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Boosting Immunity: Sifting Fact From Fiction

Jun 19, 2020

Should I take supplements? Should I be eating oysters? Greek yogurt? Berries? How about herbs—should I eat them? grow them? Should I be running? Walking? Sleeping? What about Kombucha?

As worries about COVID-19 continue to grow, the concept of building our immunity as a defense to the virus has been a hot topic. It can be tough to navigate the avalanche of immunity-building claims coming from every corner of the media and the internet. Online searches on how to bolster immunity and cope with rising stress/anxiety have surged during the Coronavirus crisis, according to the Global Wellness Initiative.

The Global Wellness Institute™ , a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower wellness worldwide, has made it their mission to provide access to clinical studies and key summaries of the world’s most authoritative sources of evidence-based wellness research. Susie Ellis, CEO of the Global Wellness Initiative, says “People are seeking evidence for the best immunity weapons, but fear has also made us vulnerable to the barrage of online ads for ‘miracle’ supplements, superfoods, tonics, vitamins, essential oils and potions that claim to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

While not flashy, or sexy, here is what current research says on how to support our  immunity: 

  • Sleep 7-9 hours each night. Sleep deprivation increases the hormone cortisol, which suppresses immune function when its levels are elevated. Just one night of poor sleep can reduce immune cells by 70%
  • Exercise at least 150 minutes per week. Exercise helps the lymphatic system, where our immune cells circulate, and lowers levels of stress hormones.
  • Eat well and drink enough water. Your immune system needs energy and nutrients obtainable from food. And staying well hydrated helps the body to flush out toxins.
  • Don't Smoke or Vape. Smoking, or even secondary smoke, damages our lungs and increases the vulnerability of our respiratory system to infection.
  • Manage Stress and Be Positive. Chronic stress weakens our immune system and is associated with several chronic illnesses including heart disease. Many studies show a strong association between optimism and antibody response.

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Global Wellness Initiative. Global Wellness Institute Cautions Industry and Consumers to Sift Fact from Fiction When It Comes to Immunity-Boosting Claims for Coronavirus. Accessed May 6, 2020.

Reddy, S. Facts (and myths) about boosting your immune system. Wall Street Journal. (2020). Accessed March 13, 2020.

Harvard Health Website. How to boost your immune system.(2014). Accessed March 12, 2020.





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