One thing that's been coming up lately is the discussion around barriers. Ultimately, this is the premise behind wearing masks - providing a physical break between your body and the environment to stop things before they get in.
I'd like to take this discussion a little bit further. It's interesting when we start talking about barriers, because our body actually does contain many of its own. The epithelial lining of the nasal passages, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal, urinary and reproductive tracts is what separates "us" from the outside. We also have a blood-brain barrier that protects the brain by limiting passage through.
For example, food that we eat is carried with us, but the digestive tract is actually considered "outside" until nutrients are absorbed across the intestinal lining. Kind of strange to think that, right?
There are many ways to strengthen the integrity of our natural barriers.
- Optimal moisture
Dryness impairs the ability to trap pathogens. Ideally, when something enters the nasal passage, like dust, it will become trapped in mucus and not enter any further. Children are great trappers and make a lot of mucus, because their immature immune systems require that they stop as much as possible at this stage and prevent entry into the body.
- Keeping the humidity level in your home at about 45% has been shown to reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.
- Many people are noticing that mask wearing is drying out their nasal passages, so nasal saline sprays or humidifiers, plus drinking lots of extra water might be helpful.
- Vitamin A, C and E
- There are a lot of vitamins that are important for creating a healthy epithelium (skin cell lining), but these ones are extra important.
- Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses, so check with me before starting it.
- Vitamin C is generally taken at 2000mg per day, but can be higher as long as you don't experience digestive upset.
(other great minerals are zinc and selenium)
- Healthy oils
- Cells are surrounded by a lipid membrane. The quality of this membrane depends on the quality of lipids (fats) in your diet. By eating good quality fats, the cell walls will be able to function optimally.
- Try to eat: nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, fish oil, fish, grass fed meats, etc.
- Glutamine is an amino acid that is the fuel for enterocytes (cells of the digestive tract). It's very helpful for people experiencing digestive inflammation, and almost acts to glue the cells back together. If you've heard of a leaky gut,using glutamine and reducing inflammatory foods in the diet, can be very helpful to improve the barrier cells of the digestive system.
- Stomach acid
The acidic environment of the stomach doesn't just break down foods, it also works to stop pathogens from entering the body via food. If you are taking antacids, this route of entry could be more vulnerable for you, although I've seen mixed reports on the data of people taking antacids with respect to C-19.
- Anti-inflammatory Foods
- In general, consuming foods that you are sensitive to hinders the function of the immune system. In the context of barriers, food sensitivities and leaky gut are related. In order to keep your body functioning optimally at this time, I suggest focusing on eating more anti-inflammatory foods.
- Try eating more: leafy greens, blueberries, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, free range eggs, grass fed meats, squash, carrots
- We have a commensal relationship with bacteria in our bodies, not just in our gut but also on our skin and other places. As we continue to learn more about the importance of the microbiome and our health, we recognize that the two are intimately connected.
- With the increased use of sanitizers and cleaners, protecting our healthy bacteria would be of good service to us now.
- Meditations to build a bubble
- When you are deep breathing or meditating, envision a shield of health around you. This space will give you a sense of protection, but will also block you from absorbing the negative vibes that surround us currently. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, or this doesn't resonate with you, that's ok - you'll know if it does.)
I hope that you are having a wonderful week.