Viruses, like any other organisms, want to survive and replicate. However, this implies that they need to find a host and outsmart its immune defenses effectively enough to ensure their own viral replication and ability to spread to other hosts. Early in their evolution, viruses learn that killing their host would not help them survive, which would require them to mutate instead. These mutated forms are called variants, and their severity and contagiousness, compared to the original virus, can range from mild to severe.
This is the reason why we all had more than one cold virus in our lives. And, most importantly, this underscores why you must be vigilant about keeping your immune system ready. A well-trained, balanced, and optimized immune system is prepared to develop antibodies to fight new viruses and their variants.
An optimized immune system is your best defense against tall types of viruses and their variants. How quickly it does this depends on how well your immune system functions. As soon as your immune cells detect an invader (or antigen), all the components of your immune system work to initiate an attack. If you already have antibodies to that specific virus, these antibodies latch onto antigens like a key in a lock, identifying them to be destroyed.
However, when your immune system encounters a new virus or variant, it has to develop new antibodies. While the new antibodies are being developed, the new antigen gets tagged by older, more generalized antibodies, and specific immune cells called macrophages are sent to fight and destroy the new variant. During this time, an entire cascade of inflammatory mediators known as cytokines get released, self-tissue gets harmed in this fight, and you may experience the following symptoms:
- Flu-like symptoms: fever, head and body aches, fatigue
- Upper respiratory symptoms: sore throat, cough, sneezing
- Digestive symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Skin conditions: rashes, sores, blisters, warts.
It can take a few days to several weeks for your immune system to produce specific antibodies to a new virus, but when it does, your body will be able to quickly and efficiently deal with it, leading to the complete resolution of this viral-host battle. Since our immune system has the ability to create T and B memory lymphocytes, you have a great chance to not get sick or develop serious symptoms if you do get infected again with the same pathogen.3
For all of these processes to function seamlessly, you need a robust and adaptable immune system that knows how to attack and defend against invaders, without going overboard and overwhelming your body with inflammatory cytokines, which would lead to a cytokine storm, and potentially endangering your life.
Health promoting lifestyle factors, such as a nourishing, anti-inflammatory diet, healthy stress relief, adequate sleep, and regular exercise are the foundations for a healthy and balanced immune system. Unfortunately, for various reasons, most people do not enjoy a health promoting lifestyle, and require additional support to optimize their immune function.
Fortunately, powerful natural solutions, medicinal mushrooms, probiotics and other effective immune support ingredients have been shown to support healthy immunity and long-term wellness.
Povidone Iodine Nasal Spray
An infected person coughs, sneezes, or breathes, releasing particles into the air. For those close enough to the droplets, the particles are then breathed in and travel into their sinuses and make their way to the nasopharynx where the nasal cavity and throat meet. We recommend using CofixRX nasal spray, which creates a protective antipathogenic barrier around the nasopharynx, inactivating germs/pathogens and providing a layer of protection from infection and transmission.
The active ingredient in CofixRX is Povidone Iodine, which has been used by doctors for decades as an effective antiseptic/antipathogen. Iodine is a powerful essential mineral that destroys pathogens, bacteria, fungi and parasites. The body needs Iodine, but does not naturally produce it. The most common source of iodine is found in seaweed. CofixRX combines the active ingredient with vitamin D3–another essential ingredient found in seaweed.
CofixRX is especially useful for at-risk populations, essential workers and places where social distancing can be challenging such as hospitals, schools, airports, restaurants, shops, movie theaters, bowling alleys, family gatherings and more.
Innate Immune System and Th1 Cellular Response
Innate immune cells, such as macrophages and natural killer cells (NK cells) fight a direct cellular immune response, as well as upper respiratory and gastrointestinal mucosal health. Th1 cells promote innate immunity and cell-mediated immune defenses, but they are thwarted by stress, aging, and cytokine changes resulting from metabolic, hormonal, physiological, and environmental factors.
The status of these cells may be evaluated through specific blood tests. Some individuals may need to support the Th1 and NK cell functions for enhanced natural defense and mucosal health. For this purpose, were recommend Th1 Support and Innate Immune Support.
Medicinal Mushrooms Provide Antiviral Support
Mushrooms offer powerful anti-viral actions on their own, making them an essential cornerstone of any long-term immune support program. They work to inhibit viral replication and spread through targeted actions, including:12
- Inhibiting virus enzymes that allow the infection to replicate
- Inhibiting virus enzymes that allow viruses to attach to cells
- Blocking virus’s mobility in the respiratory system
Medicinal mushrooms contain additional immune enhancing ingredients such as beta glucans and unique antioxidants such as ergothioneine that help to defend cells and optimize immune function.
Essential immune supportive vitamins and minerals, such as selenium, phosphorus, potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin D present in medical mushrooms augment their beneficial functions.
Mushrooms also support your microbiome by offering powerful prebiotic nourishment for healthy gut bacteria.13,14
Mushrooms, even the medicinal varieties, are food, which means they should ideally be taken every day for optimal immune health and defenses. My top recommendation for medicinal mushroom supplementation can be found in the Immune Support formula, which is an herbal formula that is designed to support healthy immune system function. It contains herbs that support normal natural killer (NK) cell activity and the balance of cytokines, which are the regulatory proteins released by immune cells as part of a normal immune system response. This formula contains potent medicinal mushrooms, including Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake and Shiitake, which are fast-acting, delivering a robust support for optimal immune defenses against viruses, as well as support for long-term immune function, overall vitality, and total-body wellness. Immune Support formula is suitable for long term use and for all age groups.
Using Probiotics to Improve Your Immune Function
More than 70% of your immune system is in your gut—and your microbiome plays a key role. For optimal immunity, you need a healthy balance of probiotic bacteria that offers targeted immune benefits that are essential for keeping you healthy and free ofinfections.4
Probiotic bacteria actually direct and teach your immune system how to respond to threats.5 This includes:6-11
- How to differentiate between healthy cells and harmful invaders
- When to boost antibody production to address a threat
- How to recognize pathogens you’ve encountered before by activating key immune cells that fight off viruses, including T-helper cells and B-cells
- How to address infectious microbes including viruses and harmful bacteria promoting a healthy inflammatory response
- How to react appropriately, without going overboard and creating excess inflammation, autoimmunity, or cytokine storms
Beneficial bacteria accomplish all these processes by producing metabolic byproducts called short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that communicate with your immune system for optimal function.
Probiotics also produce anti-viral compounds that directly interfere with the ability of viruses to make copies of themselves as well as infect healthy cells.
This is why taking an effective, high-quality probiotic can be so important for your immune defenses. The right probiotic supports a healthy population of beneficial bacteria that work to improve immune function and deliver a wealth of additional benefits for gut health, brain and mood, healthy weight, and more.
My top recommendations for truly effective probiotic supplements are:
- Flora Supreme is a robust, broad-spectrum, hypoallergenic blend of 12 probiotic species in a base of inulin, designed to supply a complete component of synergistic and complementary species that promote healthy inflammation balance, and Support innate and acquired immunity
- Tri-Butyrin Supreme - represents a new approach to gut health and immune function by modulating intestinal flora, promoting colonocyte health and supporting proper gut permeability
- Ther-Biotic Factor 4 - is a concentrated Bifidobacterium formulation in a base of inulin appropriate for those suffering from histamine intolerance or Mast Cell activation syndrome
- FloraMyces – contains a non-pathogenic yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii, which possesses probiotic activity that supports gastrointestinal health and immune function. S. boulardii is well tolerated by those suffering from various autoimmune conditions.
Taking a proactive and holistic approach to support your immune systems means you don’t have to wait for herd immunity to be protected. With targeted, evidence-based immune support strategies, you can actively defend yourself against aggressive viruses and invaders, and support a faster, easier recovery if you do get sick.
- Yadegari I, Omidi M, Smith SR. The herd-immunity threshold must be updated for multi-vaccine strategies and multiple variants. Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 26;11(1):22970.
- John TJ, Samuel R. Herd immunity and herd effect: new insights and definitions. Eur J Epidemiol.2000;16(7):601-6.
- Hoffman W, Lakkis FG, Chalasani G.B Cells, Antibodies, and ore. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol.2016;11(1):137-154.
- Vighi G, Marcucci F, Sensi L, DiCara G, Frati F. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clin Exp Immunol.2008;153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):3-6.
- Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Manobendro Sarker, Dan Wan, ”Immunomodulatory Effects of Probiotics on Cytokine Profiles”, BioMedResearch International, vol. 2018, ArticleID 8063647, 10 pages, 2018.
- Hardy H, Harris J, Lyon E, Beal J,Foey AD. Probiotics, prebiotics and immunomodulation of gut mucosal defences:homeostasis and immunopathology. Nutrients. 2013;5(6):1869-1912.
- Yan F, Polk DB. Probiotics and immune health. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2011;27(6):496-501.
- Liu Y, Alookaran JJ, Rhoads JM.Probiotics in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disorders. Nutrients.2018;10(10):1537.
- Zheng, D., Liwinski, T. &Elinav, E. Interaction between microbiota and immunity in health and disease. CellRes 30, 492–506 (2020).
- Mirashrafi S, Moravejolahkami AR, Balouch Zehi Z, et al.The efficacy of probiotics on virus titres and antibody production in virusdiseases: A systematic review on recent evidence for COVID-19 treatment. ClinNutr ESPEN. 2021;46:1-8.
- Lopez-Santamarina A, Lamas A, Del Carmen Mondragón A, et al.Probiotic Effects against Virus Infections: New Weapons for an Old War. Foods.2021;10(1):130.
- Seo DJ, Choi C. Antiviral Bioactive Compounds of Mushroomsand Their Antiviral Mechanisms: A Review. Viruses.2021;13(2):350.
- Hess J, Wang Q, Gould T, et al. Impact of Agaricus bisporusMushroom Consumption on Gut Health Markers in Healthy Adults. Nutrients.2018;10(10):1402.
- Solano-Aguilar GI, Jang S, et al. The Effect of DietaryMushroom Agaricus bisporus on Intestinal Microbiota Composition and HostImmunological Function. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 9;10(11):1721.