Grapefruit May Protect Your Immune System & Lower Risk of Disease

Grapefruit May Protect Your Immune System & Lower Risk of Disease

  • January 15, 2021

Grapefruit is known for its sour, tangy flavor and refreshing taste but it has superpowers that are especially worth harnessing now. The reddish-pink citrus fruit is loaded with health benefits due to its powerful antioxidants in both the peel and the fibrous pulp alike and essential nutrients and vitamins in its juice, all of which make eating this delicious fruit well worth it. But, before you go ahead and bite into a bitter, juicy grapefruit, consult your doctor or health care provider to make sure the compounds in grapefruit don’t interfere with your medication like statins.

Several studies suggest that grapefruit is extremely potent and promotes natural weight loss, helps build a strong immune system, and reduces insulin resistance. Studies have shown that eating grapefruit may potentially reduce the risk of diabetes as well as kidney stones.

The wonder fruit (especially the pink variety) also contains the antioxidant lycopene, which improves cardiovascular health and had been shown to slow or prevent the growth of certain cancers, notably prostate cancer. However, cancer patients should consult their doctors before eating the powerful fruit, as it may lead to complications by interfering with chemotherapy.

Grapefruit is known for its high water-content that hydrates and nourishes the cells in your body, providing the health benefits of an alkaline diet, including better sleep, brain function, and mood. Lastly, grapefruit contains natural citric acid which may positively affect the kidneys and help aid in digestion.

Learn more about all the reasons why you should add grapefruit to your daily diet with these top seven scientific-driven health benefits.

7 Health Reasons to Add Grapefruit to Your Diet Today

1. Grapefruits Are Nutrient-Dense and Low in Calories

Grapefruits are low in calories and high in nutrients, providing most of your vitamins and minerals. In fact, grapefruits are one of the lowest-calorie fruits with only 102 calories per large fruit. Because the fiber content is so high (4 grams per fruit), eating one will help you stay full throughout the day and may aid in weight loss.

Many nutritionists recommend grapefruit as a good source of all your recommended daily vitamins, as grapefruits are a healthy and all-natural way to build strong immunity. The citrus is high in Vitamin C with 128% of the RDI, which helps contribute to immune defense by supporting cell function. Grapefruits are also high in Vitamin A with 56% of the RDI, which protects the heart, lungs, and kidneys, all of which boost heart health and help lower risks of disease. In addition, grapefruits contain potassium, thiamine, folate, and magnesium, essential minerals your body needs.

2. Eating Grapefruit Protects Your Immune System

Immune function is an important part of everyday life and maintaining a strong defense against pathogens is particularly crucial right now, to help your body avoid getting sick. Grapefruits and other citrus fruits are immune heroes for their high content of vitamin C, which is known to help your cells fight off viruses, according to several studies. Vitamin C helps your body three ways: as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial compound. A healthy immune system also protects against chronic inflammation.

Grapefruits also contain zinc, which can also support healthy immunity and helps stabilize metabolic function. In a study of the immune-enhancing roles of vitamin C and zinc and their effects, researchers noted that intakes of vitamin C and zinc helped shorten the duration of respiratory infections including the common cold, meaning the two compounds together may enhance the recovery time of certain illnesses.

3. Grapefruits May Control Appetite and Promote Weight Loss, Due to Their High-Fiber Content

Soluble fiber from natural foods like grapefruit mix with water and forms a gel-like substance that slows the pace of digested food into the stomach, making you feel full for longer. Therefore, eating a high fiber diet may aid in weight loss or help you maintain a healthy weight.

Grapefruit pulp is dense with fiber for such low-calorie food. One grapefruit contains 4 grams of soluble fiber for just 102 calories.”Women should aim for 25 grams or more fiber per day, while men should target 38 grams,” according to Holly Larson, a registered dietitian. If you start your day with grapefruit and pair it with a fibrous smoothie, you’re more than halfway to reaching the daily recommended amount for both men and women, for very little calories. Be mindful that juicing grapefruit or ordering a glass of grapefruit juice at brunch, you will not reap the benefits of fiber because the pulp of the citrus is where it lives.

The infamous Grapefruit Diet, popular since the 1950s, has stuck around because dieters drop weight quickly. The diet calls for eating half a grapefruit before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with other calorie restrictions. The idea is based on eating the fruit before your meal to make you feel fuller faster, and eat smaller portions. Don’t try any extreme diets before consulting with your doctor.

4. Grapefruit May Reduce Insulin Resistance and Lower Risk of Diabetes

If your cells become resistant to insulin, it’s possible that your blood sugar stays elevated, which eventually may lead to type 2 diabetes or other diseases if blood sugar exceeds a certain threshold for long periods. Therefore, it’s healthy to reduce insulin resistance to lower your risk of diabetes. Eating grapefruit regularly may reduce insulin resistance and protect your cells from damage. In a study of 91 obese participants, groups were given different fruits daily to determine which one had the most impact on weight loss. After the twelve weeks, the group that consumed grapefruit lost the most weight. Researches concluded two different hypotheses: “Insulin resistance was improved with fresh grapefruit” and “half of a fresh grapefruit eaten before meals were associated with significant weight loss.”

5. The Citric Acid in Grapefruits May Reduce Risk of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are extremely painful and common, affecting 1 in 11 people in the United States, according to a study. Grapefruits may reduce your risk of kidney stones due to the citric acid that naturally binds with calcium in the kidneys to flush out waste in the body, a study found. In addition, the citric acid in grapefruits increases the pH levels in the kidneys, deterring stones from forming.

Grapefruit may taste acidic, but the promotes alkaline pH balance in the body (whereas fatty foods promote an acid response in the body) which helps you reap all the benefits of an alkaline diet. Alkaline pH diets are known to improve kidney health, promote weight loss, prevent diseases, and reduce body aches and pains due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Grapefruits May Improve Cardiovascular Health Due to Their Water Content

Grapefruits have high water content with almost 4 ounces of water in half of a medium-sized grapefruit or about 88% of the fruit’s total weight. Grapefruits are extremely hydrating and nourishing, which is why moisturizing skincare products often include citrus fruit as the main ingredient. A body that’s hydrated delivers nutrients to cells at a healthy rate and keeps the organs functioning properly, which can result in increased brain function, improved heart health, better sleep, and a happier mood, according to a Harvard review study. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink water, but water-dense foods also help.

7. The Pink Color of Grapefruit Comes From Lycopene, a Cancer-Fighting Antioxidant

Grapefruit gets its reddish, pink color from the antioxidant lycopene, an important nutrient that has been shown in the lab to have the ability to prevent the growth of certain cancers, notably prostate cancer, according to a study. However, cancer patients should always use caution and consult with a doctor “because lycopene supplementation is associated with strong antioxidant effects and has the potential to interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” according to the same study.

Grapefruit is Not For Everyone and You Should Ask Your Doctor About Its Side Effects

Perhaps in the best example of food as medicine, grapefruit is one powerful fruit, which is why it’s loaded with incredible health benefits. On the other hand, because the fruit is so potent, it may interfere with the medications you’re taking, so contact your doctor before eating it (compounds in grapefruit can neutralize statins for several days after eating one). In addition, eating grapefruit excessively may cause tooth enamel erosion due to the citric acid in the fruit. But on the balance, we’re pro grapefruit as one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

Boost Your Immune System (and Protect Yourself from COVID-19) with Prime IV Hydration and Wellness Lehi, UT

Boost Your Immune System (and Protect Yourself from COVID-19) with Prime IV Hydration and Wellness Lehi, UT

  • January 13, 2021

Boost your immune system!

With COVID-19 concerns abounding, it’s more crucial than ever to boost your immune system – visit Prime IV Hydration and Wellness in Lehi, UT

One of the best parts about IV therapy is that our formulations have between five to nine additives. We have set out to create the best IV Therapy while delivering it to you in a spa-like setting.”

— Heidi Neville, Owner

LEHI, UTAH, US, January 13, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — During the COVID-19 global pandemic, researchers and medical professionals across the globe have searched for options to treat the virus. Countless tests and studies have been conducted to see what medication, therapy, vaccine, or treatment regimen will be most effective at combatting COVID-19.

In August 2020, new findings were presented by a team of researchers led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine. Their research indicates that patients become so ill when infected with COVID-19 because their immune systems do not provide the level of protection necessary to prevent serious symptoms. These medical experts suggest boosting your immune system could be an effective treatment for COVID-19. This is not the first time boosting immunity has been suggested as a potential treatment. Two recently published medical papers from JAMA Network Open and JCI Insight support immunity as a COVID-19 treatment.

Senior researcher and Washington University School of Medicine professor, Richard S. Hotchkiss, MD, stated that “People around the world have been treating patients seriously ill with COVID-19 using drugs that do very different things. 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.”

Hotchkiss and his fellow researchers also found that COVID-19 patients frequently have fewer immune cells in their bloodstream than is typical. These immune cells are also weaker than they should be and may be less effective at combatting the virus. Hotchkiss said that finding ways to improve immune response could help not only in COVID-19 patients but when a new pandemic inevitably arises.
Effectively Boosting Your Immune System 

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Unless your diet and lifestyle habits are exemplary, it’s likely you are lacking in certain essential nutrients like vitamins C, D, B-12 and magnesium, amongst others. Think you’re probably fine? An estimated 92 percent of US adults have a vitamin deficiency, so statistically speaking – you’re probably lacking in something. Any vitamin deficiency or insufficiency will inhibit immune function, increasing your risk of illness. Ensuring your body has access to enough circulating nutrients will optimize immune function and keep you fit – and who doesn’t want that?

It’s clear that maintaining a strong immune system is not only important for overall wellness, but for maintaining your health and safety during a pandemic. Some of the best ways to boost your immunity include:
Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet
Maintain a healthy weight

Get plenty of sleep
Reduce stress
Supplement your vitamin and mineral intake

Out of all these options, nutritional supplements are typically the most straightforward way to quickly boost your immune system. However, when most people think of supplementing vitamins and minerals, they often think of taking these them orally. Unfortunately, taking these supplements orally can have a very low absorption rate due to digestive system inefficiencies. Luckily, there are new and improved ways to take supplements — through an IV.

Prime IV offers numerous IV drips specifically formulated to boost your immune system — including an immunity booster with a powerful dose of vitamin C. Taking vitamins and nutrients intravenously puts them directly into your bloodstream and provides the maximum benefit by bypassing the less efficient absorption of the stomach. Also, our IV drips act fast — no more waiting for digestion! Our IVs take 30-60 minutes and have you back on the road to peak health. 

If you’re questioning whether IV therapy is right for you, think of it this way – your body is like a vehicle, without the right fuel and servicing, you’re going to run into some problems. Just as being vitamin deficient and dehydrated will manifest as a whole range of health problems. Ensuring you take care of your body by doing IV therapy is more important now than ever.
Maintaining Your Immune Health 

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A membership at Prime IV makes it easy to keep your immune system as strong as it can be by maintaining your body’s optimal levels of hydration, vitamins, & minerals. Ensure you experience the highest results possible by consistently bringing your body back to its desired levels.

With an abundance of appointment times and rollovers for the months that you miss, a Prime IV Membership is always flexible for your busy lifestyle. Miss an appointment? No worries! You can have two next month. And with a variety of drips to choose from, your membership is also flexible when it comes to your ever-changing health needs.
Visit https://www.primeivlehi.com for more information or call 385-250-3555 to book an appointment.

Prime IV Spokesperson (Lehi)
Rainboost Digital Communications
+1 801-361-6600
email us here
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Jetson, The World’s Only Seasonal Probiotic Company, Launches Reformulated Immunity Product to Protect Against Illness during a Critical Sick Season

Jetson, The World’s Only Seasonal Probiotic Company, Launches Reformulated Immunity Product to Protect Against Illness during a Critical Sick Season

  • January 12, 2021

Jetson

Jetson-Immunity-New-2 (1)

Immunity, Jetson’s winter probiotic formula, is specifically designed to boost the immune system and protect from illness.

Jetson

JetsonFallLifestyle_6858

Jetson’s Immunity uses scientifically studied bacterial strains clinically proven to strengthen immune response to viral respiratory illness and decrease inflammation, plus Vitamin C and Echinacea to supercharge the immune boosting power.

CHICAGO, Jan. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Jetson, creators of the world’s only seasonal probiotic, today announced the launch of re-formulated Immunity, the winter probiotic formula, specifically designed to boost the immune system and protect from illness. It uses scientifically studied bacterial strains clinically proven to strengthen immune response to viral respiratory illness and decrease inflammation, plus Vitamin C and Echinacea to supercharge the immune boosting power.

“For sure, this is the season to not take chances with the health of your immune system – Immune resiliency is critical for protection from bacteria, viruses, and other non-infectious exposures and we should do all we can,” said. Dr. Ilene Ruhoy, member of Jetson’s Gut Council. “Jetson’s Winter Probiotic, Immunity, has important probiotic strains to maintain gut membrane strength as well as critical vitamins and herbs for immune function. This probiotic, along with a healthy lifestyle, can help keep your immune system strong by ensuring gut integrity and motility and contributing to overall immune health.”

Jetson’s probiotics rotate seasonally, meaning they are constantly reformulated and informed by the latest scientific findings. This year’s version of Immunity contains:

Immunity can be taken in conjunction with other Jetson probiotics. For example, combining Immunity and Mood would provide a diverse dose of bacterial strains – plus Vitamin C, Echinacea and Vitamin D3 and B12 with just two pills.

“As the flu ramps up and COVID-19 persists, doctors are urgently warning that this is not the year to roll the dice and get the flu,” said George Chao, Jetson CEO. “Since 70% of the immune system lives in the gut, improving gut health is more important now than ever.”

Jetson’s probiotics are scientifically-backed and fresher than other probiotic brands, which tend to feature single-strain bacteria and use generic/commodity strains. Jetson also boasts the following unique differences:

  • More specialized strains: a year’s worth of Jetson’s seasonal probiotics provides 20 strains, which is above and beyond the one or two strains offered by market leaders.
  • Better gut absorption: Jetson’s strains are fresher and a proprietary capsule is specifically designed to survive stomach acid during digestion.
  • Seasonal formulations address the body’s unique needs throughout the year.
  • No-fuss monthly subscription option ensures you never forget to take care of your gut.
  • Transparency: Jetson discloses the specific strains used in each of its formulas. Visit wearejetson.com to learn more about the probiotic strains included in Immunity.

Jetson probiotics are gluten-free, Non-GMO, preservative-free, and allergen-free. They’re also free from soy, binders, and synthetic fillers. Jetson also offers a novel prebiotic, Gut Prep, a year-round add on to any Jetson probiotic.

To purchase Immunity, visit wearejetson.com. Jetson products are also available on Amazon and to ship to Canada.

Follow Jetson on Instagram @WeAreJetson, on Facebook @JetsonHealth and Youtube @WeAreJetson.

JETSON
Jetson is the world’s only seasonal probiotic. Founded by Stefan Weitz and Kiley Taslitz Anderson in June 2019, Jetson is dedicated to helping Americans get healthy through the gut. Delivered fresh each month, Jetson’s seasonal probiotics provide specific formulations tailored to address the body’s unique needs year-round for as little as $30 a month. Non-GMO, preservative-free, allergen-free, and gluten-free, Jetson’s individual seasonal probiotic products include Fit, Mood, Immunity, and Outside, as well as a prebiotic, Gut Prep. They have also recently launched a product line aimed at babies and kids, Jettie, and a probiotic specifically developed to support microbial balance in the gut during and after a course of antibiotics, Gut Recovery. The company was founded after Weitz was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease — Multiple Sclerosis — and learned his overall health and quality of life was inextricably tied to the health of his gut. To keep it fresh and to purchase Jetson, please visit www.wearejetson.com.

Jetson Public Relations

Molly Antos
T: (847) 848-2090
jetson-pr@dadascope.com

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:
https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/685c7d35-19bf-4b50-994f-1bd263331e85 
https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/0b5b9bf9-41b2-4b91-8c5f-f807b18beb4d

Hospital Ventilator

Boosting a Natural Cellular Process to Protect Lungs From Ventilator-Induced Injury

  • January 12, 2021

Hospital Ventilator

Research Suggests Boosting a Natural Cellular Process Could Reduce Damage

An unfortunate truth about the use of mechanical ventilation to save the lives of patients in respiratory distress is that the pressure used to inflate the lungs is likely to cause further lung damage.

In a new study, scientists identified a molecule that is produced by immune cells during mechanical ventilation to try to decrease inflammation, but isn’t able to completely prevent ventilator-induced injury to the lungs.

The team is working on exploiting that natural process in pursuit of a therapy that could lower the chances for lung damage in patients on ventilators. Delivering high levels of the helpful molecule with a nanoparticle was effective at fending off ventilator-related lung damage in mice on mechanical ventilation.

“Our data suggest that the lungs know they’re not supposed to be overinflated in this way, and the immune system does its best to try to fix it, but unfortunately it’s not enough,” said Dr. Joshua A. Englert, assistant professor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and co-lead author of the study. “How can we exploit this response and take what nature has done and augment that? That led to the therapeutic aims in this study.”

The work builds upon findings from the lab of co-lead author Samir Ghadiali, professor and chair of biomedical engineering at Ohio State, who for years has studied how the physical force generated during mechanical ventilation activates inflammatory signaling and causes lung injury.

Efforts in other labs to engineer ventilation systems that could reduce harm to the lungs haven’t panned out, Ghadiali said.

“We haven’t found ways to ventilate patients in a clinical setting that completely eliminates the injurious mechanical forces,” he said. “The alternative is to use a drug that reduces the injury and inflammation caused by mechanical stresses.”

The research is published today (January 12, 2021) in Nature Communications.

Though a therapy for humans is years away, the progress comes at a time when more patients than ever before are requiring mechanical ventilation: Cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have skyrocketed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. ARDS is one of the most frequent causes of respiratory failure that leads to putting patients on a ventilator.

“Before COVID, there were several hundred thousand cases of ARDS in the United States each year, most of which required mechanical ventilation. But in the past year there have been 21 million COVID-19 patients at risk,” said Englert, a physician who treats ICU patients.

The immune response to ventilation and the inflammation that comes with it can add to fluid build-up and low oxygen levels in the lungs of patients already so sick that they require life support.

The molecule that lessens inflammation in response to mechanical ventilation is called microRNA-146a (miR-146a). MicroRNAs are small segments of RNA that inhibit genes’ protein-building functions — in this case, turning off the production of proteins that promote inflammation.

The researchers found that immune cells in the lungs called alveolar macrophages — whose job is to protect the lungs from infection — activate miR-146a when they’re exposed to pressure that mimics mechanical ventilation. This action makes miR-146a part of the innate, or immediate, immune response launched by the body to begin its fight against what it is perceiving as an infection — the mechanical ventilation.

“This means an innate regulator of the immune system is activated by mechanical stress. That makes me think it’s there for a reason,” Ghadiali said. That reason, he said, is to help calm the inflammatory nature of the very immune response that is producing the microRNA.

The research team confirmed the moderate increase of miR-146a levels in alveolar macrophages in a series of tests on cells from donor lungs that were exposed to mechanical pressure and in mice on miniature ventilators. The lungs of genetically modified mice that lacked the microRNA were more heavily damaged by ventilation than lungs in normal mice — pointing to miR-146a’s protective role in lungs during mechanical breathing assistance. Finally, the researchers examined cells from lung fluid of ICU patients on ventilators and found miR-146a levels in their immune cells were increased as well.

The problem: The expression of miR-146a under normal circumstances isn’t high enough to stop lung damage from prolonged ventilation.

The intended therapy would be introducing much higher levels of miR-146a directly to the lungs to ward off inflammation that can lead to injury. When overexpression of miR-146a was prompted in cells that were then exposed to mechanical stress, inflammation was reduced.

To test the treatment in mice on ventilators, the team delivered nanoparticles containing miR-146a directly to mouse lungs — which resulted in a 10,000-fold increase in the molecule that reduced inflammation and kept oxygen levels normal. In the lungs of ventilated mice that received “placebo” nanoparticles, the increase in miR-146a was modest and offered little protection.

From here, the team is testing the effects of manipulating miR-146a levels in other cell types — these functions can differ dramatically, depending on each cell type’s job.

“In my mind, the next step is demonstrating how to use this technology as a precision tool to target the cells that need it the most,” Ghadiali said.

Reference: 12 January 2021, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20449-w

The collaborative work by researchers in engineering, pulmonary medicine and drug delivery was conducted at Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute (DHLRI), where Englert and Ghadiali have labs and teamed with Ohio State graduate students and co-first authors Christopher Bobba from the MD/PhD training program and Qinqin Fei from the College of Pharmacy to lead the studies.

Additional Ohio State co-authors include DHLRI investigators Vasudha Shukla, Hyunwook Lee, Pragi Patel, Mark Wewers, John Christman and Megan Ballinger; Carleen Spitzer and MuChun Tsai of the College of Medicine; and Robert Lee of the College of Pharmacy. Rachel Putman of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston also worked on the study.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, and an Ohio State Presidential Fellowship.

Yahoo Lifestyle

Dr. Fauci Reveals How He Eats, Exercises, and De-Stresses to Protect His Immune System

  • December 4, 2020
Photo credit: AL DRAGO - Getty Images
Photo credit: AL DRAGO – Getty Images

From Prevention

When the number of COVID-19 cases exploded last year, so did the number of products and services promising to bolster your immunity. You couldn’t get away from talk of IV vitamin infusions, mushroom extracts, and drinkable immune-boosting “shots.” You also couldn’t get away from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who became a household name after four decades of trying to make sure Americans don’t get sick. Ever the straight shooter, he explains that you can’t buy a good immune system.

“If you don’t smoke, you only drink in moderation, you get a good night’s sleep, have a healthy diet, you exercise, and you do something to reduce stress, that’s going to keep your immune system healthy, not any of these dietary supplements and herbs and other things.”

How he takes his own advice:

Do what you have to do. Then de-stress.

“I can’t alleviate stress during the day, because my day is one big stress period from morning to evening,” Dr. Fauci says. “So when I get home in the evening, I do a power walk for about three and a half to four miles, and that generally decompresses my stress. The other day, I was walking along Massachusetts Avenue, and son of a gun, I saw a fox run out of somebody’s yard into the woods.”

Know the exception to the “vitamins won’t help” refrain.

When Dr. Fauci mentioned in September that he takes vitamin D and that low levels of that vitamin affect your susceptibility to infection, people heard “I take D” as “you should take D.” Not how it goes. “If you are deficient in D, then taking vitamin D supplements is important. If you have normal levels, it doesn’t make any difference,” he says. A doc can check your vitamin D levels via a blood test.

Start with a good breakfast.

While no specific foods boost your immunity, Dr. Fauci says, an overall balanced diet can help you stay healthy. He aims for balance but sometimes errs “in the timing”; he can forget to eat dinner unless his wife reminds him. So he gets the day off to a good start with “a pretty consistent healthy breakfast—usually pomegranate juice and egg whites on an English muffin.” Lunch is light; busy nights can mean a takeout salad or salmon burger.

Sleep—or at least nap.

We’re gonna give the doctor a bit of a pass on his own advice here, since his sleep took a hit to lower the disease hit for the rest of us. When COVID-19 first spiked, “I was getting a ridiculous amount of sleep, like three or four hours a night. Now I get anywhere between five and six, which is not bad,” he says, but “it’s not optimal.” On the occasion he has a half hour between appointments, “I’ll lie on my couch in my office and take a power nap.”

Keep COVID-19 away.

Dr. Fauci wears a mask, washes his hands all the time, and “compulsively” sanitizes them. If you’re getting tired of being cautious, “you have to realize the seriousness of the situation,” he says. Currently, the U. S. has more than 250,000 deaths, “and the end is not in sight. That’s enough incentive to be diligent, I think.” But he knows it’s hard. “Don’t be discouraged. I think you should realize that it will end. Hang in there.”

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Children exhibit distinct immune system responses against COVID-19

Immune system differences, better blood vessel health could protect children from severe COVID-19

  • December 3, 2020

Differences in the immune systems and better blood vessel health were among the factors protecting children from severe COVID-19, according to a new review.

A huge body of global COVID-19 literature was reviewed by experts at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the University of Melbourne and the University of Fribourg and published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood to unravel the reasons for age-related differences in COVID-19 severity and symptoms.

MCRI and University of Melbourne Professor Nigel Curtis said that while a number of hypotheses provided potential explanations as to why adults were at higher risk and children protected from severe disease and death from COVID-19, most do not explain why COVID-19 severity rises steeply after the age of 60-70 years.

Professor Curtis said in stark contrast to other respiratory viruses, severe disease and death due to COVID-19 was relatively rare in children.

Most children with COVID-19 have no or only mild symptoms, most commonly fever, cough, sore throat and changes in sense of smell or taste. Even children with the usual risk factors for severe infections, such as immunosuppression, were not at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”


Nigel Curtis, MCRI and University of Melbourne Professor

Professor Curtis said damage to the thin layer of endothelial cells lining various organs, especially the blood vessels, heart, and lymphatic vessels, increased with age and there was an association between conditions that affect these cells and severe COVID-19.

“We know pre-existing blood vessel damage plays an important role in COVID-19 severity and can lead to blood clots, causing strokes and heart attacks. COVID-19 can infect these endothelial cells and cause blood vessel inflammation,” he said.

“The endothelium in children has experienced far less damage compared with adults and their clotting system is also different, which makes children less prone to abnormal blood clotting.”

Professor Curtis said diseases associated with chronic inflammation that develop with advanced age including diabetes and obesity were also linked with severe COVID-19.

He said more recent immunization with live vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella, that could boost the immune system might play a role in protecting children.

Dr Petra Zimmermann from the University of Fribourg said there were also other important differences in the immune system between children and adults.

“Children have a stronger innate immune response, which is the first-line defense against COVID-19,” she said.

“Another important factor is ‘trained immunity’ which primes innate immune cells after mild infections and vaccinations, leading to a type of ‘innate immune memory’.

“Children infected with COVID-19 often have co-infections with other viruses. Recurrent viral infections could lead to improved trained immunity, making kids more effective at clearing COVID-19.”

Dr Zimmermann said different levels of microbiota (bacteria and other germs) in the throat, noise, lung and stomach, also influenced susceptibility to COVID-19.

“The microbiota plays an important role in the regulation of immunity, inflammation and in the defense against illnesses,” she said. “Children are more likely to have viruses and bacteria, especially in the nose, where these bugs might limit the growth of COVID-19.”

Dr Zimmermann said the vitamin D level, with its anti-inflammatory properties, was also generally higher in children.

“The overlap between risk factors for severe COVID-19 and vitamin D deficiency, including obesity, chronic kidney disease and being of black or Asian origin, suggests that vitamin D supplementation may play a role in helping prevent or treat COVID-19,” she said.

“In many countries, vitamin D is routinely supplemented in infants younger than one year of age and in some countries even up to the age of three years.”

Professor Curtis said understanding the underlying age-related differences in the severity of COVID-19 would provide important insights and opportunities for prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Source:

Journal reference:

Zimmermann, P & Curtis, N (2020) Why is COVID-19 less severe in children? A review of the proposed mechanisms underlying the age-related difference in severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Archives of Disease in Childhood. doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2020-320338.

Measles mumps-rubella vaccine may help protect kids against COVID-19

Measles mumps-rubella vaccine may help protect kids against COVID-19

  • December 2, 2020

“What we think is happening is that it affects the frontline part of the immune system, which is your innate immune system,” Professor Curtis said.

“It’s called trained immunity. The cells after exposure to these vaccines are better primed, if you like, to deal with subsequent exposure to viruses and they actually have a stronger immune response to fight off any viruses because they have been trained by these vaccines.”

Professor Nigel Curtis is leading the trial of a vaccine to boost the body's immune response to COVID-19.

Professor Nigel Curtis is leading the trial of a vaccine to boost the body’s immune response to COVID-19.Credit:Jason South

“Children infected with COVID-19 often have co-infections with other viruses. Recurrent viral infections could actually lead to improved trained immunity, making kids more effective at clearing COVID-19.”

It follows on from research that suggests that the century old Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine, commonly known as BCG, used to prevent tuberculosis, also has previously unrecognised effects on the immune system, which can actually boost it and enable it to protect against numerous different infections.

Professor Curtis said that in stark contrast to other respiratory viruses, severe disease and death due to COVID-19 were rare in children.

“That is really unusual for us as infectious disease doctors because usually things like influenza are worse in children so this is a complete reversal,” he said.

“It tells us there is something very different about the way that this virus causes disease and that has big implications for understanding how we prevent it and treat it. There are about 13 different reasons why we think this may be.”

Robert Booy, an infectious diseases expert and professor of paediatrics at the University of Sydney, said it was still unclear exactly why other viruses, such as influenza, measles and chicken pox, were far more likely to cause severe illness in young children than coronavirus.

One theory was that children were exposed to different types of coronaviruses, such as the common cold, throughout their early years and may have unknowingly built up immunity.

Another theory was the idea of “evolutionary advantage”: a child’s immune system is at its most robust during youth to ensure that child grew up to reproduce.

Professor Curtis said the analysis had found striking evidence that age-related damage to a thin layer of cells – the endothelial cells – which line organs, especially the blood vessels, heart, and lymphatic vessels, profoundly heightened the risk of serious illness from coronavirus.

“COVID-19 can infect these endothelial cells and cause blood vessel inflammation and lead to blood clots, causing strokes and heart attacks,” he said.

“The endothelium in children has experienced far less damage compared with adults and their clotting system is also different, which makes children less prone to abnormal blood clotting.”

Most children infected with SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms, such as a fever, cough or sore throat.

Whether children are less often infected by coronavirus is subject to an ongoing debate, however, large epidemiological studies suggest only 1 to 2 per cent of all cases are children.

Professor Curtis said diseases associated with chronic inflammation that develop with advanced age including diabetes, obesity and hypertension were also linked to more severe bouts of COVID-19 and higher death rates.

Scientists also believed different levels of microbiota (bacteria and other germs) in the throat, noise, lung and stomach, also influenced susceptibility to COVID-19 and played an important role in the regulation of immunity, inflammation and in the defence against illness.

“Children are more likely to have viruses and bacteria, especially in the nose, where these bugs might limit the growth of COVID-19,” Professor Curtis said.

Levels of vitamin D were also higher in children lending weight to the theory the vitamin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, could also be a piece of the puzzle.

Professor Curtis said understanding the underlying age-related differences in the severity of COVID-19 would provide important insights and opportunities for prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

“Initially, we were asking why are children so protected and then it dawned on us that maybe we were looking at it the wrong way around. Maybe it’s not that children are protected but simply that adults are more vulnerable,” he said.

Professor Curtis is leading a World Health Organisation-approved study testing BCG’s ability to prevent coronavirus in healthcare workers, while a trial is underway in the US using the MMR vaccine in frontline healthcare workers.

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Differences in immunity and blood vessels likely protect children from severe COVID-19

Differences in immunity and blood vessels likely protect children from severe COVID-19

  • December 2, 2020

IMAGE

IMAGE: Differences in the immune systems and better blood vessel health were among the factors protecting children from severe COVID-19, according to a new review.
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Credit: Thiago Cerqueira

Differences in the immune systems and better blood vessel health were among the factors protecting children from severe COVID-19, according to a new review.

A huge body of global COVID-19 literature was reviewed by experts at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the University of Melbourne and the University of Fribourg and published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood to unravel the reasons for age-related differences in COVID-19 severity and symptoms.

MCRI and University of Melbourne Professor Nigel Curtis said that while a number of hypotheses provided potential explanations as to why adults were at higher risk and children protected from severe disease and death from COVID-19, most do not explain why COVID-19 severity rises steeply after the age of 60-70 years.

Professor Curtis said in stark contrast to other respiratory viruses, severe disease and death due to COVID-19 was relatively rare in children.

“Most children with COVID-19 have no or only mild symptoms, most commonly fever, cough, sore throat and changes in sense of smell or taste,” he said. “Even children with the usual risk factors for severe infections, such as immunosuppression, were not at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

Professor Curtis said damage to the thin layer of endothelial cells lining various organs, especially the blood vessels, heart, and lymphatic vessels, increased with age and there was an association between conditions that affect these cells and severe COVID-19.

“We know pre-existing blood vessel damage plays an important role in COVID-19 severity and can lead to blood clots, causing strokes and heart attacks. COVID-19 can infect these endothelial cells and cause blood vessel inflammation,” he said.

“The endothelium in children has experienced far less damage compared with adults and their clotting system is also different, which makes children less prone to abnormal blood clotting.”

Professor Curtis said diseases associated with chronic inflammation that develop with advanced age including diabetes and obesity were also linked with severe COVID-19.

He said more recent immunisation with live vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella, that could boost the immune system might play a role in protecting children.

Dr Petra Zimmermann from the University of Fribourg said there were also other important differences in the immune system between children and adults.

“Children have a stronger innate immune response, which is the first-line defence against COVID-19,” she said.

“Another important factor is ‘trained immunity’ which primes innate immune cells after mild infections and vaccinations, leading to a type of ‘innate immune memory’.

“Children infected with COVID-19 often have co-infections with other viruses. Recurrent viral infections could lead to improved trained immunity, making kids more effective at clearing COVID-19.”

Dr Zimmermann said different levels of microbiota (bacteria and other germs) in the throat, noise, lung and stomach, also influenced susceptibility to COVID-19.

“The microbiota plays an important role in the regulation of immunity, inflammation and in the defence against illnesses,” she said. “Children are more likely to have viruses and bacteria, especially in the nose, where these bugs might limit the growth of COVID-19.”

Dr Zimmermann said the vitamin D level, with its anti-inflammatory properties, was also generally higher in children.

“The overlap between risk factors for severe COVID-19 and vitamin D deficiency, including obesity, chronic kidney disease and being of black or Asian origin, suggests that vitamin D supplementation may play a role in helping prevent or treat COVID-19,” she said.

“In many countries, vitamin D is routinely supplemented in infants younger than one year of age and in some countries even up to the age of three years.”

Professor Curtis said understanding the underlying age-related differences in the severity of COVID-19 would provide important insights and opportunities for prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

###

MCRI COVID-19 ongoing research project highlights:

  • BRACE trial testing the BCG vaccine to see if it trains the ‘innate’ immune system of frontline healthcare workers to reduce the severity of COVID-19. Australian recruitment has been completed, the team is now recruiting in the UK, Netherlands, Spain and Brazil.
  • COVID Immune study investigating COVID-19 effects on children’s immune systems. Studying whether some children are more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to differences in their immune system and how long immunity lasts.
  • Age-specific blood clotting study investigating the biological factors underlying viral interaction with the clotting system and the differences between adults and children. Study could help identify drug targets that alleviate the progression of disease in adults versus children.
  • Multiple studies looking at differences in children’s and their parents’ immune systems when a family member is infected with COVID-19. The underlying differences between children’s and adults’ immune responses to the virus are yet to be determined.

For more projects visit http://www.mcri.edu.au/covid-19/research

Publication: Petra Zimmermann and Nigel Curtis. ‘Why is COVID-19 less severe in children? A review of the proposed mechanisms underlying the age-related difference in severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections,’ Archives of Disease in Childhood. DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2020-320338

Available for interview:

Professor Nigel Curtis, MCRI Group Leader Infectious Diseases

Dr Petra Zimmermann, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

15 Immune-Boosting Foods to Protect Yourself in Times of COVID-19

15 Immune-Boosting Foods to Protect Yourself in Times of COVID-19

  • November 30, 2020

This winter, to have a stronger immune response to the invaders (especially viruses that enter your lungs, blood cells and wreak havoc and cause inflammation) you need to eat a diet high in plant-based foods. Doctors have begun recommending to all their patients that they switch to a mostly plant-based diet, especially those in the highest risk groups for the coronavirus: Overweight, diabetic, over 60, and male. One doctor urges all his patients to eat mostly fruit and vegetables and stay away from inflammation-causing meat, dairy, and processed food, in light of the surge in cases of COVID-19.

Your immune system’s response is the only thing that can fight COVID. All other therapies doctors can offer are in support of your immune system, to help it mounts its defense. If your system is weak or overtaxed with other existing conditions, including obesity or diabetes, it can over-react, creating the dreaded “cytokine storm” of inflammation that leads to a cascade of complications that make it harder for your body to self-regulate as it attempts to create antibodies to the virus (essentially molecules that recognize the virus as invaders and deploy cells that fight and destroy the invaders).

You can protect your Immunity by eating foods that give it the armaments it needs. Immunity is built when your body has to fight off everything from everyday aging to viral outsiders and infections. And the building blocks of your immunity are helped by the micronutrients in your food, such as antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, and nothing delivers those better than fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts and seeds.

The flip side is also true, that studies show a diet high in red meat and processed foods can increase the inflammation in your body, and in the case of COVID-19, inflammation is the enemy. Patients who do the worst when confronted with this virus are those who are overweight, have chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, or are otherwise immune-compromised. The goal: Eat more fruist and vegetables, less meat and dairy and keep inflammation low.

Here are the foods that are shown to fight inflammation and boost immunity. Eat them now for a stronger immune system, whether you are dealing with COVID-19 or another potential disease that requires your body to be healthier now and for months and years to come. Inflammation on a cellular level is a factor in almost every disease known to man. To be healthier, meaning to build cells that are able to function without being bombarded from toxins, oxidization, infection, and internal destruction, opting for more servings of plant-based foods is your best bet. Here are the 15 foods that will add protection to your immune system.

15 Immune-Boosting Foods to Eat On Repeat in a Time of COVID-19

These foods are known to supercharge your immune system, which is your body’s defense against infection and illness. It works by recognizing cells that make up your body and will fight off anything unfamiliar. It destroys germs (bacteria and viruses) and parasites. Eat these to bolster your white blood cells and the supporting teams that keep them ready for battle. Healthline compiled the list and The Beet added even more research to bolster the facts.

1. Citrus Fruits to Get Vitamin C, Important for Your Cells and Healing

Your body does not produce vitamin C, which means you need to get it daily to have enough to create healthy collagen (the building blocks for your skin and healing). Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient found in leafy greens and citrus, especially grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and clementines. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals.

How much do you need a day: The recommended daily amount to shoot for is 65 to 90 milligrams a day, which is the equivalent of one small glass of orange juice or eating a whole grapefruit. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to get your fill.

2. Red Peppers Contain Twice the Amount of Vitamin C as an Orange

Want even more vitamin C, add red bell peppers to your salad or pasta sauce. One medium-sized red bell pepper contains 152 milligrams of vitamin C, or enough to fulfill your RDA.

Peppers are also a great source of beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A (retinol). Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, your mucous membranes and your immune system. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy, as well. One cooked pepper has 19 percent of your daily recommended amount of beta carotene.

How much beta carotene do you need a day: You should try to get 75 to 180 micrograms a day which is the equivalent of one medium bell pepper a day. But a red pepper has more than two and a half times your RDA for vitamin C so eat them all winter long.

Broccoli may be the most super of superfoods on the planet. It’s rich in vitamins A and C as well as E. The phytochemicals in it are great for arming and strengthening your immune system.

Broccoli is a good source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant, and sulforaphane, another potent antioxidant. It contains additional nutrients, including some magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron.  The key to keeping its powerful nutrients intact and ready for helping the body’s immune response is to cook it as little as possible — or even eat it raw.

Lutein is one of 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids and is found in high quantities in green leafy veggies such as spinach and kale.

There’s another thing you need to know about broccoli, and why it’s important to not overcook it. Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a gas that is a killer to a bug in the garden–and in the body. Sulforaphane is a sulfur-rich compound found in several cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, cabbage, and kale, but broccoli delivers the most. When a bug bites into the stalk, leaf, or flowering bud of the plant it releases this sulfuric gas that kills the invaders, thereby protecting the plant. This is the same agent that gives broccoli that sulfuric smell when you cook it, so don’t overcook it since you’d rather all of that end up in your body than in the kitchen air. Cook it too much and the gas escapes into your kitchen, so if you want to keep it in the plant, and delivered it to your body, lightly steam the green and add it to your meal barely cooked through.

How much lutein should you eat in a day: There is no RDA for lutein, but experts say get at least 6 milligrams.

4. Garlic, Eaten By the Clove, or Add It to Sauces, Soups and Everything

Garlic isn’t just a great flavor-enhancer, it’s essential for your health. Ancient humans valued garlic as an infection fighter, which is why so much of our traditional diets include it as a first ingredient (making pasta sauce for instance). Value it and use it liberally for fighting infections.

Garlic’s immune-boosting properties are tied to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Allicin is thought to improve your immune cells’ ability to fight off colds and flu, and viruses of all kinds. (Smelling more garlic on the subway? It could be smart coronavirus management.) Garlic also has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties thought to fight off infections.

How much should you eat in a day: The optimal amount of garlic to eat is more than most of us can fathom: Two to three cloves a day. While that may not be doable, realistically, some people take garlic supplements to get 300-mg dried garlic in a powdered tablet.

Andrijana Bozic on Unsplash

5. Spinach Contains Vitamin K and Vitamin A, Which Help Your Body Fight Off Infection

Spinach is known as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Not only does spinach deliver immune-boosting vitamin C but it also contains vitamins K, vitamin A, as well as vitamins B2, B6, and E. It is also full of manganese, folate, copper, and calcium, and is considered nature’s multivitamin, packed with antioxidants and beta carotene, which can help your body’s natural defenses fight off infection.

How much should you eat in a day: Get one serving (about a cup) a day, as a side with dinner or in a salad for lunch. Keep frozen or fresh spinach on hand and add it to everything: Smoothies and scrambles. Like broccoli, you get the most out of spinach when it’s not overcooked, so just steam it to slightly wilt it to make sure it retains its nutrients. Raw is fine too, but a little bit of cooking allows you to better absorb the vitamin A and releases the other nutrients (slightly “injuring” a plant by heating it or chopping it causes it to release life-saving compounds, which you benefit from). Check out some spinach recipes here.

6. Ginger is a Power Player for Immunity and Digestion

Ginger is another ingredient that has super properties when it comes to fighting off illness. It has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can help if you get swollen glands or a sore throat or any inflammatory ailment.

Gingerol, the main bioactive compound in ginger, is a relative of capsaicin, can be used in sweet or spicy dishes. It has been found to alleviate pain and fight nausea, which is the reason ginger ale was given for upset stomachs, back when it contained actual ginger. Now few store-bought formulations do. Make your own ginger tea. Gingerol is responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

How much should you eat a day: Most recommendations land on 3–4 grams of ginger extract a day, or up to four cups of ginger tea, but no more than 1 gram a day if you are pregnant. Some studies have linked high dosages to an increased risk of miscarriage.

7. Kale or Other Dark Leafy Greens, Wilted but Not Over-Cooked for Best Results

Like spinach, kale is a hero green. It is not only packed with vitamin C but also antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which give your immune system the healthy boost it needs to fight off invaders.

Don’t overcook your deep leafy greens, since the more you cook them the less active the antioxidants will become, and you want them to be just hot enough to get released, but not overly cooked to get destroyed.  If you eat kale raw or lightly steamed, you’ll keep more of the nutrients intact.

How much should you eat a day: Aim for 1 cup fresh kale or 1/2 cup cooked per day, but this is the right moment to try the raw or slightly wilted approach. Order warm or wilted kale salad when you go out, or make it yourself with olive oil, pine nuts, and vegan parm.

8.  Almonds for Vitamin E and Healthy Fat. Pop Them Like Candy

Vitamin E in almonds will help ward off colds and flu and is key to your immune system humming along. It’s a fat-soluble molecule, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed, so nuts are the perfect package for E to make it into your system.

How much should you eat in a day:  A half-cup serving, or 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides almost 100 percent of your RDA of vitamin E. Almonds are great for you but they don’t come with a  “free” pass, since 1/4 cup is a serving and has 162 calories, so double that for your RDA and you’re eating about 325 calories. Throw them into smoothies instead.

9. Turmeric Has Curcumin Which Fights Inflammation, Put it In Your Tea or Smoothie

If you ever feel healthier for eating curry, it is probably because of the Tumeric, which is an ingredient that gives it its burnt orange color. But this highly pigmented spice is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. The ingredient curcumin has been found to decrease muscle soreness after a hard workout. How it helps immunity? decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.

Tumeric bolsters the immune system by stimulating antibody formation and people with auto-immune diseases are told by their doctors to take 500 mg of curcumin daily to reduce inflammation and stave off soreness.

How much should you eat in a day: Try adding extra Tumeric to your diet during periods of stress or during flu season. Or take 500-2,000 mg of curcumin to help fight inflammation and power up your immune system.

10. Green Tea Has EGCG, a Powerful Immune Booster. Sip this Instead of Coffee

Whether you prefer green tea or black tea, you will benefit from the compounds called flavonoids, powerful antioxidants. Green tea has high levels of EGCG, (epigallocatechin gallate) another hard-working antioxidant.

EGCG is known to boost immune function, and originally all tea leaves contain this anti-oxidant, but when black tea is fermented it deactivates most of the EGCG. Green tea is steamed so the EGCG is still active when you drink it.

Green tea also contains L-theanine, an anti-oxidant which appears to help in the production of T-cells in your body, the killer ����L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.

How much green tea should you drink in a day: The optimal amount is three to five cups in a day, but most people won’t get to that level. Any amount is better than nothing. Swap out a usual beverage daily for green tea could improve your health.

11. Papaya for Vitamin B. This Tropical Fruit Keeps You Vacation-Healthy All Year Round

Papaya delivers over twice your recommended daily amount of vitamin C in one fruit — though you’re likely to eat a few slices on a salad or in a smoothie. It also contains an enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects — and inflammation is one factor in most illnesses, so avoiding it can help your body fight off bacterial infections like sinusitis.

Papayas contain potassium, vitamin B, and folate, which is a powerful cell rebuilder. Exactly how folic acid works to build immunity is linked to its role in protein synthesis, and researchers think that any mechanism in which cells proliferate can be affected (which is why it’s critical for pregnant women). People who are folate-deficient have compromised immune systems.

How much folate should you eat a day: Whether you are pregnant or not, folate (vitamin B9) is a great vitamin to keep your cells healthy and strong. The recommendation is 400 micrograms a day, or get it from legumes, spinach, papayas, and avocados.

12. Kiwis, a Vitamin Powerhouse that Contains Vitamin K, C and Potassium

When you think of anti-oxidants, you should think of fruits that grow in the sun, since their vitamin pack comes from having to fight off the oxidation of the strong rays that beat down on them in the tropics. Kiwis are a great example. They are full of folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium.

These vitamins in combination work in the body to build healthy cells, fight infection and keep your immune system humming along. Vitamin K deficiency is rare but when people don’t have enough they suffer from weak bones and compromised immune systems. The inflammation system in the body is also dependent on vitamin K, especially your killer T cells that mobilize and fight cancer and other diseases.

How much should you eat in a day: Vitamin K is one of the unsung heroes of the body. Women should get 90 micrograms a day, and men should have 120 micrograms.

13. Sunflower Seeds Contain Vitamin E:  Sprinkle on Salads or Eat as a Snack

Most seeds are chock-o-block with nutrients since they give the plant its healthy start. But sunflower seeds are especially healthy since they provide phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B-6 as well as vitamin E. Your immune system needs vitamin E to function at full throttle. You can also get vitamin E from avocados and spinach and broccoli.

How much should you eat in a day: Anywhere from 1 ounce (30 grams) per day to a healthy handful is considered healthy, but because they are high in sodium you might want to refrain from eating the entire bag. The raw seeds have 204 calories per quarter cup.

14. Miso in Soup or Paste to Add to Your Soups and Salad Dressings

You’ve had miso soup at your favorite Japanese restaurant and perhaps even thought: “This tastes incredibly healthy! If a bit salty.” Both thoughts are true. Miso is a fermented paste that adds a salty umami flavor to many Japanese dishes and soup. Most miso is made in Japan, where the ingredient has been used since the eighth century.

Miso needs no preparation and adds a touch of saltiness to soups, marinades, and dressings. Some people credit miso as a factor in Japanese longevity. Japan has more centenarians per capita of the population than anywhere else in the world – and Japan has one of the lowest rates of obesity.

The nutrients in miso — which is a soybean paste that has been fermented with salt and a koji starter — boosts immune system function by delivering healthy probiotics to the gut, making your microbiome healthier. How does Miso benefit your immune system?  It is a “sirt” food, which are foods that contain high levels of ‘sirtuins’ or proteins that regulate cells and activate metabolism. A diet high in sirts is believed to lead to weight loss, increased wellness, and longevity.

How much should you eat in a day: Researchers believe that consuming one bowl of miso soup per day, as is the tradition in Japan, lowers the risks of breast cancer. Other than its high sodium content there is no reason to stay away from miso with all its varied health benefits. We say cheers to that.

15. Blueberries, Strawberries and Raspberries

In a day that starts with wearing your mask, nothing helps your body fight off infection better than a smoothie or bowl full of berries, especially those that are super-colorful and contain antioxidants that give the fruit their vibrant color.

Blueberries contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin, which specifically help boost your immune system and fight off systemic stress of any kind including toxins. In a recent study, researchers found that flavonoids play an essential role in your respiratory tract’s immune defense system, especially timely in light of COVID-19, which attacks the lungs first in many cases. People who eat a diet rich in flavonoids are less likely to get sick from an upper respiratory tract infection, or common cold than those who don’t eat berries regularly.

How much should you eat: Get one cup of berries a day in a smoothie or bowl, as a snack or dessert. Your body will thank you and the calories burn slowly so you can eat them and not worry about a spike in blood sugar since the fiber in the fruit helps your body regulate blood sugar. As one doctor told us: No one ever got fat on fruit.

How To Protect Your Immune System

How To Protect Your Immune System

  • November 20, 2020

Here’s how to protect yourself against viruses like colds, flu and COVID-19, a symptom-based strategy.

We’re entering the cold and flu season in conjunction with a potential “second wave” of the coronavirus. The “second wave” is because we are going back indoors as the season gets colder. Enclosed spaces increase risk of transmission of any viral illness.

This fact concerns many of our patients, who are asking us, “What can we do about it?” and “Should I be afraid?” and “How dangerous is the COVID-19 coronavirus?” As a former emergency room provider who has stared down some of the worst viruses, I learned that taking protective measures is the best line of defense against colds, flu and other viruses like the coronaviruses.

In this blog, I’ll share the best steps to take to arm your immune system and other common-sense measures to help minimize your chance of contracting any virus today and in the future.

None of the following information should be considered to be medical advice for anyone with whom I have not established a health care provider-patient relationship as required by law and medically ethical practice guidelines.

My Best Word Of Advice: Don’t Be Afraid!

I can’t stress this strongly enough: Please don’t steep yourself in fear. While it’s true that the coronavirus is a highly contagious virus, and I certainly don’t want to make light of it, the recovery rate is incredibly high. According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 10,023,276 reported cases of COVID-19 and 237,760 confirmed deaths in the United States as of November 9, 2020.

Taken at face value, those numbers may sound scary. However, if you take a hard look at the COVID-19 data, and the fact that the scientific community strongly believes cases have been grossly underreported, things don’t look quite as grim in regard to risk for death, which is much, much lower than you might think.

In reviewing COVID-19 epidemiological models developed by prominent research groups, two models (The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)) conservatively estimate the true number of infections to be double that of confirmed cases. The Imperial College of London (ICL) model estimates the number to be almost three times as high, while a fourth model, Youyang Gu (YYG), suggests the number of infections may be more than six times higher in the United States.

Why Is A Higher Number Of COVID-19 Infections A Good Thing?

It means the recovery rate from the virus is higher too. Based on the straight numbers from Johns Hopkins, nearly 97% of people have recovered from the virus. Now, if in fact the number of cases is double (as IHME and LSHTM estimate), the recovery rate rises to nearly 98.8%. At six times the confirmed number of cases (YYG estimate), the recovery rate rises to 99.6%.

Compare that to the flu, where according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there were 38,000,000 confirmed cases and 22,000 deaths during the 2019-20 flu season, or a 94% recovery rate. (Keep in mind, some flu strains are more deadly than others, so recovery rates vary.)

My message to you is this: Even if you do become infected with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), your prognosis is terrific. That’s why I encourage you to set fears aside and take protective measures instead. As I noted previously, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is no joke, and we shouldn’t take it lightly. I’ve personally had friends and known people with COVID-19, and it can make some people very sick with severe symptoms of COVID-19, and like the flu, lead to death.

Here’s The Good News: We Can take Steps To Protect Ourselves From contracting The Virus And Even Minimize Symptoms If We Do Become Infected With COVID-19.

The Best First Step? Give Your Immune System A Fighting Chance.

We all know that living a healthy lifestyle goes a long way when it comes to immunity, right? That includes eating plenty of fruits and veggies, ditching sugar and saturated fats, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep. However, healthy living isn’t always enough, especially as we get into our 40s, 50s and beyond.

I often recommend my patients take nutritional supplements to compensate for deficiencies in important immune boosting nutrients and antioxidants that come with age.

What’s interesting is that recent research has shown that many of these nutrients may also play a protective role against the symptoms of COVID-19, meaning even if you contract the virus your symptoms may be minimal or less severe. My top immune support supplements include:

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): 1000-2000 MG/Day | 2000-4000 MG/Day Minimum When Ill And During Cold And Flu Season

In the heat of cold and flu season and the second wave of the novel coronavirus, ask your practitioner about upping your daily dose of vitamin C to tap into its antioxidant and antiviral properties. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and reactive oxygen species that wreak havoc on our biological systems (including the immune system). This is important in light of viruses like the flu and COVID-19, which often attack the lungs.

Antioxidants like vitamin C help decrease inflammasome production in the lungs, which left unchecked can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the most severe and deadly symptoms of COVID-19. The higher 2000-4000 mg dosage has been theorized to prevent the replication of coronavirus in the lungs, while helping to increase T-lymphocyte counts (the soldiers of our immune system) to mount a fight against viral illnesses.

Melatonin: 1-5 MG Before Bedtime Daily | Larger Doses When Ill (Ask Your Practitioner)

Speaking of antioxidants…Melatonin is actually a hormone and has been called the most powerful antioxidant known to mankind. While our bodies do produce melatonin naturally, like all hormones most people produce less melatonin as they age, which is why I advise many of my patients to take a daily melatonin supplement.

While most people think of melatonin as a sleep aid, it’s not that simple. Darkness actually triggers melatonin production (not sleep), which is why night shift workers have trouble getting enough restful sleep, and why we should all keep electronic devices turned off in the bedroom.

Along with the many benefits melatonin provides (anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, immune regulation and more), melatonin plays a vital role in warding off ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) in patients with COVID-19. This may explain why children and pregnant women, who both produce considerably more melatonin than older adults—are less likely to get very ill from the coronavirus.

As I noted in my immune boosting tips blog this past spring, melatonin has been shown to positively impact the coronavirus inflammasome — a protein that activates the negative side of our immune system. Specifically, melatonin helps mitigate the inflammasome that causes the ARDS related to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease). Maintaining melatonin levels is a must. Learn more about the benefits of melatonin and why it’s needed for MORE than sleep here.

Vitamin D3: 10,000 IU/Day Adults Minimum | 2000-5000 IU/Day Children

While the sun is one of the best sources of vitamin D, most people spend less time outdoors during the winter months—AKA, the cold and flu season. Numerous studies have shown that vitamin D helps support a healthy respiratory system and protect against acute respiratory infections like ARDS and pneumonia. Other research suggests that vitamin D may also help mitigate symptoms of the flu and other influenza-like illnesses.

Glutathione (Vitamin D’s BFF): Doses Vary 

Another powerful antioxidant, glutathione helps remove toxins from the body and protect cells from free radical damage and aging. Like melatonin, glutathione reserves deplete as we age and battle illness. Recent research also revealed that glutathione deficiency is common in people with the known comorbidities for COVID-19 (age 65+, male, cigarette smokers, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease, cancer and liver disease).

People with these comorbidities are also at highest risk for a severe course of the virus, including ARDS, multi-organ failure and death. In addition, glutathione plays a key role in the biosynthesis of vitamin D, working hand in hand with glutathione to stave off inflammation in the lungs and ward off viral threats like COVID-19.

Zinc: 24 MG/Day

Numerous studies support the antiviral benefits of zinc, a trace mineral that plays an important role in growth, development and immune function. Zinc deficiency is also quite common, with lifestyle, age and disease as known contributing factors.

Check out my immune support tips blog for additional insight on viral immunity and the benefits of other nutrients, including vitamins A, K2 and the mineral magnesium.

Another good step?

Use common sense to avoid infectious disease and viruses like the common cold, flu and COVID-19. Diligent hand washing, disinfecting of surfaces and social distancing can help protect you from getting sick.

In my 20 plus years as a healthcare practitioner, I have rarely gotten sick. Even during the years I worked as an emergency room nurse, where I diagnosed over 200 cases of the swine flu and untold numbers of flu A, flu B, the bird flu and other viruses, I didn’t get sick.

Why? Along with taking vitamins and other nutrients to protect my body, I primarily attribute my good health to diligent hand washing.

Hand Washing

We’ve practiced this in clinical settings for decades and it works. It’s also no coincidence that hand washing is one of the primary recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for combatting viruses like the novel coronavirus, flu and common cold.

Even with “clean” hands, it’s also critically important to keep your hands off of your face, as germs and viruses tend to enter the body through our eyes, nose and mouth.

Another common sense tip, also recommended by the CDC, is to be diligent about disinfecting surfaces in your home and workplace to prevent virus spread — and don’t forget your cell phone!

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, viruses like the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can remain infectious on surfaces for hours and even days, depending on the type of surface. Along with your phone, be sure to regularly clean and disinfect door knobs, light switches, tables/counters, faucets, sinks, toilets, desks, keyboards, handles on appliances and cupboards.You’ll find the search tool for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of approved disinfectants for COVID-19 here.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is the practice of maintaining 6-feet of distance between yourself and others and can also help mitigate virus spread. As the CDC explains, “COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs.”

That’s why caregivers and family members are more likely to contract the virus from someone who is ill than be infected by a stranger they pass on the street. It’s also why you shouldn’t be afraid to go to the grocery store, as long as you keep your distance from others and follow diligent hand washing and disinfecting COVID-19 protocols.

Your EVEXIAS Practitioners Are Here To Help Keep Your Immune System Strong!

When will the COVID-19 virus end? That remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful that protective measures will help us round the bend. If you’d like to speak with someone about your health concerns or learn more about nutritional supplements, contact us.

EVEXIAS offers oral nutraceuticals as well as intravenous (IV) nutrition to help strengthen and reinforce your immune system, including our popular immune boost and cold and flu IV therapies.

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