Top 3 Supplements to Strengthen Your Immune System This Winter February 2, 2021 By Annie Wang Spring is just around the corner! Even though the California Department of Public Health recently announced that we are no longer under the State’s Regional Stay At Home Order and getting the COVID vaccine feels like it’s just a matter of time, we still need to stay vigilant on keeping our immune system strong. By continuing to maintain physical distance, wear masks, and avoid social gatherings, we will reduce our risk of contracting not only COVID-19 but also the flu, colds, and other illnesses. Additionally, here are some great ways to proactively strengthen our immunity. SUPPLEMENTS An important note- No supplement will cure or prevent disease. With the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing (a.k.a. social distancing) and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19. Currently, no research supports the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19 specifically. Elderberry can be useful against common colds and the flu by blocking the entry of viruses from the respiratory tract. For prevention purposes, take 500 mg of an elderberry extract once a day, or twice if you think you might have increased exposure. Zinc is both necessary for immune function and can shorten the symptoms and duration of colds and flus by preventing viral replication once there’s an infection. For daily maintenance, take 15 mg 3 times a day. Because zinc has to be balanced with copper, products that contain 15 mg of zinc and 1 mg of copper are best. Take these between meals if you can or with meals if they upset your stomach. Additionally, if there is an increased risk of exposure, zinc lozenges are an excellent way to increase your protection where you need it most: the mucous membranes of the face. Vitamin D is essential to the immune system, and hospitals around the world have been using it to treat COVID-19 patients. We highly recommend getting your vitamin D level tested at least annually, and supplement according. If you don’t know your vitamin D status, take 1000-2000 iu (25 – 50 mcg) per day. You can purchase the supplements recommended above by clicking here. LIFESTYLE Outdoors exercise helps to support the immune system, and some extra sunshine might help enhance your vitamin D levels. Social contact is important even if it requires physical distance. Keep in touch with your friends and family members. Healthy, supportive relationships boost immune, physical, mental, and emotional health. This is especially important during this pandemic and during the winter. Comedic relief boosts mental, emotional, physical, and emotional health! Check into the news as needed, but be sure you rotate something funny into your entertainment mix. Sleep is critical for immune function year-round, and in the winter months, our bodies need even more. Our circadian rhythm, which helps control our body clock, is influenced by exposure to light so don’t be surprised if you feel a little less motivated or want to go to bed earlier. Listen to your body and rest. NUTRITION Daily nutrition is vitally important. We recommend a diet that consists of high protein, low carbs (complex carbohydrates preferred), a bountiful amount of daily fruits and vegetables (we recommend cooked veggies during the winter season because they are more gentle on our digestive system), and avoid processed foods. Since we are big advocates of practicing balance in all aspects of life, we think it’s okay to enjoy the occasional indulgence. If you consume healthy foods on a regular basis, a splurge here and there won’t cause major problems. Try to eat sweets or processed food no more than once a day, and only after a complete meal (e.g. two squares of dark chocolate. A small portion is key). A poor diet is made up of foods that induce inflammation in the body, which is like a fire inside the body. The body puts the fires out by secreting cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates many important processes throughout the body such as inflammation and stress. A high level of cortisol will suppress the hormones involved, including our immune response, metabolism, sleep, and reproduction. A poor diet can cause inflammation and lead to a compromised immune system. If you would like to learn more about supplements and herbs, lifestyle and diet we recommended, make an appointment to see one of our knowledgeable acupuncturists in the clinic. We will evaluate your vitals, your symptoms and recommend customized supplements and Chinese herbs that are best suited to your specific constitution and health needs. PS- Here’s some bright news we would like to share! When January comes along each year, our clinic sees an increased amount of patients who are sick after the physical and emotional stress we put our bodies through the holidays. This year, because most people didn’t travel and minimized social contact over the holidays, we saw a significant decrease in sick people since the start of the year. Some food for thought for the next holiday season once the pandemic is over. Can we find balance and make the best to enjoy holiday celebrations with loved ones and stay healthy? Special thanks to Jeannette Schreiber, our senior acupuncturist at Annie Wang Acupuncture, for the research and recommendations for this blog! With an extensive background working at pharmacies, Jeannette is our clinic’s go-to for supplement clarification and recommendations. Patients love Jeannette for her enthusiastic and creative approach to coaching patients go beyond treatments to practice a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. Furthermore, she is starting her nursing program this Spring. She’s looking forward to using the experience to improve her Chinese medical practice, to better integrate Chinese and Western medicines, and most importantly to improve patient care. Jeannette sees patients Fridays and Sundays. You can always book your appointment directly online 24-7 at www.anniewanglac.com Comments are closed.