What a start to the new year! I hope and pray this piece of mine finds you in the pink of health.
So, amidst the current pandemic of Covid-19 and how it is affecting us, I want to talk about one of the most practiced and popular bio hacks. It can potentially help to build a solid response to dealing with infections in general and is backed by science. This is from a lifestyle and exercise perspective and not from a clinical practice ladies and gentlemen. I am not an infectious disease expert. I am just someone who likes to take care of my health & wellbeing, nutrition a little more than the average Joe on the street. To put it in Tyrion Lannister trademark style, he drank, and he knew things “I lift, I read, and I know a few things”
This potential biological threat has changed everything. Who would have thought of such an eventuality? I for one, in the last 8 years or so, have never gone without training in the gym for more than 2 days in a row. No matter where I am or what my schedule is, I have always managed to get access to a gym. But this, however, is here to stay and will change the way we eat, sleep, train and do what we do forever.
Alright, let’s begin with how an infection works its way in our body? in general terms, its viral or bacterial in nature. It enters our body and begins to multiply. The cells within are damaged as a result of the infection and we fall sick. People with a healthier immune system have a better response and tend to manage the infection far greater than the folks with a not so healthy immune system. So, as established, your immunity is the army of soldiers fighting the enemy pathogens which include bacteria, germs and viruses. To break this down, you want to build or manage your T-cells (a type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow for adults) which are critical in resistance against viruses and bacteria.
So, the army of T-cell soldiers fight the bad guys who try to enter our body to mutate and survive within us. What is that one thing we can we do to ensure these soldiers are healthy, multiplying and getting the right pathway or environment to do their job well?
Simple, we must ensure our body is managing insulin better! Yes, you read that right!
You see, high levels of insulin in our body prevents T-cells (our army of soldiers) to do their job well. Which means, the more glucose, sugar or high glycemic carbs you eat the more insulin you will produce, and this will impair your body’s ability(T-cells) to manage infection better. Once again, you want to build or manage your T-cells which are critical in resistance against viruses and bacteria. So, how do we manage insulin? By fasting intermittently or, by producing Ketone bodies by way of Ketosis.
Each time we eat a carbohydrate, e.g. sugar, our body breaks it down into glucose within our bloodstream which creates an insulin response. This insulin then travels to our cells and tells them to open and absorb the glucose produced in the blood stream (called blood sugar). So, a diet rich in carbs or eating too much will mean more insulin being produced and working overtime to do its job managing blood sugar, hence making it counterproductive for T-cells to function. In the presence of insulin, T-cell function is impaired.
So, fasting intermittently or a Ketogenic diet transitions our body from using glucose as a primary source of fuel to fats (Ketones) as a source of fuel. Fasting produces Ketone bodies which result in less insulin production in the blood stream creating a healthier environment for the T-cells army to do their job better in fighting and killing the enemy pathogens. I have spoken about intermittent fasting in plenty of my videos and articles. Will not get into details. Let me link this article with a video on intermittent fasting and how it helps to manage insulin better. Also, I want to link this one up a with an observational study on how Intermittent fasting can potentially reverse Type 2 diabetes and manage insulin in the long run.
Let me also leave you with some general guidelines on how one can manage and build their immunity better if you’re not already doing it.
- Quit smoking- Never been a better time to do this.
- Eat nutrient dense foods. Vegetable and fruits (low in fructose) you want to ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
- Exercise at least 3-5 days for 20-40 minutes a week. This is a no brainer. Did I tell you that any form of exercise helps to bring your insulin down naturally? Less insulin means a better environment for T-cell army to fight the bad guys.
- Avoid foods that cause inflammation- processed food, refined carbohydrates, inferior quality cooking oils
- Learn how to manage stress- Limited stress is alright and the body will fight that by way of producing hormones like Cortisol. However, prolonged or chronic stress can elevate cortisol which can cause inflammation and impair our immune system.
Remember, you are what you eat and lift. So, make sure to choose wisely and each time there is an opportunity, move a thing or two and do the work. The world has seen far greater catastrophes and threats, this too will pass. Have a good Sunday and be safe people.
We lift; therefore we are!