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Is your immune system ready?

As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, there are certainly mixed feelings about when it is safe to reopen stores, salons, gyms, and restaurants. Sure, many are excited to shop in store, eat out, and be in the presence of others, but many are unsure about how ready we truly are. Is it safe? Will there be a resurgence of cases? Will there be another outbreak in the fall? With so many unknowns and plenty of conflicting information in the media, it is important to focus on what you can control. Now is a great time to focus on self-care and prepare your immune system to give yourself the best chance of staying safe and healthy.
Understanding how our behaviors affect our immune system is the first step in taking control of your health and wellness.

Your gut is the center of immune health. An unhealthy gut weakens your immune system. When your gut is inflamed, has overgrown or unbalanced bacteria, or is fed processed foods and refined sugars, your risk of contracting infection is increased. Inflammation in your gut can lead to a condition called leaky gut. This will trigger an immune response to fight the inflammation. When your immune system is concentrating on fighting the inflammation from your gut, it is less equipped to fight more important invaders – from the common cold to COVID-19.
Ways to improve your gut health include:
• Taking a quality, broad spectrum probiotic
• Eliminating foods that you are sensitive to or cause inflammation
• Cutting down on processed foods and refined sugars that your body is not able to process
• Eating 5-6 servings of vegetables and fruits daily
• Increasing fiber intake with whole grains and legumes

Not getting enough sleep has been linked to a long list of mental and physical health problems including those that stem from the immune system. When you sleep, your immune system releases proteins. Some of these proteins promote sleep and others are needed when an infection is present. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these important protective proteins. It is important to get an adequate amount of sleep each night and have a consistent sleep-wake cycle. The National Sleep Foundation suggests 9-10 hours per night for Children, 7-8 hours for adults, and 6-7 hours for seniors.

Your immune system depends on your body to be in equilibrium to be ready to attack foreign invaders (viruses, bacteria, toxins, allergens, etc.). When your body is under constant stress, your army of white blood cells is depleted of energy and unable to battle the enemy, making it easier for you to get sick. Stress can also increase the leakiness of the gut, leading to inflammation and imbalance.

We recommend incorporating these relaxation techniques into your daily schedule:
• Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, body scans (there are free apps to help you get started)
• Reduce caffeine intake
• Say NO more often (don’t over commit)
• Daily movement
• Spending time outside
• Spend time with family and friends

Exercise can power your immune response, lowering your risk for illness and infection. Exercise increases blood flow. As your heart beats faster and your muscles contract, your immune cells circulate at a much higher rate and at higher numbers. Gym closed due to an unexpected pandemic? No problem. A 15 minute at-home workout, a few laps in your pool or even a brisk walk around the neighborhood several times a week are good ways to work some sweat into your schedule.

It is no secret that maintaining good hygiene lowers your risk for illness and infection. Something as simple as washing your hands multiple times a day can have a big impact on your body’s exposure to viruses and bacteria. Remember to wash your hands after you sneeze, use the restroom, and before you eat or handle food. Avoid touching your nose and mouth when your hands are not clean.

Tips for proper hand washing
• Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold)
• Lather the back of your hands, in between your fingers and under your nails for at least 20 seconds
• Rinse your hands under clean running water
• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Eating a well-balanced diet, including a variety of fruits and vegetables, is essential to maintaining a strong immune system.

To boost your immune health, here are some dietary habits to AVOID:
• Drinking too much alcohol
• Adding too much salt
• Consuming excessive sugar
• Downing too much caffeine
• Not eating enough fiber
• Skipping the green veggies

All of these things weaken the body’s ability to fight pathogens. Most of us do not get enough of the vitamins and nutrients that we need through the foods we eat. At Potter’s House, we carry high-quality, over-the-counter supplements that can augment your diet and give your immune system the boost it needs.
Here are some examples:

Probiotics have been shown to give your immune system a boost and inhibit growth of harmful gut bacteria. Some probiotics have also been shown to promote production of natural antibodies in the body and boost immune cells. Depending on history of gut health, frequency of taking antibiotics and other medications, and your diet, different people require different probiotics to give them the best benefit. Speak with your pharmacist about which probiotic may be best for you when buying.

Products to try:
• Metagenics Ultra Flora Balance
• Xymogen ProBioMax Sb
• Ortho Molecular Ortho Biotic

Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps our immune systems stay balanced. There is evidence to support that having adequate vitamin D levels reduces the duration and severity of respiratory infections, which may help in COVID cases. It is important to talk with your pharmacist about which daily or weekly dose would be most beneficial for you.

Products to try:
• Ortho Molecular Vitamin D3 50,000IU weekly
• Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 5000IU daily
• Ortho Molecular Vitamin D3 with K2 for added anti-inflammatory effects

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning your body cannot produce it. It is probably the vitamin you are most familiar with as having a positive impact on immune health. It is involved in many parts of the immune system and protects cells from harmful molecules, acting as an antioxidant. It is recommended that you get most of your vitamin C through your diet by eating foods such as oranges, kiwi, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach. However, if you are looking to supplement Vitamin C to ensure you have adequate levels to help fight infection, make sure you are getting a good quality supplement that your body is able to absorb.

Products to try:
• Pure Encapsulations Buffered Ascorbic Acid
• Metagenics Ultra Potent C
• Xymogen Xcellent C

The human body needs zinc to activate immune cells called T cells. T cell cells help your body by regulating immune responses and attacking infected or cancerous cells. Zinc deficiency can severely impair the immune system function. Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity of illness, decrease the virus’s ability to replicate and may decrease the risk of lung infections. When choosing a zinc product please ask your pharmacist which may be most appropriate for you.

Products to try:
• Pure Encapsulations Zinc 15mg
• Ortho Molecular Reacted Zinc

Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory that helps to support immune function and may decrease COVID viral replication. Tumeric also supports a healthy gut microbiome. Tumeric has been shown to support a balanced immune system while providing antioxidant support.

Products to try:
• Ortho Molecular Traumeric
• Xymogen CurcuPlex-95

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
NAC is an amino acid that supports defense and repair functions of the immune system and provides antioxidant support. NAC supports glutathione production and may reduce the severity and duration of illness.

Products to try:
• Pure Encapsulations NAC
• Pure Encapsulations Pure Defense with NAC

Vitamin A
Vitamin A supports immune function and immune balance. It enhances our defense and repair mechanisms to help us fight infections. Vitamin A can be found in green vegetables and squashes such as pumpkin and butternut.

Product to try:
• Pure Encapsulations Vitamin A

Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties. This powerful flavinoid has been shown to support respiratory health, decrease allergy symptoms with immune regulation, and support the activity of zinc in immune function.

Products to try:
• Metagenics Immune Active
• Pure Encapsulations Quercetin
• Ortho Molecular Traumeric

Melatonin has been used by many to support healthy sleep habits. It also supports the immune system and research is showing that it may reduce inflammation during a COVID infection.

Product to try:
• Pure Encapsulations melatonin

Combination products
A product containing a combination of the above listed vitamins and minerals are shown to positively impact your immune system.

Products to try:
• Metagenics Immune ActiveOrtho Mollecular Viracid
• Metagenics Immucore
• Pure Defense with NAC

All of these products are all available in our online store, click here.

It is understandable to be anxious to engage back into “normal” activities that involve socializing and using public facilities. Before going back out into the world, take time to reflect on if you feel your body is well equipped and ready to fight off any invisible intruders that may come its way. And remember, our team of friendly and experienced pharmacists are here to help you. We are in this together!

Questions for a Pharmacists? Visit us in-store or call us at 623-362-9322. Our team of friendly and experienced Pharmacists are here to help you!

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