‘Tis the season to boost immunity. Whether you’re taking a proactive approach—or you’ve been hit with the flu, common cold, or COVID—immune health is key. A healthy immune system can defeat disease-causing germs (like bacteria, viruses, and parasites) while protecting healthy tissue. Luckily, there are plenty of natural remedies to strengthen your immune system. Overall, taking a holistic approach is key. Speaking of natural remedies, there are plenty of everyday supplements to naturally boost immunity. In this article, you’ll learn about supplements, herbs, and ingredients to always have on hand.
healthy ways to strengthen your immune system
It’s no surprise that certain diet and lifestyle factors influence your immune response. Like, prioritizing sleep, joyful movement, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating nutritious food. When it comes to nutrition, you want to focus on balancing blood sugar. This includes incorporating whole, minimally processed foods. Think: Mediterranean diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, high-quality dairy, and healthy fats can provide a wide array of nutrients and antioxidants. All of these help boost and strengthen your immune system.
12 Supplements to boost immunity
Staying well begins with healthy habits. That includes a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Or, herbal apothecary. While you want to keep your immune system strong year-round, we’re more susceptible to colds and flus in the winter months. Why? Viruses live longer indoors. Plus, we end up spending more time indoors and have closer contact with each other. Thus, viruses spread much faster. Discover how to use these 11 natural and safe remedies to protect against infections and support your immune system.
I am not a doctor, so please consult your primary care physician, doctor, or pediatrician before making any changes to your supplement routine. Furthermore, the following statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
Yes, colostrum. This magical elixir is dubbed liquid gold for a reason. If you’re a mom, lactation consultant, neonatal nurse, or pediatrician (or work with newborns in any capacity!) you know the life-changing benefits of colostrum. It’s truly an unrivaled nutrient powerhouse. Best of all, it’s known to significantly support immune health.
Even before the start of the pandemic, there was evidence that vitamin D supports immune health. Furthermore, there is data that vitamin D may enhance immune functions in human cells and reduce the spread of some viruses, in the laboratory setting. As far as dosage is concerned, aim for at least 2,000 IU (for adults) of vitamin D, per day. If you have contracted COVID, toddlers and children can take up to 1,000 IU per day and adults can take 5,000 IU until symptoms subside.
Vitamin C is critical. If you start to get symptoms of a cold, open up two capsules of vitamin C and pour them into a cup of warm water. Add 1/2-1 tablespoon of raw honey, and the juice of half an orange. Repeat this, ideally, every two hours. The glucose from the honey and orange juice allows your cells to rapidly use the vitamin C. Otherwise, take 4 capsules 2x per day (two with breakfast and two with dinner).
In terms of supplement dosage, a baby under 12 months can take 125 mg/day. A 2-3-year-old can take 125 mg 2x/day. A 3-5-year-old can take 250 mg 2x/day. A 5-10-year-old can take 375 mg 2x/day, a 10-17-year-old can take 500 mg 2x/day, and adults can take 1 g 2x/day.
So many of us are deficient in vitamin B12. It’s necessary for thousands of mechanisms in the body (nutrient absorption, neurological health, overall immunity, and more). B12 is also super important in recovering from cold and flu-like symptoms, as well as daily maintenance. See here for my recommended vitamin B12 supplement.
Zinc is the most critical trace mineral for our immune system. Due to declining soil health, most people are very deficient in zinc. Capsule form works great, but meat, seafood, nuts, and legumes are all wonderful sources of zinc. In terms of dosage, 5 mg for an under 2-year-old, 10 mg for a 2-7-year-old, 20 mg for an over 7-year-old, and adults can take up to 20 mg 2x/day.
Raw garlic has potent medicinal properties. Aim for 2-3 cloves per day. Dice them up, and swallow with water after a meal.
Thyme is extremely anti-viral. Make thyme tea by steeping a few sprigs of fresh thyme in hot water for 30 minutes. Dried thyme works too.
Homemade chicken soup can actually ease symptoms of upper respiratory infections. And because chicken soup is made with chicken broth or stock, it also contains some healing amino acids and minerals found in bone broth. There are so many benefits to bone broth. It boost energy, nourishes your blood, and restores adrenal function (affected by stress). Plus, it can protect your intestinal barrier. Not only is the small intestine the primary site for nutrient absorption, it is also the first line of defense in our immune system.
Last but not least, when you’re sick with a virus, proper hydration can help the skin and mucous cell membrane act as a barrier to prevent bacteria from entering the body. It can also help decrease nasal irritation when coughing, sneezing and even just breathing.
As a syrup or tea, daily. Elderberry strengthens and rebuilds the immune system on every level. In essence, it forms protective barrier around human cells to prevent viruses from attaching to a host. This is my favorite syrup from MegaFood. The quality, ingredients, and taste are unparalleled. If you prefer tea, this is my favorite elderberry tea.
Lemon Balm, also known as Melissa, is one of the most popular medicinal plants. It can also be used to treat anxiety and prevent heart disease. It’s anti-viral and can support stress response. As a rule of thumb, treat lemon balm as you would any other herb. It works especially well in place of mint, offering bright, fragrant notes. Add whole lemon balm leaves to green salads, or chiffonade the leaves and scatter them over a fruit salad for added zesty flavor.
Take one capsule per day with breakfast. Quercetin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that might help reduce swelling, kill cancer cells, control blood sugar, and help prevent heart disease. In terms of dosage, 25 mg per day for a toddler ages 12-24 months, 250 mg for a 2-5-year-old, and 500 mg for anyone over age 5.
Spirulina supports the immune system and stops viral growth. It’s rich in a range of vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, like vitamins E, C, and B6. Research finds that spirulina also boosts the production of white blood cells and antibodies. These fight viruses and bacteria in your body. You can either take it as a powder or tablet. Regardless of where you buy it, ensure it is from the USA. Pacific Ocean is best. Like, Hawaiian spirulina.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.