I hope you are all Well and Safe and have been managing to enjoy parts of lockdown. OF COURSE follow government advice, and OF COURSE this advice is not going to prevent or cure COVID-19; and I’m sure you already know the basics – eat well, lots of fresh fruit and veg, exercise daily if you can, get good sleep – but my role has always been to bring you things from outside the box…. so here’s 2 things most people should be able to do at home. One fairly mainstream, and one less so!
- Get your vitamin D3!
- Acupressure points ‘Elegant Mansion’ !
1. Vitamin D
If you have MS, you should be taking it anyway, right?
The NHS Trust that I work for recently circulated information about vitamin D’s role in immunity, and recommended that clinicians request blood testing for vitamin D3 for their patients, and prescribe vitamin D3 on an individual basis, depending on results, as part of its staff bulletin about COVID-19.
That’s because vitamin D supplementation has been shown, in published research, to enhance the function of the immune system and reduce the risk of developing respiratory infection. 3 studies also show that high levels of Vitamin D reduce the severity of respiratory infection.
It also advised that ‘Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with a large number of conditions from diabetes to depression, and NICE now advise is that all adults in the UK should take a daily supplement containing 400 international units (IU [10 micrograms]) of vitamin D throughout the year. ‘ People with these conditions should take specialist advice before supplementing:
• Hypercalcemia or a history of hypercalcaemia
• History of renal stones
• History of sarcoidosis
• Renal impairment (eGFR<60mls/min) (1, 25 dihydroxy vitamin D may be needed)
Many people with MS, after looking at the research on vitamin D in MS, take a higher dose, often of 5000IU daily, which is 1000IU higher than the NHS recommended top dose of 4000IU. For more information on vitamin D3 in MS, see https://overcomingms.org/resources/faq/sunlight-vitamin-d
How to get vitamin D3?
Either at least 10 minutes with lots of skin showing in the sun, whilst your shadow is shorter than yourself – ie middle of the day, in the UK, or, by supplementing. In my experience, under the tongue spray is better absorbed than tablets; I have had some patients who took high doses as tablets but whose blood levels only increased minimally; however on switching to the sublingual spray, they picked right up.
2. The ‘Elegant Mansion’!
I made this film as a contribution to an MS Nurses A-Z of getting through coronavirus times, which is why I had to say ‘I’ is for….!
Elegant Mansion. No, that’s not where I live, it’s the Chinese name for the acupressure points K-27s! Acupressure is a part of Traditional Chinese medicine, and has been used for over 2000 years. Acupressure (and acupuncture – acupressure with needles) sends a signal to the body to “turn on” its own self-healing or balancing mechanisms, by balancing the flow of ‘Qi’, or energy, around meridians ( a subtle circulation system, like the blood and lymphatic systems, but of energy).
The ‘K27’ points, or ‘Elegant Mansion’ are used both to stimulate lung function, boost and strengthen immunity, AND reduce anxiety. Perfect for right now! K 27 points can be stimulated by yourself, or someone can do them for you. You find them right under your collar bones, on either side of the sternum ( breastbone), and they feel like squishy dips, which may feel sore if they are in need of ‘unblocking’ !
- Use deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate each point, using finger and thumb of one hand, or the index fingers of both.
- Relax, and breathe deeply.
- Repeat the massage as often as you like; 4 or 5 times a day is good
I enjoyed this explanation of stimulating the K27s from acupressure expert Michael Gach… I think he might (!) be Californian https://acupressure.com/immune-boosting-acupressure-for-the-flu-season-k-27/
I like to think of the immune system as an army; we need to keep it well nourished, well rested, exercised, and alert. Coronavirus is a new threat, which our immune systems don’t recognise, and this is why it has had such a devastating effect. By now, many peoples’ lives have been touched by tragedy, or lost, and many people have been gravely ill. Many people have probably already been exposed without drastic effects. In the end, we will probably all be exposed to the virus at some point, and it is our immune systems that we need to fight it off, or help us to recover, and to help us stay well on a daily basis.
We’re still learning about coronavirus, but supporting our immune system is always going to be a positive, so let’s do whatever we safely can, and look forward to hopefully seeing each other face to face again soon.
All the best,
Vitamn D References
1. Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, Greenberg L, Aloia JF, Bergman P, Dubnov-RazG, Esposito S, Ganmaa D, Gender AA, Goodall EC. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. bmj. 2017 Feb 15;356: i6583.
2. Gruber-Bzura BM. Vitamin D and Influenza—Prevention or Therapy? International journal of molecular sciences. 2018 Aug;19(8):2419.
3. Grant WB, Giovannucci E. The possible roles of solar ultraviolet-B radiation and vitamin D in reducing case-fatality rates from the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic in the United States. DermatoEndocrinology. 2009 Jul 1;1(4):215-9.
4. Huang F, Zhang C, Liu Q, Zhao Y, Zhang Y, Qin Y, Li X, Li C, Zhou C, Jin N, Jiang C. Identification of amitriptyline HCl, flavin adenine dinucleotide, azacitidine and calcitriol as repurposing drugs for influenza A H5N1 virus-induced lung injury. PLoS Pathogens.2020 Mar 16;16(3):e1008341.