Helping Your Immune System to Better Protect You
BY Michael Buyze, L.AC., MSOM
It is becoming increasingly clear that we are going to have to live with COVID for a while. Experts are telling us that “variants” are likely to continue and could include dozens if not hundreds of versions of this virus. To get on top of this pandemic we relied fairly heavily on the rapid development and deployment of vaccines. The variants are likely to require a “booster” that is a bit tweaked to address the mutated virus. While I am not “anti-vax,” I also think that relying as a vaccine as our only defense against COVID will provide decreasing returns and require lots of “jabs.”
Let me be clear about something. Our philosophy at East Wind is that each person is responsible to be as healthy as they can be so that they can fully manifest their unique abilities to enrich their own lives, contribute to the betterment of their family, community and society. We further believe it is your right to choose the path that best accomplishes that for you. To choose the best path, you need to become a student of your health.
Being a student of your health to prepare yourself to fend off COVID begins with understanding your immune system. The immune system can be viewed as having two primary divisions. The first is the innate immune system and the second is the adaptive immune system.
The innate system gives you generalized protection against invading pathogens. The innate immune system recognizes what is you and what is not you and fights against those things that “are not you.” The adaptive immune system is the part of the immune system that develops specific antibodies against pathogens it recognizes. This is the part of the system that vaccines work with. Vaccines are typically introducing material that represents a particular pathogen (like the COVID-19 virus) which your adaptive immune system responds to by developing antibodies which will then work more quickly and completely against the actual pathogen if and when it enters your system.
In order for a vaccine to work, it must have a functioning immune system to work with. Vaccines “activate” your immune system, they do not replace it. The weaker your immune system, the more you need the help of a vaccine. But, the weaker your immune system, the less likely the vaccine is to be helpful. It is always in your best interest to support the function of your immune system as best you can.
Whether you decide to “jab” or not, you need your immune systems to function as well as possible. We can do that by getting enough quality sleep, avoiding inflammatory foods (especially sugars and bad oils), managing our stress and getting regular activity.
Vitamin D is a very important supplement when it comes to your immune system. Early COVID data shows that patients who did the worst had low vitamin D levels and that supplementing once your are sick doesn’t work very well. Evidence suggests that nearly 80% of the population lacks a sufficient level of vitamin D to properly support the immune system.
Ideally, you would like to get a 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D blood test and target 50-90 ng/ml. To get up to or maintain that blood level, supplementation is usually needed, especially in the winter months for those who live in northern climates. Supplementation should be with a K2/D3 combination at a 2.5-3:1 ratio of D3 to K2. Dose at 6K-10K IU per day with follow-up blood test at 60-90 days to hit and maintain target range. The combination of D3 with Vitamin K2 helps to balance the proper use of calcium which we like in our bones but hate in our arteries.
Other basic supplements that enhance the immune system include Vitamin C, zinc, and selenium.
Living in a pandemic is certainly stressful and it is an experience that none of us would have imagined just 3 short years ago. Even as the pandemic continues, we can become better students of our own health and achieve higher levels of health than ever before. Choose a simple action and take it to get just a little bit healthier today!
Michael Buyze, L.Ac., MSOM is a healthcare entrepreneur with nearly 40 years of experience in healthcare and expertise in acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, functional medicine, clinical exercise physiology, and nutrition. He owns and operates East Wind Healthcare, an acupuncture and wellness clinic with a 23-year history of helping people in the Fox Valley with offices in Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac. He holds Master of Science Degrees in Chinese Medicine, Business Administration and Exercise Physiology. He and his team offer acupuncture as well as wellness programming for acute and chronic pain as well as many chronic disease states. Acupuncture consultations and wellness consultations are available by appointment. Contact information: East Wind Healthcare, 3000 N Ballard Road, Unit#3, Appleton, WI 54911; 404 N. Main St., Suite 201, Oshkosh, WI 54901 and 180 Knights Way, Fond du Lac WI 54935 (inside Fox Valley Wellness); Tel: 920-997-0511; Website: eastwindhealthcare.com