The kiddos are back in school, and while you heave a sigh of relief, that also means . . . here come the germs!! Colds and flu spike up and threaten immune health as the kids bring home an assorted blend of bacteria and viruses from school. And don’t forget about the germs from the people who work around you. If you work with the public, all bets are off. So how do you protect your immune system from the inevitable onslaught of germs? Read on.
Vitamins for Immune Health
Vitamin C: Getting enough Vitamin C every day is important to your overall health. Antioxidants like Vitamin C protect your cells from oxidative stress and free radicals. Humans and guinea pigs are the only species that cannot synthesize their own Vitamin C — in other words, you must get it from food and supplementation. Generally, 500 mg to 1000 mg three times per day is an adequate dose. Taking too much Vitamin C can have a laxative effect, so you may have to experiment with the right level for your body. Eat Vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and fresh herbs.
Vitamin D3: Study after study has reported that Americans are deficient in Vitamin D3, especially at the optimal levels that fend off disease. Ask your doctor to order the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test to determine your level. According to many experts, the optimal range is 50-70 ng/mL, even though the lab results will include results as low as 20 or 30 ng/mL in the “normal” range. Generally, taking 5,000 IUs of D3 daily will help increase your level, but let your doctor advise you how to correct the deficiency and then maintain your D3 level based on your individual needs. Add at least 150 mcg of Vitamin K2, which is a Vitamin D Cofactor, meaning it helps your body absorb and utilize Vitamin D correctly.
Probiotics for Immune Health
A discussion about immune health is not complete without mentioning the importance of healthy gut flora for a healthy immune system. The groundbreaking Human Microbiome Project conducted by the National Institutes of Health has been an intriguing source of health information. Basically, the majority of your immune system is housed in your gut. We’ve written extensively about this study and its implications for your health in a previous article, What’s In YOUR Microbiome? Your Health Depends On It!
Lifestyle Hacks to Promote Immune Health
Feed Your Body Well: A balanced diet devoid of junk, a multivitamin, a probiotic, and a good source of Omega 3 comprise a strong foundation for health. If you want an extra boost, try these immune-strengthening foods:
- Green tea (packed with antioxidants)
- Berries (organic!)
- Red bell peppers (organic!)
- Yogurt (Greek, low sugar)
- Shrimp (packed with zinc)
- Micro greens (like sprouts)
Want to make sure your whole family has the vitamins and antioxidants it needs? Stock up on Juice Plus+ to cover deficiencies!
Keep Sugar and Alcohol to a Minimum: Sugar sabotages a strong immune system; it paralyzes your infection-fighting white cells for 24 hours after being ingested! If you do overindulge in sweets or alcohol, be sure to take extra Vitamin B Complex and Magnesium; your body uses up these nutrients when metabolizing both sugar and alcohol. A good probiotic supplement (like what you find in yogurt, but stronger and with no sugar) will replenish the “friendly” bacteria in your gut and boost your immune function.
Do Sleep, Don’t Stress: Along with these protocols, we stress a healthy life style. When patients eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get exposure to sunlight, sleep an adequate amount and proactively manage stresses in their lives, they are less likely to fall ill.
Chase Germs Out of the House: You don’t need harsh cleaners to de-germ your house! Using natural essential oils kills germs in your home without fumigating the humans who live there. Thieves® Oil from Young Living™ kills viruses, bacteria and fungi. It can be applied topically, dispersed throughout your home via diffuser, included in natural countertop sprays or even added to your A/C unit.
For natural cleaning product “recipes” made with Thieves® Household Cleaner (which is already formulated for cleaning) go to our article, Cleaning with Essential Oils.