Immune defense has never been more important than now. Fall brings colds, the flu, and other immune illnesses. Bolster your immune defense with these four key steps.
“The best defense is a good offense.”
Key 1: Bolster Your First Line of Defense
Your first line of defense is the mucous membranes lining your nose, throat, lungs and digestive system. This is where pathogens can enter and multiply. A strong first line of defense may be all that you need to ward off illness. This is particularly true if your exposure to a bug is light in terms of length of or virulence.
Protect The Airways
- Use a throat spray to kill pathogens on contact. A couple favorites of mine are the Mycoshield Sprays and Echinacea/Propolis/Goldenseal throat spray. Each has strong anti-bacterial and antiviral herbs. I love to use these when I’ll be with a group of people at an event, or while traveling.
- Use a nasal spray for the same purpose. A couple of favorites are the Nutribiotic Nasal Spray, a grapefruit seed-based extract), the Nasal Guardian, a propolis-based extract, SinuOrega, and oregano-based spray, and the Cofix Rx, a povidone iodine-based spray.
- Vitamin A supports the health of the mucous membranes. Supplemental Vitamin A can be protective, especially in cases of early exposure. Limit use to the Recommended Daily Intake of 700-900 mcg.
- Wear a mask
Support Gut Defense
- Stomach acid often kills viruses and bacteria before they become a problem. If you have weak digestion and often feel full long after you eat, you may not produce enough acid. Older people often have this issue. Increase the acid in the stomach by adding Betaine HCl and pepsin in the middle of your meal.
- 70% of the immune defense resides in the gut. A healthy gut lining can mount a better immune defense. Stress, toxins, illness, and poor food choices can all harm the lining of the digestive tract. Use supplements to heal the gut lining if digestion is weak.
- The “good” bacteria in your gut helps to fight pathogens. Taking a probiotic can bolster immune health. Good immune system probiotics are UltraFlora Immune Booster and Everyday Immune.
- Immunoglobulins are compounds bind microbes in the gut. Thus, microbes can be eliminated from the body before an immune response is needed. They also enhance mucosal immunity. A favorite product to provide them is SBI Protect.
Key 2: Support the Immune System From the Bottom Up
If you frequently get immune illness, use the following nutrients:
Medicinal mushrooms contain polysaccharides that stimulate immune function. They trigger immune cells that kill and ingest pathogens and stimulate other immune cells to attack foreign microbes. A few great sources of them are MyCommunity, Stamets 7, Innate Immune Support, and Immucore.
Adaptogens are a class of herbs that fortify the body from the bottom up. Just like the roots of a plant, they have all the plant/your body needs to thrive. In other words, they have a tonic effect on the whole body. Boost mood, energy, and immune defense with these magical herbs. Two favorites for stronger immunity are ginseng and astragalus. Click here to learn more about adaptogens.
Key 3: Take Nutrients That Boost Immune Function
Vitamin D enhances immune system function, reduces viral growth, and has been found to reduce upper respiratory infections. It ensures that there is balance in the immune response.
Vitamin C supports white blood cell defense, is an antioxidant, and guards against excess inflammatory reactions. We recommend 1000 mg per day, and up to 3000 mg per day if you begin to feel ill. The liposomal form may stay in the body longer.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) Promotes the production of glutathione, one of the body’s main detoxifying agents. It has an anti-mucolytic effect on the lungs so can help to keep the bronchia clear. We recommend 600-900 mg per day.
Zinc has strong action against many types of viruses and can prevent or reduce the effects of respiratory illness. It is often deficient in older populations and those on vegetarian or vegan diets. We recommend 30-50 mg of zinc per day in capsule or lozenge form.
One supplement that captures each of the above plus Quercetin that is amazing for immune defense is OrthoMune. It can be used as directed for general support or at increased dosages if you are coming down with something.
Key 4: Herbs for When Illness Strikes
Elderberry has several anti-viral mechanisms and is known for fighting respiratory illness. For this reason, it is most effective when touching the tissues of the throat. It is best used as a syrup, gummy, or lozenge.
Monolaurin is derived from coconut oil, and it operates by breaking down the lipid envelope on the outside of a virus. Thus, it exposes the virus to immune cells. We have recommended it for helping to clear a variety of viruses over time. If you feel an illness coming on, use 600 mg 2X per day for adults and 300 mg 2X per day for children.
Oregano is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties so can offer broad immune defense.
Andrographis has strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects. It has been used in eastern medicine to treat fevers, cough, sore throat, bronchitis, and diarrhea.
In these uncertain times, it’s best to be prepared! We hope that you can use the above to identify areas where you may need support. If you would like to learn more about any of the companies that we highlighted above, you can learn more here about Ortho Molecular, Gaia Herbs, Host Defense, or Nature’s Plus. If you have any questions, please speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and we will be glad to help!