bedtime patch for children, The Nite Owl – a line of owl-shaped nighttime patches for kids ages 3 and up, comprised of safe and natural ingredients sold at thegoodpatch.com/niteowl.

Rise is sold in tubes of 10 for $9 and can be bought in bulk to lower the price per tablet. The Good Patch recommends users enjoy one a day, or up to three per day for adults 14 and up. For more information or to purchase, visit: thegoodpatch.com/rise

(All statements included in the above media release have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a physician if you are pregnant, on medication, breastfeeding, have a medical condition or have questions.)

About The Good Patch
The Good Patch offers an array of safe, tested and pure products with plant-based ingredients. The Good Patch products are available to customers seeking results for everyday ailments, such as fatigue or minor aches and pains. The company was founded in 2017 with one simple idea in mind: when the people around you feel good, life is more beautiful. 

Media Contact
Brittany Zoet
Uproar PR for The Good Patch
Bzoet@uproarpr.com
310-598-8774

10 Ways To Boost Your Immune System In Times Of COVID-19, According To SHA Wellness Clinic

10 Ways To Boost Your Immune System In Times Of COVID-19, According To SHA Wellness Clinic

  • August 6, 2020

Set on Spain’s Costa Blanca, SHA Wellness Clinic is one of the world’s premier wellness destinations. This health resort has been known to attract everyone from elite athletes, to Hollywood celebrities and Victoria’s Secret models, as well as assorted oligarchs and billionaires. They come to lose weight, detox, or participate in SHA’s Healthy Aging program. Others want to reset their minds and bodies, adopt new healthy habits, or simply get away from it all. 

Devised by wellness guru Alfredo Bataller, the immensely successful SHA method is based on a holistic approach to wellness that combines the latest advances in Western medicine and progressive natural therapies, with a particular focus on healthy, balanced nutrition and exercise.

Since reopening in July, SHA has introduced a series of new services specially designed for the COVID-19 era. Immunotherapy and lymphocyte profile consultations have been added to all bookings to assess the state of the guest’s immune system, while a new immune system strengthening pack has also been developed. A comprehensive “SHA insurance” covers medical and related expenses in the event of positive COVID-19 test on arrival. 

So, how can we apply the SHA method to our everyday lives to give our immune systems an extra boost in times of COVID-19? Here are some tips from Alfredo Bataller and his team of experts at SHA Wellness Clinic:

1. Choose seasonal fruit and vegetables

Alfredo Bataller, founder of SHA Wellness Clinic: A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, vitamin C and antioxidants helps reinforce the immune system and prevent disease. It’s highly recommended to choose fruit and vegetables that are in season to ensure that they are as fresh and nutritious as possible.

2. Enjoy immune-boosting superfoods

Melanie Waxman, healthy nutrition expert: To keep the immune system in perfect working order, we should enjoy a diet based on fresh food that helps to maintain the balance of the intestinal microbiota. It should include whole grains, beans, seaweed (spirulina), nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, such as kale, onions, garlic, leeks and asparagus, and fruit, such as apples.

3. Take moderate exercise

Luis Ganso, personal trainer: Moderate exercise, such as 30 minutes of fast-paced walking, has been shown to improve the function of the immune system. This type of exercise strengthens our respiratory capacity, mobilizing antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more quickly, and detect and neutralize external attacks. Meanwhile, raising the body temperature helps to prevent the development of infection.

4. Exercise outdoors if possible…

Alfredo Bataller: It’s always a good idea to spend some time during the day walking outdoors—preferably in nature. Spending time outdoors is important for breathing fresh air and absorbing the vitamin D provided by the sun, which is so crucial to support calcium absorption and the proper functioning of the immune system.

5. …Even when you don’t feel like it

Alfredo Bataller: Exercise is always good, even if we may have lost motivation during lockdown or if we feel tired or low on energy. Exercise strengthens the immune system and makes our bodies secrete “happy” hormones, or endorphins, while reducing the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Stress is harmful to the body, and, having less of it actually strengthens the immune system.

6. Use deep breathing to stimulate lymph flow

Rachel Rose, body and mind expert and yoga coach: Stable mental health is basic to managing stress, which, in turn, impacts the immune system. Lymphocytes are found in lymph nodes and organs, and in the blood. Lymph nodes are the body’s first line of defense against disease. Breathing is directly related to lymph flow, and lymph flow is directly related to immunity. 

The diaphragm muscle, located between the lungs and the abdomen moves down when we inhale and up when we exhale. This movement causes a series of pressure differences that generate movement in the body. Lymph flow, or the mechanism that transports the lymph containing our infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body, is one of the most crucial movements supported by deep breathing. 

7. Get enough rest

Alfredo Bataller: Getting quality sleep is essential to reinforcing our immune system, while not getting enough sleep can cause our immunity to decline, making us more prone to infectious diseases. Adults should sleep at least seven to eight hours a day.

8. Rethink breakfast

Maria Romeralo, healthy nutrition expert: When we start the day with sugary coffee and a pastry, we instantly feel good and full of energy. However, after a while, our energy levels drop and our bodies demand more sugar. This is why it’s important to avoid refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and honey at breakfast. 

At SHA, we serve miso soup for breakfast. Miso soup is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. You can make it even richer by adding wakame seaweed, onions, tofu, carrots or pumpkin. It’s a wonderful way to cleanse the body while providing quality nutrients. Miso is a fermented food and therefore a source of probiotics that also help strengthen our immune systems.

9. Keep in touch with friends and family

Alfredo Bataller: Confinement can lead to loneliness, sedentariness and depression, all of which are detrimental to the proper functioning of the immune system. Contact with our loved ones helps calm the mind, enables us to cope with the stress of these uncertain times, and also reduces the risk of obesity and alcohol and tobacco abuse.

10. Look for lasting lifestyle change, not quick fixes 

Melanie Waxman, healthy nutrition expert: It’s important to transition to a healthy lifestyle gradually, with a view to maintaining it long term. At SHA, we give our guests the necessary tools to start leading that lifestyle once they leave: healthy cooking classes, yoga classes, outdoor exercise, nutrition and medical advice on everything from quitting smoking, to sleeping, and strengthening the cognition. Once back in their routine, they’re encouraged to adopt these activities until they become habits.

11 Healing Revolutionary Herbs Used In Teas

11 Healing Revolutionary Herbs Used In Teas

  • August 5, 2020

Throughout history, herbs have been used for different purposes. Yet, there was no scientific information about their specific abilities in recorded history. However, this didn’t stop our ancestors from using herbs for ingredients in teas, brews, and various meals for their healing purposes. 

As modern medicine and technology have provided the ability to test the many health benefits of all sorts of herbs that are used in tea, let’s look at ten of them and how they can help treat ailments and the body. 

1. Ginger

Ginger is a popular herb present in many meals and drinks mainly as spice. Its health benefits are wide and significant. Using ginger for morning tea can help ease morning sickness in pregnant women. Other known benefits include preventing heart disease, decreasing the risk of  cancer, and settling an upset stomach.

2. Cannabis

Many cannabis users know medical marijuana is best ingested by eating, smoking, or vaping it. Nonetheless, very few people are familiar with the less traditional methods of infusing it in tea. It is even considered a healthier and gentler way of introducing CBD or THC into the body than smoking. 

Cannabis (marijuana or hemp)  usage isn’t a new innovation. Different cultures have used it for its therapeutic effects throughout history. If you have any throat or mouth conditions, or any respiratory diseases, cannabis tea is an excellent alternative that helps you prevent these risks associated with smoking. 

3. Peppermint

A healthy body is usually stress-free with a well-functioning immune system. Peppermint tea is placed in high regard when it comes to stress and anxiety relief. Thus, placing less strain on your immune system and allowing it to work at prime condition. Peppermint Tea also facilitates sleep and can even help with bad breath.

4. Chamomile

Chamomile tea is rich with chamazulene, which possesses analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. A hot cup of chamomile tea also treats colds, reduces period pains, and helps calm stomach aches. Its qualities are popular throughout Asia. 

Additionally, the intake of chamomile tea helps reduce stress and aging. Both factors are regular problems people face daily due to the daily hassles of life. In all, chamomile helps boost the immune system in its way.

5. Hawthorn

This is a go-to herb for blood and heart issues. Drinking hawthorn tea promotes heart functions by first decreasing blood fats and stabilizing blood pressure. Both high and low blood pressure can be treated with hawthorn tea since the herb can serve as a vasodilator.

6. Ginseng

For centuries, Ginseng has been a traditional and popular herb in China. It is so popular in China that people subconsciously think of China whenever the name Ginseng arises in a conversation. The herb comes in three different types; white, red, and fresh.

The herb is beneficial for the body as it primarily boosts the immune system. Additionally, it contains relaxing effects similar to CBD, which is one of the reasons why CBD products are so popular. Yet, Ginseng is more known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The male reproductive system also enjoys excellent benefits from the regular intake of Ginseng.

7. Hibiscus

Hibiscus tea comes in different flavors due to the variations of the herb. However, its medicinal properties are all the same. Studies prove that the herb works well in lowering blood pressure and blood fat levels. Both conditions are threatening towards human life, as many lives are lost yearly due to these conditions.

Additionally, the intake of hibiscus helps boost your liver. Liver health studies have been conducted where hibiscus extracts provided protection qualities.

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a great herb that can be beneficial to your health when taken sparingly. The presence of little coumarin can counter the health benefits including fighting off infections.

9. Echinacea

With a total of nine species, this herb has only three with healing qualities. The presence of active compounds in echinacea is impressive since the variety is outstanding.  A few of such active compounds include phenolic acids, polyacetylenes, rosmarinic acid, and caffeic acid. Together, these active compounds make echinacea tea a healthy herbal drink by helping fight cancer cells. 

10. Blackberry Leaves

The tannins and vitamin C levels are impressively high in blackberry leaves. Together, you can use blackberry leaves to tackle diarrhea and gastrointestinal inflammation. The combination also improves the immune system and speeds up tissue repair processes. This quality makes the herb great for recovery from open wounds.

11. Jasmine

Like other beneficial herbal teas, Jasmine teas burst with antioxidants. The Jasmine plant has a great aroma when infused with green, white, or black tea. Typically, Jasmine tea is made alongside green tea leaves, which merges with the herb to control weight.

The high presence of polyphenols in the herb is excellent for heart protection. These polyphenols also help lower the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Jasmine tea, combined with cannabis products, prove to control Alzheimer’s effectively.

Conclusion

The healing qualities of herbs are great for the immune system. With different active ingredients and antioxidants, our list of ten healing herbs is noteworthy. Depending on your choice, there’s bound to be significant health benefits from the herbal tea of your choice.

The Pandemic's Biggest Mystery Is Our Own Immune System

The Pandemic’s Biggest Mystery Is Our Own Immune System

  • August 5, 2020

Immunity, then, is usually a matter of degrees, not absolutes. And it lies at the heart of many of the COVID-19 pandemic’s biggest questions. Why do some people become extremely ill and others don’t? Can infected people ever be sickened by the same virus again? How will the pandemic play out over the next months and years? Will vaccination work?

To answer these questions, we must first understand how the immune system reacts to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Which is unfortunate because, you see, the immune system is very complicated.


It works, roughly, like this.

The first of three phases involves detecting a threat, summoning help, and launching the counterattack. It begins as soon as a virus drifts into your airways, and infiltrates the cells that line them.

When cells sense molecules common to pathogens and uncommon to humans, they produce proteins called cytokines. Some act like alarms, summoning and activating a diverse squad of white blood cells that go to town on the intruding viruses—swallowing and digesting them, bombarding them with destructive chemicals, and releasing yet more cytokines. Some also directly prevent viruses from reproducing (and are delightfully called interferons). These aggressive acts lead to inflammation. Redness, heat, swelling, soreness—these are all signs of the immune system working as intended.

This initial set of events is part of what’s called the innate immune system. It’s quick, occurring within minutes of the virus’s entry. It’s ancient, using components that are shared among most animals. It’s generic, acting in much the same way in everyone. And it’s broad, lashing out at anything that seems both nonhuman and dangerous, without much caring about which specific pathogen is afoot. What the innate immune system lacks in precision, it makes up for in speed. Its job is to shut down an infection as soon as possible. Failing that, it buys time for the second phase of the immune response: bringing in the specialists.

Amid all the fighting in your airways, messenger cells grab small fragments of virus and carry these to the lymph nodes, where highly specialized white blood cells—T-cells—are waiting. The T-cells are selective and preprogrammed defenders. Each is built a little differently, and comes ready-made to attack just a few of the zillion pathogens that could possibly exist. For any new virus, your body probably has a T-cell somewhere that could theoretically fight it. Your body just has to find and mobilize that cell. Picture the lymph nodes as bars full of grizzled T-cell mercenaries, each of which has just one type of target they’re prepared to fight. The messenger cell bursts in with a grainy photo, showing it to each mercenary in turn, asking: Is this your guy? When a match is found, the relevant merc arms up and clones itself into an entire battalion, which marches off to the airways.

Psych Central

Psychotherapy May Boost Immunity

  • August 2, 2020

the best time to talk to your therapistPsychosocial interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have always been a boon for emotional and mental health, and a new meta analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry suggests it may provide an immune system boost as well.

Researchers conducted a review of 56 clinical trials, representing 4,060 participants that tracked changes in immunity over time during the course of psychotherapy. Shields, et. al, looked at eight different psychosocial interventions, such as CBT, behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, and psycho-education, as well as seven markers of immune system function, including inflammation, antibody levels, viral load, and natural killer cell activity.

They found that across the interventions, there was a strong association with enhanced immune system function, and that persisted for at least six months following treatment. The associations were most significant for CBT or combined interventions, but as a whole, all intervention types provided some level of improvement in immune system function. The main takeaway here is that psychotherapeutic interventions have a variety of beneficial effects on the immune system.

There are long-held stigmas attached to people seeking psychotherapy for their mental health. Understanding the numerous benefits can go a long way toward fighting those stigmas and letting people know that therapy can help anyone, even those without a diagnosed mental health condition.

The reason that psychotherapy, and particularly CBT, might have such a direct effect on immune function was not part of the study, which was one of its drawbacks. But the assessment of inflammation markers gives a clue about what the underlying mechanism at play might be.

Inflammation has often been connected to numerous health issues, including cognitive and mental disorders from dementia to depression. A review of the literature published in Frontiers in Immunology highlights that, while many factors play a role in the development of depression, there have been links to increased inflammatory activation of the immune system, which affects the central nervous system. It notes that antidepressants have been shown to decrease inflammation, while higher levels of inflammation can lower treatment effectiveness.

Furthermore, with respect to immune function, inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense mechanism, and it plays a role in healing. But when it goes into overdrive, that’s when the health issues begin to crop up. Keeping it regulated in a way that harnesses the power of inflammation without letting it surge is an important part of maintaining health at every level, says Shields.

The results of this study underscore how much mental and emotional issues can affect physiological reactions, and that goes both ways. For example, we often see people with compromised immune function and chronic health problems facing mental health challenges. Addressing physical health will have an impact on mental wellbeing, and vice versa.

Additionally, lifestyle factors can also play a role. Addressing emotional and mental difficulties can also affect the immune system, including inflammation levels, because it could prompt changes in behavior. For example, if someone is empowered through therapy, they may be more inclined to make changes such as:

  • Exercising more
  • Eating healthier foods
  • Pursuing more social interaction
  • Creating a better sleep schedule
  • Implementing anti-stress strategies

All of these shifts have been shown in past research to affect immune system function, in part because they reduce inflammation, but also because they improve gut health, a major aspect of psychological well-being.

It’s all interconnected in terms of how your mind and body are responding. Generally, when people start feeling better mentally, they start to implement behaviors that support their health, and that begins to build on each other. It’s a positive reinforcement cycle that continues. For example, if you start exercising more, studies suggest you tend to sleep better. When you get more quality sleep, that lowers inflammation levels and improves gut health, and in turn, that improves mood and emotional resilience.

These systems all work in tandem with one another, and it starts with small changes in some behaviors, along with setting reasonable goals. Subsequently, you will likely find that it gets easier to adopt healthier behaviors from there. The first step of psychotherapy could be the kickoff needed to start this ripple effect.

For many people, finding the right fit of psychotherapy method can take some time, patience, and may involve multiple types of therapies, with some normal frustration along the way. For instance, CBT may be paired with mindfulness, behavioral therapy, and medication. It’s important to talk with a mental health professional about potential options that align with your needs/lifestyle, and never give up until you find the right therapy that is suitable for you.

References:

Shields, G.S., Spahr, C.M., & Slavich, G.M. (2020, June 3). Psychosocial interventions and immune system function: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trialsJAMA Psychiatrydoi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0431

Lee, C.H., & Giuliani, F. (2019, July 19). The role of inflammation in depression and fatigueFrontiers in Immunology. 2019;10:1696. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2019.01696

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How they work, and the latest developments

How they work, and the latest developments

  • July 31, 2020

More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world—and hopes are high to bring one to market in record time to ease the global crisis. Several efforts are underway to help make that possible, including the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which has pledged $10 billion and aims to develop and deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021. The World Health Organization is also coordinating global efforts to develop a vaccine, with an eye toward delivering two billion doses by the end of 2021.

The candidates, like all vaccines, essentially aim to instruct the immune system to mount a defense, which is sometimes stronger than what would be provided through natural infection and comes with fewer health consequences.

To do so, some vaccines use the whole coronavirus, but in a killed or weakened state. Others use only part of the virus—whether a protein or a fragment. Some transfer the coronavirus proteins into a different virus that is unlikely to cause disease or even incapable of it. Finally, some vaccines under development rely on deploying pieces of the coronavirus’s genetic material, so our cells can temporarily make the coronavirus proteins needed to stimulate our immune systems. (Here’s what vaccines are and how they work.)

It can typically take 10 to 15 years to bring a vaccine to market; the fastest-ever—the vaccine for mumps—required four years in the 1960s. Vaccines go through a multi-stage clinical trial process, which starts by checking their safety and whether they trigger an immune response in a small group of healthy humans. The second phase widens the testing pool to include groups of people who may have the disease or be more likely to catch it, to gauge the vaccine’s effectiveness. The third phase expands the pool up to the thousands to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective among a wider array of people, given that immune response can vary by age, ethnicity, or by underlying health conditions. It then goes to regulatory agencies for approval—which can be a lengthy process itself.

Even after a vaccine is approved, it faces potential roadblocks when it comes to manufacturing and distribution from scaling up the production to meet demands to deciding which populations should get it first—and at what cost. Many vaccines also stay in what’s called phase four, a perpetual stage of regular study. (Here’s how we’ll know when a COVID-19 vaccine is ready.) But vaccine developers are attempting to compress that process for SARS-CoV-2 by running clinical trial phases simultaneously, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has promised to fast-track the approval process.

Though it’s too soon to say which candidates will ultimately be successful, here’s a look at the vaccine prospects that have made it to phase three and beyond—including a quick primer on how they work and where they stand.

Who: A Massachusetts-based biotech company, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.

What: This vaccine candidate relies on injecting snippets of a virus’s genetic material, in this case mRNA, into human cells. They create viral proteins that mimic the coronavirus, training the immune system to recognize its presence. This technology has never been licensed for any disease. If successful, it would be the first mRNA vaccine approved for human use. (Here’s how mRNA vaccines work.)

Status: On July 27, Moderna announced it had started the third phase of its clinical trials, even as it continues to monitor phase two results. Preliminary findings from phase one have shown that healthy subjects produced coronavirus antibodies and a reaction from T-cells, another arm of the human immune response. Phase three will test the vaccine in 30,000 U.S. participants. Moderna says it is on track to deliver at least 500 million doses per year beginning in 2021, thanks in part to the deal it has struck with Swiss manufacturer Lonza that will allow it to manufacture up to one billion doses a year.

Who: One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, based in New York, in collaboration with German biotech company BioNTech.

What: Pfizer and BioNTech are also developing an mRNA vaccine based on the German company’s earlier efforts to use the technology in experimental cancer vaccines. Pfizer has signed a nearly $2 billion contract with the U.S. government to provide 100 million doses by December 2020—an agreement that goes into effect when and if the drug is approved and delivered.

Status: On July 27, Pfizer and BioNTech launched a trial that combines phase two and three by enrolling a diverse population in areas with significant SARS-CoV-2 transmission. It will examine the vaccine’s effect in 30,000 people from 39 U.S. states and from Brazil, Argentina, and Germany. The project is aiming to seek regulatory review as early as October 2020 to meet the December deadline—and hopes to supply 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. Preliminary results of phase one/two data show the vaccine produces antibodies and T-cell responses specific to the SARS-CoV-2 protein.

Who: The U.K. university, in collaboration with the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

What: Oxford’s candidate is what’s known as a viral vector vaccine, essentially a “Trojan horse” presented to the immune system. Oxford’s research team has transferred the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein—which helps the coronavirus invade cells—into a weakened version of an adenovirus, which typically causes the common cold. When this adenovirus is injected into humans, the hope is that the spike protein will trigger an immune response. AstraZeneca and Oxford plan to produce a billion doses of vaccine that they’ve agreed to sell at cost.

Status: Preliminary results from this candidate’s first two clinical trial phases revealed that the vaccine had triggered a strong immune response—including increased antibodies and responses from T-cells—with only minor side effects such as fatigue and headache. It has now moved into phase three of clinical trials, aiming to recruit up to 50,000 volunteers in Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Africa.

Who: A Chinese biopharmaceutical company, in collaboration with Brazilian research center Butantan.

What: CoronaVac is an inactivated vaccine, meaning it uses a non-infectious version of the coronavirus. While inactivated pathogens can no longer produce disease, they can still provoke an immune response, such as with the annual influenza vaccine.

Status: On July 3, Brazil’s regulatory agency granted this vaccine candidate approval to move ahead to phase three, as it continues to monitor the results of the phase two clinical trials. Sinovac says the first phases have so far shown that the vaccine does produce an immune response with no severe adverse effects. Preliminary results of this candidate’s earlier testing in macaque monkeys, published in Science, revealed that the vaccine produced antibodies that neutralized 10 strains of SARS-CoV-2. Phase three will recruit nearly 9,000 healthcare professionals in Brazil.

Who: China’s state-run pharmaceutical company, in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.

What: Sinopharm is also using an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that it hopes will reach the public by the end of 2020. Sinopharm has reported that early trials of its vaccine candidate triggered a strong neutralizing antibody response in participants, with no serious adverse effects.

Status: In mid-July, Sinopharm launched its phase three trial among 15,000 volunteers—aged 18 to 60, with no serious underlying conditions—in the United Arab Emirates. The company selected the UAE as it has a diverse population with approximately 200 different nationalities, making it an ideal testing ground.

Name: Bacillus Calmette-Guerin BRACE trial

Who: The largest child health research institute in Australia, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne.

What: For nearly a hundred years, the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine has been used to prevent tuberculosis by exposing patients to a small dose of live bacteria. Evidence has emerged over the years that this vaccine may boost the immune system and help the body fight off other diseases as well. Researchers are investigating whether these benefits may also extend to SARS-CoV-2, and this trial has reached phase three in Australia. Though as of April 12, the World Health Organization says there is no evidence that the BCG vaccine protects people against infection with the coronavirus.

Status: In April, researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute began a series of randomized controlled trials that will test whether BCG might work on the coronavirus as well. They aim to recruit 10,000 healthcare workers in the study.

Name: Ad5-nCoV

Who:
A Chinese biopharmaceutical company.

What:
CanSino has also developed a viral vector vaccine, using a weakened version of the adenovirus as a vehicle for introducing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the body. Preliminary results from phase two trials, published in The Lancet, have shown that the vaccine produces “significant immune responses in the majority of recipients after a single immunisation.” There were no serious adverse reactions documented.

Status:
Though the company is still technically in phase two of its trial, on June 25, CanSino became the first company to receive limited approval to use its vaccine in people. The Chinese government has approved the vaccine for military use only, for a period of one year.

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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        Kazakh health experts share tips to boost immune system amidst COVID-19 pandemic | Kazakhstan News: Latest news on Kazakh TV

        Kazakh health experts share tips to boost immune system amidst COVID-19 pandemic | Kazakhstan News: Latest news on Kazakh TV

        • July 28, 2020

        With the spread of the novel coronavirus infection, many people are wondering how to keep the immune system healthy. Famous Kazakh medical workers shared their recommendations with Kazakh TV.

        First of all, it is necessary to improve liver health, said Doctor of Medical Science and Chief Freelance Hepatologist of the Public Health Department of Nur-Sultan Venera Rakhmetova. She said that liver performs many functions, including participating in the reactions of the immune system, which, in turn, determines the level of resistance to infection. That is why people should protect liver and prevent liver damage. 

        “The caloric value of food should not exceed 2,800 to 2,900 kilocalories. In terms of preparing food, it is better to eat the food in boiled form or in stewed form, baking in the oven is also allowed. It is necessary to exclude fatty foods, semi-finished products and unhealthy snacks containing a lot of salt and sugar. Sugary drinks should also be excluded from nutrition,” Rakhmetova said.

        She also added that the diet should be structured in such a way that it contains all the necessary foods from different categories. Rakhmetova stressed that a healthy lifestyle, sufficient physical activity, and anti-epidemic measures are the key to the prevention of COVID-19 infection and the speedy recovery, if the person got infected.

        President of the Academy of Preventive Medicine of Kazakhstan Almaz Sharman agrees that the proper nutrition improves the immunity. He said that it is also recommended to drink more fluids, and preferably with lemon.

        “If the health condition allows, then it is better to go outside, take a sun bath and get some fresh air. Taking antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription is not recommended in order not to weaken the immunity,” Sharman said.

        Chairperson of the National Scientific Medical Center Abai Baigenzhin also said that a person who takes antibiotics uncontrollably can damage his or her immune system. Baigenzhin used the famous words of Avicenna to describe the situation when Kazakh residents started panic buying of various medicines and taking them: “Illusion is half sickness, calmness is half the cure and patience is the first step of healing.”

         

         

        Photo: article


        Boosting Immune System to Protect Against COIVD-19

        Boosting Immune System to Protect Against COIVD-19

        • July 28, 2020

        PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – With the rise of COVID-19 cases in Florida, people may be looking for ways to boost their immune system to help fight the virus.

        Panama City respiratory specialist, Doctor Marwan Obid, said over the counter medicine is one way to do it. He stated, “what you need is a multivitamin, zinc, and vitamin D also work really good.”

        Officials with the University of Chicago Medicine say certain medications such as Tylenol, Aleve, and Advil can help treat COVID-19 symptoms.

        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated.

        Doctor Obid says you can also protect yourself against COVID-19 by implementing healthy practices in your everyday routine. “You need to do exercise and relax and sleep a clean 7 hours,” said Obid.

        Bay County resident, Donna Schneider, said she’s been staying home, among other things, to protect her health. “[I have been] wearing a mask when I go out grocery shopping, I take just a one-a-day vitamin and a couple of supplements,” said Schneider.

        Doctor Obid emphasized that “exercise, staying away from smoking and staying away from crowds” will help strengthen your immune system against COVID-19.

        Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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