Build a Drugless Medicine Cabinet With These Natural Supplements
The infamous domino effect of one person getting sick and everyone around them catching it soon after is here... ick!
Last year, the flu vaccine turned out to be a big disappointment (yet again). The vaccine didn’t work against a flu bug that popped up halfway through the season, dragging down effectiveness to just 9% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's a perfect example of why I take prevention into my own hands, and power up my immune system with foods and natural supplements that act as nature's very own 'farmacy'.
If you've been to my house, or hung around the NS community long enough, you've probably heard me talk about my drugless medicine cabinet. Every fall, I find myself stocking up on all my favorite 'nutraceuticals' to get this cabinet locked and loaded for the germ-infested months ahead.
And if you’re new to natural remedies, take a deep breath… you don’t have to go ‘all-in’ to make an impact. Here are five of my secret weapons that can give your immune system a boost, no matter where you’re starting from.
Probiotics: Research suggests our gut health and immunity go hand in hand. Since 70 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, it makes sense that having more of the good bacteria will crowd out the bad. A diverse gut flora teaches the immune system to differentiate between friend and foe (bad bacteria, viruses, etc.) and prevent the gut from absorbing foreign invaders into the blood stream. Unfortunately, yogurt just doesn't have enough probiotics to make a significant difference. I personally use Optiflora DI daily because it is designed to withstand the acids of the stomach (which naturally kill bacteria) and release in the gut to keep cultures thriving.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a superstar in the world of nutrition - especially in fighting the common cold. This essential nutrient affects everything from our immune function to our skin health and energy levels. Your body is capable of many things, but it can't make vitamin C. When sick, your body's need for C increases dramatically. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick.
Vitamin D3: Vitamin D has been the focus of much research on optimal immune system function. Vitamin D plays a role in the improving mucous membrane barrier functioning, the production of antimicrobial peptides (small proteins), and overall immune support. A three year trial of taking 800IU of vitamin D per day showed a reduction in colds and flu by up to 70%! Vitamin D is an extremely supportive nutrient to boost the immune system and when we are ill, it helps the immune system identify and destroy bacteria and viruses. It prevents viral and bacterial upper respiratory infections, and turns on key peptides in the immune system to trigger a strong antimicrobial response.
Zinc: Zinc is involved in over 300 processes in the body—it makes most things inside work better—and it’s the primary mineral involved in a well-functioning immune system. You can think of zinc like the raincoat you would put on to protect yourself from the storm before you step outside to face the rain. Having adequate levels of zinc in your body will offer your immune system resilience, and help support digestion, mood and skin—what more could you want from one mineral! The problem is, most people don’t get enough zinc from their diet due to the depleted nature of our soils. I load up on it all throughout cold and flu season, not just when I feel like I'm getting sick.
Interferon: Scientists and medical communities have identified interferon as being crucial to healthy immune function. I get a boost of interferon through a supplement called NutriFeron®, which contains a blend of four plant extracts designed to naturally increase levels of interferon and provide immune support at the cellular level. This is the only dietary supplement in the United States created by the discoverer of interferon, world-renowned immunologist Dr. Yasuhiko Kojima, who spent decades screening hundreds of botanicals to identify natural interferon boosters.
I keep these little gems in my healthy medicine cabinet for when I need them most. These “magic pills”, as my friend Ashley calls them, are taken right when you feel that first tickle to help arm the body’s natural defenses with greater fighting power. They have saved me from having to take unplanned time off from work, or miss out on family celebrations - even when others around me are on the down and out.
But we can’t go without saying — there is no one magic bullet that can immediately restore a suppressed immune system. Good sleep, quality nutrition, stress reduction, exercise, hand washing, and rest are all preventive approaches that can propel your family's natural defenses and immune-boosting power.
How do you keep your immune system strong? I love to hear your favorite go-to’s in the comments below!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement regimen.