Where I live, the pandemic is still very much in full swing with cases continuing to rise. This may not be what we want to hear or think about after the year we’ve just had but I want you to know that all of this can’t take away your power. You still have the power to protect your body and your immune system so that you can best deal with whatever comes at you in the coming months.
As we learn more about the virus and as the situation shifts, my immune recommendations have also shifted. There is a lot of information floating around and not all of it is good or relevant to people with certain immune conditions.
In this episode of Health Mysteries Solved, I want to share my latest updates on immunity. I’m including the best information on how food, nutrients, contraptions and health-hacks can help you stay healthy this winter.
Protecting Your Autoimmune Self
When you have an autoimmune disease, the immune system is already overactive against your own organs. Many immune formulas (supplements) boost the immune system which, when your immune system is already overactive, is not good. This is why it’s so important that people with autoimmune issues don’t take general immunity advice. Otherwise, you might end up making your immune system even more overactive resulting in your immune system attacking your organs even more. We sure don’t want that!
Immune Recommendations to Avoid (for those with Autoimmune Diseases)
If you know that you have an autoimmune disease or may suspect one, please be very mindful about immune boosting herbs. Specifically, these ones that are often recommended by health practitioners:
- Reishi and other immune supporting mushrooms
- Green Tea and
Make sure you read the labels of all supplements being touted as immune boosting because these ingredients may be included.
Immune-Boosting Dangers with COVID-19
We’ve learned that when covid goes to the later stages, it can produce something called a cytokine-storm. This is basically an inflammatory cascade that can then affect many other areas of the body. This happens because the immune system is in overdrive trying to fight the virus and not succeeding. Taking immune boosting herbs (like the ones listed above) can make that worse because the immune system is already in a state of disarray.
Autoimmune Safe Immune Support
Not to worry, there are other nutrients that are not only super-effective but also very safe when it comes to both autoimmunity and preventing immune dysregulation.
In this episode, I got into greater detail with each of these but I wanted to provide you with a list of my go-to recommendations for my clients and myself. Here are my top recommendations for autoimmune safe immune-boosting supplements:
- Vitamin C
This is my first go-to, my power tool, and the one that I think many people overlook. My recommendation for general immune support for a typical 150 pound adult is 1000-2000 mg of vitamin C per day. I personally use the C+Bio Fizz from Designs for Health (makes a yummy, fizzy drink) but capsules like Stellar C are great. For some, vitamin C can cause loose bowels. If that happens for you, Liposomal Vitamin C is a wonderful solution to this problem as it absorbs through the mucous membranes in your mouth first and is easier to absorb – just remember to refrigerate.
Please note that if you are already sick (with COVID or any other virus, respiratory illness, or cold), you will want to shift your Vitamin C protocol. I, along with many of my integrative colleagues, recommend increasing vitamin C significantly for the course of a week or so while not well. Do this in divided doses and more frequently. So, it would look something like taking 500 to 1000 mg of C (it can be powder, liposomal or capsules) every 30-60 min to bowel tolerance (until you get diarrhea which is when your body says it’s saturated and had enough). You would then restart it later in the day or next day. Do this for a few days when you are sick. There is a ton of research about high dose vitamin C in helping fight infections.
- Vitamin D
It’s imperative that our vitamin D levels are optimal as we head into winter. The dosage of D is going to vary based on your actual vitamin D status (if you know it). I like to have people somewhere between the 50-80 range on a blood test (lab range is only 30-100). If you don’t know your levels but you have not supplemented with vitamin D recently, and especially if you live in the northern hemisphere, 5000 IU of vitamin D would typically be recommended.
Vitamin D is huge for balancing the immune system which is why it is so wonderful for illness prevention but also to keep the immune system in a place of homeostasis to help prevent upregulations on your own tissues if, or when an infection strikes. Vitamin D should ideally come with Vitamin K so that we prevent calcification of tissues and organs. I use a Liquid D for those who may have issues with fat soluble vitamins and the Vitamin D Supreme capsules for all others.
This is not a new recommendation. Zinc has been widely talked about online and in the media. However, while it is very beneficial, many people have been taking extra zinc since the start of the pandemic (about 9 month). The issue is that zinc is a mineral and like other minerals, it works synergistically with other minerals. In particular, taking a very high dose of Zinc over an extended period can deplete your copper. That is why I don’t recommend more than 30 mg of zinc generally for prevention (unless you are taking extra copper) and while its safe to double the zinc if you are feeling sick, you are doing this for a short period of time, a week or 2 so that it doesn’t cause an issue with copper.
Note that copper deficiency can potentially lead to more bacterial infections and problems with the blood and even things like aneurysms. A hair test is a great way to measure levels of both zinc and copper. When you get the results, look at not just the individual zinc and copper levels but at the ratio of the 2. Ideally the zinc to copper ratio should be at around 8. If you are lower than 8 you can use more zinc however if you are above 8 you would take extra copper along with the zinc. Even a multivitamin with copper would help.
- Oregano & Garlic
I love them because they work well and they work quickly. Plus, I typically don’t see many side effects with them. They both have not only anti-viral properties but they are also anti-microbial in general (meaning they can work on bacteria, yeasts and other bugs). The thing to note here is that I don’t recommend these to be taken long term and for general immune support (unless of course you are working on a specific protocol with your practitioner).
For immunity, I like using those as needed especially if you feel under the weather or are around those who are sick or may have been exposed. Avoid taking this ongoing because they can affect your microbiome. Plus, your body can get used to them and they will not have the same effect if you are sick.
For oregano, I either use Oregano gel caps by Designs for Health (3 caps twice a day) or essential oil of oregano from either Young Living or doterra (3 drops of essential oil of oregano mixed in a little coconut or any other oil twice a day). For garlic, I have been using Allimax, it’s a potent and patented allicin extract which is very effective without the odor. I recommend 2-3 capsules a day for the duration of illness or for a few days if exposed or feeling off.
- Liquid Silver (Silvercillin)
Silver is a powerful antimicrobial and it can be used orally or topically. I don’t recommend long-term use for immunity (unless you’re on a specific protocol). I take 1-2 tbsp orally a few times a day for a few days while sick or if exposed. Silvercillin is also amazing when used topically. I have used it on pimples, rashes, burns, cuts, you name it. I even used it on a sty on my eye.
Immune Boosting Practices
In addition to supplements, there are a few health habits you can adopt to improve your immunity. Here are a few that I’m doing right now:
- Clear Nasal Passages
A big recommendation I have for immunity is keeping your nasal passages clean and clear. I am a big fan of nasal irrigation. I personally use the NeilMed which is similar to a neti pot but (in my opinion) easier to use but I use 1 tbsp of the Silvercillin mixed in the distilled water and salt solution. This boosts the antimicrobial activity.
- Micronized Saline Mist
There is also a new thing I tried this month to help keep our air passages clear called Fend. It’s a mister that uses a saline solution containing micronized saline. The micronized saline lines your airways, capturing and eliminating inhaled particles. I think its a really neat concept and if you were interested in trying it, they are offering all my listeners 25% off with code TY25INNA at checkout.
My biggest recommendation is to be aware of your mindset and stress levels. I speak about this very often on the show but it’s worth repeating. There is an inverse relationship between cortisol (our stress hormone) and your immune system. When stress is high and cortisol is up, our immunity goes down.
Anything you can do to keep your cortisol down and stress low is going to be key for a healthy immune system. Try breathing, meditation, taking time for yourself, listening to music, dancing, laughing – anything you can do to lower your stress response.
Another thing to remember is that we also have physical stressors such as blood sugar imbalance. If you are skipping meals or not eating in a balanced diet this can create a lot of extra stress in your body.
Conclusion / Next Steps
To help our immunity, let’s get our diets in check, take the right nutrients that are both effective and safe, manage our stress, and create a more positive mindset. Adopt the attitude that you CAN and will stay healthy this winter. Believe that your body is strong. You got this!
Thanks for Listening
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