What a crazy world that we are living in right now. It was so disappointing how the collegiate season ended abruptly. I am hoping that things will get back to normal in the near future and wrestling will full steam ahead. One thing I have been communicating with my patients is the importance of taking care of ourselves all the time. That concept should not only be the case during a virus pandemic, it should be every day for the rest of your life. For some reason the human race thinks we can vandalize our body over time and expect it never to break down. We take better care of our cars and homes than we do ourselves. Why? I was guilty of that also back in my younger years. During the season, I really focused on health, nutrition, exercise, discipline and weight management. In the off season it was a different story. I know we continued to work out but our nutrition, sleep patterns and discipline decreased. I guess we get more wise as we age.
This article is focused on immune function of the human body. With this crisis we are going through I figured we all can become more cognizant of our immune system. There are basic concepts that I want cover. The immune system is the body's defense system to invading bacteria, viruses (coronavirus included), infections, and illnesses. The body has different mechanisms to fighting these things. The first part of your immune cells is the Innate immune system. When you come in contact with a foreign invader, the body activates this system. These immune cells will go out and cause a lot of swelling and inflammation to bring lots of blood and more white blood cells to start the fight. The antibody part of your nervous system is more specialized in what it is fighting. It will remember invaders from the past and create antibodies to the antigens that have invaded the body. These two systems are in the blood but are intertwined with other immune systems in your body. Another system in the microbiome in your gut. I would argue this is the most important part of your immune system for long term health longevity. In the past 20 years, there has been so much research on the importance of the gut microbiome and fighting off illness. In your gut alone, there are trillions of bacteria and viruses and they are either serving you or hurting you. It is very important to keep your gut healthy. As a health provider for 20 years, I see a good portion of the population struggle to keep their gut healthy. As the gut goes bad, so goes their health. The basics to keeping a gut healthy is eating many vegetables and some fruits, taking a probiotic, omega 3 fatty acids, cutting down on simple sugars, and proper amounts of sleep. If there are gut conditions, please see your health care provider for guidance. The next component of your immune system is your nervous system. Those trillions of gut bacteria communicate with your brain via the enteric nervous system and the vagus nerve. The vagal nerve is a parasympathic sensory nerve that sends the information from your gut to your brain. There is a subset of nerve cells call glial cells that are part of the immune system. If the nerves are not talking then the immune system is compromised. The next part of immune function is called the interferon system. These cells are specifically designed to fight off virus invaders.
How do you keep all these immune systems working synergistically all the time? It is about healthy lifestyle. If you want to be the best you have to live the Championship Lifestyle. Thanks, Coach Nick Mitchell, for coining that phrase! Here are steps to keep your immune system strong.
Eat well – lower sugar intake and eat non-processed foods as much as possible.
Exercise is a must not and option- Walk, run, burpees, yoga, wrestle, crossfit, etc. move your body.
Manage stress- get 7-9 hours of sleep. Increased cortisol levels will devastate your immune system
Stay hydrated- Drink half your weight in ounces of water.
Get under or stay under chiropractic care. The nervous system is and integral part of immune system.
Protect your GUT- 70 percent of immune system is in Gut
Nutrients/supplements- curcumin, N-acetyl-cysteine, Probiotic, Vitamin C, Garlic, Elderberry, Vitamin D3
Everyone please stay healthy during this time and bring back wrestling soon.