At this point, it almost seems like the coronavirus - or COVID-19 - pandemic has been going on for months. Despite the virus constantly infiltrating the news, social media, and almost every conversation we have, there’s still so much we don’t know.
We don’t know when things will be back to normal - or what that new normal will look like. We don’t know if there will be additional waves of coronavirus in the fall. And we don’t know when we’ll have a vaccine.
While all of these unknowns can be frustrating and intimidating, the news isn’t all bad. Social distancing is already showing signs of working. It’s not going to be easy, but this is clearly something that can be stopped.
Why is social distancing so important? Because you can transmit COVID-19 even if you don’t have any symptoms. That might be surprising, but there’s actually a reason for it and it’s all in your mucosal immune system AKA your gut.
As we continue to work through this pandemic together, don’t just trust your gut - invest in your gut’s health. Why? Let’s explain.
We’ve all heard the basics by now: Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, practice social distancing. But what else can you do you protect yourself?
According to expert immunologist Dr. Aristo Vojdani, the best defense against COVID-19 is to enhance your mucosal immune system and cell-mediated immunity, which includes natural killer cells and phagocytic activity.
So what exactly is your mucosal immune system? It's the mucous membrane that lines your intestines, reproductive system, and respiratory system. In other words, it's the first line of defense you have. It’s the highly protective membrane that protects body surfaces that come in contact with the external environment.
Your immune system is incredibly complex, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to learn that a ton of factors impact its function. What you might be surprised to learn, however, is that these factors aren't genetic. Instead, they are influenced by external factors like your diet.
This is why it's important to take care of your microbiome, which is the name for trillions of microbes that live in your gut. Over 70% of your immune system resides in your gut, and much of that can be attributed to your microbiome. Research shows that a healthy microbiome not only helps you maintain your overall health, but it is essential to your body's immune response to infectious pathogens like COVID-19. A healthy gut can even prevent overreactions from the immune system that can damage your lungs and other organs.
New information is always coming out related to COVID-19, but the leading belief is that it all comes down to antibodies. There are four major isotypes of antibodies: IgA, IgG, IgM, and IgE.
IgA is the first major antibody the human body produces. This is the antibody that coats the mucous membrane and protects the body from bacteria, pathogens, and viruses. Our mucosal membrane is truly the body's first line of defense against sickness and perhaps the most important layer of protection we have in our bodies.
The other three isotypes of antibodies also have specific functions. IgG are long-term antibodies, IgM are short-term antibodies, and IgE are responsible for allergies and parasites.
Since your body produces antibodies when fighting infections, an antibody blood test can be performed to determine if you've had coronavirus. This test doesn't check for the virus itself, however. It simply checks to see if your immune system responded to a coronavirus infection.
If the test detects IgM antibodies, it means you could still harbor the virus in your mucosal membranes. If the test detects IgG antibodies, it's possible you are immune against COVID-19. IgG antibodies can protect against reinfection for many years, but coronavirus is still too new to know for sure. Scientists simply don't know what it takes to be protected from future infections.
So what does all this have to do with being asymptomatic? If your body has a great level of IgA and good mucous membrane levels, it prevents the virus from latching onto receptors. If there are neutralizing antibodies in your saliva and mucous membranes, the virus won't be able to do damage. This is why some people are exposed but do not get sick.
If your gut health isn't where it needs to be, your body won't be able to stop the virus from binding to receptors and causing respiratory infections.
So, how can you protect yourself from COVID-19? If you are able to enhance IgA production in the mucous, prevent replication via phagocytosis, and empower natural killer cells, you can protect yourself. Mucosal immunity is so important because, if the virus cannot bind, you cannot get COVID-19.
So, how exactly can you do that? You can build mucosal immunity by feeding your gut prebiotic fibers with both probiotics and enzymes.
A whole foods diet is essential for mucosal immunity because it's crucial to give your body enough prebiotic fiber to help build up your immunity. When plant-based whole foods are at the center of your diet, you're feeding your body much needed fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
In fact, a plant-based diet has been shown to benefit gut microbiome diversity and even reduce inflammation.
In addition to focusing on whole foods, it's also very beneficial to do a detox because it can prevent the entry of xenobiotics into the mucosal immune system. Xenobiotics bind to your body's receptors and compete with nutrient receptors in immune cells, which you definitely don't want.
A fantastic way to protect yourself by building mucosal immunity is to enjoy Pineapple Chia Cleanse from SMART Pressed Juice. Since the majority of our immune system resides in our gut, think of foods that nourish and restore your gut daily. The sprouted prebiotic fibers provide essential nutrients to keep your gut microbiome and immunity functioning at its best.
This unique blend of 15 superfoods is packed with fiber and also acts as a daily mini-detox. It not only combats bloating and keeps cravings in check, but activated fibers gently remove waste and support the healthy elimination of toxins.