Your immune system is what it sounds like — a system, not a single entity. The team of integrative holistic medicine physicians at CentreSpringMD understands that a well-functioning immune system requires balance, harmony, and proper maintenance to keep it healthy.
As we head into cold, flu, and COVID season, you must strengthen your immune system to enable it to function at its total capacity. This will dramatically impact your ability to prevent yourself from contracting illnesses. Use integrative holistic medicine to build up your immune system and keep yourself healthy this fall.
How COVID Impacts Your Immune System
When you contract COVID, your immune system overreacts to the virus, triggering an innate immune response through systemic inflammation, intravascular blood clotting, and damage to the cardiovascular system (1). In some circumstances, these symptoms may last months after getting COVID. This can range from brain fog to shortness of breath and is known as long COVID. However, these symptoms can widely vary depending on the individual.
In 2021, a study of long COVID patients found that 44% had high antinuclear antibodies, a group of autoantibodies associated with other autoimmune diseases (2). Therefore, long COVID can be classified as a newer autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disorders can cause systemic inflammation, leading your body to attack its tissue. Inflammation happens for several reasons, including hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, inflammatory diets, stress, etc.
The good news is that there are preventative and supportive measures you can take to aid you in your battle with COVID and autoimmune diseases. CentreSpringMD’s team of physicians is passionate about identifying the root cause of your autoimmune diagnosis.
Integrative Holistic Medicine: Strengthening Your Immune System
When treating COVID and autoimmune disease with integrative holistic medicine, it is critical to identify the underlying factors that are causing excessive inflammation in your body.
At CentreSpringMD, we will diagnose your inflammation and its role in exacerbating your illness. Our physicians will utilize holistic medicine technologies, including the ZytoScan and Biopulsar, to provide further insight into your condition. By getting to the root cause of your issue, we can design a personalized treatment plan to reduce your inflammation and help you combat COVID and autoimmune disease.
Research shows that taking daily vitamins can also improve your immune functions after experiencing COVID (3). Along with vitamins and supplements, you should also implement a diet of whole foods to strengthen your immune system (4).
- Zinc. Enhanced immune system function requires adequate zinc levels. Food like beef, baked beans, pumpkin seeds, spinach, asparagus, lamb, sesame seeds, chickpeas, and lentils are great options.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to increase cellular uptake while boosting white blood cells. Citrus, bell peppers, strawberries, guava, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, tomato, kale, and mango are excellent sources of this essential nutrient.
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A produces white blood cells that help fight viruses. These cells also form mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract. You will benefit more from retinyl palmitate than beta-carotene in supplement form. Excellent sources of Vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, and bell peppers.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D produces gene expression in the immune system.
Stay Healthy Long-Term to Help Fight Long COVID
Eat your fruits and veggies. Nutritional deficiencies can weaken the immune system and lead to illness. Eat fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, selenium, iron, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E.
Drink the recommended amount of water. Water is an essential component in the body’s lymph system. Since lymph fluid is 96% water, if you are dehydrated, it reduces your system’s ability to keep you healthy.
Get plenty of sleep. Your immune system requires an adequate amount of sleep each night. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, sleep loss negatively affects the immune system by reducing the body’s production of natural killer cells, heightens the risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, and reduces the production of antibodies that help fight viruses (5). Get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night to boost immune function.
Exercise: Regular exercise not only improves sleep quality and enhances your mood, but it also prevents arthritis, diabetes, and other conditions. Moderate exercise also decreases inflammation and helps immune cells regenerate.
Developing healthy lifestyle habits: Developing positive lifestyle habits keeps your immune system working correctly (6). Not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, minimizing stress, and staying current on your vaccines help support a healthy immune system.
Strengthen Your Immune System Using Integrative Holistic Medicine
By utilizing integrative holistic medicine, you can strengthen your immune system and combat symptoms associated with long COVID. For additional information to schedule a consultation with an integrative physician, contact CentreSpringMD today.