Don’t Forget About Hand Washing
Research at the University of Arizona sheds some disturbing light on how quickly germs can spread in the workplace and the best way to protect yourselves!
Drs. Reynolds and Gerba asked 80 participants in an office to receive water droplets on their hands. While 79 employees received droplets of plain water, one person unknowingly received a droplet containing artificial viruses of the common cold, flu, and stomach bug. Artificial viruses mimic behavior of germs without causing infection—this was so researchers could track the germ’s trail.1
After four hours, the researchers tested the office for signs of the artificial viruses. They tested common areas and hands of employees, and guess what? A whopping 50% of surfaces and employees tested were carrying artificial viruses. By the end of the workday, one virus had spread to 70% of surfaces and employees tested!22
We RecommendHand Washing + Masks: What You Need to Know
What about Masks?
The Guardian reports some studies suggesting wearing a mask will offer five-fold protection compared to not wearing one. They conclude, If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re a carrier without symptoms, showing symptoms of, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others.21
Your Immune Defense Plan
According to Ayurveda, numerous strategies boost natural immune response. These include lifestyle changes (called behavioral rasayanas), along with regular intake of certain foods, herbs, and spices.
Melatonin Deficiency Linked to Weak Immunity
Melatonin has long been studied as an effective strategy for immune system support. The research was compelling enough for doctors to prescribe melatonin for President Donald Trump when he became ill.23
Melatonin, however, is better served as part of a circadian rhythm reset. Ayurveda 101 is all about living in sync with natural light-dark and seasonal cycles. Recent studies show a strong link between our immune system and our circadian clock. This suggests a circadian imbalance may significantly compromise our immune response.2
The ultimate regulator of our circadian clock is melatonin. Melatonin is a three billion-year-old molecule, whose major role is not to induce sleep (as commonly believed), but to reset our circadian clock during the cycles of darkness. Much like a night janitor, melatonin cleans us up, playing a huge role in health, immunity, and longevity.3,23
Melatonin deficiency is directly linked to compromised immune strength. Immunity normally declines with age, which has been attributed to melatonin deficiencies.5-7
Recently, we have seen immune and melatonin deficiencies in young people, due to circadian disruption (aka living out of sync with nature).2 Increasing nighttime light exposure, later bedtimes, and blue light from screens (which directly blocks melatonin production) have been linked to weaker immunity.2,4-7
Find out if you have an immune-comprising circadian imbalance here.
We Recommend10 Ways to Increase Melatonin Naturally for Better Sleep + More (from Tryptophan, Sun + Superfoods to Blocking Blue Light, Caffeine + EMF)
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Weak Immunity
Vitamin D is also a circadian regulator and powerful immune booster.8,9 When the sun rises, it blocks melatonin while boosting immunity. That is why it is best to take vitamin D in the morning and melatonin at night as part of a comprehensive immune-boosting circadian reset. In one study, 80% of infected patients had a vitamin D deficiency. This is one of the major factors linking more infections with darker-skinned people.24,25
Studies suggest vitamin D is a key factor in linking innate and adaptive immunity, both of which may be compromised when vitamin D is deficient, which affects as many as 80% of Americans in winter.8-10
Optimal vitamin D3 levels for immunity should be maintained between 45-80 ng/mL. For adults, 4,000-5,000 IU per day is typically needed, but a vitamin D test is the only way to know what your levels are.
Learn more about vitamin D and what kind is best here.
Meditation: Powerful Immune Booster
No shortage of studies link stress to compromised immunity. One meta-analysis cites 300 studies confirming the strong connection between the two.11,12
There is also no shortages of studies linking a stronger immune system with regular meditation. One study on mindfulness meditation measured significant beneficial changes on the following immune system parameters.
Immune Benefits of Meditation13
- Increased circulating and stimulated inflammatory proteins
- Increased cellular transcription factors and gene expression
- Higher immune cell count
- Healthier immune cell aging
- Stronger antibody response
Exercise + Immunity
One study concludes the following with regard to immune-boosting benefits of regular moderate exercise:
“Moderate intensity exercises are ‘immuno-enhancing’ and have been used to effectively increase vaccine responses in ‘at-risk’ patients. Improvements in immunity due to regular exercise of moderate intensity may be due to reductions in inflammation, maintenance of thymus gland mass, alterations in the composition of ‘older’ and ‘younger’ immune cells, enhanced immune-surveillance, and/or the amelioration of psychological stress. Indeed, exercise is a powerful behavioral intervention that has the potential to improve immune and health outcomes in the elderly, the obese, and patients living with cancer and chronic viral infections such as HIV.”14
Nose Breathing, Sleep + Exercise for Immunity
Obviously, exercise is beneficial to the immune system and more. But we can increase the benefits of exercise with nose breathing!
Our paranasal sinuses produce large amounts of the Nobel Prize-winning immune-boosting gas nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is NOT produced when mouth breathing. NO is produced in the sinuses so it can be delivered into the blood-saturated lower lobes of the lungs, where it has been shown to deliver powerful immune stimulation.15 Breathing through the mouth will deliver zero nitric oxide, and thus not carry this immune stimulation effect.
During sleep, when the mouth is closed, NO, one of the body’s most effective antiviral gases, is breathed deeply into the lungs. During the day, with talking, socializing, and eating, we are exposed to numerous undesirable microbes that can infect us. Each night, if breathing through the nose has become habit, nitric oxide from the paranasal sinuses washes over and disinfects the delicate lung and bronchiole tissues. It is nature’s way to do an eight-hour immune respiratory sweep each night after a long day of exposure.26
Learn the benefits of nose breathing while you exercise here.
Dr. John’s Herbal Immune Optimization Protocol
As expected, we’ve been swamped with emails and phone calls about the best way to support the immune system during these times. The following protocol is what I suggest.
The first plan is to be used before an immune event (to boost existing immune strength) and the second is your first defense plan (to be used at the onset of an immune event).
Herbal Support Prior to Immune Event16-20
- Vitamin D3 (Liquid Sun) | 4-5 drops / day in winter
- Low-Dose Melatonin | 1-30 drops before bed
- Ashwagandha | 2 caps 2x / day with food
- Citrus C | 1 cap 2x / day with food
- Chyawanprash | 1 Tbs / day after food
- Mucus Destroyer | 2 caps with breakfast
Herbal First Defense at Onset of Immune Event
Days 1+2, Then Reduce Dose as Needed
- Immuno-Blast | 15 drops every 2 hours
- Chyawanprash | 1 -5 Tbs every 4 hours
- Citrus C | 2 capsules 3x / day
- Mucus Destroyer | 2 capsules 4x / day
- Turmeric Paste | 1 tsp / hour
To make 1 tsp Turmeric Paste, open 2 Turmeric Plus capsules and mix with 1/2 tsp raw organic honey.
Let us know which of these strategies you try and how it goes for you!