Here are my Tips for Boosting Your Immunity:
By Susan S. Blum, MD, MPH.
My anti-viral approach is to help you build a strong immune foundation so that you don't get sick from any virus. A strong immune system is the basis for staying healthy in general and should be a year-round strategy…not just during flu season or when there is a threat of a novel previously unknown virus. This is, by far, the best prevention and protection!
1. Good gut health: which means lots of beneficial bacteria. Take a probiotic every day with at least 20 billion cfu of mixed strains lactobacillus and bifidus species. If you are taking antacids or proton pump inhibitors -stop- because this alters your gut flora in a negative way.
2. Balanced stress hormones: Get a good night’s sleep and don't overwork yourself during flu season. Stress harms your ability to fight viruses.
3. Eat foods that are good for your immune system: Avoid processed foods and focus on fruits and veggies that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Support the removal of toxins by eating lots of cruciferous veggies, which boost the detox system in your liver.
4. Take your vitamins! Here are some important ones you will need: a. Vitamin D 2000 iu/day minimum. The dose is based on your blood levels, so if you have low vitamin D you will need more. b. Vitamin A retinyl palmitate 5000 iu/day. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not take more than 5000 iu/day of this kind of Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate). c. Zinc 30 mg/day d. Vitamin C 3-4000 mg/day as an immune booster. 1-2000 mg/day is good for general prevention.
5. Additional supplements to consider:
a. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC): One of my favorites for preventing cold and flu. NAC is widely used in the medical community for a number of conditions, and has terrific clinical data that shows it to be helpful for patients with chronic respiratory illnesses (and so it is very useful for support treating respiratory viral illnesses). It also converts to Glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant. I usually recommend 900 milligram capsules or tablets – start with one twice daily and increase to two twice daily if needed. Pharmanac, a Canadian brand that comes in an effervescent form is easy to take as a fizzy drink – even for children!
b. Herbs like Elderberry, Echinacea, Astragalus, and Beta Glucan (mushroom extracts). We love Immunoberry Liquid from Designs for Health, which is a potent and convenient blend of these. 1 dropper each day in your shake, or in a little water, is all you need for ongoing protection. We also love Immune Builder from Mushroom Science: 2 daily for prevention. Both of these supplement doses can be doubled or tripled if you are concerned that you had exposure or feel you have early symptoms of a viral illness.
6. Lastly, make sure to wash your hands multiple times a day -- especially before you eat, and after exposure to public transportation like riding the subway. The items listed are available for purchase from our office, or from our online store: