Matt and I have been plagued by coughs and cold in the last month. The seasons changing combined with greater exposure to more concentrated groups of people indoors via gyms, restaurants and trains seems to have challenged our immune systems a little – seems they got a bit too used to social distancing! In this post I’m going to detail everything we’ve done to help get our health back on track.
We’re already on a basic supplement plan personalised to our needs and I’ve written before about the role of nutrition in immune function.
It’s important to consider additional stressors that may also impact your immune system negatively including work life balance, intense and prolonged exercise sessions, sleep deprivation and mental stress.
The following supplements maybe helpful to consider for basic immune support .
Basic Immune Supplements
- 8 – 30 mg Zinc Citrate *not to be taken long term unless guided
- 1000 – 4000 IU’s Vitamin D
- 500g – 3000mg Vitamin C *buffered is easier on the digestive system
Reputable brands: Solgar, Nutri Advanced, Biocare, Viridian, Wild Nutrition, Pure Encapsulations, Better You
Simple Habits To Support Immune Health
Remember: you can’t out supplement a lifestyle, mindset and diet that doesn’t optimise your health.
If your immune system is struggling the following simple habits will actively support your immune system:
- Gentle movement: walking Qigong, Tai Qi, yoga
- Spending time in nature and bringing nature indoors with houseplants and by opening windows to improve air quality
- Getting outside daily
- Gentle sweating: hot baths or warm yoga
- Cold exposure: a chilly walk or even just turning the shower to cold for a 30s blast
Extra Immune Support
The following are a combination of unsung heroes that you may not have considered to help your immune system battle through the next few months.
Remember it’s hugely beneficial to consult with a professional nutritional therapist trained in supplements or a herbalist to obtain more personalised advice.
Fresh Herbal Teas and Elixirs
Herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage are hugely beneficial with antiviral, anti fungal and antibacterial properties.
Simply place 1 -2 large sprigs of fresh herbs in a teapot or cafetiere with 500-800ml water. Allow to steep for 5 minutes and drink. You can also cool and drink as water across the day. Rosemary and thyme is a nice combination add sliced lemon, a stick of lemongrass, raw honey or fresh ginger if desired.
Many herbalists have formulated tinctures and syrups with thyme, elderberry and echinacea.
We have a Thyme Syrup and Elderberry Elixir plus this awesome Fire Cider from my herbalist pal Carolina Brooks of Anthrobotanica who I have to credit for putting Fire Cider on my radar. The name was coined by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the ‘80s and it’s a warming tonic of apple cider vinegar, horseradish, onion, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper. Taken through the winter acts as a natural defence against colds, coughs and flu.
Carolina shared a great recipe for Fire Cider with us here:
It’s worth having a salt pipe and netti pot in your home pharmacy cupboard. These can be used daily to prevent infection or to kick a nasty one out of your respiratory system.
The salt pipe supports lung health, the bronchial tract and your ability to breathe. It’s a great way to practice deep breathing exercises too. The netti pot is helpful to clear sinuses. Also using a good mineral salt in your food and having salt lamps around your house is also beneficial.
Both cordyceps and reishi are known for their ability to support respiratory function. They help reduce inflammation, inhibit mucous production, promote immune response and protect the bronchial cells.
They are helpful for numerous respiratory challenges beyond coughs and cold, including asthma, COPD and exposure to cigarette smoke.
Reputable brands include Mycology Research,, Myconutri, Mycology Nutriton, Hifas De Terra, Mushrooms for Life and Gaia Herbs have this respiratory blend.
Hifas De Terra have developed products for children, like Dr Rei, and created culinary powders that can easily be added to smoothies.
Four Sigmatic also have a range of lattes including cordyceps and reishi AND don’t forget the humble culinary mushrooms, our Squash, Lentil and Mushroom is a great way to get a tasty dose.
N- Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
NAC can help relieve the symptoms of many respiratory conditions. It provides antioxidant protection, mitigating the physical damage caused by infections and decreasing inflammation. It also helps to clear mucous.
Recommended doses are 600 mg-1200mg daily and it should be taken away from food.
Reputable brands include Cytoplan, Biocare, Allergy Research, Solgar, Nutri Advanced, Jarrow, Pure Encapsulations, Bonusan.
Colostrum is the breast fluid made by humans and other mammals before releasing breast milk. It provides a concentrated source of both nutrients and immune proteins high levels of that help fight infections and bacteria.
Research has demonstrated that taking colostrum from cows as a supplement can support immunity and improve gut health. Including this study from Halasa, M. et al and this study from March et al.
Make sure you source from grass fed, high-welfare, organically farmed cows.
Reputable brands include Invivo Clicnial, Allergy Research and Jarrow
If your infections lingers for a few weeks you should contact you GP as medication maybe required, however it can also be helpful to consider working with a trained Nutritional Therapist to address underlying issues as sometimes infections form a biofilm (like a mini dome) around themselves and your immune system simply can’t reach it, nor the herbs or medication you may be taking.
Work With Me
I’m currently supporting a number of clients with ongoing digestive, immune and chronic health issues and have just a few spaces available to help new clients between now and the New Year. Download full details of my private nutritional therapy consultations here.