By Graeme Sait
Sadly , proactivity has been the missing link in our official Covid-related health advice. If we openly acknowledge that the immune compromised are those most at risk, surely we should be suggesting immune boosting strategies, as an essential priority.
In this offering I will discuss two hugely important, well researched and inexpensive strategies that are absolutely integral to immune competency and virus protection.
The Sunshine Hormone
Perhaps the best researched of the immune enhancers, is the fat soluble antioxidant, Vitamin D3. Interestingly, we now know that this protective powerhouse is not actually a vitamin, but it is too late now to change the name. This substance, produced by our skin, in the presence of sunlight, is actually a hormone, with an intimate link to immunity.
There are compelling statistics linking a shortage of vitamin D3 with significantly increased susceptibility to viral diseases, particularly those affecting the respiratory system. In a meta-analysis of 25 randomised, controlled trials, published in 2017, it was confirmed that vitamin D supplementation offers significant protection against acute respiratory infections. Studies have also shown there's an apparent association between low vitamin D levels and susceptibility to viral infections, such as influenza.
In a recent report relative to Vitamin D and Covid protection, it was suggested that those with blood levels of Vitamin D below 20 nmol/L were particularly susceptible. Interestingly, low levels are often associated with obesity or the elderly. This level of deficiency is also common in aged care and prison scenarios. There is no coincidence that these demographics are amongst the most impacted by the pandemic.
The figures in the research are quite staggering! Those with blood levels of Vitamin D above 50 nmol/L enjoyed 50% less infectivity, they were seven times less likely to be hospitalized and 12 times less likely to die. That sounds like a fairly important reason to top up on Vitamin D!
Most of us would benefit from a D boost. A study in Queensland (“the Sunshine State”), found the the majority of Queenslanders were D3 deficient. It takes full body exposure for 11 minutes, seven days a week, during peak sunlight hours (10 am to 2 pm, to generate sufficient vitamin D. Most of us coat our bodies in sunscreen, or clothes, if we are fully exposed at these times, and this shuts out the good with the bad.
New research suggests that there is an important ratio between Vitamin A and Vitamin D that partially determines the protective performance of Vitamin D.
The best supplement in relation to this ratio, comes from Nature (of course). Cod liver oil contains very high levels of both Vitamin A and Vitamin D3 in an optimum ratio. This oil also contains high levels of the anti-inflammatory workhorses, the Omega 3 fatty acids. A teaspoon a day is good, but a tablespoon a day is the best protective rate.
The best way to take your tablespoon of cod liver oil is to combine it with the juice of a lemon. That way, there is no fishy taste at all, and also no subsequent fish-flavoured reflux! Lemons are also alkalising and they offer several other benefits, including vitamin C.
A good, protective strategy for Vitamin D3 is to supplement 4000 i.us for 4 weeks and then to continue with a daily tablespoon of Cod liver oil, which generally contains around 1350 i.us of Vitamin D3.
It is estimated that up to 79% of us are deficient in zinc. Zinc is required by the thymus gland for the production of key immune cells. It is also the most important mineral for prostate health. In fact, a healthy prostate contains seven times more zinc than an enlarged or cancerous gland. Just a 10% deficiency of zinc has been shown to compromise immunity.
There are several reasons why we are so deficient in this mineral, including low zinc storage capacity in our bodies.
Zinc is deficient in most cereal growing soils, and uptake is impacted in many vegetable operations due to high phosphorous (a notorious zinc inhibitor). However, the largest contribution to our zinc shortage relates to our over consumption of cereal grains. We were not really designed to chomp our way through cereal and toast, followed by a mid-morning snack of biscuits and bread, followed by sandwiches for lunch and pasta, or rice, for dinner. Cereal grains contain a natural acid called phytic acid. This substance binds with zinc and forms an insoluble zinc phytate, which we then excrete.
Zinc is immeasurably important in the immunity equation but we are not being advised of this fact.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the scientists found that those with acceptable blood zinc levels were about 50% less likely to develop pneumonia than those with low concentrations.
However, the most important zinc finding relates specifically to corona viruses. It is head scratching to wonder why these findings have not triggered global excitement and associated zinc supplementation directives.
It is a bit complicated, but essentially the virus invader hijacks your cells, and your own cell replication mechanics (involving DNA and RNA) are now sequestered for replication of the disease in your body. A critical part of this process involves an enzyme utilized by the virus, called RNA- dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP). This enzyme is absolutely essential for the replication and ongoing survival of the virus, so the inhibition of this enzyme is becoming a centerpiece of pharmaceutical research.
In a zinc literature review, There are several studies demonstrating that zinc inhibits RdRP. Zinc deficiency is also commonly found in asthmatics and those with Auto Immune disorders. My goodness! We know that the majority of us are deficient in this key immune-supporting mineral. Why would we not be required to address this deficiency as a matter of urgency? What possible harm could it do? You might even save your prostate in the process!
The secret to zinc supplementation for adults is to take 30 mgs of chelated zinc, directly before bed. This timing will help you avoid those cereal-related losses and your limited zinc storehouse can be restocked while you sleep. Supplementing with the maximum dose of 100 mgs of zinc per day (for adults) is a great proactive strategy for those whom contract the virus. In fact, this was a keystone supplement provided by the Indian Government to the population to help quell their pandemic peak last year.
That bottle of zinc on your bedside cabinet should remain part of your daily supplementary regime for the rest of your life, and that life might just be longer, should you choose to heed this advice.
That’s my contribution for this month. I hope you found some value. I look forward to sharing tips and strategies to improve both soil and human health in coming issues. Cheers - Graeme.
About Graeme Sait
Graeme is the CEO and co-founder of Nutri-Tech Solutions (NTS), a world leader in sustainable agriculture. He is also an author/educator responsible for over 300 published articles and a popular book, “Nutrition Rules!”. He created the internationally acclaimed, ‘NTS Certificate in Nutrition Farming®. This course has now extended the understanding of over 40,000 farmers, on four continents.
Graeme is a sought-after speaker, specialising in soil, plant, animal and human health. More recently, that emphasis has expanded to include planetary health, in recognition of the profound link between soil humus and carbon sequestration. His popular TED Talk, 'Humus Saves The World', has 200,000 views.
Graeme has had a major impact influencing farmers, consultants, governments and key decision makers in Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, Asia, India and of course, Australia and New Zealand (his original home country). He recently consulted with the Minister of Agriculture in the U.K., to help develop a more sustainable post-Brexit agriculture policy. In February, 2019, Graeme travelled to India to train a large group of Professors, some of whom will be involved in the World’s first organic university, soon to be established in that region.
Graeme is an inspirational teacher, and the descriptor most commonly used by his students is, “life- changing”.