As I contemplated getting my first-ever flu shot, I also asked my fellow editors for their best immune-boosting tips.
I got my first flu shot ever yesterday. I had recently read a doctor’s blog that made the argument that, along with other proven preventative measures—like the two biggies: wash hands frequently and avoid contact with sick people—getting a flu shot is a chance to “test” (and strengthen) the immune system. It made sense to me—plus they were doing (free) shots at our office, so it was a no-brainer.
Still, I don’t spend time around people with compromised immune systems, so don't have a specific rationale for getting the flu vaccine. And someone who believes that a healthy diet and lifestyle along with a few trusted dietary supplements can take care of an awful lot—and who rarely gets sick—it felt a bit like a betrayal.
So I polled my health-expert colleagues here at New Hope Natural Media and gathered some of their favorite immunity fixes.
1. Vitamin D
Take 2,000 IU in drop form daily, Functional Ingredients editor Todd Runestad recommends. If you feel like you’re getting sick, up it to 20,000 or 25,000 IU for a few days, taken with omega-3s, maybe vitamin E, and other fat-soluble nutrients that help with absorption. “Vitamin D is about cellular wellness; it makes your cells function better,” he said.
2. Wellmune WGP
Runestad is also fan of this patented beta-glucan yeast ingredient that primes the neutrophils, the first line of cellular defense. It passes through the body in 24 hours, he says, so there are no toxicity issues, which is why regulatory bodies the world over from EU to China approve it.
3. Embria’s EpiCor
This clinical study-backed ingredient helps activate Natural Killer cells and is said to help balance (not boost) immune response. The company supplies the city of Ankeny, Iowa, with discounted EpiCor for city employees, who have seen a drop in illness since starting to take the supplement.
4. A quality multivitamin
Source Naturals and Rainbow Light are two examples.
5. Adequate sleep
In my experience, a good night’s sleep (or two) can head off a potential cold before it sets in. Check out a few of the top sleep supplements that can help.
6. Let food be thy medicine, or eat kale
This advice from Jody Mason, one of our superhealthy resident vegans, and Michelle Kelly Zerbib, another of our Standards Department brains. Here are ten of our favorite kale recipes.
7. Herbs, homeopathy and more
Delicious Living editor-in-chief Radha Marcum says, “I got a flu shot earlier this season but don't always. My go-tos are Wish Garden Kick-Ass Immune formula and Yin Chiao Chinese herb formula if I am traveling or know I have been exposed. Also Occillo if I feel something coming on. Multivitamin, Vitamin D, and fish oil as usual. And rest. Rest is huge!”
8. Get empowered by taking responsibility for your own health
Zerbib says this attitude has been key to her overall health and that she has even avoided getting sick by opening lines of communication with someone or something difficult that’s going on in her life. I’m going to have to try that one!
9. My famous fresh lemon-ginger-honey tea
I swear by this; feeling its spicy-warm burn as it goes down my throat makes me feel invincible. And I also keep Kick-Ass on hand—it’s just fun to say!—and dose everyone in my family several times a day. American Health Effervescent Ester-C is fun to take, and I also up my vitamin D.
Do you plan to get a flu shot? What are your go-to fixes when you start to feel under germ-attack? Please share in comments below.