Building Immunity: A Holistic Approach
COVID-19, the most dreadful scare of the 21st century, has shifted the focus of the entire world on one single word-‘Immunity’! To live through this pandemic & to let our immunity take the charge, we must shift our focus internal. However, immunity is not a standalone mechanism to protect us against alien attacks from bacteria & viruses. Rather, multiple body systems function synergistically & contribute holistically to strengthen our defense mechanism. The synergy between our nervous system, endocrine system, gut functioning, blood circulation, emotional system & brain functioning directs the intelligence of our body to build a healthy defense mechanism. Further, any toxicity layering any of these systems leads to compromised immune health. Thus, it is important to keep our physical body systems free of toxins that exhaust body’s energy levels making it weaker inside. It is equally important to preserve a healthy state of mind & emotions for a rock-solid state of Immunity.
‘Strong Immunity is an Interplay of Multiple Bodily Systems’
Let us understand the connection of each bodily system associated with a strong immunity.
Fact: 80%-90% immunity resides in the gut! This huge percentage of immune cells in the gut is enough to shift our focus towards the importance of gut health in maintaining strong immunity. The entry channel for Covid-19 virus is the gut lining, mucosa (membrane that forms the outline of internal organs) and lungs. The virus binds with the ACE2 (Angiotensin converting enzyme 2) receptor system that densely exists on the cell walls of small intestines & lungs making our body prone to catching infection. Probiotic-rich fermented foods such as Sauerkraut have been proven in research to activate the immune cells in case of any viral or bacterial attack on the body. Quite interestingly, in a research done at Leipzig University, Germany, found that ‘D-phenyllactic acid’, a molecule produced by Sauerkraut bacteria binds with one of the hydroxycarboxylic acid (HCA) receptors ‘HCA3’ in gut epithelial cells to activate immune cells. This simply means consuming probiotic-rich fermented foods is the key to inducing body’s immune response. Svarasya’s Ancient Krauts supply diverse variety of probiotics to sustain the gut health.
Lymphatic system or body’s ‘Sewer System’ plays a crucial role in building & maintaining immunity. This system cleanses body of the waste material & releases antibodies-filled lymph fluid into the bloodstream. Thus, this system is the carrier of immune cells & must be kept healthy for a strong immunity. You can help this system to function optimally through an age-old Ayurveda practice that enhances the lymphatic flow. A self-detoxifying Abhyanga massage performed in a rhythmic flow with rare herb-infused massage oil or tri-doshak Sesame Oil can get the lymph fluids going to detoxify the body & strengthen the immunity.
Blood Quality & Circulation
A sluggish & toxic circulatory system is a big threat to our immune system. Bloodstream is the carrier of oxygen & nutrients & supplies nutrition to all parts of the body. However, it is important to know that this system is also the carrier of immune cells to the site of viral or bacterial attack. Thus, a sluggish circulatory system could become the cause of delayed healing in case of sickness.
Adopting circulation enhancing yogic postures such as Downward Facing Dog Pose or ‘Adho Mukha Svanasana’ & Cat-Cow Pose or ‘Bitilasana’ get the muscles back to action that further stimulate the lymphatic system to induce detoxification. Sun Salutations are also a great way to give muscles the much-required stretch, enhance circulation & to activate the lymphatic system. Practicing Paranyama can further enhance the functioning of lymphatic system drastically, thus enhancing immunity.
Nervous and Endocrine System
Nervous system is the bridge between our outer & inner world. Any positive or negative thoughts & emotions fed through the nervous system, redirect our brain to take actions accordingly with the help of endocrine system. The hormones released by endocrine glands are an outcome of our perception formed in the outer world. However, if the hormonal activity is over-induced due to our fears, worry & stress, the adrenal glands release stress hormones into the bloodstream that shuts down our immune system.
Deep Breathing & Meditative practices help soothe down the nervous system by controlling our stress response. This also relaxes the endocrine system & controls the release of negative hormones. Behavioral changes such as expressing oneself, seeking help, being a part of community, following a passion & being more amidst nature has proven in research to be phenomenal in calming the activity or nervous & endocrine system, thereby enhancing immunity.
Skin Health & Immunity
When immunity is in question, skin health is a broken link! A healthy body comprises of a strong skin defense mechanism that protects from any external attacks, be it pollutants or viruses. Our skin possesses a layer of millions of living organisms called ‘Skin Flora’ or ‘Skin Microbiota’. Commensals are a host of “friendly” microbes that reside on our skin & form an integral part of our defense mechanism. The research suggests, gut and skin together balance beneficial, neutral, and harmful microbiota, that impact our innate and adaptive immune system. Thus, boosting skin’s immunity must be a top priority to keep the pathogenic attacks on skin at bay. Skin operates best in an acidic environment & alkaline chemical such as sulphates destroy the delicate balance of the skin exposing it to pathogen attacks.
To protect skin immunity, invest in pure skincare products that are rich in nutrients & maintain pH balance of the skin for a host of good bacteria to thrive on the skin. Natural cleanser such as Kiyomeru helps is rich in natural nutrition & acts as skin food to maintain the gentle skin balance, thus helping protecting your immunity inside-out!