Below Mike Wakeman shows us how we can harness the power of nature to optimise good immune health …….
More than two-thirds of Brits (69%) report feeling anxious about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life as we live through the pandemic. The most common issues affecting wellbeing have been noted as:
- worrying about the future (63%)
- feeling stressed or anxious (56%)
- feeling bored (49%).
- During lockdown, weight gain has affected 33% of people with obesity compared with 25% of people with a healthy weight and 21% of those with overweight[
Look After Your Physical & Mental Health
As we emerge from the long winter COVID-19 lockdown and embrace the Spring and Summer – hopefully with some restrictions eased – more and more of us will be focused on taking care of our physical and mental health.
One home necessity that we can’t live without is that first aid kit. But does it include a wider selection of remedies as we live with COVID-19 such as those nutritional essentials that we may need from time to time or on a daily basis? Clinical pharmacist, Mike Wakeman from www.feelaliveuk.com details a variety of ‘first aid kit’ essentials for all seasonal health needs, with many born out of nature, that ticks the boxes for him and his family.
A, C, D, E & ZINC up….: Forget thinking that immune health and vitamin D are only for the winter months. Our immune health needs to be fit for all seasons come rain or shine. And the bad news is that the latest government National Diet & Nutrition Survey – NDNS – shows that whatever age, we are all woefully short of these vital nutrients – A, C, D, E and Zinc – all essential for fuelling our immune health.
Get More Vitamin D
Latest data on Vitamin D shows that those of us that have low levels of vitamin D levels as we live through COVID-19 are more at risk to – SARS-Cov-2 infection.
Other research with people over 65 years with symptomatic COVID-19 found that low vitamin D levels were associated with worse morbidity and disease outcomes than those with average vitamin D levels. And, another trial in 60 asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients with low vitamin D levels showed that a high dose (60,000 units) cholecalciferol tablets for 1 week was associated with more patients becoming SARS-Cov-2 negative.
Vitamin D is important for our immune system function. Receptors for vitamin D are found in immune cells (T and B cells, for example) and in lung tissue. Studies show low vitamin D blood levels are associated with increased risk of respiratory tract infections. One study has shown higher odds of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients with low vitamin D levels. In another study each 10nmol/litre rise in blood vitamin D was associated with a 7% lower risk of lung infection.. The latest UK NDNS years 9-11 shows that 16% of adults aged 19-64 have low Vitamin D levels and 13% of over 65s.
Don’t Forget Zinc
While vitamin D is essential to our immune health so too is Zinc as it develops ‘natural killer cells’ that help fight viruses. Studies show that zinc allows the body to make new immune cells, as well as being the DNA of an enzyme needed for developing our infection-fighting T-cells and for immune cell communication.
ALIVE FACT: Vitamin C, an immune system ally, can help decrease viral infections.
MIKE’S TIP: Take Alive! Immune Support Gummies. With 26 fruit and vegetables, Alive! Immune Support Gummies include vitamins A, B6, C, D, Zinc and black elderberry to support normal function of the immune system.
Need inspiration in the kitchen? Try this delicious Superfood salad with citrus dressing, packed with all the essential nutrients to boost the immune system
B vitamins are the “energy vitamins,” because they play an important role in how our bodies convert food into energy. B vitamins are also important for a healthy immune system, healthy red blood cell production, and a healthy nervous system.
MIKE’S TIP: Alive! B-Complex Gummies tick all the boxes for me as they are packed with all eight family members of the B-vitamins. This ensures any dietary gaps are bridged.
Daily Dose of Vitamin D
We all need to ‘D’ up. The current recommendation is to take a daily dose of Vitamin D (10 µg) during the autumn and winter months. This is to optimise bone health as well as boosting immunity, powering up muscle function and even improving mood. However, the Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) suggests that some people would benefit from taking this essential nutrient all year round. These include people whose skin has little or no exposure to the sun; people in care homes, or those who cover their skin when they are outside and people with dark skin.
MIKE’S TIP: Try Alive! Vitamin D3 Gummies. These contain 50 μg of vitamin D3 per dose as well as Calcium and Phosphorus, or Nature’s Way Vitamin D3 High Strength 50µg Chocolate Chewable.
Cough Cold Essentials From Nature
Guidelines by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) recommend patients with bad coughs should be urged to use the over-the-counter herbal medicine, Pelargonium sold as Kaloba Pelargonium Cough & Cold Relief, instead of expecting antibiotics. It is the most well-researched herbal cough and cold medicine worldwide. There are over 100 published trials involving over 10,000 patients plus 3,000 children. Thanks to all the science, Pelargonium is recommended to relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. This includes the common cold, sore throat, cough and blocked or a runny nose.
Immune Health and Digestive Fitness
Having our livers working around the clock is vital. It helps rinse out toxins and keeps our immune health fit and well. But, if you, like many, have a little too much alcohol from time to time, especially during all the COVID-19 lockdowns, then you need to make sure you have Milk thistle extract to hand in your medicine kit.
MIKE’S TIP: Available in the form of a licensed herbal remedy, Thisilyn Milk Thistle is traditionally used to combat overindulgence. It is loved by many who swear by this traditional herbal secret.
Top Up With Turmeric
Along with Thisilyn Milk Thistle, include Turmeric within your nature’s medicine kit. Derived from the root of the turmeric plant, Turmeric includes curcumin – the yellow-coloured primary active constituent derived from the root which is commonly used for digestive issues, a problem that many people have complained about thanks to Covid-19 stress.
MIKE’S TIP: Thisilyn Turmeric Xtra combines turmeric with artichoke leaf to help maintain a healthy bowel and digestion.
LEAFY HEALERS: Vitamin K is a group of vitamins that the body needs for blood clotting and helping wounds to heal. There’s also evidence vitamin K may help keep bones healthy as well. Vitamin K is abundant in green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, vegetable oils and cereal grains. But if your diet is short, like many, then bridge those vitamin K gaps with a good quality daily multivitamin.
MIKE’S TIP: Alive! Ultra Wholefood Plus with 26 fruit and vegetables plus essential vitamins. It includes vitamin K, minerals as well as unique botanical blends. Some examples are a daily green blend and digestive enzymes blend.
Keep On Moving!
Joint mobility is essential for exercise and we all need to move more to keep our immune system healthy. Issues such as joint pain can stop us from exercising which is bad news for our bodies and stops us from being active.
MIKE’S TIP: Sworn by many as nature’s ‘body active’ wonder, FlexiHerb Muscle & Joint Pain Relief Tablets is a traditional herbal medicine with good clinical evidence for relieving back, muscle and joint pain thanks to the active ingredient within the remedy – devils claw.
MINERALS & OILS: Magnesium is an important mineral, playing a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body. Its many functions include helping with muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting the immune system.
MIKE’S TIP: Nature’s Way Magnesium Complex Citrate Blend contains 250 mg of magnesium per once daily tablet which equates to 67% of your daily recommended intake.
Omega 3 is Essential
And while magnesium is good news for our muscles, nerves, blood pressure, as well as supporting our immune health, we also need to ensure we have Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in our diets. Present in fish and krill, omega-3s are our heart and brain health friends, as well as keeping our bodies mobile.
MIKE’S TIP: Nature’s Way Super Fisol Pure Fish Oil or EfaGold Krill Oil are perfect Omega 3 supplements and ideal for those who don’t like eating fish.
No More Stress
Stressed? Anxious? If that sounds familiar, then you need to know about Adaptogens (Andrea to explain and then lead on to how Vitano helps). The herb Rhodiola rosea has been used for centuries to not just lower stress levels but also to boost energy. This is something many of us complain we lack on a daily basis. Stress either enhances and suppresses our immune function depending on the type, duration, and frequency of stressors.
MIKE’S TIP: Another must for the first aid kit and to help bust stress troubles. Vitano Rhodiola tablets tick all the boxes for me. Vitano Rhodiola is a traditional herbal medicine. It is used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety.
If stress is also affecting your mood health too, then try KarmaMood® St John’s Wort (also available in maximum strength). A registered traditional herbal medicine, KarmaMood® St John’s Wort is used to help relieve the symptoms of low mood and mild anxiety. And if you are not sure about the herb, St John’s Wort, have a look at the Cochrane review from 2008. It reviewed 29 international studies. The Cochrane reviewers noted that St. John’s Wort may be better than a placebo and as effective as different standard prescription antidepressants for major depression of mild to moderate severity. St. John’s wort also appeared to have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants. Please be aware that there are several medications that should not be taken in conjunction with St John’s wort. So always check with your doctor before taking any herbal medicine like St John’s Wort.
Help Getting To Sleep
Since ancient times Valerian root has been used to promote tranquillity and improve sleep. It is often referred to as “nature’s Valium”. Sleep is vital to how our bodies and health function. Plus, a lack of sleep can weaken your immune system.
MIKE’S TIP: Combining Valerian and Passionflower, Bonuit Sleep Aid is a traditional herbal medicine for relief of sleep disturbances as well as helping people to go to sleep more quickly and sustain quality sleep cycles. Another essential for your first aid kit.
by: Mike Wakeman is a clinical pharmacist and scientific advisor to Alive! multivitamins