The Essential Nutrition, Supplements, and Habits for Healthy Immunity
KEEP CALM AND SUPPORT YOUR BODY'S NATURAL DEFENSES
In uncertain times, it’s easy to get caught in the grip of collective panic. Moments like this call for finding your source of calm clarity.
It’s our mission to support you in living your healthiest life. So to ensure your immunity is in top form (and to help put your mind at ease), we gathered some wisdom from our network of expert doctors and healers—including Dr. Robin Berzin, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Aviva Romm—to assemble the best immune-boosting advice. Below is a summary of our recommendations to bolster your immune system. While especially relevant now, fortifying your body’s natural defenses through nutrition and mindfulness is always a worthy practice.
Remember that stress compromises the immune system, so breathe and find your gratitude for all that is good. Here's to staying healthy, happy, and in the circle of love and light.
Eat immune-boosting greens and organic fruits and vegetables every single day. Aim for four to six cups of leafy greens and 12 plus servings of other vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin D. Deficiency in this vitamin is associated with increased susceptibility to infection, and 35 percent of adults in the U.S. are clinically deficient in Vitamin D while an even greater number have insufficient levels. Aim for 5000 IU per day.
Buffered Vitamin C. Daily use of vitamin C has been shown to reduce the likelihood of colds and flu, reduce antibiotic use, and reduce school absences in children. People who take vitamin C regularly can expect shorter colds (by 8 percent in adults and 14 percent in children) with slightly less severe symptoms. A 2018 meta-analysis also supports the idea that vitamin C can shorten colds and lessen symptoms. The recommended dose is 500 to 1,000 mg per day for kids and 1000 to 2000 mg per day for adults.
Zinc Citrate. A daily supplement with zinc reduces colds and flu. The dose depends on age. For adults it’s 30 to 60 mg per day total. For kids over six months, the daily dose is as follows: 6 to 12 months: 2-3 mg, ages 1 to 3: 3 mg, ages 4 to 8: 5 mg; ages 9 to 13: 8 mg.
Probiotics. Up to 70 percent of the body’s immune cells reside in the gut; maintaining healthy gut flora may help prevent colds and flu when taken daily. Use a probiotic supplement that contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
Cod Liver Oil. High in vitamin A, which is strongly supportive of the immune system and particularly the respiratory passages, this is another daily supplement you can use for you and your family’s flu-prevention plan.
Quercetin. A plant flavonoid and natural antihistamine. Viruses are known to produce an inflammatory response that impairs the immune system, so this nutrient can help calm inflammation and keep the immune system healthy.
Elderberry Syrup. Rich in antioxidants and used for centuries to boost immunity. Dose is one tablespoon, three times daily for adults. Modify for children down to one-fourth of the dose ages 2 to 7 years old, and one-half the dose 8 to 12 years old; safe for pregnant women for a limited time of five to seven days. Elderberry is safe for nursing moms. Try Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs, or Planetary Herbals.
Urban Moonshine Immune Tonic. A fantastic immune-boosting blend of Astragalus Root, Red Reishi, Codonopsis Root, Maitake, Eleuthero Root, Licorice Root, Schisandra Berry, and Ginger Root—all organic. The dose is 1/2 teaspoon once or twice a day, or up to five times daily if needed, in a little warm or cold water. It is not for use by pregnant women but it is safe if you are nursing. Dr. Aviva Romm swears by this blend during flu season.
Meditate or find a way to calm your nervous system. Excess cortisol (the hormone that spikes with increased stress) can wreak havoc on the immune system.
Work out for 30 minutes a day. Move your body until you work up a sweat.
Get enough sleep. Get at least seven to eight hours every night.
Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer if you can’t get to a sink. Stores sold out of hand sanitizer? Make your own with 1/3 cup pure aloe vera gel, 2/3 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice. Try tea tree, which has antibacterial properties. An added benefit of the DIY version is the absence of triclosan, a common ingredient in store-bought household products that may have endocrine-disrupting effects and contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Keep company with those you love. Mental health plays a huge role in immunity.
Be careful what you read and allow into your space and consciousness.
Stay informed. The latest information and health information can be found on the C.D.C. website.