As Covid 19 rates are rising again and the world is opening back up, I thought I’d share a few proactive and useful pointers you can implement to support your immune system. You’ve likely heard a few before but a little reminder always helps.
I’ve detailed a few supplements you can consider too, some are best taken under the guidance of a trained professional and many can be helpful for addressing long covid symptoms.
The Daily Basics
- Eat a nutritious diet: think Fitter Food with a bit less ice cream than Matt. Recipe inspiration here.
- Stay hydrated: consume 1-2 litres of water daily. The more you sweat the more you need.
- Exercise regularly and sensibly: overtraining may suppress the immune system temporarily. Exercise outdoors when possible and prioritise daily movement alongside structured sessions. Walking in nature will provide multiple immune benefits.
- Use sanitisers: I’ve recently started using Natrasan as an antiviral/bacteria mouthwash and hand sanitiser at home.
- Eat 5-8 servings of vegetables daily: plus a couple of servings of fruit.
- Throw some ginger, garlic, and fresh/dried herbs onto your meals.
- Consume adequate protein, at least 1g per kilo of bodyweight.
- Get sufficient sleep and take relaxation breaks across your day.
Safe Supplements For Immune Support
I often get asked about supplements to support immune function, the following will be supportive and relatively safe to take.
It’s important to understand that the brand makes a difference due to manufacturing practices. These determine the effectiveness of supplements so it’s usually best to avoid most high street and supermarket options and head to a specialist, health food shop.
Reputable brands available in the UK include Biocare, Nutri, Cytoplan, Viridian, Pure Encapsulations, Solgar, Wild Nutrition, NHP, and Better You.
Nutrients And Doses
- 10-25mg Zinc Citrate: take 2 hours away from food. Take daily if extra immune support required (or dietary intake is low) or 3-4 times a week. Ensure you also eat copper-rich foods or choose a brand with copper added as you need adequate levels of both.
- 500mg -1000mg Buffered Vitamin C: take 1-3 times daily with food.
- 1000-2000 IU’s Vitamin D with K2 (up to 200mcg of K2): take daily with food. Up to 4000 IU’s if deficient (seek professional guidance if opting for a higher dose).
- 300-400mg Magnesium Citrate/Glycinate: take daily in split doses with food. Use glycinate if magnesium citrate causes gastrointestinal issues.
- 1-2 Capsules Omega 3: EPA & DHA: Take with food. These may not be necessary if you consume 3 servings of oily fish a week. You can opt for Algae DHA for a plant-based option. Biocare has a good range of high-strength omega 3 oils.
NOTE: If taking any medications always check for contraindications or discuss with your medical prescriber.
If you are vegetarian or on a plant-based diet you may have a raised need for further nutrients depending on the quality of your diet, digestive health, and physical activity level.
Nutrients to keep an eye on via blood testing, symptoms, or assessing your dietary intake (use nutrient software like Cronometer) are iron, vitamin A, zinc, calcium, and a B complex with adequate levels of B12 and B6.
Supplements Under Professional Guidance
If you’re currently struggling with chronic inflammation or even long Covid there’s some promising research on supplements that may be supportive, however, it’s best to work with a trained professional and undergo a thorough assessment of your symptoms, health history, nutrition, lifestyle, and any medical records.
Good supplements are expensive so it is important to obtain a personalised plan where possible to sure it’s worth the investment.
- N-Acetylcysteine: this is a precursor to your master antioxidant glutathione. Infection, inflammation, and high amounts of physical activity create free radicals which can damage cells (known as oxidative stress). Supplementing with NAC is helping to put the building blocks of the antioxidant system in place, reducing the impact of oxidative stress.
- Melatonin: a hormone supplement prescribed by medical practitioners to support optimal sleep and it also exerts an anti-inflammatory/antioxidant effect.
- Medicinal mushrooms: rich in beta-glucans (oats also contain this) and includes maitake, reishi, turkey tail, shiitake, and cordyceps. In supplement form, they are used to treat numerous inflammatory conditions including cancer and autoimmune diseases. Good brands include Hifas De Terra, Mushrooms 4 Life, Host Defense Mushrooms, and New Roots.
- Curcumin (the anti-inflammatory component in turmeric): in supplement form, therapeutic doses can support immune function and modulate inflammation The most effective supplement form is Meriva SR.
- Berberine: A botanical with wide-reaching effects including blood glucose regulation and improving digestive health. It can also have an antioxidant, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, and antiviral effects.
If you’re struggling with ongoing symptoms, including inflammation, immune imbalances, digestive issues, or hormone complications, all can severely impact your quality of life and you may benefit from some personalised Nutritional Therapy. You can download details of consultation options to find out how I can help.
If you’re unsure about where to go next with your health just fire over an email and I’ll make some suggestions.