by Vanessa Shields-Fiore, DC, BCAO, PScD

There’s much talk about ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus but not much providing ways to make stronger our own natural defenses…and they are legion. For those who still have this choice, we can strengthen and/or enhance our own immune system.

One must have a clear, uninterrupted nervous system as this controls every organ and system in the body, including the immune system and immune organs (bone marrow and thymus gland). Correcting the subluxations or misalignments in the spine removes interference in the nerve system and improves brain-body communication thus adaptability and resilience. The immune system has several components of which the nerve system is just one; it also has an adaptive part, innate part, hormonal part and gut-brain part. When we get sick or injured, by maintaining this clear brain-body communication, we will be allowing the body its ability to begin healing.

Movement or exercise is also important to health, increasing blood flow which increases oxygen to the cells and brain, releases endorphins and lowers stress hormones (chronic elevated stress hormones alone will lower immunity).

Eat well. Plants are nature’s original medicine, whether a food, herb or essential oil. Foods high in vitamins A, D and C, fermented foods and essential fats are especially good for immune function. If one cannot get the nutrients from their food, supplementing with high-quality whole food or herbal supplements is suggested. Limiting or reducing sugar intake is also beneficial. Sugar has been shown to lower the immune system for up to eight hours after just one serving. Sugar is also very addicting: the more you eat, the more you crave.

Not only does nutritional deficiency lead to lower immune resistance, so does chemical toxicity. Consideration must be given to what gets put on the body as what you put on it eventually ends up in it. Common household and beauty products are extremely toxic. There are few to no government regulations on these products (but that’s another article).

Lastly, but perhaps foremost, be well. Focus more on your emotional and mental well-being. The recent self-quarantining and social isolation can be used as catalysts, and once eased back, used as the springboard to enjoy the freedom of movement even more, Go out of doors and absorb the sunshine and fresh air; physical activity is good for not only your physical health but also your mental health. Natural sunshine also allows the body to produce vitamin D, one of the essential immune vitamins. Essential oils can be effectively used to lower stress levels and change a mood almost instantly! Smell is the *only thing that can stimulate the amygdala in the brain. The amygdala affects the limbic system. The limbic system controls our emotions, memories, hormones (endocrine system) and autonomic nervous system. Diffusing not only smells good but comes with numerous benefits, including natural air purification as, by nature, essential oils are antimicrobial, killing bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus and molds (different oils may be better for one infection over the other).

In conclusion, it is wise to take charge of our mind-body health; see your chiropractor, stretch, have bodywork (massage, acupuncture, reiki, etc.), eat well, take your supplements, use essential oils, meditate and keep close with family and friends. Poor health choices lead to chronic stress and inflammation in the body. A compromised immune system puts one at risk for a whole host of problems, not just this year’s virus. Health is a choice. Take charge of it. “Health is not a matter of chance; health is a matter of choice.” ~ author unknown

“Move well. Eat well. Be well.” is the motto at New Life Chiropractic Center, where Dr. Vanessa Shields-Fiore, DC, BCAO, PScD, has her practice, located at 820 S. State Rd 7, Plantation. For more info and appointments, call 954-389-8297 or visit