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People with lowered immune systems and chronic inflammation diseases need particular attention in protecting themselves against all types of viruses, and COVID-19 in particular.
With six out of 10 adults dealing with chronic conditions, the U.S. should provide additional support and testing resources to vulnerable communities and their healthcare providers in order to contain the epidemic and its consequences.
James Hamblin of the Atlantic articulated in his piece about the virus how “you’re likely to have the Corona Virus but most cases aren’t life-threatening, which makes it difficult to contain.”
An effective prevention plan needs to go beyond reducing risk through washing hands and avoiding crowded areas. It should be prioritizing boosting immunity in vulnerable people with chronic inflammation. Public Service Announcements about nutrition and sleep would be reinforcing what scientific evidence proved effective in reinforcing the human immune system.
Since the virus outbreak, we’ve heard from our community about wanting to learn more about effective ways to improve their immunity. We worked on putting together an immunity-boosting program but, for the sake of clarity, we wanted to articulate the mechanics of how immunity works and how it relates to chronic conditions and inflammation in this article.
The CDC reports that 60 percent of Americans deal with a chronic disease, of which two thirds deal with at least two. This includes chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory issues.
Despite the different ways in which they affect our bodies, most chronic diseases share a common trait: high inflammation combined with altered cell immune functions.
Public health debates are often separating chronic diseases (non-communicable) from infectious ones (communicable). While this distinction has many merits, it omits the fact that chronic conditions are often a threat to our individual immune system, hence making us collectively more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
Someone with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable to infections. The symptoms of a weak immune system include:
Since people with immune challenges have higher vulnerability, an effective response to the coronavirus outbreak requires comprehensive science-backed immune-building strategies.
The risk each person carries changes based on each person’s individual immunity level, which is directly linked to the level of inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s first sign of something wrong, from a viral infection to a wound.
In the case of a viral infection, the infected cells are decorated with components of the virus. This decoration indicates to the immune system that the cell is no longer normal and must be eliminated.
In the presence of chronic inflammation (as seen in over half of Americans with chronic illness) the immune system is “always-on” and tires over time.
In a 2013 study, Nobel prize winner, Elizabeth Blackburn, found that increased exposure to inflammation also results in the shortening of telomeres, the cap at the end of our chromosomes that protect against age-related diseases. Shorter telomeres have been associated with “poor health behaviors, age-related diseases, and early mortality.”
Reducing inflammation is the body’s first line of defense to strengthen its immune system and help it function properly. It also slows the shortening of protective telomeres against age-related diseases.
Blackburn’s studies show nutrition plays a critical role in lowering inflammation and protecting the immune system both short-term and long-term.
When the immune system is under attack, it needs energy to fight microbial infections and inflammation. Micro and macronutrients provide energy for the immune system to work properly and efficiently.
In clinical trials, optimal nutrient mixes showed evidence of improving gut health and reducing inflammation. The immune system resides in the microbiome and its strength has a direct impact from the health of good bacteria.
Diets rich in prebiotic fibers from vegetables and fruits feed good bacteria in the microbiome keeping the immune system strong and inflammation low.
Fruits and vegetables are also packed with antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids that protect cells from inflammation-related damage, boost killer T-cell functioning and immune response to threats.
A plant-based diet rich in rainbow-colored fruits and vegetables contains multiple immunity-enhancing qualities to protect against viruses, reduce inflammation-related damage of cells and shortening of telomeres, and support an overall healthy microbiome.
At WeTheTrillions, we are on a mission to help millions of people take a proactive and preventive approach to their own health. We launched a 30-day immunity-boosting snacking program. We designed it to give an easy option for people looking to access the micronutrients required to sustain good health or reverse and manage a challenging one.
The WeTheTrillions immunity-focused program is nationwide and enrollment started today.
While optimal nutrition is essential to build immunity, we highly encourage following the CDC guidelines to face the COVID-19 outbreak and not to hesitate getting tested should you have fever, flu-like symptoms, or a cough.
For immediate prevention, the CDC recommends:
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