2020 has been a year! As we look toward the holiday season, flu season, in conjunction with the never ending COVID pandemic, the strength of your immune system has never been more important. We wanted to take the opportunity to highlight all of the tools that you can utilize to combat illness for the next few months. Try these tried and true immune boosting supplements to keep you healthier than ever before.
Olive Leaf Extract
Used for centuries to disrupt the replication process of foreign bacteria and viruses, Olive Leaf Extract has been shown to effectively work against more than 50 disease-causing organisms, including Candida albicans and E. coli. Unlike regular antibiotics that cause antibiotic resistance, Olive Leaf Extract is safe and effective for long-term use and multiple acute episodes.
I have recommended Olive Leaf Extract to many grandparents on their way to spend time with the little grandkids. The resulting decrease of those grandparents returning home sick has been impressive. Take 3-4 capsules two times a day while you are traveling and for three days after your return home or anytime that you are feeling under the weather. If you are feeling well, discontinue and keep the rest of the bottle for the next time.
Olive leaf extract also comes in a nasal and throat spray as well as a convenient liquid for children and those who cannot swallow a capsule.
Because NAC boosts the body’s levels of GSH (Glutathione, an antioxidant), it helps fight most viruses, including the influenza virus. GSH is vital for optimal T and B-lymphocyte function. NAC is mucolytic, which means that it breaks up heavy and sticky mucus that can build up in conditions such as sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and cystic fibrosis. NAC is therefore indispensable in any condition that involves excessive mucus.
L-glutamine is the powerful amino acid that has many uses for the immune system. One of glutamine’s most well studied effects is its ability to close the permeability of the stomach lining. This is great for those prone to food poisoning or food sensitivities. If you are used to digestive problems try a mega-dose of L-glutamine while traveling during the holiday season or when the stomach bug is making its way through your community. Some practitioners recommend up to 80g of L-glutamine when traveling but I think that could be a bit aggressive. Try taking 20g of L-glutamine if you normally suffer with digestive problems when traveling. That is three level spoonfuls of a high quality L-glutamine powder. L-glutamine also feeds your immune cells providing a boost to their functionality and help cells heal. If you are suffering with a sore throat, try placing a spoonful of L-glutamine in a small glass of water and gargling it for one minute.
Nature’s Shield Oil
Nature’s Shield Oil is widely used to kill unwanted bacteria or viruses. This oil can be diffused in a portable oil diffuser beside your bed at night or in the car to help with upper respiratory illnesses. You might also want to place a couple of drops on a warm washcloth to wipe down any surface that you need to sufficiently clean. Clean the countertops in the bathroom, the toilet seat, or even the television remote with this oil for an added layer of protection against surface bacteria. This oil is an effective disinfectant and it has a great holiday smell.
GR8 Dophilus is a supplemental probiotic. Probiotics are great to take during cold and flu season to prevent unwanted exposure to foreign bacteria through the digestive system. Probiotics can crowd out a more deleterious gut bacteria and prevent an unpleasant night in your bathroom. If your stomach struggles digesting new foods, GR8 Dophilus could be a blessing to your colon. Try taking one capsule with each meal while you are staying at Grandma’s house. If you do succumb to the stomach bug, start taking GR8 Dophilus immediately and for the following five days after. It is highly important that you establish a healthy gut microbiome following a bad stomach virus to prevent a relapse or a prolonged bout with chronic fatigue.
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the only version of Vitamin D that is readily absorbable as a supplement. Your body can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. You can ingest Vitamin D when you eat/drink milk, fish, fish oils, and egg yolks. Vitamin D deficiency is widely common and can cause many biological problems including a decrease in bone density (Rickets), cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, severe asthma in children, and cancer. Vitamin D may help conditions such as diabetes (types I and II), hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D deficiency can be created by limited sun exposure and overuse of suntan lotions, reduction in dietary Vitamin D intake, dark skin, living in the North, age related kidney dysfunction, digestive disorders, and obesity. Most common months for Vitamin D deficiencies are October-April.
It is no coincidence that this is the same time of the year that we suffer with colds and the flu the most. Even COVID appears to have a link with low vitamin D levels. Whether you are struggling with a current illness or trying to prevent the next one, make sure that your vitamin D levels stay optimal during the low daylight months.
Zinc is a mineral co-factor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions related to protein and carbohydrate metabolism, RNA/DNA synthesis and intercellular signaling. Zinc is essential to the normal function of many organs and systems within the body; supporting healthy immune, skeletal, neurological, and endocrine functions as well as a healthy prostate. Zinc is one of the many supplements used to combat upper respiratory diseases and has been linked to reducing COVID symptoms.
Dietary bioavailability of zinc is relatively poor, so Zinc Glycinate is chelated to improve absorption and bioavailability.
Elderberry is a fruit grown from the elder tree that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties making it a powerhouse when it comes to fighting colds. Studies have shown taking elderberry syrup can shorten colds and flus and also relieve sinus infections. Our homemade elderberry syrup is available for purchase in our office or you can take the time to make it yourself. Take one tablespoon every waking hour.
- 1 ½ cups dried elderberries (we purchase from Amazon)
- 4 ½ cups water
- 1 tbsp cloves
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup local honey
Put all ingredients except honey in a pressure cooker such as the Instant Pot. Use the sauté setting and bring ingredients to a boil. Hit cancel, then select high-pressure for five minutes, with a natural pressure release. Strain the ingredients, cool, and then add the honey. Place the syrup in a mason jar and store in a refrigerator.
Don’t have an Instant Pot? Place all ingredients except the honey, in a crock-pot on high for six hours. Strain, cool, add the honey and place in a mason jar.
Stay safe this cold and flu season. If you missed our last blog post on immune boosting recipes, check it out here.
Daryl Rich, D.C., C.S.C.S.