Fitter Food Radio #108 – Supercharge Your Immune System

Keris and Matt review nutrients, lifestyle habits, and supplements to help strengthen the immune system and prevent colds and flu.

Listen below or head to iTunes for the full episode.

Please share this episode with anyone you think would benefit from the information and advice and if there are any topics you would like us to cover in future episodes please let us know and send an email over to [email protected].

Our discussion includes – 

– The key vitamins and minerals involved in the immune response
– Signs your immune system needs some help
– Foods that illicit and antiviral and antibacterial effect
– Steps and supplements that speed recovery and healing

Read the full transcript below:

Matt Whitmore: What’s up everyone it’s Fitter Food Radio, episode 108 and I’m of course here with the always awesome Keris Marsden.

Keris Marsden: That’s like 107 compliments into 108-

Matt Whitmore: I compliment you on every episode.

Keris Marsden: You do.

Matt Whitmore: Why don’t you compliment me?

Keris Marsden: Because you might get a big head.

Matt Whitmore: Impossible.

Keris Marsden: You’re too attractive as it is. You need to be brought down a bit.

Matt Whitmore: Oh, shucks. Stop it. So yeah, we’re here episode 108.

Keris Marsden: We are.

Matt Whitmore: And what are we talking about?

Keris Marsden: We’re going to do immune system today. In fact, not in this episode. In this episode I’m going to do tips on because basically, it’s that time of year, change of season, the cold and flu. We’re kind of moving into autumn in the UK, but people get sick all year around, but it’s the time of year people start to think about it a little bit more. Like what can I do to boost my immune system? And it’s good to kind of start before the books come in and winter sets in and our vitamin D levels drop.
But also because I’ve not been so well myself. So I thought to kind of share with you guys just some experiences-

Matt Whitmore: [inaudible 00:01:13]

Keris Marsden: [inaudible 00:01:14] and also in future episodes what I want to do is really kind of break down the immune system and how it works. So I’m going to come up with some kind of-

Matt Whitmore: I’m busy that day.

Keris Marsden: You’re going to love it. I’m coming up with an already long analogy.

Matt Whitmore: Wow.

Keris Marsden: That is about walking Hamish. Well, you’ll have to see-

Matt Whitmore: Cool let’s not ruin the surprise, keep that to yourself.

Keris Marsden: I’m a natural killer cell our macrophage and how it all works and that’s why I’m gonna, how I’m going to explain it.

Matt Whitmore: Oh my, the suspense is killing me.

Keris Marsden: Not the macrophage. Anyway-

Matt Whitmore: Yeah I can imagine this is like a five part series on Netflix.

Keris Marsden: Yeah, at least it would.

Matt Whitmore: The immune system.

Keris Marsden: It’s educational but-

Matt Whitmore: A little cliff hanger.

Keris Marsden: it’s fascinating because it’s so. The immune system is so complicated that when I had to learn it for exams, even now I have to go back through it on a regular basis and try and understand the different cells because different arms of the immune system get tipped. Almost like a seesaw, but it’s more multidirectional than the seesaw, we’ve got four or five prongs to it, but people have a tendency to kind of be more dominant in one type of immunity with, that makes them more vulnerable to another type of immunity. I haven’t phrased that very well, but if part of the immune system dominates. They’re more vulnerable to certain conditions is about how I’m putting it. Does that make sense?

Matt Whitmore: Kind of.

Keris Marsden: So and there’s some people who have tried to really study and refine this and say like if this army of your immune system is slightly high and you can measure it by looking at some of the kind of inflammatory markers and chemicals called cytokines, then it would suggest that you’re more likely to get this autoimmune condition or this condition. So you’ve got that genetic component. Then you’ve got actually what’s going on with the immune system right now. And then some have come in and gone, no, you can’t say that it’s too simplified. And then the more I studied, the more I think we don’t really know what we’re doing with the immune system, but you could get the basics right that you’re learn and kind of like, you learn at school a little bit. Like the kind of basic physiology. I think it helps to understand that.
And my one takeaway from studying it all is just how damaging viruses are. And certain bacterial infections just. And they hung out for years and people don’t even know that they’re kind of walking around with them and they can be kind of causing you problems all the time. But then they definitely cause you problems if you run your body down. So rather than kind of over complicate it, it’s more from my perspective, I’ve always been like just support the immune system as much as I can with a client rather than running all these expensive tests and trying to figure out like what’s going on with the immune system is it high or low? You can almost gauge it from what you give to a client. If it doesn’t work and it makes them feel worse, then you can kind of get some. Okay. Definitely.
So a common example that you used to be talked about was TH2 dominance, which is an army of the immune system that’s kind of related to things like the mucus membranes, so things like your sinuses or your ears. And also things like your skin health as well. So if you were kind of hay fevery, sinusey, Eczema, constant ear infections, maybe even kind of like tonsil infections, you were kind of more, okay this is your TH2 dominant if that makes sense?

Matt Whitmore: Yeah.

Keris Marsden: And there are lots of people that you know like that. And then we’ve kind of talked about this before I think in podcast and that’s the people that have never had any of that stuff. They might be TH1 dominant, but now it’s a little bit more complicated than that. But again, the goal is still the same in terms of if we do the basics and the basics for me is always stay with your vitamins and minerals because these are what have been studied for such a long period of time and that they’re called vitamins and minerals because they’re so vital for function in the body. Whereas other things that we can take for immune system support, like for example herb’s, echinesia and mushrooms as another example, you might want to try them, but if you notice a negative response from them, there’s a chance you have not hit the right branch of the immune system. So you drop them out basically. And ideally do them under the guidance of someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Matt Whitmore: It’s always funny, isn’t it, when like if anyone’s got like a cold or flu or something, all of a sudden they start.

Keris Marsden: What does that one take normally?

Matt Whitmore: [inaudible 00:05:14] or something like that-

Keris Marsden: Awful stuff.

Matt Whitmore: Or they start smashing loads of like vegetable soup, you must get veggies down babe, yeah, now you’ve got a bloody cold why don’t do it anyway.

Keris Marsden: We’ll do like a gramme of vitamin C like every hour or something which is [inaudible 00:05:29] by the way, I’ve seen this in offices before and people say I’m going to do like a gramme vitamin C.

Matt Whitmore: Where does that come from? Where’s that?

Keris Marsden: It’s kind of like office knowledge that you pass on to take tonnes of vitamin C man if you get cold to get rid of it. I hate Broccoli. If you look at what’s in half of these products, a lot of them have things like caffeine in which will make people feel a little bit better. Got I’m as guilty as anyone if I’ve got to be at work. I had to lecture in a session when I was a bit rough and I was like, I’m going to have caffeine because I just need to be focused on need to-

Matt Whitmore: You need a little something?

Keris Marsden: Yeah, basically. But look what’s in, when you’re taking these things, do look at the ingredients and there are times that you just are juts going to need to resort to old school cold and flu stuff. Policies, [inaudible 00:06:10] and like, you know, you don’t want to be taking those things all the time every week and every month if you’re a woman for kind of like menstrual pain and those kinds of things, but if in that instance you need it just once in a while, you know I’ll nag you I’m like, “Do you have to?” And you’re like, “Yeah, I do I actually ant work today with this headache and it’s gone instantly.” Then you know you need to hydrate and get to bed earlier.” That night-

Matt Whitmore: If something, I don’t often take like-

Keris Marsden: Neither of us do. We try not to take-

Matt Whitmore: Pain killers but sometimes like you know and you’re like you at your to do list and you’re like, “I’ve got a lot to do today.” And ideally that needs to be done today. But at the moment I just can’t even think straight because my head is just pounding. I’m not, I just need to pop a couple of pills.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. That’s how you always explain it to me. You know you just go, “I’ve got a headache.” You always coming in and you go, “My head is pounding.” So I know that it’s like the biggest headache in the world. I’m going to take some pills

Matt Whitmore: But it’s just you know how I like-

Keris Marsden: Not the vitamin pills. The pills.

Matt Whitmore: The pills.

Keris Marsden: [inaudible 00:07:09]

Matt Whitmore: But it to be fair. When I mean blimey it’s like my body doesn’t do anything byb halves, you know what I mean if I get a headache it’s brutal, you know, to the point where even just-

Keris Marsden: We’re getting the message.

Matt Whitmore: Holding my head is painful. This is painful.

Keris Marsden: This is a man headache.

Matt Whitmore: That what I’m talking about, you wouldn’t understand.

Keris Marsden: You’re gonna come with [inaudible 00:07:29] something soon. For that extra powerful. It’d be the same amount that we give women, but it would just make men feel like it’s going to hit the money.

Matt Whitmore: You women. she is so much better than I [inaudible 00:07:43] you think oh you know, man flu.

Keris Marsden: We’ve got better pain threshold. That’s it. We just nailed that one. You can’t deny it.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah. Well listen, we can never have this conversation no one can experience both. Whereas Like you would never experience getting kicked in the balls.

Keris Marsden: Oh I see. Yeah.

Matt Whitmore: It hurts.

Keris Marsden: I wasn’t thinking about those two things. And you always say you will never experience child birth.

Matt Whitmore: Exactly.

Keris Marsden: I wasn’t gonna talk about those two things actually-

Matt Whitmore: But to be fair, I will probably imagine giving birth hurts a bit more than getting kicked in the balls.

Keris Marsden: But to be fair, pain in itself and your experience of pain is all related to your immune system and things like your neuro endocrine, immune system really because it’s how. This is why the disease like Fibromyalgia, which is like chronic pain, is related to usually a viral infection which upsets the immune system and affects pain signalling in the body and pain signalling is one of the most complicated systems in the body. And people can get chronic pain syndrome. We’ve seen this with things like tooth ache where it lasts for years and no one quite understands what’s going on. They cant see it, there’s nothing wrong with that tissue and it’s like-

Matt Whitmore: Also as well how many have you had like let’s say even an injury of sorts or something that’s been [inaudible 00:08:59] and you’ve said so far, “God You know what, my back’s felt really, really good today. Then almost minutes later. You back starts jipping and you’re like I’ve got [inaudible 00:09:13]. Is there something in this? I was fine and the second I kind of addressed the fact I had no pain. I felt pain.

Keris Marsden: But I think you’re completely right and I think, but there’s definitely, and also there’s this thing of like anticipating pain. I think that when they say when you know it’s coming, it’s worse, you’ve heard that before, haven’t you?

Matt Whitmore: Yeah.

Keris Marsden: Like when you get the dentists to, for example, I went to a kind of holistic dentist. It was amazing because everything from like kind of-

Matt Whitmore: What makes holistic does he sing? What’s his-

Keris Marsden: No you’re allowed music if you wanted, you could have music in your headphones, you can plug in your phone if you want to. You can, you got a homoeopathic remedy, got some [inaudible 00:09:54]him out anyway I was having a filling removed, like refilling and he uses all the normal stuff I caught on his desk. There’s nothing hellistic in that. He’s like, “We’re getting some chemicals in you while we take this out.” Everyone talked about this before [inaudible 00:10:04] the like strokes your arm because physical contact is like reassurance. It’s like no, you’d ask, first you’re okay-

Matt Whitmore: Kind of strokes you.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. [inaudible 00:10:16] Anyway. And but yeah, the anticipation that this is gonna hurt and I think, just anyway pain is something that that’s a whole like 20th or your life, you want to go and research pain and pain signalling in the body, but right back to the immune system, the immune system plays a big part in that and there’s more stuff recently coming out about kind of pain threshold is a true thing because it can be down to kind of receptors on cells and people, somebody who have more than others and that kind of thing. So some people would genuinely experience more pain than others, but I just like to take the mickey out of you because-

Matt Whitmore: You do.

Keris Marsden: Because you’re never just, “I’m okay, I’m not feeling great.” You are like, I’m okay or, “oh, my God, I feel like I can’t move,” like it’s so dramatic. You’re either extreme.

Matt Whitmore: I mean [inaudible 00:11:01]

Keris Marsden: Pounding headache.

Matt Whitmore: But I think us blokes , we’re given our time. You know, you don’t understand that man flu is a thing. It’s beyond flu. That’s why it’s called man flu. It’s not just, it’s flu and I’m a man. There’s more to it than that. But you’ll never understand because you can’t have man flu.

Keris Marsden: No, I know. Well, I might one day, you never know.

Matt Whitmore: Be a bit more-

Keris Marsden: [inaudible 00:11:37]

Matt Whitmore: Back me up for this.

Keris Marsden: What’s it like to be kicked in the balls-

Matt Whitmore: It’s pretty grim.

Keris Marsden: Like to survive that pain?

Matt Whitmore: Well, put it this way, right? Let’s say you’re playing football, you go in for a tackle and-

Keris Marsden: Balls tackled?

Matt Whitmore: No, no, no pun intended. And someone kicks you in the ankle or the shin or the knee or whatever. You feel it.

Keris Marsden: Yeah.

Matt Whitmore: The adrenaline’s there you crack on and you deal with the aches and pains later.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. The shin will be pretty harsh to be fair. Someone told me this shin was one of the most painful places to be-

Matt Whitmore: Yeah it hurts. But you know, if you’re wearing shin pads, but even so that doesn’t protect your whole shin, blah, blah blah. You feel it, you know it happened but you’re like whatever you carry on and play and that stuff. Whereas if you got kneed in the balls or a ball was kicked in your balls, a ball in the balls, there’s no kind of going, “Oh yeah, I felt that, but I’ll deal with that later.” It’s debilitating. It’s like bosh it floors you like instantly and the pain lingers for a long, long time and it’s just a very weird pain that’s like this constant dull ache in your stomach and yeah I can’t explain it.

Keris Marsden: I wish I had a woman here now to tell you about labour and how Labour lasts for like three days and some-

Matt Whitmore: Oh, don’t doubt my hat goes off to women. It really does. Like I can’t honestly imagine.

Keris Marsden: Hops by the way the natural painkiller. So maybe take some hops to football if you get-

Matt Whitmore: Take like a whiskey with me. Leave me a half time drink I don’t want some lucozade I want Jack Daniels.

Keris Marsden: It’s good for pain. Right. So we’re going to talk about the immune system where to start. Okay. So backstory to this is there are lots of things that you can do in terms of nutritional interventions and natural remedies and things that help with immune support. But you’re totally right in that point where you said most people start when they fall ill. And really you should anticipate kind of like now. I mean we should beat it all year round-

Matt Whitmore: It’s like we always say, you know, prevention is always better than cure. It’s easier to prevent something than it is to deal with it when it’s in full effect, and that can go across the board for anything, you know what I mean? Even death, it’s best not to get into it in the first place.

Keris Marsden: Don’t try and deal with it once you’re in it, that’s quite hard. So what we’re going to talk about today is kind of what could you do now in terms of combination of natural things, nutrition and lifestyle stuff that is, it’s really important to know because one thing that most people do not realise is kind of the impact of things like training and exercise and stress on the immune system. They kind of do when they say it, but they don’t actually do anything about it until stress makes them sick or over training makes them sick. So were gonna talk about some things from there. But really one thing that I wanted to also emphasise is I kind of came down with it, I just woke up with a sore throat about a week ago and two weeks ago. And you know when you kind of have, you wake up you can’t swallow and it’s like [inaudible 00:14:49] swollen glands and I was just a bit like.
But the thing is you can have that in the morning and then it’s gone by like be day. So I was a bit like come on, don’t be a wimp. I did-

Matt Whitmore: Get some nuts.

Keris Marsden: Cancel my run that day. I was like okay, well talking about run and can I just say there is a rule that I used to read about in women’s magazine that said if you wake up and your symptoms are neck down, don’t run. If if it’s kind of sore throat or neck up I think was the rule sore throat it kind of goes either way then run. What they were trying to say was if it’s a cold run and if it’s more like a viral thing where you know you can like you can really feel it in your tissues or. Yeah, people say I feel in my bones, I feel cold, don’t run.
I’m just going to say don’t run full stop. Like it’s just gonna delay the healing process because your immune system requires energy and people’s blood sugars go all over the place. So blood sugars will often go maybe low because there’s a lot of inflammatory cytokines which are changing how cells take up glucose from the bloodstream into the cell, or it might go blood sugars. You might go slightly almost like insulin resistance so you don’t listen to the hormone insulin on purpose because what your body’s trying to do is keep blood sugar levels a bit higher so that your immune system has got glucose.

Matt Whitmore: Couldn’t do with that.

Keris Marsden: And it needs glucose to be able to fuel itself and to be able to lots of tissues, you know, have to be regenerated, repaired that kind of stuff. But yeah, your immune system needs energy. So there’s a good chance that your blood sugars go all over the place. The last thing your body needs is any kind of exercise and that could be I’m talking weight training, I’m talking cardio, even yoga because the other thing that you’ll do in those environments is taking a body that’s trying to deal with an infection. So your immune system is vulnerable into an environment that is loaded with infections like infectious opportunity, like gyms, gym floors, gym equipment, yoga-

Matt Whitmore: Sweaty feet.

Keris Marsden: Sweaty feet. But even the tube or the training getting there, you know all[inaudible 00:16:41] based now. So don’t put yourself in unnecessary environments. You may have to go to work, it may be a kind of nonnegotiable, but you don’t have to go into those environments where bacteria and germs are able to thrive. So that’s the kind of number one thing is-

Matt Whitmore: [inaudible 00:16:56] for a lot of people exercise is that I’ve done this many a time. I know other people that have done this many a time, you’re feeling a bit groggy, you might feel like you’re starting to come down with something. You go to the gym, you do a little something. All of a sudden you get the endorphin rush and you perk up a little bit and then maybe push it a little bit harder than you had planned because you’re like, oh I feel all right, and then you feel great. You’re like, oh I’m glad I trained. And then two hours later bosh you’re just like, oh my God.

Keris Marsden: If you fall asleep, that’s what I would say. If you fall asleep or you’re like really sleepy two to four hours later, that’s a good sign that the, reflect on that like your body didn’t want you to train because now it’s exhausted and now it’s got to try and fight that fight and repair the body from the training session, which is also gonna require protein, glucose, all that kind of stuff. Like why give it more to do like you’re in debt, don’t give yourself more debt you just-

Matt Whitmore: [inaudible 00:17:46] I mean, I’ll tell you something, a classic example I can give here, don’t get me wrong, I learned my lesson the hard way. But you do learn from these things. Well you should do. And when I was a like a full time PT, completely self employed, quite simply if I didn’t train clients I didn’t earn money, et cetera. And prefer food when my diet wasn’t as good as it is now, it’s been very rare that I get ill now. I used to, I say to you, it’s like clockwork wasn’t it, like I used to just get cold and flu without foul, in the colder I could almost put it in my diary, that I was gonna get it like a flu in December,
But I’d normally get rid of it and then get it again and I’d get it numerous times and whatever. But what I would tend to do with work was because I didn’t want to let people down for a start. I don’t want to cancel clients and what not and I’d be like, like you say like come on Matt like man up, soldier up wherever.

Keris Marsden: I wouldn’t say that if you were ill now you just made me look terrible.

Matt Whitmore: No I mean like you said that to yourself.?

Keris Marsden: Yes.

Matt Whitmore: And I would do that and I try and push through, push through, push through, but of course my body’s fighting something. The last thing it probably needs is me getting up at 4:30 in the morning, being in a gym environment from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM. And what I would do is I’d push through it but then my body would just go into complete shutdown. And I ended up having to have like three, four days off. Whereas what I then started to do was when I could feel it. I’d go like, you know what? I’m going to have a day off. I’m going to get loads of sleep, eat good food, increase my protein a little bit, just chill and nine times out of 10 that done the job and all I needed was a day and then the next day it was almost like my body was able to get on top of it and I could go back to work. So because-

Keris Marsden: What I read is that the quicker you do that, the quicker you heal.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah.

Keris Marsden: But people use that as a last resort and that’s the problem and that’s exactly what I did. So when you were saying about man up, I did the same thing I fell ill and I had commitments to lecture and I said I can’t let people down, you know, just can’t. So I was going to London, didn’t train and I was quite sensitive about that and least but lectured and then it got to the point by day five when this sore throat thing wasn’t going away, but then I was also getting some like blisters developed on my skin and I had a rash on my back and I was like, “Oh God, this is getting worse and I was starting to feel fluey. So like it’s going into my bones and [inaudible 00:20:15] and I gave it a day.
This was by the fifth day I was saying like now I’ll not work and then when I woke up the next day ill I was like, “Right now I’m going to the doctors,” and it was so stupid because maybe there is a way and my doctor was absolutely amazing and he said, “You probably would have fought it off in a few more days anyway,” but I said to him, “I was getting worse.” More things were developing, but I wasn’t resting because I was like, I need to show up to these things I’ve promised to people and things. And like my situation is a bit unique in that there was no one to cover me in lectures it was [inaudible 00:20:49] holidays. There’s no chance I would find cover-

Matt Whitmore: There is like an added pressure, but I’m going to leave a lot of students in the lurch and whatever and. But I think from my perspective, my attempts to try and soldier on because I didn’t want to let people down and I didn’t want to miss out on income.

Matt Whitmore: … soldier on because I didn’t want to let people down where they’re miss out on income. Actually meant that I let more people down and they missed out on more income.

Keris Marsden: And missed out on more income.

Matt Whitmore: Because ’cause they’re having more time off.

Keris Marsden: Yeah eventually, yeah.

Matt Whitmore: And it was like where is, like I said, I got to the point where I could see and it was like, “Right, one day.” And just focus on –

Keris Marsden: It is the quicker you do it.

Matt Whitmore: 100%.

Keris Marsden: Because, the other thing that you’re doing is, if your immune system is compromised, so you’re still devoting energy to … because work requires energy, the brain requires energy.

Matt Whitmore: Of course it does.

Keris Marsden: So if you give half your energy towards that and then only half towards the immune system. The only thing that can happen is there’s just things like opportunistic and co-infections that slip in and that’s what I think happens with a lot of people and one of the reasons, not only does the original infection take hold and then kind of infect every different system, but other things start to take hold and then you have things like fungal, you know like the fungal herbs that you get, fungal dominance in the gut so then people start to get thrush as well as having a bacterial infection, you now have a yeast infection.

Matt Whitmore: Nice, nice.

Keris Marsden: So it all starts to … because you’re running the body down, so if you start to just notice loads and loads of different things happening like that, that’s because you’re not giving your body –

Matt Whitmore: Do you know what’s funny? I could just so imagine people now, when they call in sick going like, listen guys, like –

Keris Marsden: Listen to episode [inaudible 00:22:14]

Matt Whitmore: The fear food have said if I just have one day, I’ll be bright as rain tomorrow, otherwise you potentially are gonna have three days off next week, so this is a better way.

Keris Marsden: You know what’s really sad though as well, is you question it quite a lot. I question it, I was like, “Am I really ill?” Even though glands are up, can’t really swallow and I’m like “But does this count as ill?” It blatantly counts as ill but, I was like don’t be kind of weak about it and get up, it was so weird when I look back and “why did I even question whether I was ill or not?” But then I wonder if I was at an office job and didn’t care, I would have just gone, “I’m definitely ill.” [inaudible 00:22:51].

Matt Whitmore: What you would have done … when you were at a job that you don’t like you don’t need much. To be fair like, most people when they call in sick, they’re not even sick anyway, whereas if you’ve got the slightest bit of something …

Keris Marsden: I always go, “Ring in for me.” I’m so ill I can’t even lift the phone up.

Matt Whitmore: When I used to call in sick I used to have this weird thing, because I used to be like, well, don’t do the sick voice, it sounds pathetic, but then equally, you don’t want to try and sound too normal. I just felt that actually, it was better to sound normal than to sound really ill, because it just seemed like “try-hard”, do you know what I mean?

Keris Marsden: Are you advising people? I’m trying to look at the point that you’re getting to.

Matt Whitmore: Well no. To be fair, if I was to give any advice I’d be like, “If you find yourself calling in sick a lot, then you need to probably have a … reflect a little bit on whether you’re in the right job, ’cause-”

Keris Marsden: Oh, I though you were advising on the voice. “If you’re gonna call in a lot, this is the tone.”

Matt Whitmore: No no. I wasn’t … I was advising on that. No but it should just be just like a, just a bit like, “Oh you know, hey.”

Keris Marsden: “I’ve got a pounding headache.”

Matt Whitmore: Yeah just, “Listen, I’m just really not feeling too hot, I was trying to push through it but … ”

Keris Marsden: “I got as far as picking up the phone and calling in sick, and I couldn’t take-

Matt Whitmore: Or the … if I was calling in sick early doors for the morning shift to open the gym, this is when I was a fitness instructor, it’s like, call as soon as you wake up, you know? When you’re naturally groggy.

Keris Marsden: Oh yeah, you’d sound groggy.

Matt Whitmore: So you don’t even need to put it on.

Keris Marsden: Yeah, yeah.

Matt Whitmore: And it’s like, “On that call you sounded terrible.”

Keris Marsden: And then you gotta keep it up for days.

Matt Whitmore: Just it’s genuine, because I’m not making an effort here I’m literally just got up, me eyes aren’t even half open. Anyways.

Keris Marsden: Right. Back to the immune system.

Matt Whitmore: Back to the immune system.

Keris Marsden: So, first things first. So when you wake up and you can just feel something coming down, of course if it’s just a tickle of the throat, those kinds of things, there’s still things that you could do at that onset, but if you can, rest. Definitely if it’s a weekend, it’s a social cleanse, just cut it, just chill at home. It’s a good excuse to do things that you probably never do, which is just down time, sofa, and extra sleep. So again, if you’re feeling tired, obviously afternoon naps, that kind of thing, but in terms of vitamins and minerals that are required. And so bear in mind, if you have an infection for a long period of time, or have been immune compromised for a long period of time so your immune system is working hard, some key nutrients that get used up a lot is: Vitamin A is integral to immune system function, and it is something that a lot of people are lacking in at the moment, because many people have dropped out animal products. So if you want preformed Vitamin A, remember this is in animal products only. So it’s in dairy, it’s in fish as well, and it’s in, obviously, things like meat and poultry.
This is when you’re getting kinds of retinol, which is preformed Vitamin A, and if you are immune comprised, it is kind of worth looking at, “Have I become worse since taking out those foods? And do I need to reflect on that a little bit?” You can obviously do supplements and you can also do, Beta Keratin is your precursor to Vitamin A, which is one podcast, but that’s the precursor. But they think … like half of the population are really bad at making that conversion, a quarter are terrible at it. So there’s a chance that if you’ve made that dietary change and then noticed your immune system isn’t great since then, do you need to look at … You can look at supplemental Vitamin A drops, if you don’t want to eat animal products. And you could look at something like a cod liver oil, which is a really nice way to get some Vitamin A, but also things like Vitamin E, there’s a little bit of Vitamin D in there was well. Because all the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, it’s helpful to kind of keep them all in balance, which we’ve done a tonne of stuff before on this.
So again, a nice way to do it is having something like cod liver oil, and fish, and animal products is quite an easy way to do it, because … I never thought of this, I promised this before on a podcast, that those vitamins and minerals are really highly concentrated in the tissues of the animal, so if you eat those parts of the animal, like the skin, for example, it’s gonna be concentrated with amino acids and things that we want for our skin, and nutrients and things like that, and zinc. And then the liver, same thing. Because our livers are loaded with things like CO-Q-10, and B vitamins, and Vitamin A, and things to be able to detoxify the animal’s livers loaded with all of those as well. I just never thought of it like that. Because the animal’s liver if doing the same thing our liver’s doing.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah.

Keris Marsden: I know, but why didn’t I think of that, why did I not make that direct connection? The cells of the animal’s liver is loaded with everything that we would need, that the liver, our hepatocytes would need as well. I don’t know.

Matt Whitmore: The liver’s role is universal, I would have thought.

Keris Marsden: Yeah, that’s what I mean. But i don’t know why I never made that connection, you know? I was thinking-

Matt Whitmore: Hey listen, no one’s perfect. Don’t worry about it.

Keris Marsden: I’ve just ordered a tongue, an organic tongue, from Abel and Cole, and I’m just thinking like-

Matt Whitmore: What, from what animal?

Keris Marsden: Ox. Would that help with anything, just think, like would it make you sing or something?

Matt Whitmore: Would it what?

Keris Marsden: Maybe be able to sing better or something, I don’t know.

Matt Whitmore: This could go really …

Keris Marsden: Moving on. Anyway.

Matt Whitmore: Anyway.

Keris Marsden: So yeah, organ meat is a fantastic food to eat if you really wanted to like load up on your kind of, fat-soluble vitamins. And then fermented dairy, fermented cheeses, are really rich in some of those Ks. And dairy obviously has Vitamin A in it as well.

Matt Whitmore: But this is interesting, because-

Keris Marsden: It’s everything that everyone’s not eating at the moment.

Matt Whitmore: Well, not just that, but you know, it’s like I said earlier, when people get cold, flu, whatever, and they’re like, “Oh, veg soup, veg soup, veg soup.” And there’s nothing wrong with getting your veggies down, good chow, but then-

Keris Marsden: You never think of eating some liver when you’re sick.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, or just thinking of upping … you know, ’cause we often talk about when we do just, like in our recent seminar, mini-tour that we’ve been doing, and I talk about trying to give people a little bit more of a load-down on proteins, fats, and carbs, and the role that they play beyond just being a food source, and energy source, whatever. And talking about actually one of, a big benefit to protein is immune health. But people don’t think, “Oh I’ll allot my protein intake,” or whatever it may be. It’s all, like I said, veg veg veg.

Keris Marsden: People think, basically, veg and Vitamin C, that’s about it.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, fair play, get it down ya. But you know, get some protein down you a well.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. There’s something called amino globulins, and whenever you see the word “globulin” it’s gonna be, it’s protein basically. And yeah, you’re completely right. I mean, if you think about it, all our cells are made of basically proteins, and the membranes have got fats in them, so for any cell we always need to think about building blocks. But definitely think of, yeah, your immune system is basically based on protein. So meeting your basic protein requirements, but I would say, again, if you’re immune compromised, or you are training quite a lot, or again, looking at … we increase protein for fat loss, we increase protein for mood health as well. So start to think about 1.2, 1.5 grammes per kilo, maybe higher if you’ve been training. And right up to, I’d probably go to 1.8 to 2, is probably the highest I’ve ever really recommended. With a view that … we’ve since found that most people don’t actually make it anyway … when you map that out in food, people go, ‘That’s a lot of food.”

Matt Whitmore: Well it’s always client-dependent, isn’t it? Because you know, let’s be honest, if we feel that someone needs or would benefit from increasing their protein intake, if it works out that they’ve been kind of been averaging a gramme per kilo per day, we’re not gonna turn around and day, “Right, double that. 2 grammes per kilo.”

Keris Marsden: Yeah.

Matt Whitmore: Whereas if someone is on the moderate side, maybe one and a half, and they think they might benefits from a bit more, you know, it might be like 1.8 rather than that big massive jump.

Keris Marsden: Yeah, and to be fair, it can just be a case of like, you know, drinking some things like broth as a starter, or just adding a little bit of cheese to a salad, or snacking on a couple of eggs. It’s not hard to kind of bump it up by 10, 20 grammes, which is … don’t see it working out as. So yeah, definitely think about protein for sure. So we’ve done protein, Vitamin A, and fats, but always make sure your keeping the fat-soluble vitamins kind of in-check together. Another thing is, Vitamin C and zinc are two that are quite fundamental. Zinc is involved in pretty such everything, and zinc actually transports Vitamin A, so sometimes if you’re low in zinc you end up with a Vitamin A deficiency, but actually it was a zinc problem in the first place. Because zinc is a kind of co-factor for a lot of enzymes, so one you become zinc-deficient, a lot of processes in the body can’t happen, both zinc and magnesium are kind of renowned for that. But I’d always being thinking about those two, and then also be thinking about, because zinc is a co-factor as an enzyme in lots of different chemical reactions in the body, the more you do, the more zinc you’re gonna need.
And that is again, an equation that people never make. It’s like, can I not just run myself ragged, and then not expect that I might need to just check in on certain nutrients that are used abundantly in lots of different areas of the body, from energy metabolism, to thinking, to … and all these different things. Every time we’re kind of using, cells need to take an energy source, convert it into something and then do their thing, it’s gonna require, zinc is gonna be one of the kind of key nutrients. As well as B vitamins and other stuff as well, but always be thinking abut zinc and Vitamin C, definitely. Just in terms of those nutrients, if you wanted to supplement some, again, they’re quite … I’d say they’re easy to get from food if you eat a mixed diet. And that’s not me being biassed in any way, that’s just go and look at the data on it.

Matt Whitmore: What do you mean biassed?

Keris Marsden: In terms of … I’m saying in mixed diet, because that’s what we eat, but I’m not being biassed or against someone not eating a mixed diet, if that makes sense. But zinc is a nutrient that is again, abundant in say, animal products for example. One of the richest sources is oysters. So oyster sauce … so oysters are like 33 milligrammes-

Matt Whitmore: Which you know, it’s not like a-

Keris Marsden: No, I know, but if you go and put it into nutrient data, you’ll see that hierarchy down, and people often go, “yeah, but pumpkin seeds are a really rich source,” but you would need to eat so many pumpkin seeds to meet your daily requirements. So again, it becomes this thing of the more you do, the more you need. Are you meeting your needs with the diet that you’re trying to follow? Or are you having kind of conflicting goals here where you’re trying to follow a diet, but you’re not listening to what your body needs, if that makes sense. And this is wat tend to find with a lot of people, they want to go more plant-based and drop the animal products, which is a good thing, I think we should all eat more plants and less animal products, genuinely do. But, then we also need to keep an eye on how much we’re training-

Matt Whitmore: I think like, just to be clear, you’re not saying people should not eat animal products?

Keris Marsden: I’m saying more plants.

Matt Whitmore: More …

Keris Marsden: Some people more plants and less animal products, not everybody. Some people are doing it nice in a balanced way, and some people … but many people … not many people actually, but if you’re eating too many animal products then you might wanna scale it back. But what I was about to say is, but then if you do go, when people come to me and say, “I want to be more plant-based,” or “100% plant-based,” I say, “Well then you need to keep an eye on the processes that involved these nutrients, because you’re no longer eating these nutrients, and it’s hard to get them from plant sources.” And when you often look at cultures that are predominantly plant-based, they don’t behave like us, they don’t sit on social media 24/7, stressing, going to intense exercise classes, you know.

Matt Whitmore: Different life.

Keris Marsden: It’s a very different lifestyle. So, think about that. But zinc, just to go back to it. Really good sources are things like fish and meat are the richest sources. So red meat is very rich in it, you’ll get some from things like, we just mentioned, nuts and seeds as well, pumpkin seed butter might be a good one because you get kind of a bigger dose just easting a few teaspoons, I think, from that rather than from just eating seeds. But, the thing to note, again, about seeds, for example, is you are going to have anti-nutrients in there that block zinc absorption, because zinc is really hard, or quite hard to absorb because there’s lots of kind of things that compete to transport across the gut. So, as a supplement, if you are going to supplement, it’s best to taken on it’s own. So I often say, “On it’s own, when you go to bed.” Which for me [inaudible 00:34:47]. And zinc citrate is the most absorbable form of zinc so far studied. And it’s very cheap actually, so like six pound for a month or two supply sometimes, roughly. Do you have a, you looked like you had a question then?

Matt Whitmore: No no, I was just gonna say like, just you talking about the seeds as well, in terms of if someone’s trying to like, smashing back pumpkin seeds in a quest to boost their zinc, you know, do bear in mind that seed are relatively high in fats. So from a body-con perspective, you know, like 9 calories per gramme, you feel like, ‘Oh yeah, zinc zinc zinc,” you know, smashing loads of seeds, you could be potentially bumping your calorie intake up by [crosstalk 00:35:28].

Keris Marsden: I think the daily intake recommendations are kind of between 8 and they go up and down a little bit, but something between 8 and 12. But to get that from pumpkin seed butter is quite a lot.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, it’s gonna take some doing. And to be fair, I’m not being funny, but like, who’s really that into pumpkin seed butter?

Keris Marsden: I like pumpkin seed butter.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, but you’re a bit odd, aren’t you, in that sense?

Keris Marsden: It’s nice, but you have to put extra sea salt in it, that’s all I’ll say. Sea salt makes everything taste nicer, doesn’t it?

Matt Whitmore: I’ll stick to me almond and peanut butter.

Keris Marsden: With extra honey in it.

Matt Whitmore: But the reality is though isn’t it, you know, we always, like you mentioned earlier, we talked about eating a variety of foods, you know, across the board. Trying to get a variety of protein sources, variety of carb, variety of fats. And if you have got that element of variety, there’s a good chance you’re ticking most of the boxes, from a micronutrient perspective. But I think a lot of people do fall into, it’s almost like, it’s a good habit, but can become a bad habit in that people start eating better foods, more nutritious foods, and whatever, they might find recipes or meals that they like, and almost then get into this habit of just having the same old thing over and over again. ‘Cause they know they like it, they know it’s quick and they know it’s easy, and you know-

Keris Marsden: I think someone said that we, roughly, most people average 15 different foods.

Matt Whitmore: Oh really?

Keris Marsden: Yeah, when you look at like tradition cultures and tribes, because they’re so seasonal, and they eat differently across the seasons, they’re more like double what we eat.

Matt Whitmore: But we even say like, even like, one of the easiest meals that we often do is a stir-fry, you know, like a meat and veg stir-fry. But just by a, changing the meat, it might be a chicken and veg stir-fry, another day it might be a beef and veg stir-fry. And even another simple thing of just changing the veggies in the stir-fry, you know, so it’s still essentially the same thing, but at least then you add in that little bit of variety. You know you like it, you know it’s easy to make-

Keris Marsden: Look at seasonally, you’d start to get that, naturally, you’d start to change. But it’s hard, because the super markets aren’t seasonal, the super markets are pretty much standard stuff all year around, so it’s-

Matt Whitmore: Who were we talking to the other day actually, a friend of ours from New Zealand, I think he was saying that you know, it’s … most things in New Zealand are very much seasonal because they don’t have the kind of import that we have, so. And I thought, “Wow, that’s a pretty … that’s pretty cool.”

Keris Marsden: I was talking to someone who was saying, we were talking about eating as kind of the generations before you did, and they were saying they were from Scotland and that they absolutely just lived on stews and root vegetables and potatoes, because it’s so cold all year around. And I was like, “Well that would make sense, wouldn’t it.” But yeah, and she was saying how she feels better eating a really high-carb diet most of the year. And that high-fat doesn’t really work for her. I was like, ‘Oh, interesting.” If you’re Scottish maybe you wanna hit the potaties? Potaties?

Matt Whitmore: Potaties?

Keris Marsden: Potaties? [inaudible 00:38:28]

Matt Whitmore: Did you … you sounded like you just-

Keris Marsden: I was gonna say potaties and leeks.

Matt Whitmore: You tried to attempt at a Scottish accent there and then bailed half-way through.

Keris Marsden: No way, I wouldn’t even dream of doing that. Christ.

Matt Whitmore: So you got to commit to that, you can’t just back out half-way through.

Keris Marsden: I can’t, I know. I couldn’t do Scottish.

Matt Whitmore: Pataties.

Keris Marsden: I can do Irish, potato.

Matt Whitmore: That’s terrible. That’s a word.

Keris Marsden: That’s the only thing I know how to do.

Matt Whitmore: And it’s probably the most like … I mean that’s borderline racism right there because …

Keris Marsden: It’s not. It’s [inaudible 00:39:00] what’s his name?

Matt Whitmore: Keith Lemon?

Keris Marsden: Keith Lemon, yeah that’s why I’m doing that.
Right, where did we get to? So we did, we’ve got Vitamin A, the fat-soluble vitamins, we had zinc, we had … we’ve just done zinc. So if you’re gonna take a zinc citrate before bed, a safe dose is kind of like … stay low if you don’t really know. That’s a good line, isn’t it? Stay low, don’t know.

Matt Whitmore: Stay low if you don’t really know?

Keris Marsden: But usually kind of anywhere between 7, 15, 25 if you’re really immune compromised. I’ve see-

Matt Whitmore: 25 what?

Keris Marsden: Milligrammes, sorry. And 50 if you’re really deficient tested and need to know. There is something called a zinc test that you can get from companies like Lambit’s, where you drink a solution … do you remember doing this? You either go … if you can taste the metal then you’re okay, if you can’t taste the metal, suggesting to be zinc-deficient because zinc is involved in taste and smell. So skin-health, skin and taste, those kinds of things. I don’t know about that test, to be honest, but it’s a good starting point, you could start with it. And then you might wanna do like a zinc-copper ration test, blood test, but it would be privately that you get that done.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, but it’s like we often say now, we look at testing of any sort, like allergy testing, food sensitivity testing, whatever, deficiency testing … if you’ve got like crazy symptoms, then yeah, maybe you might wanna know what’s going on, but it’s like you say, instead os like testing, if you suspect something’s wrong and you do look at your diet and go, “Well actually, I don’t need much of this, I don’t need much of that. I do tend to eat the same thing week in, week out. Maybe I could do with-”

Keris Marsden: You could draw that conclusion and say-

Matt Whitmore: Yeah yeah, and see how you got-

Keris Marsden: And even dosing it kind of like three times a week is a nice way to know that you’re probably just gonna meet your needs and not over-do it, that’s another way to look at something like that. And it needs to be balanced with copper, so make sure you’re eating copper with your foods. Liver, again, if people are eating liver twice a week, there’s no way there’ll be copper issues for them. Okay, next one is Vitamin C, which we’d mentioned earlier. Wat I would say with Vitamin C is it’s one of those where most people say, ’cause it’s used a lot by … in things like production of neurotransmitters, adrenaline, there’s a good chance that a lot of people might have a bit of a [inaudible 00:41:07] knee, especially if they’re high-stress and training, and those kind of things.

Matt Whitmore: But it’s so easy to get from food, isn’t it? Vitamin C?

Keris Marsden: Well, that’s what I was about to say. So one thing to know about Vitamin C is it’s quite a cheap and not very harmful supplement, so you can just take it. It is ascorbic acid in most supermarkets unless it’s labelled “Buffered”, which means it then becomes ascorbate, it’s kind of attached to something, to mean that the absorption is better, it doesn’t … well it’s kind of bound to something so that it doesn’t start to react to other things in the gut, because if it does that, ascorbic acid can be highly reactive in the gut, draws water to the gut and is a laxative. So just be careful of that. So, no harm in kind of taking a little bit now and then from a kind of reputable company good, and I always say this, you know, like a good brand that’s kind of recommended and quite pure. But they actually say to get it from supplements now, liposomal form is better, which is when it’s in a liposomal formula with what’s called phospholipids. Because then it’s absorbed like it’s food and then goes into the lymphatic system and travels all the way around the body and then it’s dropped off finally at the liver. So,-

Keris Marsden: And travels all the way around the body, and then it’s dropped off finally at the liver. The liposome delivery is, because our cells have got these phospholipid membrane that will become basically cellular delivery is more effective. It’s going to where it needs to be. That’s thought to be a more effective way of taking vitamin C. Your point was really good where you said, “Is it easy to get from food?” It is, and they say if you look at the research the limeys, we told this story before, but the limeys, the British soldiers who were out sailing, and they would take a little half a lime.
I think it was a quarter of a lime brings you back from scurvy. Scurvy is vitamin C deficiency. Here we’re not talking about true vitamin C deficiency. We’re talking about vitamin C for health, and it is destroyed by cooking, and it is does degrade once the food is chopped and once it stops travelling. It really does depend. If you’re working on a city, travelling a lot, and grabbing food from the kind of high street supermarkets, and it’s from Kenya, there’s a good chance it’s depleted of a lot of nutrients, but probably vitamin C. Then you cook it.
The B vitamins, vitamin they’re, all soluble, so we lose some in the cooking process. Steaming is going to be a little bit better to retain. Soups will be amazing if you’re going to drink the water. That’s perfect. I’ve got that [inaudible 00:43:19]. What I was about to say is steaming will keep a little bit more than boiling to death, obviously, but then if you made a soup and kept everything in there, or some people use their veg water that they’ve steamed with, and use it for soups that they make. If you’re retaining that water and drinking it, you’re going to get more that way.

Matt Whitmore: My nan used to boil broccoli, used to pour the water in a cup to crack over a little bit of salt and pepper, and then drink the water.

Keris Marsden: Really?

Matt Whitmore: Yeah.

Keris Marsden: That’s good.

Matt Whitmore: It was really nice. It was really nice. It was almost, I don’t know, just something quite warming about it.

Keris Marsden: It depends what you’ve been cooking. If you’re steaming Brussels, that might not be the best. Yeah, you’re right. I always think same thing. If you’re having lemon and lime, but you’ve chopped the lime a while ago, there’s probably not going to be very much going into the … If you slice the lime and left it in the fridge overnight, there’s not much left. If you’re cutting things like lemons and limes up fresh and squeezing them, it’s like a smoothie, that’s a great idea. Then obviously you’ve got things like berries. The smaller the fruit, and if you’re eating the whole fruit, you’re more likely to get a lot of these nutrients, as well.
I think it really depends. If you’re eating local and seasonal, there’s a good chance your vitamin C is good and you don’t need to worry about it. You could look for signs of vitamin C insufficiency. One of them is easy bruising, bleeding gums, and then frequent colds and flu is another, so that immune compromise.

Matt Whitmore: That’s the thing, isn’t it? For me, like I said to you earlier, getting colds and flus in the colder months, it was like clockwork for me. It was almost without fail. Every year, same thing happened, but because most people tend to get sick in the winter, I just perceived it was normal. It’s just like, “Hey, it’s winter. People get colds and flu. It’s just what happens.” Whereas actually it’s that, “No, your body should be strong enough to deal with any kind of invader, so to speak.” Not always.

Keris Marsden: Remember, immune system health, though, it goes right back to mother’s health, grandparents’. It goes back generations in terms of what you’re going to be predisposed to, but then also we know how you’re born, whether you’re breastfed. Not that it’s determining anything, but it’s just influencing immune education in early years, what you’re exposed to. Are you vaccinated?

Matt Whitmore: Yeah.

Keris Marsden: Environment you grew up in. Is it cities, countryside? All these things feed in, but you’re absolutely right in that we can do so much. It’s all on the food, but we can do so much with food, and managing stress, and sleep so that it shouldn’t be that you are getting colds, I wouldn’t say more than three or four times a year. If you’re getting more than that, I’d start to question. The thing is they are saying that the bugs are becoming so antibiotic resistant-

Matt Whitmore: To be fair even now, not to be like, “Oh, check me out,” but I can’t remember the last time I had a full-on cold or flu.

Keris Marsden: You were the worst when we lived in a damp flat.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah. 100%. It was terrible.

Keris Marsden: You would sneeze, and two shoestrings would come out your nose dangling around.

Matt Whitmore: Even back then, I still just perceived it as something that happened at this time of year, whereas now I can sometimes go couple of years or so with nothing at all, and because I’ve seen my nutrition is so much better, so I now know that it’s not normal, and I shouldn’t just expect to get it every year. I think if you are getting it numerous times a year, it should probably be a bit of a red flag and be like, “Hey, something is probably not quite right how.”

Keris Marsden: To be fair when I fell ill, my mom was like, “This is not like you.” She’s like, “This is not like you. This must be really serious. What is it?” She was on the phone every day. Even I was a bit like, “I’ve never been this ill for this long.” If I do get a cold, I think I only get one, two a year, then a 48-hour thing. You just fight it off really quickly. I’m always quite confident. By day five, I was like, “What is going on with my body?” I actually ended up having, I’ve never had this before in my life, it was a group A streptococcus infection, which is basically tonsillitis, but it goes to your skin, which I’ve never seen before.
I was getting blisters on my skin. That’s when I was like, “Something has gone wrong.” I got my ears pierces, and they were leaking. Mucous was coming out my ears where my ears were pierced. It was awful. You were like, “What’s happening to your tear? It’s leaking.” I think you can get, it must be a systematic immune response. Yeah, and I just couldn’t … Don’t Google it if you get symptoms like that, because Google tells you that your days are numbered, which is not nice. Anyway, back to the … What we should probably do now. There are some key nutrients to keep an eye on.
I would get on those now. With regards to vitamin D, say now because in the UK we’re just moving into winter, which is when you become more vulnerable, but with regards to vitamin D, what would be helpful is if you’ve been on holiday, and obviously you’ve had great weather here in the UK, get your levels checked. Some people’s levels drop really quick. Some, not so much. Maybe get checked depending on what you do for the next few months around October time, and then dose from there. What GPs are actually saying now to a lot of people is, “There’s no point testing you. I’m just going to give you a dose.”
They give 400 international units, which is like nothing, but it is still the-

Matt Whitmore: Piddly.

Keris Marsden: Yeah, whereas usually around 2,000 international units is a nice, safe maintenance dose. Some people if you’re office workers and don’t train outside, those kind of things, you might want to do 4,000, but I still would try and test. Some people do need, if your skin is dark up to 10,000. You might be need to be starting that soon. Again, just keep an eye on it, and keep staying that healthy level around I would say 70 for your vitamin D. This is in international units, by the way, not American units, and no higher than, I wouldn’t go much higher than 150.

Matt Whitmore: What are you talking here? Because obviously with vitamin D, you store it compared to obviously the likes of vitamin C and whatnot have a relatively quick turnover. Hence the reason why the need for it on a daily basis. Vitamin D, there isn’t necessarily a need to take it every single day. As a supplement, you might take a larger dose weekly. You might even take a really large dose monthly.

Keris Marsden: Yeah, there’s different ways, and GPs do that. They’ll do injections, and they’ll do high doses. Obviously as a nutritional therapist or you guys out there, don’t follow that model. It’s safer for us to do once or twice a week, or a little bit daily. You would get sunlight exposure, really, but yeah, there are those options. You can go to a GP, and again, it’s [inaudible 00:50:03] try and keep an eye on if you can. If you can’t get tested by your GP, just go to, and they do personal test kits there. That’s another option.
One thing to just point out as we’ve mentioned across the podcast is stress. To be in sympathetic nervous system, fight or flight has … Cortisol itself has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is why you go and have cortisone injections, because they can suppress the immune system, which suppresses things like pain. They’re used medically for that reason. They suppress inflammation. We have steroid creams and inhalers and things like that, but in doing so, they are suppressing immune function. That’s why you go to the GP and they might recommend that, or that style of medication but have to say, “You can only take it this many times, and you can only take it with this kind of dose.”
For some autoimmune conditions it’s been given, but then they say, “You can’t have it for more than six weeks, or six months max,” because of the dangers of keeping the immune system suppressed. Always think about being mega stressed out is just an insane thing, pumping out loads of cortisol, adrenaline. Think about training, those kind of things, so working really hard, training really hard. These are the people that often go on holiday and get sick, because suddenly they go into rest and digest, and then in terms of … Then they feel quite rough as their immune system comes back up and tries to deal with the stuff that it needs to deal with.
Always be thinking about what you can be doing now, especially as you’re going to become slightly more immune challenged in the next couple of months if you are, again, saying that because we’re going to go through that change of season. Just some food superheros here. My absolute favourite has got to be, I’m torn between garlic and ginger. You can take garlic capsules. You can actually peel garlic and take it. Not many people are going to do this, but there is a real naturopathic remedy that some people drink intimately across the winter where you chop garlic, fresh rosemary, something like manuka honey or raw honey, lemon juice.
You actually soak things like thyme and sage overnight. Sage is really good for-

Matt Whitmore: Can’t I just marinate my chicken in all those ingredients?

Keris Marsden: You could, but this is more of a therapeutic dose, and then you just knock it all back. You take the herbs out, or you can, ago, tear up the herbs and have them. The people make these drinks in the morning that’s honey, lemon, ginger, garlic. Yeah, [inaudible 00:52:16]. You take garlic capsules, so you can take it. Some people it burns. Some people it’s fine. You can put garlic-

Matt Whitmore: I got a fear not many people are going to try this.

Keris Marsden: You can put garlic in the orifices.

Matt Whitmore: Have you tried it?

Keris Marsden: Listen, you can put garlic in the orifices that are infected, as well.

Matt Whitmore: Really?

Keris Marsden: Yeah. A really old midwife remedy for thrush is a-

Matt Whitmore: I see where you’re going with this.

Keris Marsden: Is to pop a garlic clove up there, tie a little piece of cotton around it first, and then pop it up there, and it can solve it overnight because it’s so antifungal.

Matt Whitmore: Wow.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. Garlic generally has so many … Is antiviral and antibacterial, because the one thing I did mention earlier is if you have an infection, if it’s bacterial-based, obviously things like antibiotics are quite effective, but if it’s viral-based, antibiotics are not going to be effective. Antiviral medications are very different. If it’s fungal-based, you notice that you get the -ole on the end of it, like fluconazole. They’re more antifungal medications. As GPs are aware or mainstream medicine knows which medication for which bug, it’s very similar to when you’re looking natural.
Look what’s natural antiviral or natural antifungal. Coconut oil is another one. It wouldn’t be a bad show to just improve … You should have good oral health anyway, but make sure you got things like a mouthwash, or you can swish coconut oil around your mouth, and those kind of things. If you’re getting home with a sore throat, do something.

Matt Whitmore: Floss.

Keris Marsden: Floss, yeah. There’s some nice mouthwashes that have got antibacterial stuff in them. Think about protecting yourself in terms of you pick the germs off-

Matt Whitmore: You ever seen that film, Kingpin?

Keris Marsden: No. Why? What’s he do?

Matt Whitmore: With Woody Harrelson?

Keris Marsden: No.

Matt Whitmore: It’s about the bowling.

Keris Marsden: No.

Matt Whitmore: He comes across some kind of, [inaudible 00:54:00] guy. Woody Harrelson’s character is called Mr. Munson, and he’s in a bathroom. Woody Harrelson’s flossing, and this guy comes in. He goes, “What you doing there, Mr. Munson?” He goes, “It’s flossing.” He goes, “Flossing? Where do they get Munson from?” Just reminded me.

Keris Marsden: I’ll let you have that one. That was good. Where was I? Yeah, think about that. You can get things like nasal sprays, as well, which are garlic nasal sprays if you’re prone to sinusy things. Silver is also very antiviral, antibacterial. You get nanosilver sprays for the nose, for the mouth. Think about doing something like a silver mouthwash or something like that, as well, to try and stop the infection taking hold in the cells that it comes into contact with.
Another thing would be obviously bump up if you’re not doing already prebiotic, probiotic foods. We’ve listed those on several podcasts, or head to the food website. We’ve got an article. If you just put in immune boosting, our big article, our list of all. What else, what else? Probiotics generally would be again, maybe as a supplement option. If you are feeling a bit immune compromised, you might want to go a little bit higher with the dose. I ended up having antibiotics, and so as a result of that, I’m doing what’s called a reinnoculation programme on myself, which is dosing or titrating a higher dose of probiotics very, very slowly.
Along with something called, this is a nice supplement to do. Again, it won’t work for everybody, but you might want to go off and read about it. Saccharomyces boulardii. It’s a beneficial strain of yeast that helps to increase something called secretory IgA, which is our first line defence that we’ve got against invaders and infections. That’s generally taken in between meals, and something I try and get you to take loads of. If you’re training quite hard, stress, it’s a really good one because sIgA, secretory IgA, comes down in individuals with high cortisol.
They become immune compromised after that, and then they might become a bit more vulnerable, permeable, that kind of thing. Saccharomyces boulardii, something that you might want to go off and read upon. OptiBac is a nice brand. Cytoplan have one, as well. It’s quite cheap, and you take up to a gramme split across the day in between meals. What else, what else? Immune boosting. I mentioned garlic, ginger. I love ginger.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, you just had a competition between ginger and garlic.

Keris Marsden: Yep. In smoothies, in stews, those kinds of things. All the herbs, so rosemary and sage have been known medicinally forever. Dried herbs on your salads and soups is a really good shout. What else? The main foods. Things like Brussels are good because you’re getting the protein, as well, and obviously looking after the gut, and it’s light on digestive system.

Matt Whitmore: This ties in with what we were saying, though, doesn’t it?

Keris Marsden: These are good all year round.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, getting these kind of things down you. At the end of the day, ginger, garlic, herbs, spices, all of that taste amazing.

Keris Marsden: Liver pate with butter. That’s going to be loaded with vitamin A.

Matt Whitmore: Delicious.

Keris Marsden: Brussels is rich with vitamin A, and then also you got in there, well, buteric acid, which can be helpful, as well. Just moving on to I suppose a final point is you can also then look at certain herbals and other non-vitamin supplements, vitaminal supplements that you might want to take, and a few that have good research behind them. You make want to look at something like echinacea. Well-known, well-studied in terms of this is very good from an antiviral perspective, so if you are a bit more, “I get viruses,” so think about the different viruses like the cold sore virus, those kind of things.
If they start to appear again, you might want to think about echinacea now and doing a dose or seeing a nutritional therapist about that. Lemon balm is another one that’s got that immune boosting effect. Some of these work on that balancing adrenal health a little bit, so output of cortisol and adrenaline. That’s how they can be supportive. Mushrooms is another one. We could probably do a whole podcast on this, but I just want to say medicinal mushrooms like reishi, Cordyceps, myotachy. We’ve mentioned them before, didn’t we?

Matt Whitmore: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Keris Marsden: Again, there’s nice things that you can put in smoothies or sprinkles to go on salads. These are not the edible form, by the way. It has to be when you get the one, that antiviral, antibacterial, they’re very good at boosting up natural killer cells and different components of the immune system.

Matt Whitmore: What do you mean not the edible form?

Keris Marsden: Not just going into a supermarket and buying shitake mushrooms. When you get them in a supplement form-

Matt Whitmore: Chestnut.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. Because I think it’s the cellulose wall has to be broken down for us to get the active component, and that’s what suppliers do. When you buy them supplementally, they’ve done all that, and you have to take them on an empty stomach, usually with vitamin C, for absorption, to really maximise absorption. They’re being studied in between chemotherapy to bring up the immune system, for their antiviral components, and different ones seem to have different properties to help with them, as well. We should probably get someone on from one of the mushroom companies to talk about the different benefits, because there’s so much that they are helpful for.
That’s a few, anyway, isn’t it? For people to be getting going with that we mentioned. Foods and lifestyle.

Matt Whitmore: Some things keep you busy for a bit, I think. It’s our mission for no one to get the cold or flu over winter.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. If you do fall sick, in the UK we’ve got 111 to call if you’re concerned about your symptoms. Definitely do that if they are programming or worrying you a little bit. Also I have to say my experience with my GP personally was amazing, just in terms of them going, “Right, we’re going to swab at your throat and everything, check exactly what it is before we give you medication.” Rather than just going in, they did actually give me the antibiotics and say they’re 99% sure it was tonsillitis. He said, “If you really are rough, you want to start when you can, but your lab results will be back in four days.” I could not fault the care that I had.

Matt Whitmore: Yeah, and they spoke very highly.

Keris Marsden: The antibiotics transformed me in 24 hours. I was like, “Wow.”

Matt Whitmore: You was a different person, thankfully.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. I wasn’t a grumpy ill person.

Matt Whitmore: No, you weren’t grumpy.

Keris Marsden: It was more worrying.

Matt Whitmore: It was like your mom said. It’s not like you, and it was just really bizarre seeing you like that, because I’ve not seen you that ill for a long, long time.

Keris Marsden: Not for that long period of time. That’s it.

Matt Whitmore: There you are.

Keris Marsden: Hopefully this was useful.

Matt Whitmore: I think so.

Keris Marsden: Quick rundown, we had, remember? Vitamin A, canola oil.

Matt Whitmore: Just vary your diet with lots of protein.

Keris Marsden: Loads of veg, loads of herbs. Also garlic and ginger, and a stick garlic in any hole that will have it.

Matt Whitmore: I told you. Stir fry is the winner. Everything you mentioned is in there, or the the liver.

Keris Marsden: Yeah. We could do a liver stir fry. [inaudible 01:00:44] wants to go for a walk.

Matt Whitmore: Right, guys, I hope you enjoyed that. Any questions whatsoever, like if you feel that you are susceptible to colds and flus, and when you do get them, maybe you struggled to get rid of them, and you want to maybe dig a little bit deeper, feel free to reach out, get in touch. Info at Obviously catch us on social media channels, but we will say hurrah, and see you in episode 109. See you.

Keris Marsden: Bye.