As we go through this unprecedented time globally with the coronavirus pandemic, affecting all of us, many of you have reached out to me with questions on how best to support our natural defenses. For me personally, supporting my immune health is something that I’ve had to focus on every day of my life as someone born with autoimmune disorders. It’s a daily process.
Although this blog is about hand sanitizer, it is important to remember that hand washing is our best option. According to Dr. Anthony Ouellette, Professor of Biology and Chemistry at Jacksonville University and a Subject Matter Expert on infectious diseases for the Jacksonville University Coronavirus Committee, soap does two things:
“It will break down the lipid envelope that forms the outer structure of the virus and ‘kill’ it (really it ‘inactivates’ it because it is not technically alive, but even virologists will use the term ‘kill’ to get the point across), and it will also help physically remove microbes (including viruses) from the skin, like it does to dirt, allowing it to flow into the drain.”
When you go to the grocery store, work or other public places and don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer and specifically an alcohol-based sanitizer, is the next best thing. Many of us don’t have access to sanitizer right now because it’s out of stock and the medical workers need it the most, so I decided to create this DIY sanitizer recipe for all of us to use, as many of us are at home and likely already have these ingredients on hand.
We know that coronavirus is killed by alcohol, specifically a 60% solution as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control or CDC (1). Alcohol is powerful in this situation, which is why I recommend alcohol-based sanitizers over alternatives.
However, since alcohol is drying to our skin and many of us are experiencing that dryness which in turn is causing our skin to crack, I wanted to make sure our DIY hand sanitizer is nourishing, moisturizing and boosted with anti-viral properties.
MCT oil was my Aha moment!
What’s more, is that these oils contain medium-chain triglycerides that act as antimicrobial agents in the body. Lauric acid is antimicrobial and specifically antiviral (2). When lauric acid is ingested, the body converts it to monolaurin and even more antiviral compounds. In addition, capric acid, another component of both coconut and MCT oils is antimicrobial as well, although it gets less attention. Simply GOODFATS Organic MCT Oil is made from organic coconut oil and contains 1.2g of lauric acid and 4.2g of capric acid per serving.
MCT oil can also be used topically for its antimicrobial properties, another reason I’ve chosen to add it to my DIY hand sanitizer recipe.
The other ingredients in this sanitizer were included for specific properties as well. Aloe is cooling and soothing to the skin and helps to create a thicker spray.
I’ve also included some special essential oils. Whole citrus bergamot and other citrus oils have antiviral properties when used topically.
Lavender essential oil is not only relaxing (which we all need right now!), but it also has antiviral properties. Inhaling the scent of lavender oil supports the respiratory system.
Tea tree oil is another antiviral essential oil. Inhaling tea tree can help to break up congestion if you are sick. Add a couple drops to the bath if needed.
More Benefits of MCT
In addition to using MCT oil in your homemade hand sanitizer, you can use it in other ways to support immunity and protect yourself during this time.
For example, you can certainly continue using MCT oil daily in smoothies, coffee or other recipes. This is an important inside-out approach to immune health and supplies these key antiviral lipids to your body.
MCT oil can also be used topically in other ways. Add a little to your bath to help moisturize skin. Dip a Q-tip in MCT oil to swab your nose. Although I don’t have any research on this, I know that keeping nasal passageways hydrated helps to protect against viral infections. Or, add a little MCT oil to your body lotion and face moisturizer for extra hydrating power.
The way I see it, the antimicrobial and skin nourishing properties of MCT can only help!
This is an important time to focus on immune health. If you do get sick, you want your immune system to be able to take care of the virus easily. A High Fiber Keto diet low in carbs that eliminates the sugars that suppress the immune system is my foundation. In addition, be sure to include plenty of good fats, colorful plant foods and key supplements to support the immune system from the inside out. Prioritizing sleep, movement and stress management is also important for laying the foundation of immune health.
MCT Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- 3 oz 90% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol or 180-proof (or higher) distilled alcohol
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
- 1 tablespoon Simply GOODFATS Organic MCT Oil
- 4 drops bergamot essential oil
- 4 drops lavender essential oil
- 4 drops tea tree essential oil
- 4 oz glass spray bottle
- In a glass measuring cup, put aloe vera gel, MCT oil and essential oils and about 1 ounce of alcohol and mix until well combined.
- Pour into a 4 oz glass spray bottle and fill to the top with the rest of the alcohol. Shake to incorporate all ingredients.
- Shake before each use. Spray liberally on hands and rub for 20 seconds.
- If you don’t have all 3 essential oils, substitute 12 drops of just one of them.
- Be careful in the sun after sanitizing hands; using bergamot or any citrus oil topically can cause photosensitivity.
- Keep out of reach of children.
- If you make substitutions in this recipe such as using a base with a lower alcohol content or diluting the spray with more aloe or MCT oil, you may not have a solution concentrated enough to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The CDC recommends at least 60% total alcohol in a hand sanitizing product.
I hope this recipe makes you feel empowered to use a variety of antiviral natural products, including MCT oil, to help protect your body from coronavirus and stay well.
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