The New College Prep: Nutrition and wellness immune system reboot for students in the classroom amid Covid-19.

Co-authors: Madison Popish and Katlyn Ruddle

What do you do now that you will be going back to the classroom during a Pandemic with an invisible virus. You already know about hand washing, masks, and social distancing but did you know that you can prepare your body from the roots up to improve your immune response.

The Cytokine Storm

Lets talk about Covid- 19 first to get a better understanding. Covid-19 has been shown to have 6 different severity levels. The later 3 are more severe so we will focus on those because these reactions are harder on the body and immune system. Cytokine Release Syndrome is related to activated T-cell proliferation releasing high levels of inflammatory cytokines leading to s hyper-inflammatory response. This is also refereed to as Macrophages Activator Syndrome which leads to different degrees of ARDS. The Covid-19 symptoms range from fever, GI symptoms, headaches, shortness of breath to more severe symptoms such as an increase in blood clotting, inflamed blood vessels that become leaky, leading to multi system organ failure. After we read the reactions we can see that we should focus on the health conditions and also on reducing the inflammation we subject our body to on a daily basis. The body likes homeostasis so it can heal with your help.

Studies show that those that had a more severe reaction had some sort of inflammatory disease process and varying degrees of cellular malnourishment. Low Vitamin D, Omega Fatty acids and zinc.  Diabetes, pulmonary disease, heart disease, kidney disease and autoimmune disease. All of these diseases are a form of inflammatory dysfunction which lead to hormone imbalance, gut dysbiosis and over stimulation of the nervous system.

Recharge and Nourish

We will start at the roots by nourishing the cells and balancing the gut and hormones with a rainbow of whole foods. If you eat processed sugar, processed foods, processed oils, wheat, dairy, soy, grains and legumes you keep your body in an inflammatory state and you become nutrient starved. You are eating for flavor or just to eat. Your body is telling you that you need nutrients such as magnesium, copper, B12, iron and so forth. So if you are eating fake and inflammatory foods your system is weak and inflamed.

Focus on:
*Whole foods with 5 different colors with each meal.
* 3 sulfur foods( strengthens cells) * Hydrate adequately.
*Pre-biotic foods and pro-biotic foods to maintain gut balance.
*Cut out sugar and alcohol. These are highly inflammatory and lead to a yeast overgrowth leading to electro-chemical dysregulation, depression and brain fog.
* If you can’t eat the balanced meals invest in an FDA whole foods plant based fermented multivitamin which your body can absorb adequately.
Before you take any supplements make sure that you know your levels. (**More is not always better nor is it safe.**) Know your Vitamin D and zinc levels especially. Ask your doctor for these labs.

Fun Fact

A 20 minute walk in sunlight shining on your skin signals the body to convert cholesterol into Vitamin D. Equivalent to a daily dose.

Sleep Management

Sleep plays a huge role in your health. Rest and repair is when your body switches to melatonin from cortisol. Melatonin sends signals throughout your body to begin rest and repair. Kidneys and gallbladder empty then reset, liver is breaking down glycogen, bones are rebuilding, brain is filtering and rebuilding, hormones and messages are sent and received. Excess insulin is being used. Blood sugar is stable.

Focus on:
*Put away electronics 1 hour before bed and none in bedroom at all. *Pitch black room so that your skin sensors can initiate melatonin release.
*Temperature 60- 68 degrees. *Epson salt and lavender bath before bed. The magnesium relaxes muscles as well as the lavender.
*Journal your thoughts before you lie down or read.
The goal is 8 hours of refreshing sleep. This means waking up feeling fresh with your circadian rhythm regulated. *Chamomile tea before bed relaxes your nervous system too.

Stress Management

The last thing I am going to cover is stress management. HPA Axis Dysfunction leads to hormone imbalance including insulin, adrenal, leptin, thyroid, sex hormones resistance and dysregulation which is highly inflammatory leading to metabolic dysfunction/ metabolic syndrome. There are 3 types of stress; chemical, physical and emotional so it is there even if you don’t realize it.

Focus on:
* Focused breathing.
*Gentle yoga.
*Walking in nature.
*Treating yourself. Go shopping, get a massage, nails done or even a smoothie with a friend.
*Do a good deed. Volunteer. *Avoid Xenoestrogens and stay informed by following
*Exercise can increase symptoms since they are stressors on the body so keep it to light exercise. *Too much caffeine increases cortisol so limit to 1 cup a day or cut it out completely. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed.

In conclusion, if you take care of your body and nurture it; you will see a change in yourself. Rebuilding your body’s balance is gifting your immune system a better opportunity to lessen your reaction to Covid or even possibly keep you from getting it altogether. Wouldn’t it be great if your immune system said “Bam, not today!” because it was set on ready. This improves your safety while in the classroom or around your classmates, staff and family.

Below I will list some great resources so that you can research and  make science based informed choices that are best for you.



Stress Tips: Calm Your Mind, Heal Your Body

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