Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai / Photo credit by Ines Quinteros Orio
Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai is recognized as a leading authority on the immune system and an expert in personalized and pre- cision medicine. He holds four degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science, and a dual master’s degree in mechanical engineering and visual studies from the MIT Media Laboratory. In 2003, he returned to complete his doctoral work in systems biology within the Department of Biological Engineering. Dr. Shiva is chairman and CEO of CytoSolve, which provides platforms for modeling complex diseases. He sat down with us to talk about how to best boost our immune system, the body’s army against the outside world.
Once we get back to a normal routine, what do you suggest we all do to boost our immune systems to be ready for the next health challenge? “There are six things everyone should be doing to support the immune system:
Research shows the power of social relationships, friends, and healthy interactions as a powerful way to boost the immune system. Multiple landmark scientific studies have shown how social isolation depresses our immune system. Clinical research has shown that social isolation has worse effects on the body than high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity. Research on both humans and other primates has shown,
at the cellular level, that your body will create more inflammatory molecules – more inflammation, and suppress the creation of valuable antimicrobial compounds, necessary to combat pathogens, when socially isolated. Now obviously, if you are sick and down with the flu, you should self-isolate—that’s common sense and what our grandmothers told us. But even then, it helps to have loved ones and friends around— to support your recovery.
One needs to get adequate vitamin D—the sunlight vitamin. In fact, vitamin D is not just a “vitamin” but a powerful hormone that affects so many molecular processes in your body. One of the best ways to get vitamin D is from the sun—15 minutes a day. The sun’s UVB radiation when it hits your skin creates vitamin D. Now if you spend a lot of time indoors; and, we in the Northeast surely don’t get a lot of it in the wintertime – you should look into vitamin D3 supplementation, and you can even have your levels checked. By the way if you have dark skin, you’re going to need a lot more vitamin D, particularly if you are not getting enough sun.
Dark, leafy vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables and fruit are essential for a strong immune system! If your thyroid is working properly, your body will convert the carotenoids from the dark vegetables into vitamin A. Food is the best source. If that’s not possible, one should explore supplementation with vitamin A Palmitate.
Oranges, strawberries, kale, lemons and sweet yellow peppers. I believe that many coronavirus patients, before being put on ventilators, could have survived with high dosage intravenous vitamin C. Vitamin C, like vitamin A and D, supports a whole array of immune functions that support immune modulation-like shock absorbers-so your immune system doesn’t overreact, leading to auto-immune disorders and the “cykotine storm.”
MINERALS, ZINC AND IODINE
Zinc, (meat, shellfish, seeds, nuts, eggs) is a powerful agent in inhibiting virus replication. Iodine, (dairy, cod, shrimp, tuna, prunes) supports the thyroid to ensure proper manufacturing of vitamin A.
What advice do you offer for keeping one’s mind at peace during such a difficult and trying time? Great question. I would say that connection with others is number one, connecting with nature, eating healthy, supplementing, and using the time the learn new things.
As with all medical advice, it is suggested that you discuss with your doctor or a trusted medical advisor about the best course of action.