How to boost your immune system and fight an infection - Part 1: Vagus Nerve

Mar 10, 2020

Have you ever suffered from a common cold or flu and you've really struggled to get over it in a time manner similar to your friends or your family have done and it takes you a lot longer? Or perhaps you're much more susceptible to common colds or flus, or infections.

This used to be me back in 2016 and what I learnt when I took back control of my brain and whole body health is that when you've got your wellbeing and energy levels in check, everything else improves.

If this is you I hope this will help you.  This is part 1 of a five part series focusing on how you can boost your immune system and fight an infection.

There are four phases that we can talk about with regards to dealing with an infection:

  • Phase 1 - Prevent
  • Phase 2 - Resist
  • Phase 3 - Treat
  • Phase 4 - Recover.

With regards to coronavirus, the at risk groups as identified by the UK government are:

  1. Those with a lowered immune system
  2. Older people
  3. People with long term health conditions, including diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

If you think that is you, I hope this will help you. If you know anybody that is at risk, please share this blog if you think this could help them.

This series is intended to be educational. Please talk to your healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

There's five things that you can do to help you boost your immune system and fight an infection. These are conveniently remembered by the mnemonic VIRUS.

V - Vagus Nerve

V stands for vagus nerve. What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas when it comes to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve connects your brain to your heart, gut and other parts of your body. It's the reason why we get butterflies when we are nervous and that sick feeling when we are anxious.

We call the gut the second brain. The health of our gut is so important as it makes up approximately 60% of our immune system. When we look after our gut health, it looks after our whole body and brain health. When the gut works right, you work right.

Our gut is our fist line of defence to fighting infections, so that's where we will start. If we look at the gut lining, it's a single cell thick called the mucosal cell.  When it's working well, we've got lots of good bacteria in our gut and not so many bad bugs and that collection of bugs is called the microbiome.

They say the relationship should be 85% good bugs to 15% bad bugs, and when that's working well we've got nice tight junctions between the mucosal cells that prevent or reduce the chance of any infections entering our blood stream.

When it's not working well the gut lining starts to break down, the cell junctions widen, we've got an imbalance of good bugs to bad bugs - too many bad bugs, and it makes it easier for the viruses and bacteria to pass through our intestine and into our bloodstream. This is called leaky gut.

Focus on the steps you can take to feed the good bugs and avoid feeding the bad bugs in your gut to build a healthy microbiome.

This includes:

  • Ensuring your omega-3 levels are optimised for you - get your levels checked if required.  Omega-3 can be found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, herring and halibut, as well as walnuts and avocados. Ensure the fish is clean (low in toxins)
  • Eating prebiotic foods, which includes apples, beans, cabbage, artichokes, onions and leeks, as well as asparagus and root vegetables
  • Consider supplementing with probiotics, which combined with prebiotics are considered the best approach
  • Ensure you have a diet full of fibre to help feed the good bugs
  • Limiting the number of medications we take, particularly antibiotics, as well as avoiding food that contains antibiotics
  • Avoid sugar, which feed the bad bugs
  • Limit high glycemic, low fibre foods, such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes, white pasta, which turns to sugar
  • Limit processed foods, which can upset your microbiome
  • Limit gluten, which can breakdown the gut lining, and consider other food allergens that may be causing inflammation in your gut
  • Buy clean food - seek to limit exposure to pesticides, which kill the good bugs
  • Avoid excessive alcohol, which kill the good bugs.

If you'd like to find out more about how you can boost your immune system and fight infection make sure you watch all parts of the series:

To find out how I can help you boost your brain health and performance to be the best of who you can be, register for your FREE Unleashed Strategy Call.

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