Immune System Health: Still More Important than Ever

The world has changed a lot in the last six months—but the words ‘virus’ and ‘immunity’ (and ‘economy’) are still top of mind. The world is focused on finding a cure, but I think it’s also important to talk about things we can do to support our immunity in an effort to avoid upper respiratory viral infections, with the colder weather (especially for us in Canada) and back to school on the horizon.

Healthy Diet = Healthy Terrain

Tim Spector, a notable epidemiologist and researcher recently said it best: “Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your family or for elderly relatives or friends, choosing foods that support a healthy gut microbiome is much more important than stockpiling toilet paper.”

In the health food and supplement industry, we’ve long known that a healthy diet full of colourful foods is the foundation of health and can help promote a strong immune system. It wasn’t until recent years that we learned this diet can also help to promote a diverse and healthy gut microbiome.

Polyphenols are an incredible type of plant nutrient that can act as a prebiotic, helping to support diverse populations of gut bacteria. This is what inspired us to create fermented organic gut superfoods+, which is a superfood made from 22 fermented superfoods and prebiotics that can nourish a healthy gut flora.

The Gut and Susceptibility to Viruses

A healthy gut microbiome can help to support a healthy immune response. Remarkably, the gut microbiome may even have influence on viruses that wreak havoc on the respiratory tract. This is one of the reasons why oral (encapsulated) probiotics for both adults and kids have been so successful in lowering upper respiratory tract infection rates and associated sick days.

Research has also shown that probiotics can help maintain a healthy mental outlook and support immune health during stressful periods, too. The last few months have been stressful for all, and we have been doing our best to get more advanced gut health probiotics—which populate the gut with diverse strains of healthy bacteria—to more people.

Emerging Vitamin D Research

We know that vitamin D can help to support the immune system. Interestingly, researchers from Trinity College in Dublin are looking at the role vitamin D might play in severe inflammatory responses seen in very ill COVID-19 patients. Could this be the reason that mortality rates have been higher in countries in the Northern Hemisphere? While it’s too soon to know, I will definitely continue to take vitamin D through the summer and all fall and winter.

I’ve been in this industry for more than 35 years. One very important thing I’ve learned during this time is that while we may not be able to control the outside world, we can have influence over the health of our own body. At Genuine Health, we’ve long believed that a healthy diet bolstered with quality supplements provide this foundation for good health, including immunity. The time is no more important than now.

It’s Cool to Be Kind

Numerous studies have also made links between human interaction and a healthy immune system. In a time when large gatherings, festivals and celebrations like Pride have been canceled, we have to think of new ways to stay connected and support our community.

As we forge a new path forward, let’s continue to do everything we can to support our health and that of others. Let’s eat well and take supplements to fill in the gaps. Let’s keep washing our hands and taking our superfoods and probiotics. Let’s protect our most vulnerable and make sure that while we may be apart, no one feels alone. Let’s take time to get outside. Let’s pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor or relative. Let’s support our local businesses. Let’s make a donation to a local organization if we can. Let’s check in on each other because we’re all in this together.

Sources

Cross, M.L. Immune-Signalling by Orally-Delivered Probiotic Bacteria: Effects on Common Mucosal Immunoresponses and Protection at Distal Mucosal Sites. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2004.

Lenoir-Wijnkoop I, et al. Probiotics Reduce Health Care Cost and Societal Impact of Flu-Like Respiratory Tract Infections in the USA: An Economic Modeling Study. Front Pharmacol. 2019 Aug 28;10:980

Shibata M, et al. Potential common factors associated with predisposition to common cold in middle-aged and elderly Japanese: A community-based cross-sectional study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 May;97(20):e10729

Wijnkoop, I et al. The Clinical and Economic Impact of Probiotics Consumption on Respiratory Tract Infections: Projections for Canada. PLoS One. 2016; 11(11): e0166232.