For our first Biohack topic, I thought I would start with a challenge we all face with our training and one that I have just nipped in the bud myself this week - the common cold!
When I feel a cold coming on there are a few things I do to strengthen my natural immunity. I find that these things will either shorten how long it sticks around for or get rid of it completely...
1. VITAMIN C + ZINC - Load up with a vitamin c and zinc supplement, until it passes.
I am aware there is a bit of uncertainty on whether Vitamin C actually prevents colds however research does show that it helps to get rid of them.
Vitamin C has many functions, including working as an antioxidant to protect cells from oxidative damage. It also maintains the body’s supply of other antioxidants, including Glutathione (the importance of which I cover further in point 2).
Zinc, the average person’s diet really doesn’t include enough zinc. On top of that, colds can really lower your zinc reservoir. Your immune system and energy production really depends on you having a solid supply of zinc.
What to take? So something like this from Higher Nature is great or I sometimes just grab a pack effervescent tablets from a supermarket which will also ensure you get some much-needed H2O as you fight off the pesky germ.
2. L-GLUTAMINE - Take glutamine, it helps your body make its own antioxidant!
Your body makes its own antioxidants, Glutathione is one of them. And the amino acid L-Glutamine is a precursor of Glutathione.
Glutathione is amazing, it boosts your cellular energy and immune system, which helps fight infections like colds. However, dietary Glutathione is poorly absorbed by the human body. And whilst your body can produce its own Glutathione, it gets used up acting on inflammation, toxins, free radicals, and pathogens, especially when you're not feeling so well, and it depletes even faster with stress.
Supplementing, with the conditionally essential amino acid L-Glutamine can help your body make and maintain adequate levels of this antioxidant.
It is also worth noting that Vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining glutathione levels. For this reason, taking a Vitamin C supplement may also help increase glutathione levels in your body.
What to take: I generally get my Glutamine from Bulk Powders (unflavoured). I typically mix the powder in with my Vit C+Zinc drink before bed or first thing in the morning.
3. LEMON, GINGER, GARLIC & TURMERIC
Lemon, ginger, garlic and turmeric will all help you out in different ways.
Garlic lends a hand with immunity support since it is antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal.
Ginger is a helpful natural cold remedy. It's antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and can help with headaches and sore throats.
Turmeric is fantastic for helping you feel better because its active compound curcumin keeps your inflammation in check, helps regulate your immune system and has anti-microbial properties.
Lemon (and raw honey) - so your nan will probably swear by this combo and she is right. As well as tasting better than lemsip. Lemon is rich in Vitamin C and raw honey has anti-microbial properties and helps soothe sore throats.
What to take? With these ingredients, I will simply add any variation of them to hot water and make myself some tea. Well, not with the garlic... yuk! With the garlic, I will normally take a couple of cloves, smash them wait about 10 mins (as my tea brews) then I will either spread it on something (maybe with some avocado) or pinch my nose and wash it down with my tasty tea. :-)
To make the Tea: A thumbnail cube of ginger scored, a quarter of lemon squeezed, a teaspoon of turmeric powder and honey to taste. Leave it to steep for 10 mins before enjoying it on the sofa.
4. SLEEP - It's Free!
Get to bed by 10 pm - simples! Sleep is natures' best healer and it's free. Turn off your electronics at least 30mins beforehand and have a warm shower or bath to relax.
You might have heard your grandparents (and great grandparents) say that "Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight." and although not a scientific statement the sentiment is true.
Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley talks about how your sleep quality does change as the night wears on. “The time of night when you sleep makes a significant difference in terms of the structure and quality of your sleep,” he explains. Your slumber is composed of a series of 90-minute cycles during which your brain moves from deep, non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep to REM sleep. “That 90-minute cycle is fairly stable throughout the night,” Walker explains. “But the ratio of non-REM to REM sleep changes.”
When it comes to bedtime, he says there’s a window of several hours—roughly between 8 PM and 12 AM—during which your brain and body have the opportunity to get all the non-REM and REM shuteye they need to function optimally. The later you leave it the potentially less restorative non-REM you may get.
So... if you're a little groggy headed in the mornings consider an earlier bedtime and get your 8 hours shut-eye. Your body will thank you for it. Plus getting up at 6 am you might be able to squeeze in a 30 min gym session too!