Boosting Your Immune System to Defend Against Colds and the Flu

This year the flu has been worse than ever, plus in my area, there seems to be a stomach bug going around as well. Many of my patients, and friends and their children have either been sick or are worried they are going to catch whatever is going around.

I’ll try to keep this post on point so that when you’re bleary-eyed from being up with a sick child or spouse, you can read through quickly and gather some useful information.

First, staying healthy is key. A body (and immune system) that has received proper maintenance and care is going to perform better than a body (and immune system) that has been neglected or abused. So for maintenance here are a few key points:

  1. Eat a healthy diet– lots of colorful vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats. Decrease sugar, gluten, dairy, processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
  2. Get enough rest and sleep, and also enough moderate to intense exercise.
  3. Manage stress appropriately – a few favorite apps I use are the Calm app, or Headspace, or even search YouTube for “relaxation music.” HeartMath is another stress management tool for us Type A “I don’t know if I’m doing this meditation thing right” type of people. It gives you immediate feedback on your phone, with the use of their finger clip or ear clip. Do any of these things for 5 minutes, 1 or 2 times per day, and you will start to notice a difference.
  4. Supplement wisely.
    1. Vitamin D3 with K2 for adults and this one for kids is one I recommend across the board.
    2. Vitamin A is another favorite, and one I’ve sworn by this year and in the past. It tastes like carrots, so the kids don’t mind it either. A high dose of Vitamin A for 2 days in a row significantly reduces the time you’ll spend sick, and the severity of the illness.
    3. Mushroom powder in smoothies. 1 tsp per day.
    4. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is also beneficial – 1 tablespoon per day in water before breakfast is all it takes. Costco now sells organic ACV in glass bottles!
    5. Generally, fish oil for kids and for adults and probiotics are a good idea as well.
  5. Hand hygiene: Wash. Your. Hands. Not with antibacterial soaps – chose a non-toxic soap with no triclosan or other antibacterial chemicals. Castille soap works really well – diluted and put in a foaming hand soap pump.

If you feel yourself getting sick, continue the above, with these additional things (I tend to make sure I have these on hand so I can add them on immediately):

  1. Vitamin A – I have had amazing results with giving my Vitamin A drops (100,000IU/day x 2 days only, then down to 1 drop per day).
  2. Vitamin C – at the first sign of illness, start taking 1000mg of vitamin C ever hour for 6 hours. Then take 1000mg every 6 hours until symptoms subside. I like this kind best – UltraPotent C Powder, UltraPotent C Chewables, or UltraPotent C tablets – because of the flexibility in dosing, and the research behind it regarding boosting certain immune cells.
  3. V Clear EPs Regular and alcohol free – this is similar to the Umcka syrup that you can find in stores, but made by one of my trusted supplement companies, Integrative Therapeutics. This stuff tastes great – my kids ask for it even when they’re not getting sick!
  4. Fire Cider – although I’ve given it to my kids, this spicy mix is probably more for the adults. It’s a mix of apple cider vinegar infused with habanero pepper, honey, lemon, and some herbs. It can be found on Amazon, or at some local health food stores (I found mine at Fresh Thyme grocery store by me).
  5. Elderberry Syrup – again, this tastes great, and has a number of other helpful herbs in it, so my kids love it, and it’s easy to give to them with the dropper.
  6. Zinc liquid or lozenges zinc is a great support to the immune system, and also kills microbes on contact.
  7. Diet: as above, but more strictly avoid sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol. Drink plenty of clean water.

Hopefully this has been helpful information for you. I know these things have worked well for our family and for many of my patients.

Wishing you a healthy remainder of the winter!


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