Immune strength should be something to strive for every day, all year long. A strong immune system makes you less susceptible to microbial and environmental threats that enter the body. To keep immune function in alert-mode around the clock, consider these immune-fortifying tips in the following Daily Immune Boosting Protocol.
Take a minimum of 3,000 mg total per day. For best results, divide the doses throughout the day and take with food whenever possible.
Ascorbic acid is one of the best forms of vitamin C and it’s readily available.
Precaution: Too much vitamin C at once can irritate the bowel, resulting in diarrhea. Gradually increase your segmented vitamin C dose until you reach your bowel tolerance (below the amount that causes diarrhea for you). You can also opt for a vitamin C supplement in liposomal form, which does not have the same bowel discomfort effect.
Take 10,000 - 12,000 IU (3,000 - 3,600 mcg RAE) once per day preferably with food containing fat.
Choose an emulsified retinyl palmitate (also labeled as retinol palmitate or vitamin A palmitate) if possible.
Precaution: DO NOT TAKE VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENTS IF YOU ARE PREGNANT!
Take 5,000 - 6,000 IU (125 - 150 mcg) once per day preferably with food containing fat.
Precaution: Taking significantly high doses of vitamin D on a regular basis can be dangerous. It’s always a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked before starting on a supplementation routine. Click here to learn more about how to avoid vitamin D toxicity.
Take 25 mg per day with food.
Different types of zinc are readily available in supplements. Zinc gluconate, zinc citrate, and zinc picolinate are good budget-friendly options.
Precaution: If you’re taking zinc daily for more than 30 days, it’s a good idea to have your zinc and copper levels checked. The relationship between zinc and copper is that too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. Also, do not take zinc supplements at the same time as iron or calcium supplements, as these minerals compete with each other for absorption.
Take 6-12 mg every morning, preferably on an empty stomach.
Precaution: Do not take iodine supplements if you are allergic to iodine.
What else can you do to enhance immune function?
Lifestyle plays a significant role in how your immune system works. You probably already know these immune-boosting practices, but they are worth repeating.
Stay hydrated: Your body needs a consistent supply of fluids to perform various functions. A well hydrated body flushes out toxins, wastes, and harmful microbes, not to mention keeps cells, tissues and whole organ systems working. Aim on drinking at least your body weight in ounces of water every day. Opt for non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages, as these can actually influence dehydration. Water is always the best option and you can dress it up with some fresh or frozen fruit or even a tea bag if your taste buds need a little something more exciting than plain water.
Diet matters: The foods you eat can either help or harm your immune system. The least processed foods are the way to go. A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and the right amount of healthy fats works to support immunity. Whenever possible, load up on fresh produce, whole grains, and lean proteins. Definitely limit refined sugars and consider easing up on dairy and gluten, as these can put extra demand on the digestive system as well as the immune system if they trigger an intolerance.
Move your body: Never underestimate the physical and mental powers of daily exercise. Even light stretching or a moderate stroll outside support immune health. If you’re stuck inside due to inclement weather or a pandemic-induced lockdown, indoor calisthenics, an old workout DVD or a plethora of free online resources for at-home workouts will help you stay active.
Find even more immune-boosting tips here to practice especially during cold and flu season.
What do I do if I get sick?
No immune system is perfect in real life. Even healthy people are susceptible to a breakdown in the immune mechanism from time to time.
And then there are those of us who don’t exactly stick to a prevention model and only put immune health first as needed. You may find that taking precautions only when your body is undergoing immune stress or during times when the spread of communicable diseases is on the rise is sometimes too late!
Regardless of how you treat your immune system throughout the year if you find yourself experiencing cold and flu symptoms, consider the following Sick Protocol.
Take 1,000 mg every 1-2 hours, preferably with a little food, throughout the day for 4 days.
You may need to adjust the time between doses if the suggested use above is over your bowel tolerance.
Take 100,000 IU (30,000 mcg RAE) as emulsified retinyl palmitate once a day for 4 days.
Precaution: DO NOT TAKE VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENTS IF YOU ARE PREGNANT!
Take 50,000 IU (1,250 mcg) once a day for 4 days.
Take 25 mg per day with food once a day for 4 days.
Take 25-50 mg every morning, preferably on an empty stomach, for 4 days.
It’s essential to keep up with the immune-boosting lifestyle habits mentioned previously as much as possible, even when you’re not feeling your best. Just be sure to listen to your body in regards to physical activity - know your limits and know when to take it easy. Here are some additional things you can do when you’re feeling symptomatic.
Use a nebulizer: A nebulizer is a device that turns liquid solutions into vapors for inhalation. Compounds can be used in a nebulizer to help localize the delivery of the treatment to the lungs during times of respiratory distress, unlike an oral treatment that first has to go through the digestive tract before it can be delivered to the organs.
Nebulize 3 ml of a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and 1 drop of Lugol’s iodine every 1-2 hours throughout the day at the first sign of respiratory distress. Nebulizers are readily available online. Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions as models can differ.
Epsom salt bath: Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is great at relaxing the body as well as encouraging the release of toxins. Take a daily bath with warm water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt and 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to the water. Soak in the bath solution for 20-30 minutes. Drink water during and after your bath, as sweating and detoxing cause you to lose fluids.
Use a neti pot: Doing a daily sinus rinse with a neti pot can help to clear mucus and microbes in the nasal cavity. For an additional boost to nasal irrigation, add 1-2 drops of Lugol’s iodine to your neti pot’s saline solution.
Embrace essential oils: Essential oils are concentrated plant compounds that have natural healing properties. While they are widely used in aromatherapy, essential oils are often underutilized as internal use health products. Naturally occurring compounds in essential oils have strong antiseptic properties, which can come in handy when you’re dealing with a sore throat.
A mixture of food grade clove, peppermint, nutmeg, thyme, fennel, and coriander oil is quite powerful against microbes in the oral cavity, but the highly potent mixture needs a carrier to coat the throat more thoroughly. Add a drop of each oil to ¼ teaspoon of pure maple syrup or agave nectar. Repeat the dose 3-4 times a day until the throat irritation subsides.
What about a COVID-19 Protocol?
While there is still no cure for the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, research has been done to determine the effectiveness of some drugs traditionally used to treat other diseases. One such drug is ivermectin, the active ingredient in several over-the-counter and prescription drugs used to treat parasitic infections in humans and animals.
Currently, the drug is FDA approved for the treatment of parasitic diseases such as scabies and malaria, but it’s showing promise as an antiviral agent as well.
Research out of Australia showed that ivermectin stopped the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) virus growing in cell cultures within 48 hours (1). It should be noted that other cell culture tests have shown the effectiveness of ivermectin against other coronaviruses that cause HIV, Dengue fever, Zika, and influenza (2).
Studies on ivermectin for COVID-19 are limited, and there is not enough convincing evidence of its effectiveness against coronaviruses to gain the support of many public health institutions. No matter your reason for using ivermectin, it is strongly advised that you do not use this drug without supervision from a doctor. It should be noted that most over the counter ivermectin products are meant for animals, not humans, and taking the drug incorrectly can have harmful effects.
Research into the effectiveness of ivermectin and other drugs is ongoing as the COVID pandemic still rages on. While the world attempts to control the spread of COVID, remember that immune boosting measures, such as the ones mentioned above, are crucial to your body’s ability to fight off the virus and keep your viral load low if you do get it.
If the pharmaceutical route isn’t for you, click here to learn about natural substances that have antiviral properties.
Disclaimer: The 4-day Sick Protocol is based on recommendations from a naturopathic doctor. It is always wise to consult with a qualified health professional before starting an intensive dose of supplements, such as the ones mentioned above. If your symptoms are not improving after the 4-day regimen, talk to a health professional about your next course of action.
As with any supplement routine, consult with a healthcare professional before taking supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medication, or if you have a medical condition. The protocols mentioned above are suggested for adults only. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before giving intensive doses of nutritional supplements to children.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.