Regardless of time of year, I think it’s always a good idea to boost your immune system and help it work at an optimal level. Supporting a healthy immune response is one of the main pillars of my biohacking health and wellness routine. I may not be immune to everything, but knock on wood, the past ten years I’ve been sick only about three times. I was able to manage the duration and severity of the illnesses pretty well. Here I’ll share with you my favorite immune boosting practices, supplements and herbs. To your good health!
I believe in getting a large part of your nutrients from real food, plants and veggies. However I’m also a big believer in optimal nutrition. This means I use supplements. Most of us don’t have the good fortune of growing our own food in a pristine environment, untouched by toxins and unaffected by soil depletion. Therefore even if we manage to eat a balanced and organic diet, we may be deficient in vital nutrients. Many of us can use a nutrient boost, especially when it comes to immunity. Here are my top immunity building supplements and herbs.
Vitamin A Plays a critical role in immune function. Just make sure to stick with the recommended daily dosage. Overdosing with large amounts over an extended period of time can cause toxicity.
Vitamin C Countless studies conclude that high doses of Vitamin C enhance the body’s ability to fight off infections. On the few occasions I got sick with a cold or flu like illness, I’ve taken up to 10,000 to 20,000 mg vitamin C a day: at about 2000 mg every hour, I was able to speed up the recovery and become symptom free quickly. Note: build up to that dose incrementally as it may cause digestive discomfort. My maintenance dose is 2000 mg a day. Nice side effect: Vitamin C is a great collagen builder. Boost immunity and look good!
Zinc Enables the immune system to better fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin D3 Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D3. This fat soluble vitamin is a great immune booster and aids our body absorb calcium and phosphorus, building strong bones. This is why I combine Vitamin D3 with K2. It ensures the calcium gets deposited where it needs to be, instead of calcifying blood vessels.
Selenium Supports the immune response against certain types of RNA viruses.
Iodine This mineral element is vitally important for our thyroid, which is in charge of our metabolism. A functioning metabolism is necessary for our immune system to stay strong. Iodine also assists in fighting infections and removes chemical as well as biological toxins from our system.
Glutathione Glutathione is our body’s master antioxidant. As we are exposed to environmental toxins, bad diet, stress and other factors such as aging, our glutathione levels deplete. Our immune system needs it to protect and support optimal function of immune cells. My preferred type of glutathione is liposomal, as its bioavailability is superior to capsules.
Wild Oregano Fantastic for respiratory and immune health. Oregano’s essential oils are known for their antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. I always keep a small bottle of wild oregano oil around. Two or three drops in a hot tea makes for a wonderful immune boosting elixir. Careful, oregano oil can be quite strong and cause a burning sensation. Larger doses are best taken in capsule form.
Astragalus Astragalus has been used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for thousands of years. It is renown for its positive effect on the immune system. Research suggests that the polysaccharide contained in astragalus increases immune response in white blood cells and has antiviral properties.
Reishi Also called “The Mushroom of Immortality” in TCM, reishi is a health powerhouse. It enhanes the immune system and reduces stress and improves sleep quality as well as energy levels.
Most of us have a daily life that’s high in chronic stress. Be it work load, travel, exposure to toxins, emotional struggles or the general fast pace of our culture. For many this means to be in perpetual fight or flight mode. Hormones like adrenalin and cortisol flood the body and the blood sugar levels rise. This chronic stress suppresses our immune system and causes a constant low grade inflammation, putting us at increased risk for diseases. While we can’t necessarily change the amount and sources of stress in our lives, we can change our response to it and mitigate negative effects.
Sleep Lack of sleep severely affects the immune system. Not getting enough sleep or good quality sleep makes us more likely to get sick and also influences recovery time when sick. It’s well known advice and one of the best to enhance wellbeing: get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of recommended sleep.
Meditation One of the most powerful ways to reduce stress and keep calm with regards to the small and big challenges we face. Having a habit of meditating regularly, ideally daily, is hugely beneficial to getting into a more relaxed state of mind. Even a three to five minute daily meditation practice, simply focusing on breath, will calm the fight or flight response in the short term and rewire the brain to be more resilient to stress in the long term.
Eat clean This is THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. part of taking care of your immune system and general health. For me this means a whole foods, plant based diet that’s low sugar and gluten. I avoid processed foods and don’t drink sodas. Of course it’s OK to “sin” every once in a while, just don’t make it a habit. Sugar, for example, affects your immune system negatively for up to 12 hours after. Switching to an AVAP (As Vegan As Possible) diet has been life transforming physically, mentally and spiritually for me and I am healthier and more resilient than I was 15 years ago.
Wishing you radiant health and happiness!