Stress and COVID-19 — Improving The Immune System, Anxiety, and Depression
There is a compelling, growing body of evidence about the intimate connection between physical and mental health and wellbeing. Professor Roger Seheult, MD shares a presentation on the roles of stress and anxiety in immune system function as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Psychological Stressors & The Adaptive Immune System
In this video, Dr. Seheult synthesizes information from several studies to demonstrate the role of psychological stressors in the health of both patients and healthcare professionals. He cites surveys illustrating the increased prevalence of depression and anxiety due to the pandemic, and the bidirectional relationship between one’s mental state and adaptive immune system function.
Exercise Intensity & Immunity
Moreover, Dr. Seheult discusses scientifically validated strategies, such as exercise, for reducing stress and improving one’s immune response. He highlights the work of Dr. Jennifer Heisz at McMaster University’s FitLab, which studies inflammasomes and their role in mediating depression and systemic disease. Dr. Seheult also compares a typical immune response to those of world-class athletes and demonstrates the immense benefits of moderate exercise for promoting immunity on a cellular level.
Nutrition & COVID-19 Exercise Precautions
Dr. Seheult wraps up the presentation with nutritional information, pointing out research on the importance of carbohydrates after exercising and the role of polyphenols in restoring immune function. He also recommends extra precautions and considerations when starting an exercise regimen during the COVID-19 pandemic, as various cardiopulmonary risks may be present for those who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, highlighted in this guide for high school student-athletes.
More From MedCram & Dr. Seheult
You can view and share Dr. Seheult’s full presentation here, and keep an eye out for a follow-up video reviewing the science on the immune benefits of temporary core temperature elevation, which may be achieved with saunas and spas.