Tips to Increase Your Immune System
As we go through these colder winter months, we often see an increase in colds and illnesses. This increase is partially related to less time outdoors, more time confined in indoors spaces and decreased absorption of vitamin D due to the zenith angle of the Sun. No one likes to deal with being sick as it can keep us from feeling our best and being able to do what we love! Follow the tips below to increase your immune system during this winter season and beyond!
- Aim to get 8-9hrs of sleep each night. Even just one night of decreased sleep and decreased sleep quality can impact our immune system’s ability to fight effectively after exposure to a virus or bacteria (1).
Eat Real Food:
- Eat foods that are in season and lean meats, seafood and vegetables. Eat foods found in nature that involve the least amount of processing prior to reaching your table. Shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store is typically a good rule to achieve this. Eating nutrient dense foods allows our bodies to get essential micronutrients which support our immune system (2). Bone broth is especially nutrient dense and excellent for providing the body with essential nutrients while sick.
Support Your Immune System:
- Supplementation of certain micronutrients can be very effective in boosting the function of the immune system during the winter season and while fighting a cold/illness. Below are supplement recommendations for adults for general support and increased support when sick (3).
- Elderberry Syrup: 1tsp/day during winter months, 1-2 TBSP if recently exposed to an illness or fighting a cold/illness.
- Vitamin D: 2,000IU’s per day (best to get your serum levels of Vitamin D tested to
supplement according to deficiency). Can micro dose 10,000-20,000 IU’s for 3-5 days if exposed to an illness or fighting a cold/illness.
- Vitamin C: 500-100mg/day. 4,000-6,000mg/day if actively fighting a cold/illness.
d. Zinc: 30mg/day. 90-100mg/day for 3-5 days if actively fighting a cold/illness.
e. Iodine: 1-2 drops of liquid iodine per day depending on dosage of the supplement (4).
- Aim for 20-60min per day of either high intensity interval training and/or weight lifting. Studies have found a correlation between obesity and metabolic diseases (insulin resistance) and higher viral loads and spread (5). We were made for movement, so work on increasing movement throughout the day. Even a small amount of physical activity can make a large impact.
Regular chiropractic care is also shown to increase the immune system’s response and is a great tool to help you feel and function at your best all year! (6)
Dr. Taylor Fiemster
- de Almondes, K. M., Marín Agudelo, H. A., & Jiménez-Correa, U. (2021). Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Emotional Regulation and the Immune System of Healthcare Workers as a Risk Factor for COVID 19: Practical Recommendations From a Task Force of the Latin American Association of Sleep Psychology. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 564227. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.564227
- Iddir, M., Brito, A., Dingeo, G., Fernandez Del Campo, S. S., Samouda, H., La Frano, M. R., & Bohn, T. (2020). Strengthening the Immune System and Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress through Diet and Nutrition: Considerations during the COVID-19 Crisis. Nutrients, 12(6), 1562. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061562
- Chaari, A., Bendriss, G., Zakaria, D., & McVeigh, C. (2020). Importance of Dietary Changes During the Coronavirus Pandemic: How to Upgrade Your Immune Response. Frontiers in public health, 8, 476. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00476
- Bilal, M. Y., Dambaeva, S., Kwak-Kim, J., Gilman-Sachs, A., & Beaman, K. D. (2017). A Role for Iodide and Thyroglobulin in Modulating the Function of Human Immune Cells. Frontiers in immunology, 8, 1573. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01573
- Lewis, A.M., Zhang, X., Brestoff, J., (2021). COVID-19 severity in obese patients may be linked to viral load and immune response. The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
- Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, McGregor M, Ruegg R, Injeyan HS. (2010). Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulation treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy, 18, 26.