This is the second in a two-part blog post series on ways to boost your immunity. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to maintain as healthy an immune system as possible. For those whose immune systems are already compromised, it is even more important to do whatever you can to boost your immunity, so your own system can launch the best defense against any viral invasions.
As I shared in my previous post, I highly recommend seeing an integrative medical doctor, functional medicine doctor, homeopath or other holistic health practitioner like a chiropractor or osteopath who can recommend high quality supplements that you can take to help boost your immune system and any other supplements that would work best for you given the specific conditions you might have.
When you visit your local health food stores, like Sprouts, Whole Foods, Frazier Farms and Nature’s Weigh, you can browse in the immune system section and speak with the customer service people there who will often recommend supplements that have worked very well for them and other customers. Most have a very good return policy.
When you visit your local health food store, you can browse in the immune system section and speak with the customer service people there who will often recommend supplements that have worked very well for them and other customers. Photo by Brittany Burns from www.unsplash.com.
1. Jillian Kubala’s Recommendations
Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, wrote a blog post about what she thinks are the top 15 best supplements to help boost your immune system. Included in her list are vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. Garlic, licorice and echinacea are also among her top 15. To find out what the others are, you can read her entire post here. At the end of her post, she offers some cautionary advice:
“Many supplements on the market may help improve immune health. Zinc, elderberry, and vitamins C and D are just some of the substances that have been researched for their immune-enhancing potential.
“However, although these supplements may offer a small benefit for immune health, they should not and cannot be used as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle.
“Maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, engaging in regular physical activity, and not smoking are some of the most important ways to help keep your immune system healthy and reduce your chances of infection and disease.
“If you decide that you want to try a supplement, speak with your healthcare provider first, as some supplements may interact with certain medications or are inappropriate for some people.
“Moreover, remember that there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that any of them can protect against COVID-19 — even though some of them may have antiviral properties.”
2. Naturopathic Doctors’ Recommendations
Naturemed.org asked six naturopathic doctors to share their favorite foods that can help boost immunity and prevent illness. Here are the choices of their favorite foods to help both the microbiome and the immune system: ginger, onion and garlic, bone broth, fermented foods, medicinal mushrooms and root vegetables.
Joshua Corn, ND, MS, recommends ginger for its many health benefits:
“This warming food has a variety of benefits during the cold winter months. Ginger has anti-inflammatory compounds that can help ease aching joints and muscles. Ginger tea is great for nausea or upset stomach and can be used after a big meal to promote digestion. Ginger also promotes circulation and warms the body, helping all your fingers and toes stay nice and toasty. One of my favorite recipes that include ginger is a coconut, carrot, ginger soup. Adding to the power of ginger, carrots are packed with vitamin A and C to help boost immune function. The coconut milk in this soup has beneficial fats that can help improve our intestinal and immune health. Ginger is easy to incorporate into soups, stews, curries, or teas so you get a daily dose of spicy goodness.”
Joshua Corn, ND, recommends ginger for its anti-inflammatory and other immune-boosting effects. Photo by Don Shin from www.unsplash.com.
Laura Enfield, ND, LAc, discusses the many benefits of using bone broth to support your immune system and for your overall health and well-being:
“In addition, you also receive a healthy dose of collagen, gelatin, and amino acids such as proline, glutamine, and glycine. All of these play a role in boosting the immune system, supporting digestive health and detoxification, and giving us nutrients to stay healthy. Bone broth can be used in so many different ways, it doesn’t just have to be used for soup. I frequently will cook my rice using bone broth, braise veggies in it, drink a cup of it, and yes, add it to soups and stews.”
Using bone broth can help support your immune system. Photo by Dan Dennis from www.unsplash.com.
Michelle Simon, Ph.D., ND, recommends a recipe of root vegetables to help improve the microbiome and immune system:
“I love a good roasted root vegetable medley in the winter. Chopping up rutabagas, turnips, red and golden beets, purple potatoes, red potatoes, garnet yams, carrots of all colors, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, you name it and I can put it in the mix. Toss with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and top with fresh rosemary for the last half hour of roasting, yum. And it looks as good as it tastes!”
You can check out in more detail what these and other naturopathic doctors recommended to help keep the immune system strong here.
Michelle Simon, ND, recommended root vegetables to help improve the microbiome and immune system. Photo by Irina from www.unsplash.com.
3. Dr. Eva Detko’s Recommendations
Dr. Eva Detko has written a two-part blog post series on boosting your immunity. In the first part, she emphasizes the importance of stress and how it can affect your immune system. She also writes about how sleep — the quality of it or not getting enough of it — can drastically affect your immune system either in positive or negative ways.
In the second post, Dr. Detko writes about antiviral foods, botanicals, vitamins, minerals and other supplements, essential oils, what she calls “infoceuticals,” among others, that can each have a positive effect on the immune system.
Dr. Detko also notes that both exercise as well as cold and heat exposure are extremely effective at improving immune function. “One thing for sure, you cannot have optimal health without moving your body. Generally, the less physically fit you are, the more susceptible you are going to be to infections. You can overdo it too so you really do need to make sure you are moving at the right level for you,” she maintains.
She also points out how important it is for the body to be hydrated because a “dehydrated body cannot fight infections particularly well, and most people these days are chronically dehydrated.” She affirms that “hydration is NOT just about drinking water,” but also about having the “right levels of minerals to rehydrate your body.” In addition to adding some sea salt to your water, Dr. Detko advises those seeking to boost their immunity to use hydrogen water. A powerful antioxidant, molecular hydrogen is also an antiviral. At her practice, she has an “infoceutical” called Polarity, which she notes “is also very helpful when it comes to rehydration.”
For a healthy immune system, it is important to keep the body hydrated with water and the right level of minerals. Photo by Damir Spanic from www.unsplash.com.
To strengthen the immune system, she recommends taking cold showers for proper cold exposure and using an infrared sauna. She notes that “there is research that shows that you are 30% less likely to catch a virus if you use saunas regularly.” She explains how being exposed to cold showers for brief periods of time can help build immunity and also stimulate your vagus nerve (a phenomenon called hormesis).
Cold showers can help boost the immune system. Photo by Chandler Cruttenden from www.unsplash.com.
Research shows you are 30% less likely to catch a virus if you use saunas regularly. Photo by Huum from www.unsplash.com.
Another one of her recommendations is to gargle with hydrogen peroxide or a strong saline solution. “Coronavirus attaches itself to the throat and mucous membranes first, after which it travels to the lungs,” she explains. “This process takes a few days. So a good preventative measure is to gargle every day.” She notes that “strong gargling stimulates the vagus nerve. And that stimulation can help strengthen your immune function.”
4. Dr. Eric Zielinski’s Recommendations
Dr. Eric Zielinski, who specializes in teaching others how to use essential oils to improve health, wrote a blog post on some simple ways to bolster your immune system.
He writes about the kinds of lifestyles that can inhibit effective immune response. Among them are a poor diet, mental and emotional stress, a sedentary lifestyle and inadequate sleep. He also writes about the very negative effects that sugar has on the immune system. He has some simple but very important recommendations. The areas he highlights for improvement are diet, lifestyle, sleep, supplements and exercise.
He writes about ways to help minimize stress:
“Stress is a major culprit of immune inhibition. Most stresses in the Western world are perceived – our body is reacting as though we are fighting for our lives, but it might actually be financial, interpersonal, or simply not giving ourselves a break. In order to lessen this perceived stress, we might:
Incorporate meditative relaxation methods, such as yoga
Meditation can help reduce stress and positively affect the immune system. Photo by Simon Migaj from www.unsplash.com.
Here is what he shares about the importance of getting adequate sleep:
“Without enough sleep, we don’t allow the brain and immune system enough time to interact. Simply creating a period of restfulness before bed and enjoying a full night of sleep can help to bolster the immune system, particularly during times when threats are more likely.”
You can access the entire content of his post here.
He and his wife also share a recipe to help boost the immune system. You can check out their recipe here. If you are interested in learning ways to boost your child’s immune system, you can check out Dr. Zielinski’s article on this subject here.
Many doctors and experts write about the importance of getting adequate sleep for a healthy immune system. Photo by Zohre Nemati from www.unsplash.com.
5. Dr. Amy Rothenberg’s Recommendations
Dr. Amy Rothenberg, who is both a naturopathic doctor and classical homeopath, has written several articles on actions you can take to help you stay safe and well during the pandemic and on how you can nurture a resilient immune system.
You can access her articles on immune system resilience here.
She has written a thorough article on ways to best boost immunity and defend against COVID-19. She suggests reducing any sugar and processed foods in your diet, while including healthy food choices such as “veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, meat, olive oil, whole grains and legumes.”
She also recommends increasing your daily exercise regimen while reducing your stress levels through meditation and other activities: “And if meditation is not your jam, hobbies, making art or music, or zoning out organizing your spice drawer, all that counts for stress reduction, too. Bring in music, more upbeat podcasts, books, positive news outlets. I have been enjoying the weekly sports podcast Only A Game, and Modern Love (a collaboration between the New York Times and NPR), as well as the uber-upbeat Kind World. Consider putting a limit on the amount of screen time you have each day, as it continues to be associated with obesity, poor diet and depression.”
Fish and vegetables are among the foods Dr. Amy Rothenberg recommends in her article on ways to best boost immunity and defend against COVID-19. Photo by Casey Lee from www.unsplash.com.
Using an ionizer and humidifier, getting adequate sleep, doing some form of nasal irrigation and fasting are among her rich and varied suggestions. You can check out all her recommendations here.
A wonderful cook, she shares what foods can help boost immunity in an article that you can access here.
She also provides another rich array of excellent recommendations to stay healthy in her article, “Field Notes from Natural Medicine: COVID-19 Reflections and Recommendations.” You can read it here.
6. Rachael Link ‘s Recommendations
Rachael Link, MS, RD, writes about various vitamins, minerals and supplements that help boost immunity. Vitamin C and D3 are on the top of her list. Zinc, selenium and elderberry syrup are also on her list. You can check out all her immune-boosting recommendations here.
She also wrote a post titled, “Foods and Supplements that Support Your Immune System.” Here are some of her food, spice and beverage recommendations:
On her list, she also includes what foods to avoid. Sugar, sugary beverages, processed foods, processed meats and refined carbohydrates all make her list of foods to avoid that can weaken the immune system. To check out her full post, go here.
7. Dr. Josh Axe’s Recommendations
Dr. Josh Axe, a functional medicine doctor and author, wrote a blog post on the top 101 herbs and spices for healing. You can access his comprehensive list that names each herb and spice alphabetically here.
In another post titled, “Top Supplements for Immune System Health,” he includes vitamin C , elderberry, zinc, astragalus and echinacea. In that post, he also writes about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut for optimal immunity. And he concludes with a list of other products and activities to help boost your immune system:
“And just to round out the list, here are some other ingredients and practices known in traditional cultures to help support overall wellness:
In his post, he also affirms the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude of gratitude, joy, love, faith and hope.
“As you are taking care of your immune system, you’ve got to practice the proper lifestyle, including stress reduction, getting healthy amounts of sunshine, exercising, spending time in nature and fostering feelings of gratitude and hope to overcome fear.
“Resetting your mindset to a state of joy, gratitude, love, faith and hope are essential.”
Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc, wrote a post titled, “Antiviral Toolkit: Natural Agents that Optimize Immune Response and Fight Viral Invaders.” In his comprehensive post, he has an array of suggestions ranging from those involving lifestyle, to calming a “cytokine storm,” and using a variety of medicinal mushrooms.
He also recommends some antiviral herbs, including:
In this post, Dr. Eliaz writes about the immune system and what is referred to as a “cytokine storm.”
He explains that “when your immune system detects infectious microbes — like viruses or bacteria — it activates an alarm system. One of the main alarm proteins, called galectin-3 (or Gal-3), starts sending urgent alerts to other immune system cells. In that role, Gal-3 sets off many immune reactions, including inflammation.”
Normally, this response helps the body recognize and defend against invasion. But when it goes into overdrive, it can cause an extreme inflammatory response known as a “cytokine storm.” Dr. Eliaz explains that this kind of a “storm” triggered by infectious microbes can not only cause severe and potentially deadly inflammation throughout the body, but also lead to some very serious health consequences and conditions. Those he cites include respiratory failure, kidney and liver damage and septic shock.
Dr. Eliaz recommends keeping the immune system “balanced and regulated” to avoid any dangerous “cytokine storms” that can lead to “potentially fatal outcomes.” Photo by Nicholas Noonan from www.unsplash.com.
He notes that these “cytokine storms can be especially dangerous in respiratory infections, making it nearly impossible to breathe as the lungs become overwhelmed by inflammation.” He recommends keeping the immune system “balanced and regulated” to avoid these dangerous “cytokine storms” that can lead to “potentially fatal outcomes.”
You can purchase a tele-summit on “Immune Defense” that has many speakers on a variety of topics. Hosted by Jonathan Landsman, the tele-summit features 40 experts in integrative medicine and science, including top physicians specializing in the treatment of COVID-19. The speakers and their topics are rich and varied. There are talks on COVID-19 and maintaining a healthy immune system, among many other topics from business to parenting. To learn more about this tele-summit, go to https://immunedefensesummit.com/.
I have written about Dr. Paul Herscu in two previous blog posts. A naturopathic doctor and classical homeopath, he has been following epidemics for many years and provides updates to doctors, homeopaths, students and others whenever there is an epidemic or pandemic.
In his update on April 12, 2020, Part 12 of his update series, he shares recommendations for staying healthy during this pandemic.
In an online webinar I attended about the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Herscu explained that anyone who has been treated by a homeopath and who knows what his or her constitutional remedy is can use that remedy to bolster immunity and take it prophylactically about every 10 – 14 days at a 30C potency.
Here is what he also recommends to help prevent getting COVID-19 and to help boost immunity, along with “good public health measures you should take seriously and follow aggressively”:
Vitamin D, 2,000 IU – 5,000 IU, depending on your Vitamin D status
Elderberry (Sambucas nigra) one teaspoon syrup daily
Mushroom Immune Formula that has several mushrooms, 2-3 times a week
Resveratrol (may work with MERS-Cov) 500mg
Go for a walk each day/exercise at home
Good rest and enough sleep
Keep in touch with loved ones, for their sake and yours. The health impact of social isolation is also not good!
To read all of his recommendations and more about his COVID-19 updates, you can check out what he shares here.
12. Dr. Will Cole
Dr. Will Cole, a functional medicine doctor, who has a practice in Monroeville, PA, and who also sees patients online, has a number of blog posts on boosting immunity. Some are written by him and others by guest writers.
This one was written by a guest author and reviewed by him suggesting nine ways to help boost immune function, including using an infrared sauna, going out in the sunlight and using Manuka honey. To read the entire post, you can check it out here.
In this “evidenced-based reviewed” article by Dr. Cole, the guest author makes a number of recommendations to boost immunity including taking certain supplements, cooking with ginger, adding cinnamon to foods, using essential oils and drinking certain immune-boosting teas and bone broth. To read the full article, you can access it here.
The benefits of sunlight and getting out in nature can both support a healthier immune system. Photo by Eric Ward from www.unsplash.com.
13. Author Lynne McTaggart’s Recommendations
I also wanted to share that for those whose immune systems have not been able to shield you from COVID-19, author Lynne McTaggart, has several blog posts regarding the effective use of high doses of Vitamin C and intravenous use of Vitamin C to combat coronavirus and also the flu and pneumonia.
In one post, she writes about the work of Dr. Enqian Mao, chief of Emergency Medicine Department at Ruijin Hospital, a major hospital in Shanghai, affiliated with the Joatong University College of Medicine. He is also a member of the Senior Expert Team at the Shanghai Public Health Center, where all Chinese Covid-19 patients were treated.
McTaggart writes: “Mao was no stranger to vitamin C. He’d used it to successfully treat serious infections, such as pancreatitis and sepsis (life-threatening blood infections), for a decade. When Covid-19 first emerged, Dr. Mao immediately recommended intravenous vitamin C for the patients being treated at his facility.
“In the event, Dr. Mao eventually treated about 50 patients with moderate to severe illness with intravenous vitamin C, using doses of 10-20 g a day for 7-10 days.”
He reported to some of his prominent colleagues that all his patients improved and had much shorter hospital stays than patients who did not receive the IV vitamin C treatments. Without the IV vitamin C regimen, patients receiving standard treatment stayed in the hospital an average of 30 days.
In another article she quotes prominent doctors who regard using high doses of vitamin C as a way to cure those with COVID-19. She writes about a Get Well Health Expo she attended in Olympia. She was especially struck by the talks of two of the doctors there:
“Of nearly 50 brilliant talks and demonstrations, two delivered by Dr. Damien Downing, a pioneer in ecological medicine and president of the British Society of Allergy and Environmental Medicine, and Dr. Thomas Levy, a cardiologist and one of the world’s experts on vitamin C, offered the same message: there is a simple solution to the coronavirus, which has gripped the world in fear.
“Dr. Downing was one of a team of orthomolecular doctors (who offer therapeutic nutrition based on biochemical individuality) to put together an effective plan of attack for the coronavirus.”
She noted that he and the others released a statement in late January by the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. It affirmed that the coronavirus pandemic “can be dramatically slowed or stopped with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C.”
To read her complete post that provides patient-based evidence of the remarkable way that high-dose vitamin C can help coronavirus patients recover, go here.
To read more about high dose IV vitamin C, you can check it out here.
14. More Recommendations and Resources for You….
I have offered you a wealth of information to help you boost your immunity and stay safe and well during this coronavirus pandemic. Many of the resources I share mention the importance of making some lifestyle changes to help improve your immune function.
Better sleep, elimination of sugar and processed foods from your diet, eating healthy plant-based foods, reducing or stopping any alcohol intake, getting out in the fresh air and in nature, calling friends and family, exercising and nourishing your heart and soul through meditation and music are just some of the ways to help support your immune system and help uplift your heart.
Eating healthy plant-based foods can help boost your immunity. Photo by Alexadr Podvalny from www.unsplash.com.
Using an infrared sauna, doing safe and effective detoxing of your body, doing yoga, stretching, strength training, T’ai Chi or Qigong are just a few of the other ways to help your body, mind and spirit feel better. There are so many online resources and free resources that you can access, many of them for free. I wrote about some of these in a previous blog post.
When you feel better emotionally, you are always helping your immune system feel better too. My mother always used to encourage me to take a vacation from worry. I encourage you to do that as well.
Generally, when you are doing something that you really enjoy, something that makes your heart sing, you are helping boost both your immune system and your spirit. Whether it’s singing, dancing, painting, writing, learning a new language, cooking a new dish, playing with animals or walking in nature, take time to enjoy, replenish and recharge. It is the best medicine for both your soul and your immune system.
And if you are feeling down and in need of some counseling and healing, see if any of the services I offer can help. Click here to see the single services I offer. You can access my package on “Vibrant Health and Healing” here.
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