This Spring has been horrible, can we all just agree on that? I’m suffering from some of the worst allergies I’ve had in (literally) years, my boys keep coming down with colds, and nothing I seem to do works. At least not for very long.
Getting the toxins out of our home has drastically reduced the other stuff that is making us ill, but honestly, this bipolar weather can take a hike. Thankfully, I have a number of things in my arsenal that help to boost immunity and naturally support our body’s amazing ability to heal itself.
When you feel yourself getting sick you often only have a few hours (literally) to get your body producing extra white blood cells and helping your body kick into high gear to get the gross out of your system post haste.
Now, all of this won’t do a bit of good if you don’t give yourself some grace and allow an earlier bedtime, lighter workouts, and scheduled breaks. When you feel like you’re coming down with the crud, do yourself a favor and help your body fight it by going easy on yourself, okay?
Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with a number of processes in your body (it helps over 300 enzymes!).
Zinc helps your immune system, helps to produce critical proteins and DNA, and also helps with wound healing. Enough zinc is necessary to maintain healthy skin and for optimal ability to taste and smell. You know when your nose stops working because of a cold? It could be that you’re low in zinc.
What to Eat
The best dietary source is oysters, but zinc is also found in red meat, poultry, egg yolks, and shellfish. While some plants provide zinc (such as beans and nuts), vegetarians will likely need to supplement to get the recommended daily amounts.
Recommended Daily Dose
The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg per day, while for women it’s 8 mg per day.
While low zinc levels are rare, as I stated earlier, they tend to occur in vegetarians, vegans, athletes, and people who sweat a lot because your body loses zinc when it sweats.
Of course, if you don’t get enough zinc in your diet you can always supplement, but before you do, it’s important to consider a few things:
- It is possible to get too much zinc. For most people a dose of just no more than 15 mg per day is sufficient. Do not take a higher dosage unless recommended by your doctor or naturopath.
- Zinc supplements may interact with certain medications so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if zinc supplements are safe for you based upon the medications that you are currently taking.
- Zinc supplements are best taken by themselves no less than 2-hours away from other medications or supplements and should be taken with food.
My favorite way to supplement zinc is by taking 15 mg of Zinc Picolinate, which is an elemental form of zinc that is highly absorbable.
Vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin” is actually the most common nutrient that we in North America just simply don’t get enough of.
Not only is Vitamin D not very abundant in foods, but most places far from the equator don’t get enough sunlight for their body to produce adequate levels year round.
Even here in the great state of Texas, I don’t get enough!
Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium from our foods and is also necessary for our immune system, nervous system, and muscular system.
Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
What to Eat
It is a fat-soluble vitamin and naturally occurring in fatty fish, organ meats, and egg yolks. Unfortunately, it isn’t abundant in most other unfortified foods.
When to Supplement
Most people will need to supplement to get their daily allowance of Vitamin D. I recommend that you request that your doctor checks your blood levels to be sure you need a supplement.
Unfortunately, vitamin D is another one of those nutrients where more is not always better. If you’re like me, you may end up taking a much higher dose for a short period of time to help your body’s levels even out.
If you find that you do need to supplement:
- Never supplement with more than 5,000IU/day unless supervised by your doctor.
- As with zinc (and most other supplements), you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any medications.
- Take your vitamin D with some fat as well as vitamin K to help your body absorb this vitamin.
- Note that vitamin D is also found in cod liver oil, and multivitamins, so you may not need to take it separately (be smart and read labels).
If you do need to supplement to get your body’s vitamin D level up to par, then I highly recommend that you do so with a supplement that includes vitamin K, such as K2+D3 from Zhou Nutrition.
My Favorite Immune-Boosting Supplements
If keeping track of different individual vitamins and minerals stresses you out, I get it. I feel the same way, that’s why I take a few key supplements from Young Living to help keep my immune system running and on top of its game. As a bonus, these supplements mean that I can skip taking separate vitamin D and zinc because they already contain them.
Inner Defense™ is specially formulated with ingredients like Thieves® essential oil blend and Oregano essential oil to support a healthy immune system. During seasonal shifts (like the crazy weather we’ve been having lately), I make sure to take this daily.
Made from a proprietary blend of five beneficial bacteria and delivered in a delayed-release capsule, Life 5™ is a high-potency, 10-billion culture probiotic. Nearly 80 percent of the immune system is located in the gut, and Life 5 probiotic is excellent for supporting a natural digestive system and a healthy immune system.
Because our bodies cannot manufacture vitamin C, consuming this crucial vitamin through diet is essential. Super C™ is a delicious vitamin C supplement fortified with rutin, citrus bioflavonoids, and minerals to enhance the absorption of the vitamin C.
ImmuPro™ is a flavored chewable supplement that provides the natural immunity-supporting benefits of Ningxia wolfberry and reishi and maitake mushrooms. This supplement is also enhanced with calcium, zinc, selenium, and copper, all needed for supporting a proper immune function. Be sure to take it at night because it contains melatonin as well.
NingXia Red® is a whole-body nutrient infusion packed with ingredients specifically chosen for their wellness-supporting benefits. In addition to the legendary Ningxia wolfberries, blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices introduce additional carotenoids and phytonutrients. A blend of Orange, Yuzu, Lemon, and Tangerine essential oils also adds premium, natural flavoring.
I drink 1 to 2 ounces of NingXia Red every morning. Sometimes I mix it with my DIY elderberry syrup for an added boost.
Keeping Kids Healthy
Children have different needs than their adult counterparts. While this may seem obvious, many parents forget that their children probably don’t eat the wide variety of foods that they need to get everything in one sitting.
I recommend that you give your kids a daily multivitamin (my kids love the KidScents line from Young Living), as well as let them have their own shot of NingXia Red (and if they’re like my boys, they will literally beg for their glass each morning).
But when they seem to be coming down with a cold, I like to give them a little boost with a supplement that has zinc, D vitamins, C vitamins, and more.
We use (and love) this Elderberry Immune Support supplement.
If you’d like to give any of these supplements a try, I recommend that you check out Young Living. I’ve been using their oils and supplements for over 3 years and cannot say enough wonderful things about the company or their products.
If you are working on getting the yuck out of your house and keeping your systems healthy, the Thieves Premium Starter Kit is a great way to dip your toes in and try some of my favorites. Plus, you can add the supplements I’ve mentioned above and make sure that your family stays healthy.
How do you keep your immune system healthy?