The Building Blocks of a Strong Immunity
Spoiler alert: it all starts in the gut.
One of the top, frequently asked questions I get from clients and on Instagram is: “Rhya, how can I naturally boost my immune system? I want to do everything I can to avoid the flu, the cold, COVID”. While I can’t say that you can completely avoid these common illnesses or the Corona Virus, a lot of immune boosting can be started in the gut.
Here’s some science: 70% of the immune system is comprised of specialized tissue found in the gut, so the #1 best way to support immunity is to nourish the gut with whole foods and avoiding excessive alcohol, sugar, and antibiotics. In some cases, avoiding gluten and other allergens provides additional support and reduces inflammation as well.
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In terms of whole foods and why I recommend starting there first
Fruits and vegetables provide an easily absorbed, natural source of vitamins and minerals, and phytonutrients for prevention and long-term immunity.
Supplements help bridge the gap
The following components are what I would consider the building blocks of a strong immune system. Other than Vitamin D, most can be easily obtained through food. However, when there are excessive demands on the body (hello modern society) and/or stress is high, supplements can bridge the gap.
In terms of added supplements, or even supercharging/biohacking whole foods for Immunity I recommend (details on ordering at the bottom of this blog):
Zinc is shown to inhibit viral replication. Dose recommendation is 20-30mg per day for prevention (avoid long-term high use d/t risk of copper depletion). Cashews, lean beef, and pumpkin seeds are good food sources.
Vitamin C also has anti-viral activity and can be easily obtained through food and supplements.
Food sources include kiwi, broccoli, citrus, and bell peppers. Some hospitals have used intravenously with positive effects in combating the severity of virus.
Vitamin A has anti-viral activity and supports the upper respiratory tract. Best food sources include organ meats like liver. Yellow/orange fruits/veggies provide beta-carotene which can be converted to active Vitamin A but is not as potent. Vitamin A is often present in a good multivitamin, and cod liver oil is another good source, so check for sources of combined intake amounts.
Vitamin D is a core immune system building block. In fact, there have been 40+ research papers written in the last year documenting immune-supportive and anti-viral effects of Vitamin D. Moderate sun exposure provides some Vitamin D, but depending on geographic location, skin coverage (sunscreen inhibits absorption), and individual genetics, proper conversion may be limited. Vitamin D is also difficult to obtain in adequate amounts through food other than organ meats or cod liver oil, so sometimes a supplement may be more practical to help maintain optimal levels.
For prevention: https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/cfnutrition-virus-prevention
Just like with skincare, with our immunity we can take preventative measures to keep us from being affected as severely or even at all.
The following Supplements are my daily go to’s:
Multivitamin (check for quality B-vitamins like MTHF-folate NOT folic acid + methyl or adenosyl or hydroxo B12 NOT cyanocobalamin)
Fish oil 2000mg (combined EPA/DHA)
Vitamin D -5000 IU for adults or 1000 IU per 25 lbs. for children 100 lbs or less
Vitamin C preferably with bioflavanoids-1-3000mg per day for adults, 500-1000mg for kids
Zinc: 20-30mg total per day (check multi then make up the difference with additional supplement as needed)
“Extra credit” prevention such as in cases of suspected exposure:
Elderberry: rich in antioxidants with documented cold and flu prevention capabilities
Green tea: rich in EGCG an antioxidant with antiviral capability
Curcumin/turmeric: powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Resveratrol: antioxidant found in grapes and red wine
Acute Support for adults:
Vitamin A: 10-25,000 IU
Vitamin C: 1-3000mg
Vitamin D: 10,000 IU per day
NAC: 600-900mg twice daily
NAC is a precursor to glutathione which is a primary antioxidant player in defending the body against damage. NAC also helps to break down mucus in the upper respiratory tract.
See my protocol in Fullscript - it also allows you to order any of these I have mentioned in this post: https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/cfnutrition-acute-viral-support