Your Immune System 

 Experts agree that COVID-19 will be a problem for some time to come. The hope is that a vaccine will be created to help provide protection in the future. There are however some big problems with this as our only hope and solution. As you will see below, we are a long way (over a year) from developing a vaccine. We also don’t know how effective it will be, since most flu virus vaccines are only about 50% effective at preventing infection. Another concern is how long would the vaccine provide protection; even if the vaccine worked well, you might need to get vaccinated every year. I find all this a bit unsettling. So, what else can you do to protect yourself and family? Most functional medicine doctors recommend getting your immune system working at its best. There are several reasons for this. 

Your only true defense against COVID-19

#1 Even if you get vaccinated, you will need to have a robust immune system response to develop immunity. Vaccine’s themselves don’t make you immune to a virus. They provide the stimulus for your immune system to make antibodies against the virus. If your immune system does not do its job well, the vaccine won’t do anything for you. 

#2 How well your immune system works will determine if you get infected and how well you will defeat the virus. The reason some people are at more risk is because their immune system is not functioning well. For example, individuals who are obese or have diabetes are at greater risk of infection and death from COVID-19. This is because these conditions compromise the immune system. Not only due to increased body inflammation but an impaired immune response. 

#3 Improving your immune system is not only about taking dietary supplements (vitamin C, D, A, zinc…) you need to take the burden of chronic illness off your immune system. You might need to lose weight, improve your blood sugar control, eliminate inflammatory foods, remove food allergies or sensitivities in your diet, heal your gut, remove gut infections caused by bad bacteria, yeast or parasites…the list goes on. Your immune system does not function in isolation. The other systems like the digestive system, endocrine system (hormones of all kinds) and nervous system are either helping to support your immune system or pulling it down. Therefore, the help of a functional medicine doctor is so important today, no one else is looking at the immune system or the other systems of your body. Traditional medicine is only offering 2 solutions…social distancing and the hope of a vaccine sometime in the future. 

 More than 18 months to create a vaccine for the virus?

One vaccine expert put it this way, “If the past is any indicator, the world won’t have a coronavirus vaccine for more than a year, probably longer.  The mumps vaccine—considered the fastest ever approved—took 4 years…” “Current COVID-19 trials aren’t due for completion until this fall, Spring 2021 or much later. There is good reason to allow time for safety checks because some preliminary vaccines for the related coronavirus (SARS) for instance, actually enhanced the disease in model experiments.” Another expert warns, “Considering the history and science behind making these drugs, a year to 18 months would be absolutely unprecedented.” 

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be effective?

The CDC runs studies each year to determine how effective flu vaccines work. Recent studies show that the vaccines reduces flu by 40%-60% among the overall population…not 100%. One concern experts have is how well a COVID-19 vaccine will work and how long immunity would last. An expert from Penn Presbyterian Medical Center said, “If you get a vaccine once and your immunity is lifelong, then that would be a great scenario. However, immunity to coronaviruses typically lasts only a year or two, which would suggest that people would need seasonal shots of any COVID-19 vaccine.” 

In summary, social distancing is essential, and yes, we will eventually have a vaccine. Unfortunately, social distancing can’t go on forever and we don’t know how well the vaccine will work. Its effectiveness is immune system dependent. In the meantime, why wouldn’t you do all that you can to improve your chances against this virus?

 Your immune system is your only defense and all experts can agree on this.

The purpose of functional medicine is: 

Understanding how the body works, knowing how and where to investigate health issues, knowing what to look for, understanding the significance of what is found and creating a plan of action to reverse and correct the root cause the health problems.

My wish for you…health, happiness and a better quality of life! 

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations. 

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. This article is for information purposes and is not a substitute professional healthcare services. Contact our office for more information.