Immune Boosting Strategies
by Lauri Lang, R/LDN, CLT
In these surrealistic, uncertain and trying times, I want to pass on a few suggestions to reduce our risk, and perhaps our anxiety and panic, that are within our sphere of control. These are, of course, in addition to practicing the recommended Universal Precautions.
My suggestions about Nutrition are to maximize: Food as Medicine, and eat a whole food, nutrient-dense diet which aligns with many holistic health care practitioners. So, fill your plate with:
- Beautiful rainbow-colored veggies (especially cruciferous: broccoli, cauliflower, all cabbages, Brussel sprouts, etc.) flavored with garlic, onion, herbs, spices…especially turmeric, ginger, rosemary, oregano…the more, the better! Try for 8 servings per day (only 1/2 cup each). Enjoy 2 or more servings of fruit. Emphasize Vitamin C rich veggies and fruits.
- Consume adequate protein. This is not a huge American problem but can be for the elderly and vegans/vegetarians. Protein contains the building blocks of immune factors. A good rule of thumb is 1 gram per kilogram of body weight or more. To simplify, about ½ of your body weight in grams of protein, for example, 75 grams for 150 lbs. Emphasize fatty fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids and other clean animal protein. For non-animal protein, eat legumes, organic whole soy foods, nuts and seeds in adequate quantities.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially warmer ones. It is suggested to drink warm fluids every 20 minutes, which can wash microbes from mouth to stomach where digestive juices/acids can neutralize. Bone broth and soups with garlic, ginger, and veggies. Herbal teas and plenty of filtered water are essential to support the immune system. Avoid sweetened beverages (and foods).
- Vitamin D3 in amounts adequate to boost serum levels to more optimal range: (See drhyman.com for expansion on this and other pertinent information.)
- Multi-vitamin mineral supplement with B-complex (comprehensive including this, or separate).
- Vitamin C (liposomal Vitamin C is Dr. Joseph Mercola’s recommendation, in addition to buffered C)
- Fish Oil
- Possibly Beneficial Supplements to consider include: Quercetin, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, N-acetyl- cysteine, elderberry extract, echinacea and curcumin/turmeric.
Per Dr. Mark Hyman, it is not necessary to take all of these. Starting with a multivitamin, D3, Fish Oil, Vitamin C and Zinc is a great start.
Other Lifestyle Habits to Emphasize and Take On:
- Get enough sleep, try for 7-8 hours per night. Utilize meditation and relaxation techniques.
- Get regular exercise! Mild to moderate exercise for 30-45 minutes per day is an immune booster. If you can get outside and maintain social distance, great. Otherwise there are more and more great choices available online.
- Practice Meditation and Yoga! Data is clear, unmanaged stress is immunosuppressive. If this is your regular practice, continue and expand. There are many amazing teachers adding to the already rich cannon of yoga and meditation instruction and practice available online.
Laughter is an Immune Booster: “Mirthful laughter decreased serum pro-inflammatory cytokine and increased anti-inflammatory cytokine levels, growth hormone, and IGF-1; reduced serum interleukin-6 levels.
Laughter and humor reduced allergen-induced wheat reactions, reduced allergen-specific IgE production, and improved night-time wakening:
- The mechanisms by which laughter boosts immunity are well referenced in the literature. Practice whatever works in your world to produce a true belly laugh. So much available now. Your favorite stand-up comedians, funny movies, On Demand TV. Share with your loved ones.
Some links to aid in staying in the moment, with Kindness, Bravery and Honesty, to build resilience…and add some humor:
If you experience symptoms and think you may have the virus, follow the CDC’s recommendations:
The message here, friends, is to make a conscious practice of helpful strategies across the board that we have some agency of which there are many, even in these uncertain times.