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How to Balance Your Immune System During a Pandemic

By Ritamarie Loscalzo

coronavirus pandemic

I understand that the threat is real, and many people have become sick, but panic is not a good idea right now.

Fear and Your Immune System

Fear impacts your immune system – it stimulates the release of cortisol, a corticosteroid. Cortisol is immunosuppressive and downregulates key inflammatory transcription factors, like NF-kB and AP-1. Plus it increases chemicals that suppress cytokines, which are chemicals involved in inflammation.

The decreased cytokine production inhibits pro-inflammatory gene transcription, essentially weakening your immune response, and leaving your system more vulnerable to infection.

I hear over and over again to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, use hand sanitizer, and stay away from places where you’ll be in close proximity to people. While these are great suggestions, they’re just a start.

What no one in the mainstream media is telling you is that your food may be depleting your immune system, and what foods you need to stop eating and which ones to increase, so if you do get exposed, your immune system has a fighting chance.

Here are some of my suggestions – and what I’m doing to protect myself and my family.

Stop Sugar, Again!

Avoid sugar and flour. Flour gets turned into sugar very quickly. Sugar paralyzes macrophages, types of white blood cells responsible for engulfing microbial invaders and keeping them from causing you harm. Studies show that eating or drinking 100 grams of sugar can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent and the immune-suppressing effect of sugar can last up to 5 hours.

In the 1970’s Dr. Linus Pauling discovered that vitamin C helps the body to combat the common cold. As part of the same research, Dr. Pauling found that sugar severely slows down this process. Glucose and Vitamin C have a similar chemical structure…so similar that when a white blood cell tries to pull in more Vitamin C from the blood around it, glucose can get substituted by mistake. If the concentration of glucose in the blood gets too high, the white blood cell’s concentration of Vitamin C will drop below the level needed for optimal infection-fighting.

Pauling found that at a blood sugar level of 120, the white blood cell’s ability to absorb and destroy viruses and bacteria is reduced by 75%. Many people are running around with sugar greater than this all day long. It can take four to six hours for the Vitamin C concentration in the white blood cells to reach the optimum concentration again.

Extra Nutrient Supplementation

In addition to avoiding sugar, it’s a good idea to increase Vitamin C intake – both food form and supplementation. Colorful vegetables and fruits are a great source of Vitamin C, along with beta carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, which is important for mucous membrane’s ability to fight infection. In addition to Vitamin C and Vitamin A, other nutrients that can be important for strong immune function are Vitamin D, zinc, iodine and magnesium.

My daily immune protecting elixir contains:

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder if fresh not available)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 inch piece fresh turmeric
1 teaspoon powdered if fresh not available)
¼ teaspoon cayenne (more if tolerable)
1-3 grams of Vitamin C – liposomal if available, or buffered powder
1 teaspoon liquid zinc
1 teaspoon powdered Quercetin
1 dropperful of Lugol’s solution iodine
1-2 drops (5000 – 10,000 iu) Vitamin A
2000 – 5000 iu liquid Vitamin D (measurement varies depending on the concentration of your vitamin D)
1 tablespoon of 7 mushroom powder from Z Natural foods (or other medicinal mushrooms)
1 teaspoon astragalus
Add ¼ cup water or more as desired and blend well.

You don’t have to make it exactly like I do – improvise if you’re missing anything, or add things you know you need. In addition, I’ve taken a few extra doses of Vitamin C throughout the day, along with tincture of Oregon grape, Biocidin and Herb Pharm throat sprays, and echinacea.

Eat Whole Foods and Control Inflammation

Eat lots of green leafy vegetables that are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that support your immune system.

Eat sea vegetables for their mineral-rich content.

Eat lots of garlic and Italian herbs like oregano, thyme and rosemary, which have potent antiviral effects (essential oils can be used here).

Consume anti-inflammatory foods and spices like turmeric, ginger and cayenne.

Balance your intake of omega 3 fats, from nuts and seeds like chia, flax, hemp and walnuts. Algae is a great source of omega 3 fats as well. Deep ocean fish (not farmed) is a good source of omega 3 fats, but be careful of mercury and PCB contamination. Avoid heated, processed and hydrogenated fats.

Support your immune system with herbs like echinacea and astragalus unless you’re actually sick, in which case you’ll need stronger antiviral and immune-stimulating herbs.

If you show signs of infection, add herbs and nutrients like Oregon grape, colloidal silver and elderberry. Check out Stephen Buhner’s book Herbal Anti-Virals for ideas.

Sleep and Mindset

Sleep 8 hours a night.

Meditate or engage in Heart Math or other mindfulness practices to reduce stress. Turn off the news, stop worrying, and be proactive. Listen to music, sing, dance and add some daily fun! Get out in the sun, and surround yourself with things you love.

The bottom line is that we make choices every day that either strengthen or weaken your immune system and you certainly choose which thoughts we cultivate.

As a global community, we are taking drastic measures to control the spread of the virus – but don’t forget about your body’s own power to fight off the pathogen. It is quite a miracle.

Please comment below and let me know what you’re doing to protect yourself.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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  1. Marcy Carver on March 16, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    The recipe you have for the immune booster elixir, do you mix that up and drink it each day or do you mix it up and take a dose of it until it runs out. Would be nice if you had a recipe that would last a week and state how much of it to take each day,

    • Angelica Martin on May 15, 2020 at 4:22 pm

      Yes, Marcy this recipe serves 1. You could multiply it and prepare it a few days ahead but vitamins and all of the active compounds in this recipe tend to be best when fresh. Oxygen and light will degrade them.

  2. Karen Hurtubise on March 17, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Thank you so very much. We have been doing several of these suggestions and you have given several more plus a wonderful tonic recipe that sounds useful! We have a small ginger and turmeric farm and will add this tonic to our list of wonderful uses of these plants. Much appreciate this thorough sharing of your good work.

    • Angelica Martin on May 15, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you for farming healing, powerful plants!

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