Hi guys! Hope you are all doing well. Sorry I haven’t blogged in a long time; school has been very busy, as well has handling all the other exciting things life has to offer. Today, I want to share with you the fast acting, immune boosting protocol I’ve been following religiously for the past three days in order to stop an incoming sickness in its tracks. I’m happy to report that since starting this protocol, I already feel almost back to myself again.
Last Sunday night I felt a little tickle in my throat, but ignored it, chalking it up to a lack of air filtration in my room and construction going on nearby. Unfortunately, I woke up Monday morning and this throat tickle had turned into a full on sore throat. I had plans on going to the gym, but immediately put my workout clothes back in their respective drawer, and got into sweats. Doing this pained me so much, but I knew in the long run, giving my body a rest was going to help me recover faster. The rest of the day was spent trying to keep my body in a relatively relaxed state (I still did homework, but didn’t push myself or stress myself out) as well as infiltrating my system with lots of high quality supplements, drinks, and nutritious foods which I will share in this post.
Before I get started, I want to note that this protocol will be good to follow if you feel a sickness coming on, but you are definitely not in a full fledged bed-ridden, can’t move, 101 degree fever state. If this is the case, go see a doctor. This post is aimed for people looking to stop a cold in its tracks, and you can even implement some of these steps when you feel perfectly fine, because they will help keep the immune system strong and healthy to prevent an illness in the first place. Now, here is my immune boosting plan, the products I like using when I feel like I’m coming down with something, as well as dosages+tips and other suggestions.
Zinc is synonymous to a healthy immune system, which is why it is number one on my list. Not only do you want to include plenty of zinc in your diet on a regular basis, but even more so when you feel a sickness coming on. Zinc is needed to active what is called T lymphocytes which are T cells that control and regulate immune response, as well as attack infected cells. Zinc can shorten the duration of a cold by up to 40 percent (Source) When I’m sick, I pop two of these tablets a day. I like this brand pictured below because it is gluten free and doesn’t use added fillers. Usually, though, I get plenty of zinc in my diet through seafood, meats, eggs and nuts like almonds.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar.
ACV is next up on the list, but it is very important to note here that you need to get apple cider vinegar “with the mother” as this will give you the benefits you are looking for apple cider vinegar is antibacterial, contains healthy bacteria and prebiotics, and encourages detoxification in the body. Pour a tablespoon or two in tea, lemon water, soup, bone broth, any sort of liquid to dilute it, as it is too acidic to take on its own. Do this three times a day.
3. Manuka Honey.
Not only is manuka honey delicious, but it is a natural immune boosting aid. Manuka honey can stimulate the production of cytokines which are chemical messengers secreted by the immune system to organize the production of immune boosting cells (Source). Manuka honey is also incredible for healing wounds and preventing sinus infections. If you have a cold it’s a great idea to eat or drink some manuka honey so it doesn’t turn into something worse. Add manuka honey into tea 2 to 3 times a day, or you can eat a tablespoon of it raw. I also love manuka honey as a face mask.
4. Vitamin C.
This is a boring one because you’ve probably heard it before, but Vitamin C and the immune system essentially go together like peanut butter and jelly. Vitamin C stimulates the production and function of multiple types of white blood cells, which work to fight off viruses and bacteria. Not only that, but vitamin C produces antibodies which are proteins that bind to the invading pathogens and neutralize them. It is also interesting to mention the adrenal glands here. The adrenal glands use a lot of Vitamin C when the body is stressed. This is why it is more common to become ill when you are stressed out. It is also why it is critical to take in more Vitamin C than usual if you are stressed or feel an illness coming on, so the adrenal glands do not deplete the amount you already have (Source). I like this supplement by Dr. Mercola because it contains 1,000 mg so I just pop one of these a day and I’m set.
Echinacea is a group of wildflower, and studies suggest that it can increase white blood cell count. It is an all natural way to stimulate your immune system and help the cells fight invaders. (Source). I like Echinacea tea, as well as sucking on these cough drops that contain the flower, as well as honey and lemon.
6. Vitamin D.
I recommend taking a vitamin D supplement year round, especially during winter months if you live up north like I do. Vitamin D deficiency leads to increased autoimmunity as well as susceptibility to infection. (Source). My favorite form of vitamin D (and best in my opinion) is a high quality cod liver oil. Since I ran out, right now I’m using this one from my naturopath which contains K2 as well.
Focus on consuming food with lemon, garlic, cilantro and turmeric. The easiest way to do this is cook up a large pot of soup with all the above ingredients and tons of vegetables. Obviously it is important to eat often, but even more so when you feel a sickness coming on, to ensure the body has enough nutrition to help the immune system fight off any invader. Focus especially on Vitamin A, which comes from sweet potatoes, liver, eggs and salmon. Low vitamin A will inhibit immune function.
8. Optional supplements
These items I am putting under “optional” because I cannot report with the certainty I can report on with the other items, that these actually have a significant effect. I just like covering all my bases so I purchase these products as well for immediate symptom relief, as well as their immune system benefits. These two products can be found at Whole Foods, and I think the ColdCalm can also be purchased from CVS. I don’t like taking any harsh traditional cold medicines like Mucinex so these two are great alternatives.
9. Other general tips
General advice to follow when you want to stay well is to not push yourself too hard at the gym. Instead, do some pilates, yoga or light walking. Hard workouts will only increase your cortisol levels, and that is not what we want when we need the immune system to fire up. Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of fluid, and all the rest of it as well!
Happy fall, I hope you all are staying happy and healthy 🙂