Hi, I'm Sherry Torkos, pharmacist and author of The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.
As a pharmacist, I am often asked "What can I do to optimize my immune system and protect myself against viral infections."
In addition to hand washing, social distancing and following a healthy diet, there are certain supplements that can help.
While vaccinations are rolling out, it's critical that we all take important steps to stay healthy by strengthening our immunity.
A recent in vitro study published in the Virology Journal showed promising results against members of the coronavirus family, including SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. In a controlled laboratory environment, tissues from the respiratory system were infected with Covid-19 and then exposed to A.Vogel's Echinaforce. Results Echinaforce to have anti-viral activity against respiratory viral infections, such as MERS, SARS-CoV-1 and CoV-2. (Covid-19).
Further research on the effects in humans is currently underway to assess the potential benefits of Echinaforce against coronaviruses. However, previous clinical research has shown it offers antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help prevent and treat symptoms of a wide range of upper respiratory tract infections.
The benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle for immune health are well known.
Eating plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables will help provide your immune system with antioxidants, such as vitamin A, C and E and other essential nutrients such as zinc and selenium.
Vitamin D is also very important for immune health. Recent studies have found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and both the risk and severity of infections. While we don't know for sure what role vitamin D will play in the battle against coronavirus, we do know it's important for immune health.
It's hard to get enough vitamin D from diet and sun exposure, so consider taking a supplement to make sure you're getting adequate amounts.
Lastly during these stressful times make time for regular exercise, such as walking and strive for 7-8 hours of sleep at night. Both these elements are vital to the health of our immune system and overall well-being.
(1) Pleschka S, Stein M, Schoop R, Hudson JB: Anti-Viral properties and mode of action of standardized Echinacea Purpurea extract against highly pathogenic avian Influenza virus (H5N1, H7N7) and swine-origin H1N1 (S-OIV). Virology Journal (paper accepted November 2009).
(2) Sharma M, Anderson SA, Schoop R, Hudson JB: Induction of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines by respiratory viruses and reversal by standardized Echinacea, a potent antiviral herbal extract. Antiviral Res. 2009 Aug;83(2):165-70 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.antiviral.2009.04.009).