There is nothing like a pandemic to make people worry desperately about the future, their personal health and the health of their family. It can seem overwhelming and frankly, a bit out of anyone’s control to manage. All of this adds up to enormous stress that reduces the quality of one’s sleep and jeopardizes immune health and mental wellbeing. However, there are three things we can actively do to manage our health and take back the control we struggle to own during these challenging times. The first step is to know your blood levels, for these important nutrients that most people are deficient in but can aid with sleep, immune and heart health:
Good Magnesium Levels Help With Sleep
Stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high, so getting 7-8 hours of sleep can reboot your immune system. If you struggle to get enough sleep, you may be deficient in magnesium. Anywhere between 50-80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, which you can get by eating whole grains, almonds, peanut butter, avocado, dark chocolate or through dietary supplementation. Magnesium enables your body to maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes deep, restorative sleep. There is evidence that restless leg syndrome is related to magnesium deficiency, a major cause of insomnia. Magnesium deficiency is also associated with increased stress and anxiety levels.
Magnesium plays another important role essential to immune health, as it appears to help the absorption of vitamin D3 supplements. A study conducted by GrassrootsHealth, a nonprofit research organization specializing in nutrient field trials, concluded using magnesium supplements alongside vitamin D supplements was more effective at remedying vitamin D deficiency than using vitamin D alone. In fact, 50% of those who didn’t take magnesium needed an additional 146% more vitamin D to achieve a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml.
Good Vitamin D Levels Help With Immune Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking the underlying health conditions associated with increased severity or complications of COVID-19, as compared to persons without these conditions. Diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease, rank as the top three. CDC has documented that these three pre-existing conditions are more detrimental risk factors than being a current or former smoker. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to all three of the top diseases most affected by COVID-19. Former CDC Chief, Dr. Tom Friedan affirmed, “Vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infection, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of other viruses such as influenza. A respiratory infection can result in cytokine storms – a vicious cycle in which our inflammatory cells damage organs throughout the body – which increase mortality for those with COVID-19.”
Nearly 90% of all Americans are vitamin D deficient. The primary source of vitamin D is sunshine. Absorbing enough vitamin D has always been challenging for Americans who prioritize skin protection over sun exposure. And frankly, you just can’t eat your way to a healthy vitamin D level, so supplementation is highly recommended.
Good Omega-3 Levels Help With Heart Health
We’ve been hearing a lot about the connections between lung and heart health when it comes to COVID-19 and how people with chronic lung and cardiovascular disease are more at risk. So what if you or a family member has cardiovascular disease? According to a study, “Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the risk for sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality in patients with known coronary heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are also used to treat hyperlipidemia and hypertension.”
Still, 98% of people fall outside the optimal range of an 8% or higher omega-3 level. The good news is you can eat your way to a healthy omega-3 level with mackerel, halibut and other fatty cold-water fish. If you don’t like eating seafood, or can’t afford to eat these foods, you are at risk of having an omega-3 deficiency.
Know Your Levels of Magnesium, Vitamin D and Omega-3
According to GrassrootsHealth D*action project, 48 high-profile vitamin D researchers from around the globe agree that 40-60 ng/ml is the ideal range for vitamin D that can help reduce disease by 20-50% or more. Once you know your vitamin D levels you can use a vitamin D calculator to know how much vitamin D you need to get to your desired level. Experts also say omega-3 level should be at or above 8%, and your normal blood serum magnesium level is ideal between 1.8 and 2.2 mg/dL. Testing for these nutrient levels is absolutely essential, and through GrassrootsHealth you can test these levels in the comfort of your own home without going to a doctor’s office. By knowing your nutrient levels and monitoring them over time, you can determine the exact amount of supplementation your body needs to achieve maximum health benefits. After all, knowing your numbers empowers you to be in control of your physical and emotional wellbeing, and that’s something we can all start doing today!