What about Masks + Hand Washing?
Many studies show use of surgical masks or even N95 respirators are no different in preventing infection than not wearing them.1 Washing hands thoroughly and cleaning surfaces with disinfectant wipes does work.
The Guardian reports some studies suggest 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 showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill—ideally both the patient and caregiver should have a mask. However, masks will probably make little difference if you’re just walking around town or taking a bus so there is no need to bulk-buy a huge supply.”4
That said, I would not depend on a mask because other studies show they are less effective. In one study, use of surgical masks or even N95 respirators were no different in preventing infection than not wearing them. In one study of 32 healthcare workers, there was no difference between those who wore a medical mask and those who didn’t. A Canadian study of 422 hospital nurses compared N95 respirators and medical masks: influenza rate was 25% in both groups.3
Instead of masks, I would depend on hand washing, disinfectant wipes, and the following lifestyle and Ayurvedic techniques.
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
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 3 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 plays a huge role in our health, immunity, and longevity.3
Melatonin deficiency is directly linked to compromised immune strength. The fact that melatonin and immunity both normally decline with age has been attributed to age-related melatonin deficiencies.5-7
Recently, we have been seeing 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 the blue light from screens (which directly blocks production of melatonin) have been linked to weaker immunity.2,4-7
Find out if you have an immune-comprising circadian imbalance here.
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 daytime melatonin production 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.
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 the 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 you levels are.
Learn more about vitamin D and what kind is best here.
Meditation: Powerful Immune Booster
There’s no shortage of studies linking stress to a compromised immune system. One meta-analysis cited 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 practice of 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 concluded 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
Why Nose-Breathing Exercise for Immunity
Obviously, exercise is beneficial to the immune system and more. But we can increase the benefits of exercise with nose breathing!
The paranasal sinuses produce large amounts of the Nobel Prize-winning immune-boosting gas nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is NOT produced when breathing through the mouth. 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.
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 phones 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 (as prevention) and the second is your first defense plan (to be used at the onset of an immune event).
Herbal Prevention Prior to an Immune Event16-20
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!