1. Sunshine Expose yourself to at least 20 minutes of direct sunshine, and your body can produce the amount of Vitamin D it needs to boost your immune system. Early morning is a great time for sun exposure, but skip the sunscreen you want the rays directly on your skin. Vitamin D is critical for the immune system, and a Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a decreased immune response, which increases your risk for infection. If catching those early morning rays is too difficult, there are foods high in Vitamin D: cod liver oil, cold water fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, trout), mushrooms, pork, eggs, and foods high in Vitamin A and K (liver, Cod Liver Oil, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots) will aide in the absorption of Vitamin D. And if you really want to ensure you’re getting your proper daily dose of Vitamin D, try a supplement, taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin D with Vitamin K and A will ensure proper absorption.
2. Reduce Your Stressors We are exposed to stressors all day, whether they’re physical, mental, relational, financial, chemical… These stressors cause inflammation and weaken our body’s ability to fight off ‘foreign invaders,’ like the Coronavirus. Do all you can to reduce your stressor exposures. If you are opting for the outdoor sunshine rays, try it barefoot. Grounding with bare feet calms the nervous system. For too many of us, our bodies are constantly in a state of ‘fight or flight’. This chronic stress exposure produces the stress hormone cortisol, and if we’re producing too much, it can impede the body’s natural abilities to ward off ‘foreign invaders’, like unwanted or pathogenic viruses, bacterias, fungi, parasites, etc. Use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website to ensure your personal care products aren’t creating stress for your body by overburdening your system with chemicals. And their Guide to Healthy Cleaning can ensure the cleaning products used in the home are safe too. 3. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Inflammation in the body reduces our body’s innate ability to fight infection. Here are some ways to manage and reduce inflammation through your food choices.
- Choose organic, or even better sustainable, regenerative produce and animal proteins from local growers and ranches. Conventional farms and feed lots use chemical pesticides and antibiotics that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. Avoiding these chemicals reduces inflammation, and increases the body’s ability to ward off ‘foreign invaders’.
So fill your plate with mostly in-season, local, sustainable non-starchy vegetables, with some high quality animal protein, fat, and starchy vegetables (or if you can tolerate them, gluten-free grains). Budget does not have to be a deterrent to cleaning up your food sources, The Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty 12 annual lists are another great way to reduce your toxic burden without overburdening your pocketbook.
- Avoid GMO’s, especially sugar, soy, corn, dairy, wheat. GMO’s are modified to withstand large doses of pesticides, killing the pests without killing the plant. Despite FDA’s attempts to convince the public these pesticides are safe for consumption, our farmers have different stories to tell about the harm these pesticides are doing to our bodies and our environment. Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Food Fix discusses in greater depth the real ‘cost’ of GMO crops and farming practices.
- Eat and Drink Curcumin, this ancient healing compound derived from turmeric is sited in over 2,700 studies in the prevention, treatment, and curing of diseases and infections. Curcumin has healing effects on the body, unlike pharmaceutical compounds that are synthetically derived, converted into xenobiotic chemicals, are toxic to the body, and denigrate the healthy microbiota in our bodies.
Many infectious disease professionals are discussing the impact of COVID-19 being worse for people whose bodies are inflamed. The cytokine storm created when fighting off a virus like COVID-19 can cause detrimental effects if your body is already inflamed. Using curcumin can help reduce your inflammatory markers, along with these other recommended supplements.
- Avoid Sugar and Sugar Alternatives – Research has found that artificial sweeteners can negatively impact your gut microbiota by increasing the number of harmful bacteria, which can lead to a compromised immune system. Additionally, processed sugars can wreak havoc on your gut and increase the pathogenic, or the bad bugs, while simultaneously decreasing the good ones. Increased sugar intake can alter the gut microbiome and result in imbalances in and bacterial toxins and reduce your body’s innate ability to fight off ‘foreign invaders’.
4. Probiotics (and Prebiotics) Probiotics are healthy bacteria that are part of the microbiome in the gut and perform tasks researchers are still learning about. They aid in digestion, immune function, hormone balance, the list is expanding everyday. Hunter gatherer tribes are being studied because of their lack of chronic disease and illness. Coronavirus will not be a threat to the Hadza tribe in Tanzania, because the microbiome in their environment and their bodies are balanced because they don’t have the same stress and chemical stress exposures that we do; therefore, their immune systems are already super-boosted. So don’t fret if you can’t track down a bottle of Purél. In fact antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers kill the good ‘stuff’ too and spread antibiotic resistance. And alcohol based hand sanitizers dry out your hands causing cracks that can lead to open areas in the skin, destroying the skin’s barrier against infections. The alcohols will also kill all of your good skin microbiomes which are needed to protect you against harmful bacteria. Our desire for sterility has introduced chemicals into our environment, both in our bodies and the world we live in, disrupting the healthy microbiota with the unhealthy, creating imbalances in our bodies and our environment. Try instead a non-toxic pure, castile soap. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented coconut water are great food sources to increase the ‘healthy’ gut microbiota. If you struggle with frequent or persistent colds or flu, you may want to add a probiotic supplement to add further immune support. Prebiotics are another important component to supporting gut health. Prebiotics are food for the probiotics, which helps the healthy bacteria grow and proliferate. Root vegetable are a great source, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, radishes. These are all great food sources and as luck would have it, they last long too, which is nice when we can’t go grocery shopping as freely as we’d like.
5. Increase Immune Boosting Nutrients Immune boosting nutrients like Vitamin C, Beta-Glucan, Oregano Oil, Monolaurin, Elderberry, and Zinc can help ramp up your immune system to fight off unwanted bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C improves the response of neutrophils and lymphocytes, important immune cells that are the ‘front-line’ fighters of your innate immune system. Foods high in Vitamin C include: yellow peppers, broccoli, kale, orange, kiwi. Beta glucans are active soluble fiber compounds that have immune defense capabilities, enhancing the body’s natural killer cell function and thereby improving the body’s immune response. Food sources high in Beta Glucans include: mushrooms (Chaga, Shitake, Maitake, Wood cauliflower, and snow mushrooms), celery, carrot, radish. Oregano Oil contains properties that are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal and used as an antibiotic alternative. Monolaurin is a short chain saturated fat that has potent antimicrobial and antiviral effects that help limit the growth of ‘bad’ or pathogenic gut bacteria. Foods high in Monolaurin include: coconut. Elderberry has powerful immune-boosting and antiviral properties. The berries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, which are known to have immunostimulant effects. Zinc is essential for optimal function of your thymus gland, responsible for developing the ‘back up’ immune cells of your adaptive immune system. The adaptive immune system is like the back up battery that goes to work if the ‘foreign invader’ makes it past the ‘front-line’. Foods high in Zinc include: oysters, beef, lamp, pork, pumpkin seeds.
6. Sleep With the flu and Coronavirus, it’s even more important that you take care of yourself. And getting enough sleep is critical in establishing a regular, rhythmic sleep cycle. This is important not only because sleep deprivation contributes to oxidative stress, but also because melatonin, the hormone best-known for governing the sleep-wake cycle, is a powerful antioxidant. If you’re not getting a solid 8-9 hours every night, I’d recommend Sleep Relief. This supplement contains everything to naturally trigger your body into a deep, restful sleep. Follow these 6 steps and your body will thank you!
Recommended Supplements: For discounted supplements, set up an account at Fullscript, follow the links below, we’ve arranged special friends and family discounts:
Orthobiotic (probiotic) – 1 capsule a day on an empty stomach (first thing in the morning, waiting 30 minutes to eat)
Vitamin D-A-K – 1 capsule two times daily with food
Vitamin C – 1/2 tsp two times daily
Galactomune (Beta Glucan) – 1 capsule a day on an empty stomach (first thing in the morning, waiting 30 minutes to eat)
Oregano Oil – 1-3 capsules daily with food
Humid MonoLaurin Complex (Monolaurin) – 2 caps with food daily
Elderberry – 1 tsp two times daily
Inflammatone (curcumin) – 2 capsules with each meal daily
CDP Choline – 2 capsules with meal daily
Zinc – up to 50 mg a day. It is important to stay below 50, so as not to upset the Zinc:Copper ratio.
Once your account is set up at Fullscript, select Categories, then Immune Support, to find the recommendations above.
Due to the present pandemic, some items may be on backorder, but restocking is occurring regularly.
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