In case you've been living under a rock lately, COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has been rocking the globe. Entire cities are under lockdown, schools are closing down, athletes are competing in empty stadiums, travel is limited, medical equipment in certain parts of the world are in short supply, and the stock market has taken a sharp nose dive. Now classified as a pandemic, this virus is much harder to treat than your run of the mill flu and is claiming a death toll that is consequently significantly higher, especially for the elderly and those with underlying conditions (Hey MTHFR). While it's important to use wisdom and practice precaution, we need not panic.
You've certainly heard the most prevalent pieces of advice, such as the importance of washing your hands thoroughly, not making physical contact with others, avoiding crowds as much as possible, and not touching your face. Some people are stocking up on supplies, such as food, water, hand sanitizer, and, yes, boatloads of toilet paper, in the case of self-quarantine or even a city-wide lockdown.
But what about our immune function? There comes a point where hand washing and "social distancing" (although totally important and valid) can only do so much. The real question is how your body will respond when it's exposed to the virus. This is the lesson I had to learn through my battle with MRSA (an ever-prevalent and deadly mutated staph bacteria). I believe the same rule applies here. As we know, having the MTHFR mutation, especially being homozygous, equates to impaired immune function. However, with some knowledge, you can be empowered to give your body its best chance to not contract this virus, or to experience a form of it that's on the milder end of the spectrum.
So with that in mind, I've compiled a list of 10 things you can do as a MTHFR to boost your body's fighting power against COVID-19, in no particular order:
1. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I know it sounds so laughably simple, but the problem is that almost no one over the age of 5 is doing it. The importance of sleep to your immune function really can't be overstated. Just one sleepless night can drop your immune function significantly. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly to avoid contracting the virus and sleep even more to kick the virus without complications if you do get it.
2. Utilize gentle detox. Gently flushing toxins will free up your body to spend more energy to fight off other things, like COVID-19. Check out this article for ideas to keep your detox pathways open.
3. Avoid any type of aggressive detox. I don't recommend doing an aggressive detox right now, as overwhelming your body can put you in a vulnerable state that you don't want to be in. I recommend sticking with gentle every-day detox techniques that encourage toxin release without shocking your system.
4. Take a methylated B vitamin complex and cut out artificial folic acid. If you've been following this blog for any amount of time, you're familiar with this tip. Healthy methylation is critical to every function of the human body, including immune function. Taking the proper form of B vitamins for the MTHFR mutation and cutting out folic acid will help encourage methylation, and therefore immune function.
5. Get plenty of exercise, especially rebounding. Rebounding is one of the healthiest forms of exercise for a MTHFR because it's one of the only kinds that directly encourages healthy lymph function, which is critical for optimal immune function.
6. Eat lots of dark, leafy greens. Folate, folate, folate. Supplemental methylfolate or folinic acid is wonderful, but nothing beats getting it directly from your diet. Folate = better methylation = better immune function. Plus, they contain lots of other important vitamins and minerals that encourage immunity.
7. Try medicinal mushrooms. Ever since I started taking medicinal mushroom powder about a year and a half ago, I noticed that the common cold seems to pass over me (knock on wood). I'm not saying that it will give anyone invincibility against the Coronavirus (or any viruses), but they are proven to be excellent boosters of immune function. This is due to their being rich sources of sterols, beta glucan, superoxide dismutase (especially Chaga mushrooms), and glutathione. There are differing opinions about whether medicinal mushrooms can feed yeast infections, but I can't say I've ran into any issues. I've only experienced benefits.
8. Chill out. Seriously. I'm a big believer that not managing stress well can lead to serious illness. In the case of trying to avoid contracting COVID-19, or at least not experience complications, stress management can be what makes all the difference. Cultivating a meditative practice can help you to navigate a stressful situation in a way that doesn't compromise your health. Increasing peace, joy and calm literally boosts immune function and shouldn't be underestimated.
9. Try a lysine supplement. Lysine, a critical component of collagen, is a really great immune boosting supplement to try. It can help your body avoid contracting the virus or experience a milder form of it.
10. Practice intermittent fasting. It's not right for everyone, but is proven to have impressive benefits for the immune system. There are different forms to try, with the simplest being to eat within an 8 hour window and fast for the other 16. For instance, you could eat between 11am and 7pm and fast from 7pm until 11am. This type of fasting is proven to trigger drastic benefits beyond just weight loss, such as DNA repair and production of new white blood cells. However, those with blood sugar imbalances or who are underweight may experience difficulty with intermittent fasting.
How are you responding to the COVID-19 outbreak? Do you have any tips to share? Tell us about it!