Damn Good Advice: Is It Possible to Boost Immunity?
Yes, absolutely! It’s worth mentioning that the goal is not to “stimulate” the immune system, but rather to “modulate” or change the immune response to make it as efficient as possible.
Supplements to support the immune system
Mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans—a unique type of fiber that binds to and turns on immune cells. Studies show that beta-glucans help to normalize and potentiate the immune response. I generally recommend 1 to 2 g of mushrooms daily for this purpose.
Probiotics: Approximately 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut! Probiotics (aka good bacteria) help maintain a healthy inner ecosystem while triggering a systemic immune response. Probiotics seem to be especially beneficial for activating T helper cells.
Vitamin D3: The “sunshine vitamin” can help prevent upper respiratory tract infections. If possible, get your vitamin D levels checked. Adults need 600 to 800 IU daily, though up to 4,000 IU daily may be advisable if your levels are low. Vegan vitamin D3 supplements are available.
Lifestyle tips for strengthening immunity
Essential oils: I love thieves oil. There are many variations on this ancient blend; I prefer a mix of clove, rosemary, lavender, thyme, basil, white sage, and mint essential oils. I add three drops to my diffuser most days to help purify the air.
Copper: Copper drinking vessels are highly prized in Ayurveda, and we know now that copper can kill certain pathogens through a process known as the oligodynamic effect. Fill a copper cup with water at bedtime, let it sit overnight, and drink it the next morning.
Dr. Nick Bitz is a naturopathic doctor who specializes in integrative medicine. He currently serves as chief science officer at Nutrawise and helps develop nutritional products under the Youtheory brand.