A couple weeks ago I shared strategies you can make your home more resistant to coronavirus (you can read that here). In this post, I’ll share how your home can directly impact your immune system and what you can do about it.
Now, there is no shortage of advice online right now about how to boost your immunity naturally, especially in light of the pandemic we’re in. Some of it is well-intentioned and accurate, some of it is false. So before I dive in, I will say it very clearly:
The only way to ensure you don’t get covid-19 is to not come in contact with the virus that causes it.
Full stop. No amount of immune-boosting strategies will guarantee that you won’t get sick, so it’s still critical that you practice physical distancing, wash your hands, don’t touch your face… all the stuff public health agencies are telling us to do.
Now, that being said, we should absolutely be helping our immune system do its job. All the time, really, but especially in light of the pandemic. Because if your body isn’t functioning optimally, it’s less likely to be able to fight for you.
I actually attended the Environmental Health Symposium (online) last week, an annual conference. And this year’s theme was suitably “Immunotoxicity: The Intersection between Toxic Exposure, Infectious Disease and Autoimmunity”. So some of this was covered by speakers there, and I’ll be sharing more from the conference over the coming weeks.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into how you can boost your immunity naturally at home!
What it Means to Boost Your Immune System
So the key here is that you want to help your immune system maintain its natural balance, rather than giving it a boost. An over-functioning immune system is just as bad as an under-performing one (autoimmune disease is an example of an over-functioning immune system).
Yes, there are vitamins and supplements and dietary changes you can make. But that’s not in my realm of expertise so I’m not going to go there.
So, how can you support a healthy immune system while you’re stuck at home?
Gold star if you guessed where I’m going here…
Toxins and Immunity
Yup. I talk about them all the time as they relate to long-term health impacts like hormone disruption, children’s development, asthma and allergies, cancer, etc… but toxic chemicals found throughout our homes also play a role in our immune function.
There are many different ways toxins can affect our immune systems. Here are some examples:
Certain chemicals have been shown to damage mitochondria, which are tiny structures inside each cell that create energy required for cell function. Heavy metal and certain pesticides have been found to be particularly damaging to mitochondria. Healthy mitochondria are thought to be an important part of a healthy immune system, and are required for your body to continue to clear toxins and maintain optimal health.
Gluta-what? Glutathione! It’s a critical component of detoxification that helps toxic chemicals leave the body more easily. But it’s also a critical component of a healthy immune system. Interestingly, gutathione has been shown to play an important anti-inflammatory role in the lungs.
Specific toxins have been shown to impact the immune system directly, like PCBs and dioxins. These are commonly found in our food and water, and won’t be found on any ingredient labels. Not all toxic chemicals can be avoided completely, which is why it’s important to understand where your main sources are and do your best to reduce your exposure.
What You Can Do
The good news is, you have a lot of control over your household exposures! And sitting at home in isolation is a perfect time to pause and reflect on the products you’re using and daily habits that could be contributing to your body’s toxic load.
- Audit of your skincare and cleaners as a simple way to start to lower your total body burden (I show you how here).
- Reduce your exposure to pesticides in your food.
- Eat foods to support glutathione production (watch this for recommendations from Dr. Melina Roberts, ND).
Taking simple yet impactful steps to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals can help support your immune system so it in turn can help keep you safe. And this is something we should be focused on all the time, not just during a global pandemic.
If you’re looking for a supportive community ready to cheer you on and help answer your questions about creating a healthier, greener home, I invite you to join us over in my free Facebook Group, the Green Product Forum! Click here to join today.