(HealthNewsDigest.com) – Most of us recognize the menacing signs and symptoms of the winter sniffles and scratchy throat as the weather turns cooler. A rite of passage for most viruses, winter is a time of year when the common cold, flu and even COVID-19, seem to thrive and wreck-havoc on our bodies.
Contrary to the seemingly-wise words of our elders, you cannot catch a cold from being out in the cold (wearing warm clothes in the winter is a good recommendation, but unfortunately, not the key to preventing illness). Becoming ill is a direct result of being exposed to germs and viruses. And unfortunately, many types of viruses actually prefer and are more likely to survive and permeate in the cold weather.
Lower temperatures and drier air have been clinically shown to increase the risk of viral infections. Drier air enables viral particles to travel and remain airborne for longer – which means, a sneeze or a cough is likely to linger in the air longer than any of us would like to think about! And because the dry air also modifies the body’s airways (particularly the nasal passages), they are not able to fight off or expel these particles as effectively as they can when the air has more moisture in it.
We know that winter is not going away, and with the threat of COVID-19 still ever-present across the globe, it’s important to take steps to support the body’s immunity so we have a strong defense system in place if and when we are exposed to germs during the cooler months.
The immune system is a complex group of cells and proteins that work together to help protect the body and fight against harmful foreign invaders – it is considered the body’s primary defense mechanism and is critical to staying well.
Research now shows that this complex set of processes is powered largely by the mitochondria, the tiny organelles that exist in nearly all of the body’s trillions of cells. The primary role of the mitochondria is to generate energy and assist in other metabolic processes. However, data supporting the link between mitochondrial health and immunity is increasing.
The mitochondria are specifically involved with many essential processes that support the immune system, including: the activation, differentiation, and survival of immune cells—such as Natural Killer Cells (a type of white blood cells that are tasked with fighting aggressors), Macrophages (defensive cells within white blood cells that attack and destroy invaders), and T-Cells (immune response cells that fight infection).
The mitochondria are exceptionally busy, however – like most processes in the body – their productivity and efficiency can decline with age. During the everyday energy production process, free radicals are produced in the mitochondria. To combat the damage that free radicals can cause to the cell, the mitochondria produce an antioxidant called CoQ10. But as we age, the natural levels of CoQ10 in our bodies can decline; consequently, free radicals begin to damage the mitochondrial membrane – where the body’s energy production takes place. This ultimately damages the cells and inhibits their ability to work as effectively as they should.
While mitochondrial decline is, in part, a natural step in the body’s aging process, there are ways to help supply these organelles with the fuel that they need to stay powered up.
CoQ10 supplements have historically been the recommended solution to support the energy systems of the body, particularly the immune system. The problem is that most widely available CoQ10 supplements do not effectively penetrate the very secure mitochondrial membrane – which means, most of the valuable antioxidant doesn’t get to where it is needed most.
A relatively new CoQ10 supplement, MitoQ, is a unique formulation that is specifically designed to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane hundreds of times more effectively than regular CoQ10 supplements. This means that the mitochondria get everything they need, at the levels most optimal for their efficiency.
With the cooler months ahead and the global pandemic looming, we all need to think about the best ways to support our own immunity. Eating a clean diet full of whole foods, staying hydrated, obtaining adequate sleep and taking care of one’s mental and emotional health are all very important ways to maintain overall wellness. But the added step of helping power up immunity at the cellular level through the body’s mitochondria is another way to ensure the body is in fighting form to combat any type of seasonal illness that comes its way.