While having a powerful respiratory system is important to combat Covid-19 it is not necessarily going to make you less likely to catch the virus it will definitely help stack the deck in your favor for surviving the virus. People with weak respiratory systems are at much higher risk from dying from the onslaught of Covid-19 than those with healthy respiratory systems so prioritizing respiratory health should be taken seriously. We may not be able to avoid being exposed to the virus but we can definitely make sure our immune systems and respiratory systems are as healthy as possible and this is something everyone should be taking charge of.
I prioritized building respiratory health last year after recovering from a horrible flu followed by pneumonia. My physical strength came back in a few weeks but my respiratory system took many months to make a full recovery. The three-mile walks I do with my dogs daily were challenging for a few months after getting over the flu/pneumonia so I knew I wasn’t ready for high-intensity interval training such as sprinting or high rep kettlebell swing work any time soon.
Once the walks became easy again I started incorporating several interval training workouts per week on an elliptical machine. I started with twenty-minute sessions at a moderate pace and worked up to thirty-minute sessions at a moderate pace. From there I started applying varying intensities such as several rounds of thirty seconds all-out followed by ninety seconds at a moderate pace. My endurance is naturally very good and I build endurance much faster than strength so I adapted fairly quickly and noticed a pronounced improvement in lung capacity and cardio. Interval training sessions similar to sprinting are also an incredible mood booster and anxiety crusher. The improved cardio carried over to my strength training work as well as I noticed I recovered in between intense sets much faster than before. The interval training also helped get my blood pressure down to a healthy 115/75. My blood pressure used to run a little high at around 130/85 or higher so I was delighted to see it fall into an optimal range. I like the elliptical training so much that when Las Vegas went into a lockdown and all the gyms closed, I bought a gym-quality elliptical machine to use at my house making it very convenient to execute three to four 20-30 minute sessions per week.
Of course, I realize that most don’t have an elliptical machine at their home and you may not have access to any equipment period so you can always do some sprinting workouts outside. If you are new to sprinting realize that you don’t need to start off with all-out efforts. Start with ten fifty-yard runs. Run fifty yards, walk back to the start and repeat for a total of ten rounds. Once you start adapting, up the intensity of the runs. Another option is interval training with bodyweight squats. Do two rounds of twenty-five with one-minute breaks in between each set. Shave off ten seconds after every successfully completed session until you are down to thirty-second breaks between sets. Then you can go up to thirty reps per set or more and start with the one-minute breaks between sets and work your way down again.
Next, let’s talk about supplements that may help improve lung capacity and endurance. Two that stand out are the Siberia herb Rhodiola Rosea and the Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha. In a human study with Rhodiola, just once 200mg cap taken an hour before training improved endurance In a meta-study with human participants, Ashwagandha was also shown to increase VO2max a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen you can use during intense exercise. Both herbs are in my adrenal energizer RED I take one cap an hour before my elliptical training sessions or any other form of endurance work.
In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of optimal Vitamin D levels for immune system health. In addition to supporting the immune system, optimal Vitamin D levels have been shown to be very important for respiratory health. Don’t assume your Vitamin D levels are optimal just because you get out in the sun every day. Nor is the 800iu in your multivitamin enough to get into the optimal range of 60-80 ng/ml. My levels were below 30 ng/ml at the bottom end of the normal range until I started taking 10,000iu for several months. When I got retested my levels were in the optimal range at 64 ng/ml. Vitamin D may also help reduce symptoms of the coronavirus. In a recent study, it was shown that “The higher the vitamin D level, the less chance that a corona infection will result in symptoms of the disease. And the other way around, the lower the vitamin D level, the greater the chance of developing symptoms – and the more serious the symptoms.”
Finally, Sulforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts have been shown to have a protective effect on the lungs “In a 12-week study in Qidong, China, consumption of sulforaphane was associated with an immediate and sustained increase in urinary excretion of airborne pollutants, benzene 61%, and acrolein 23%. In another study, daily 100 æmol sulforaphane for 14 days was shown to improve the broncho-protective response in asthmatics.” I add frozen broccoli to my morning protein shake (Doesn’t taste as bad as it may sound especially when you mix it with frozen berries) and add cauliflower to my dinner several times per week. Cruciferous vegetables also help with estrogen metabolism and improving the ratio of good to bad estrogens 2-hydroxy estrone to 4 and 16 hydroxy estrone. Even if you load up on cruciferous veggies often it may not be enough to get optimal levels of sulforaphane. “Broccoli sprouts contain the highest levels of precursors to sulforaphane: glucoraphanin and myrosinase. However, care must be taken because myrosinase is destroyed under heat. Broccoli sprouts must be thoroughly washed to prevent contamination by E. coli and Salmonella. The addition of myrosinase in the form of daikon radish or mustard seed powder can increase the sulforaphane content. Several supplements containing sulforaphane or its precursors glucoraphanin and myrosinase have been validated by multiple studies; those containing glucoraphanin alone have an average 10% bioavailability. The suggested minimal adult dose is 4.4mg, based on the study in Qidong China that determined the level of sulforaphane needed to excrete benzene and acrolein”
I researched supplement options for increase sulforaphane and I believe the best option is TrueBroc Sulforaphane Just once capsule has 49.7mg of glucoraphanin which is higher than any other product I researched. Yes, I am taking the supplement personally and no I don’t make a commission if you decide to use the link above to purchase it. Just sharing what I think is useful as I come across it.