How to Escape from our COVID19 Prison Pt 3: Our Immune System
When it comes to COVID19, the difference between life and death depends on just how good your immune system is.
"More and more diseases are recognized as being triggered or aggravated by a long-term suboptimal micronutrient intake. Vitamins and other micronutrients have been shown to help optimize cellular metabolism in cardiovascular disease, cancer, immune defence, and many other health conditions."
Please read this, if you have not already, Part one:
and Part two:
For millions of years, our immune systems have been in constant action, working out ways (evolving) to keep us living in peaceful coexistence with potential enemies (bugs), old and emerging. The immune system within us is incredibly complex and remarkably effective. It will sustain a Human-Being in good health for the best part of 100 years, sometimes longer.
It is incredibly arrogant to think that we can do better than our immune systems. It is even more arrogant to think that it can be done with a single, so-called "Cure". Mother Nature simply does not play that game.
Waging war to stay Alive
Our immune systems are our remarkable defence system. It is ready to wage war in an instant and to battle to the death.
There only two kinds of generals in times of war: those who win and those who are defeated.
The winning general has:
A professional and highly trained army, navy and airforce that is armed to the teeth with the widest range of the best weaponry. Plenty of it and all very well-maintained.
Troops that are physically fit, rested and well-nourished.
Backup and support with more troops at the ready with plenty of ammo and supplies, including food (an army cannot march on empty bellies).
An intelligence-gathering arm, including spies (research) so he knows what he is up against at all times.
When waging war, the winning general employs all of his resources and reserves in a carefully measured, timed and coordinated manner. He most certainly does not rely on just one arm, such as the airforce blindly and indiscriminately using just one weapon such as an air-to-ground missile.
Battle-hardened troops are the best
That goes without saying. When it comes to war we don't want soft new recruits who have been confined to barracks and armed with popguns. Our immune system, like our muscles, gets stronger with use. The way we strengthen our immune system, other than feeding and equipping it, is to exercise it and to exercise it constantly. We expose it to lesser opponents than the really nasty and formidable killers that it will one day have to confront. With practice, it gets better and better. It gets very tough and very smart.
We do this by exposing our bodies to everyday bugs including minor infectious diseases like the common cold, soil, animals and even seasonal influenza. One caveat: we expose ourselves to these when we are fit and well, not when we are stressed and run down.
You might gather that there is a contradiction here with the official advice to be obsessive with hygiene. Actually, some of the chemicals in all of those cleaners people are spraying and wiping all over the place, such as chlorine, are immunosuppressive and even carcinogenic. These are not for me. I'm sticking to old-fashioned soap.
The current narrow approach to combatting COVID19, including holding out for the Miracle Drug, is the formula that is employed by the loser generals of history.
How Mother Nature wages war
Take the wonder herb, artemisia annua, which Medsafe has effectively banned while the country was in lockdown. Artemisia has been used for at least 5,000 years as an antimalarial. The compounds that it has developed to protect itself from predation acts as an antimalarial when ingested by humans. Despite its widespread use in Asia and Africa for so many years, it still appears to be as effective as the day it was discovered and there is no evidence of parasitic resistance. Why?
Mother nature works as a complex team. In the case of artemisia, its effectiveness comes from the presence of an ingenious team of compounds, perhaps a thousand or more. By working as a team, the plant does not need to provide a toxic dose of any single compound. Resistance does not seem to be an issue, possibly because of the low doses involved and the complexity of the team.
Resistance seems to develop when a compound is separated from its team and used in high doses alone. While it may be incredibly effective initially, this does not last. Bugs quickly figure it out and adapt.
Our body works similarly to plants: it is protected by a complex team known as the Immune System. To have a healthy immune system we must invest in it, we must nurture it.
From a nutritional point of view, here are some, not all, of the nutrients that we know are necessary for a robust immune system that is able to wage many decisive battles on our behalf:
The fat-soluble vitamins (A.D, E & K). If our diet is low in fat, guess what? It will be low in these vitamins!
The B group of vitamins.
Then there are thousands and thousands of immune-boosting plant compounds that are found in foods such as leafy greens, peppers, capsicums, root crops such as kumara, squash, dark berries and fruit.
Two handy, healthy Rules of Thumb:
Bitter herbs. Generally, the more bitter it is, the more medicinal properties it may have. Artemisia is very bitter as is wormwood and most medicinal herbs, if not all. Think if Grandmother's Swedish Bitters.
Plants that are bright, warm, primary colours are rich with health-promoting properties. Think of turmeric, paprika, peppers, capsicum, blackcurrant, beetroot, broccoli and many more fruits, vegetables and berries. The brighter and the deeper the colour of the plant, the more potent their health-promoting properties.
Look at the potential for these among many, many compounds for supporting our immune defences against viral infections (we have so much choice!):
Did you know that the immune system uses sodium (salt) to fight infections, especially of the skin and the lungs? Have you ever wondered why tears are salty to the taste? Think of all of those elderly people on severely restricted salt and low-fat diets who have inflamed and infected eyelids and who eventually succumb to pneumonia. How do you think they will fare if they catch a virus? Any virus, let alone COVID19!
Something is very obvious: the people who are getting hit the hardest by COVID19 and dying, are tightly clustered within the groups who are the most deprived of these nutrients. These are the elderly, the impoverished and the stressed.
Why are healthy, athletic young people sometimes struck down by viral infections?
It is well known that high-performance athletes, especially teams when travelling, appear to more vulnerable than others to communicable diseases. Reasons put forward include chronic stress and exhaustion, sleep deprivation, interruption to eating habits and being in crowded places, including aircraft, airports and close contact with team-mates and other teams.
A less well-known factor is zinc depletion. Zinc is needed for wound and tissue healing, including the prevention of stretch marks, and for tendon, ligament and cartilage integrity. Zinc is needed for the production of testosterone. Zinc is lost when sweating.
When testing the nutrient status of athletes I can say that zinc deficiency is the norm. Athletes are bottomless pits for nutrients such as zinc. It is hardly a surprise then when an apparently healthy young athlete falls seriously ill with an infection such as COVIOD19.
Rest and sleep
The research is consistent: poor sleep, including shift-work, is detrimental to just about every measure of health. Consistent sleep is critical for healthy immune function. This article explains why.
If we are to wage a successful war on COVID19, if we are to open our borders to the rest of the world, then we must ensure that every member of the Team of Five Million has a robust immune system. We must not put all of our eggs in one basket, waiting for the miracle drug to rescue us. To do so is madness and liable to fail.
What I am describing here is common sense and it is not rocket science to comprehend.
You have just one more paper to read, then I will outline our ingenious escape plan.
Please read these articles about how to escape from our COVID19 Prison:
Cutaneous Na+ storage strengthens the antimicrobial barrier function of the skin and boosts macrophage-driven host defence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350016/
Does high-salt diet combat infections? https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/03/does-high-salt-diet-combat-infections
The war against natural therapies https://www.garymoller.com/post/artemisia-has-been-banned
The importance of sleep https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/10/sleep-more-reduce-coronavirus-risk