At a higher level of consciousness, the body’s DNA and RNA are bacteria and virus and they are us. The co-existence becomes a problem when human bodies age, have a weak immune system, or not properly and consistently taken care of over time. A healthy nutrient-dense diet, a healthy lifestyle, and a body void of as many toxins as possible is the first and foremost defense. Here are some of our favorite proven strategies for building an unstoppable immune system.
As we learnt in Part 1 of this series, keeping the lymphatic fluid moving throughout the body is of utmost importance. A congested lymphatic system can lead to the accumulation of waste, debris, dead blood cells, pathogens, toxins, and infected cells, along with the inadequate flow of crucial compounds such as white blood cells and fat-soluble vitamins. Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump its fluids therefore the flow of lymph fluid depends on the motions of the muscles and joints during any physical activity. In addition to engaging in low-level physical activity throughout the day and occasional vigorous exercise sessions, the best ways to ensure that your lymph system doesn’t get clogged include the following:
- Stay well hydrated with pure water. Just as your blood needs water, so does your lymph fluid. Consume at least half your body weight in pounds in ounces of water per day (so at 135 pounds, I drink at least 68 ounces of water, or about 2 liters a day).
- Drink purified water and the occasional squeeze of lemon or shot of apple cider vinegar.
- Along with decocting BIO-IMMUNITY™ and CLEANDETOX™ organic herbal teas to boost and detoxify the lymphatic system, a lymph rehydrating technique involves sipping warm water every fifteen minutes throughout the day to stimulate lymph flow, relieve lymph congestion, and improve a sluggish immune system.
- Practice whole-body shaking or rebounding on a trampoline or vibration platform every day.
- Dry skin brushing with either a wool, silk, or natural fiber glove
- In the evening right after showering and before bed:
- Get a full-body massage from a loved one, learn how to give a daily full-body self-massage, or regularly use your foam roller.
- Implement an ancient Ayurvedic detoxification ritual, Shiro-Abhyanga-Nasya, a combination of a deep body, head, neck, and shoulder massage and facial lymph massage using our HEALER’S GOLD™ Face Oil and EDIYE IDEM Body Oil on wet skin, followed by inhalation of therapeutic aromatic steam, and a nasal and sinus “nasya” cleanse with salt or herbal nasal drops. You can find a modified version of our founder doing a facial Shiro-Abhyanga lymph massage here.
- Tight-fitting garments can place unnecessary restriction on lymph vessels – especially underwire bras since lymph nodes are highly concentrated around the chest region to drain fluid from the breasts, arms, and chest.
FOUNDATIONAL, ESSENTIAL NUTRITION
The immune system is an “organ” similar to our lungs and liver and there are things you can do to keep the immune system healthy. Regular touching is one of them, such as receiving regular massages on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Certain foods do help immune health as well.
Some of the best foods that support immune health are:
- Yogurt. Regular intake does result in fewer sick days. The body’s white blood cell count increases substantially and the GI tract bacterial community remains very healthy, which also helps. Kefir can also be used.
- Millet is a super-grain; it's incredibly mineral-rich with excellent sources of phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. Zinc helps fight free radicals, regulates immunity, aids in cell turnover, and controls inflammation in the dermis.
- Garlic. Although not as strong an antibiotic, regular garlic intake at the onset of a flu/cold does boost immune function — in one study, those taking garlic are much less likely to catch colds and flu.
- Selenium-rich foods have been found to help clear influenza infections from the body. Selenium is found highest (in descending order) in Brazil nuts, fish (tuna, cod, halibut, sardines, flounder, salmon), poultry (chicken and turkey), sunflower seeds, shellfish (oysters, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops), meat (liver, beef, lamb, pork), eggs, mushrooms, whole grains, wheat germ, onions, garlic, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes. One ounce of Brazil nuts (usually just called “nuts” in Brazil) will supply 544 mcg of selenium — you don’t need many; one Brazil nut can supply a whole day’s supply of selenium. To give a comparison, tuna fish contains 68 mcg per ounce, cod 32 mcg per ounce, turkey 27 mcg, sunflower seeds 23, oysters 22, and so on.
- Bone broth. Bone broth contains substances that are vital to the innate immune system, such as the amino acids arginine (which is critical for immune system and liver function), glutamine (which assists with cellular metabolism), and glycine (which aids in glutathione production and improves sleep quality). The marrow in bone broth contains lipids called alkylglycerols that are crucial for the production of white blood cells. The problem is that not all store-bought bone broth is created equal as most brands’ don’t list bones on the label which won’t contain necessary nutrients from the bone marrow.
- According to the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, most standardized bone broth formulas contain significantly lower concentrations of the amino acids and lipids found in homemade bone broth. To summarize, homemade bone broth reduction is best but in times of a pinch, a therapeutic dose of 20g of collagen supplements, and lastly, store-bought brands - Kettle and Fire Beef Bone Broth maintain one of the strict standards, at the time of this article, to include 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished.
- Black tea. It significantly increases the immune system’s interferon levels. Green tea will also be of benefit.
- For 100% caffeine- and stimulant-free organic herbal tea that doesn’t give you the jitters, BIO-IMMUNITY™ and CLEANDETOX™ organic herbal teas help increase the immune system’s ability to mediate cytokine responses against virus attacks.
- Zinc-containing foods. Zinc is an essential mineral, especially in immune function. It enhances the actions of many of the immune system’s actors, including T cells.
Our rationale in formulating our BIO-IMMUNITY™ organic herbal blend was to find medicinal plants that are scientifically proven to counteract the specific actions of viruses and then to cross-correlate those plants in order to choose those that were frequently used and have a long-standing tradition of use in ancient cultures for these kinds of viral infections and to help strengthen the immune system^.
Certified Organic Umckaloabo Medicinal Bush Root in BIO-IMMUNITY™ Tea
The medicinal herb blend had to do the following:
- Demonstrate specific broad-spectrum antiviral action against most classes/groups of viruses^
- Block viral attachment to ACE-2 linkages^
- Upregulate and protect ACE-2 expression, increase its activity, and lower angiotensin II (Ang-II) levels^
- Modulate cytokine responses^
- Protect lung cells^
- Protect the cilia^
- Reduce autoimmunity and increase healthy immune function^
- Protect endothelial cells^
- Protect the spleen and lymphatic system^
- Stimulate dendritic cell maturation and increase T-cell counts while enhancing the concentration of interferon, interleukin, immunoglobulin, and other immune compounds in the blood^
- Reduce the production of reactive mucus while lubricating the intestinal and respiratory airways with a mucilaginous, microbe-boosting layer^
The *certified organic medicinal herbs we chose for BIO-IMMUNITY™ organic herbal blend that fit the above criteria include: Chinese Skullcap*, Moringa Leaf*, Kudzu Root*, Dong Quai Root*, Whole Elder Berries*, Licorice Root*, Rhodiola Root*, Astragalus*, Barberry Root*, Umckaloabo Root*, Poke Root*, Cleavers*, Turmeric Root*, Oregano*, And Eucalyptus Leaf*.
Even with the proper foundation of healthy eating, there are days we are unable to get our full daily quota of complete nutrition, so cover these dietary gaps with clean bioavailable supplements to maintain digestive wellness and support immunity as well as boost energy, mood, and protect skin.
Vitamin C-containing foods and supplements. The best, most natural sources of Vitamin C have one thing in common: they are all plant foods. Although most mammals can produce vitamin C in the liver, humans and guinea pigs cannot, but plants have a rich, highly bioavailable source of vitamin C. All citrus fruits, including orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon, are excellent sources including many non-citrus fruits such as papayas, strawberries, pineapples, kiwis, cantaloupes, and raspberries. Green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are also excellent sources, as is parsley. Essentially, the purity and quality of vitamin C is more important than its bioavailability. Taking 200 to 500mg oral vitamin C during cold and flu season is sufficient for most people in addition to eating your vitamin C. Alternatively, if you want to take things up a level for vitamin C, then you can do as I do and get a quarterly high-dose slow infusion of vitamin C intravenously and the rest of the time eat your vitamin C.
Zinc-containing foods and supplements. Zinc is an essential micronutrient found in many foods, like meat, cheese, and especially seafood, particularly oysters. An essential micronutrient that over three hundred enzymes and over one thousand transcription factors in your body that require zinc for proper function. Not only does zinc modulate cell-mediated immunity, it also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can provide potent support for the common cold BUT the type and dose matters significantly.
- Avoid any lozenges or zinc supplements that contain citric acid, as this commonly added compound binds tightly to zinc ions, preventing them from being released. Instead look for a form of zinc acetate, which is twice as effective as zinc gluconate.
- Avoid effervescent lozenges, which can also reduce the production of ionic zinc.
- Finally, for zinc to actually do its job, you need to start taking it right away—at the first sign of symptoms, when you feel you have been exposed to sickness because it works by interfering with a virus’s replication. So you essentially have only two days to effectively use zinc. If you’re already sick, zinc can’t do much at that time.
Here is a recommended protocol for using zinc:
- As soon as you have cold symptoms, pop a zinc acetate lozenge; here’s a good brand
- Let is slowly dissolve in your mouth for 20-30 minutes
- Pop a new lozenge every two to three hours until your symptoms are gone.
- Brew BIO-IMMUNITY™ organic herbal tea and sip throughout the day.
HOLISTIC HEALING STRATEGIES
The power of the mind and our emotions plays a powerful role in our physical well-being. It turns out that Harvard is at the forefront of the research on the biology of emotion and its impact on both physical and mental health. The ultimate question is this: How can you slow down before your body forces you to slow down? In understanding how our thoughts, stressors, emotions, and beliefs affect our biology, we suggest below a few techniques and tools that can help you to use your body as your own pharmacy and heal yourself from the inside out. A quick list below but will expand upon each in a future article:
- Qigong or Yoga
- Tapping (EFT)
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Silence Sessions
- Prayer and Belief In A Higher Power
- Gratitude Journaling/ Mindset
- Discovering your purpose and personal why
As in everything else in life, consistently practicing immune-supporting habits day after day, year after year, is truly what makes our immune system stay resilient which is especially relevant now.
- Plants and functional whole foods contain key nutrients to support the body’s natural defenses and strengthen the body’s white blood cells’ ability to fight infection
- If eating meats, consume high-quality protein
- Consume whole food sources of vitamin C
- Consume vitamin D preferably from being in the sun less than fifteen minutes or take a liquid supplement with 600-5,000IU/day combined with 50-150 mcg of vitamin K2 to increase its absorption
- Whole food sources of zinc are best but high-dose zinc acetate lozenges at the onset of a cold speeds up healing.
- Avoid any zinc supplements that are effervescent or contain citric acid as these bind tightly to zinc preventing the zinc ions from being released so they can work effectively.
- Consume high-quality omega fatty acids that comprise a mix of plant and animal-sources
- Move your body until you work up a sweat
- Achieve and maintain a healthy body fat level by adapting the “everything in moderation” approach
- Support gut health by eating both pre- and pro-biotic food like bananas, yogurt, and sauerkraut which can boost good gut bacteria
- Moderate your alcohol and recreational drug intake; similar to antibiotics and excessive vaccines dampening the immune system, these adversely impact your body’s ability to naturally produce its own dopamine and serotonin “natural” chemicals over time
- Employ holistic healing strategies to balance your stress and anxiety so you can calm your nervous system and sleep well. Excess cortisol (the hormone that spikes with increased stress) can wreak havoc on the immune system.
- Practice good hygiene fundamentals – wash hands thoroughly with regular soap and water for at least 20 seconds and practice food safety.
- If able, avoid store-bought antibacterial solutions because most contain triclosan, a common ingredient that may have endocrine-disrupting effects and contributes to antibiotic resistance.
- Instead, try this healthier DIY version instead: mix 1/3 cup aloe vera gel, 2/3 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, and 5 drops of tea tree essential oil. Pour and store in a pump bottle (Whole Foods).
- Focus on what you can control to make a real impact on strengthening your immune system versus what you can’t control that actually hinders your immune system.
- Mental health plays a huge role in supercharging immunity; keep company with those you love and who love you.
In Good Health,
Buhner, Stephen Harrod. Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections (pp. 260-261). Storey Publishing, LLC.
Drexler M; Institute of Medicine (US). What You Need to Know About Infectious Disease. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. I, How Infection Works.
Greenfield, Ben. “Boundless.” Chapter 15. Owned Copy: Victory Belt Publishing, 2020. 346-348
Mani, Janice S et al. “Natural product-derived phytochemicals as potential agents against coronaviruses: A review.” Virus research vol. 284 (2020): 197989.
Matejuk, A. Skin Immunity. Arch. Immunol. Ther. Exp. 66, 45–54 (2018).
McLachlan, Craig Steven. “The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 are distinctly different paradigms.” Clinical hypertension vol. 26 14. 15 Jul. 2020.
Yoon MY, Yoon SS. Disruption of the Gut Ecosystem by Antibiotics. Yonsei Med J. 2018 Jan;59(1):4-12.
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