Covid-19 The Immune System and the Microbiome
Covid-19 The Immune System and the Microbiome
Concerned about Covid-19
We are in unprecented and worrying times with the UK lockdown into its 4th week and the death toll in excess of 10,000 and 10’s of thousands contracting the disease, these are the ones we actually know about.
My heart goes out to the relatives of people who have died of this terrible disease and those who are struggling both physically with illness and those struggling mentally at home without the illness. Then there are those people who have lost their jobs and business etc. Jobs can be regained; financial worries can be overcome but we cannot replace loved ones who are sadly losing their lives to the illness.
Studies have shown that around 90% of people who are dying or experience chronic illness are doing so because they already have underlying conditions such as:
- Obesity (overweight)
- Chronic lung disease
- Cardiovascular disease to name a few
In addition, a large percentage of these are people over the age of 65.
What of the other 10% of reported people dying that appear to have no underlying medical conditions or fall below the age range mentioned? Recent research undertaken at the Australian Peter Doherty Institute suggests it is down to how robust each individuals immune system is to fight the disease, hence the reason why some people only experience mild symptoms, some worse and a percentage sadly unable to fight off the disease whilst showing no other underlying health conditions.
It seems to be established, therefore that the people dying and/or experiencing chronic illness through Covid-19 either have an already compromised immune system, they are suffering illness already, or unknown to them they have developed a weak or weakened immune system.
So, if we have strong and robust immune system, we have a much better chance to defend ourselves against Covid-19 or any bacterial, virus or other infection.
What is the immune system and what can you do about strengthen it?
I want to start by informing you that I am no scientist or doctor, nothing I am saying is intended to heal, cure, treat any disease so please understand I am simply offering nutritional advice and information to help you in some practical way.
Basically, the immune system is a complex system of cells and proteins that defends the body against any disease or infection. The main function of the immune system is to protect your body from harmful viruses and bacteria, 70 to 80% of the immune system is located in the gut, intestinal tract or if you like within our microbiome with the remainder located in other parts of the body such as the spleen or in bone marrow.
Our gut is where most of our antibodies or immunoglobulin is created and used by the body to neutralize pathogen viruses and bacteria attacking the body. Bearing this in mind, our gut or our Microbiome is then the first line in the defence against any illness.
Look after your Microbiome and it will look after you.
What is the Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of cells, viruses, protozoa, bacteria, fungi and microbes that reside in the gut and play a very important role in your health by assisting with digestion control, regulate our immune system and protect us against disease. It helps to produce and transport vitamins and prevent infections, inflammatory disorders, mental health issues and help provide longevity. The average microbiome houses 10’s of trillions of microbes within the gut and can weigh up to 2kg. Looking at our microbiome, it in fact makes up to 90% of our body if we also include water content.
It is very important therefore that our microbiome is fed the right kinds of food and drinks for it to remain healthy so it can work for us and for our bodies.
It is very simple to keep it working for us, keeping us healthy, just feed it what it is designed and has evolved to eat – lots of fibre and where do you get fibre from, plants.
The microbiome can become out of balance due to several factors:
- The foods we eat and drink, the typical British diet has evolved into eating lots of meat, dairy processed or acidic foods and drinks which I will come onto later
- Some medications can interact negatively with our microbiome’s equilibrium, I am not suggesting we should stop taking vital mediation however we should be mindful on what potential impact or side effects such medications could have on us
- Pollution and other toxins that may be getting into our bodies from vehicle pollution, from the petrol pump, cleaning products or pesticides or other toxins on or in foods and drinks we consume or from smoking etc.
- Stress, we live in a much faster paced society today with many home, work life and financial pressures being every increasingly put upon us which may be impacting our health and wellbeing.
How does it work?
Given that our immune system is our first line of defence and 70-80% of the immune system is in the gut made by our microbiome then how do we ensure a healthy microbiome?
The problem with todays standard British diet is too much acidic and processed food and drink is consumed. These foods are pro-inflammatory and cause acidity in the body thereby promoting cytokines and pathogens. The inflammation and acidity lower the immune system and knocks out the good bacteria allowing bad bacteria to over colonise which in turns sends the microbiome out of balance with the effect that the immune system becomes preoccupied in dealing with the inflammation.
A little inflammation is good in order to keep the immune system active and on guard however what the body does not want, is over consumption of foods and drinks that trigger too much inflammation and acidity. If this continues over time it may trigger the onset of disease like obesity, diabetes, strokes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease or milder issues such as IBS, depression, sleep issues, skin and hair problems to name a few.
Acidic foods include meat of all types, dairy produce of all types, most processed foods, fizzy drinks, alcohol and some fruits, grains and oils.
When we are pounding our immune defence system or microbiome with poor diet, stress, toxins etc then we are over time diminishing our bodies defences to flight disease on our behalf, hence the reason many people are living in chronic states of inflammation and weak immune defences.
What calms and reduces inflammation, what promotes a healthy microbiome and immune system:
Whole food plant-based diets especially alkaline foods are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-virus. Plants contain antioxidants, polyphenols, they are packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll, omega nutrients and lots of fibre. Many plants are also pre and probiotic too.
Plants and plant fibre feed the microbiome and allow it to flourish. When this occurs, your immune system will strengthen with ability to respond defensively, providing you with the first and best line of defence against all disease.
Most people are born with their microbiome. It is designed specifically for us, we each have our own, it evolved with us together in a win/win situation, feed your microbiome well and it will look after you. It wants to heal you, protect you, help you and all you have to do is feed it correctly, simple. It is designed to help us against bad viruses, bacteria, parasites, inflammation, toxins and to detox. All you must do is feed it what is loves, whole food plants and plant fibre. We get 0% fibre from animal-based products.
What can I do to change my lifestyle/how can I help my Microbiome?
The good news is that no matter where you are now in life, change can occur, our microbiome is a living organism that could start to respond with your next meal and drink. It really is as simple as that, keep feeding your microbiome with correct foods and cut out the wrong foods and it will start to flourish positively. Starting is easy part however continuation is the hard-challenging part, knowing which food and drinks to eat and which to cut out is the challenge.
Our bad bacteria may have over colonized our gut and they are very clever and have worked out how to control us with cravings for different foods such as sugar, starchy and salty carbohydrates. Also, the body will need to go through a detoxification period to rid it of toxins built up over time which can be very difficult to overcome.
Seeking the assistance of someone like myself a qualified nutritionist can guide and coach you through the process, with meal planning encouragement and guidance along with a very clever bio hack I have in partnership with Synergy Worldwide who in their scientific research centre have produced the unique Microbiome 21 day purify programme.
What is the 21-day Microbiome Purify Programme?
The Microbiome Purify programme combines healthy eating with high quality nutritional plant-based products designed to support your microbiome and gut health. As part of the programme you are given clear guidelines of what food and drink to eat and avoid, along with guidance incorporating the unique plant base into your diet
The Purify Programme includes:
Support and guidance from a qualified Nutritionist
Healthy meal recipes
One Purify Kit includes 1 Biome Shake, 1 ProArgi-9+, 1 Body Prime, 1 Biome DT and Biome Actives. Combined, these five innovative formulas work in synergy are at the core of the Purify program.
ProArgi-9+ relaxes and widens the arteries, enabling the body to access deeply held toxins in stagnant areas of the body. It also helps remove ammonia and plaque from the lining of arteries. It is achieved because the main active ingredients of L arginine and L citrulline combine to form nitric oxide in the blood.
Biome DT is an innovative dietary drink with zinc, glutamine, psyllium, plant extracts and seeds. It is high in chlorophyll and helps the body to come out of an acidic state into an alkaline state. Bad bacteria, candida, fungi and parasites reduce when the body is alkaline, as they prefer to live in an acidic body. Biome DT also helps your body to remove heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury thus allowing detoxification to occur.
Biome Shake is made from a pea protein and is very filling. Within it is inulin, made from chicory root, which is a pre-biotic. These fermentable fibres create the right environment in the gut for good bacteria to flourish. It is high in fibre and plant protein providing the body exactly what it needs.
Biome Actives contain pre and probiotics, which are the good bacteria to put into your body and populate the gut. The spore called bacillus coagulants is very robust and can survive in your stomach acid and even cooking at high temperatures.
Body Prime is a magnesium capsule with apple pectin and prune powder. Your body is often deficient in magnesium and this helps with energy levels and cardiovascular health. Body Prime is formulated to help lubricate the bowels allowing toxins to move out of the body easily.
The programme is designed to prepare the body in a healthy way for detoxification in order to reduce and remove bad bacteria and microflora from the body. Combined with a plant based whole food diet, the programme products work in synergy to provide prebiotics which is the fertilizer for the probiotics and introduction of new healthy lifestyle over the 21 days which is the amount of time required for form new healthy habits and eliminate or reduce not so healthy habits.
I personally undertake the purify programme biannually in order to keep by microbiome in check and to detoxify my body, it is very beneficial in many ways to enhance health, lifestyle and wellbeing. The benefits from the programme are amazing, it’s safe, chemical free, animal protein free and assist the body to a healthier lifestyle.
If you would like to find out further information or discuss anything you may be concerned about or maybe you have a desire for change, get in touch anytime by telephone, email or through any of my social media channels.
Anthony Jackson - Co-founder of Good Living Nutrition