As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year of existence, governments, scientists & medical professionals are still focused on stopping it’s spread. Most scientists believe that this version of the coronavirus will evolve to become one of the common colds. One thing that remains important both during the pandemic and after is the importance of your iImmune system.
Even simple cells like bacteria have immune systems, composed of biological structures and processes that help to protect it against disease. The immune systems of humans are a bit more complicated, not only targeting viruses, pathogens, and other invaders, but also working to maintain the body’s homeostasis - which keeps bodily systems stable despite changes in the outside environment. Reciprocally, maintaining homeostasis can boost the immune system’s ability to protect us from viruses and harmful bacteria.
Our bodies need our commitment to build and maintain a strong immune system: Here are some things we can do to assist:
-Maintaining a consistent exercise routine
-Nutritious and unprocessed foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables
-Consume fresh Vitamin C by eating citrus fruits, kale, broccoli, kiwi, and many others plants that contain this vitamin naturally.
-Moderate sun exposure for the absorption of Vitamin D, ideally 30 minutes a day, several days a week
-Sleep for six to nine hours (four to five uninterrupted sleep cycles)
-Hydrate! Aim for eight cups of water per day (unsweetened herbal teas are good too)
-Spending time outdoors in a forest, park, or beach once a week
Immune System & the Endocannabinoid System
Another lesser known physiological system that plays a role in our immune system is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) - a cell-signaling system that regulates many bodily functions and processes, like sleep, mood, and memory. We decided to look into research from around the world about how the ECS could help the immune system work at its optimal functionality, and here’s what we learned:
Cannabinoids, such as CBD, THC and CBG, as well as Terpenes such as Caryophyllene & Myrcene interact with the endocannabinoid receptors already present throughout our body. So far, the two most researched ECS receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
A study conducted on mice and rats by researchers at Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology in Michigan State University, found that the CB2 receptor is the predominant cannabinoid receptor in the immune system and is expressed on T cells, which actively participate in the immune response.
Immune Boosting Properties of Terpenes
A thorough research review, titled “Much More Than a Pleasant Scent: A Review on Essential Oils Supporting the Immune System” was recently done by the scientists at the University of Pecs in Hungary. The researchers concluded that when citrus essential oils [limonene as the predominant terpene] were administered olfactorily(via smell) to those on antidepressants, that the dosage of antidepressant could be reduced. In this study researchers also discovered that some cell values suggested that the fragrance helped to create a restoring effect on immune function.
A separate study, done by scientists at The Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Taiwan, found that when pregnant women received a full body massage with lavender essential oil [linalool as the predominant terpene], that a key indicator showed that their immune response was higher immediately after massage.
We look forward to more research being done on how plant-derived ingredients can keep us healthy.
In the meanwhile, please stay safe and healthy by doing everything you can to keep your immune system in top shape.