There are many ways to support the immune system naturally. Today I’ve got some holistic, nutritional therapy tips that you can use to help support your body day-to-day and also when you’re sick.
First, here are two key things to understand about illness and your body:
1. When the body is sick, it uses up nutrients in your body very quickly, so it’s important to replenish those nutrients so that your immune system has what it needs to fight and recover.
For example: when we have a fever, the body uses up Vitamin A (aka retinol) very quickly, so replenishing with supplementation like cod liver oil can be very helpful.
2. Symptoms such as a cough, drainage, feeling achy, a fever, etc. are all ways that the body uses to go through the process of fighting and getting rid of whatever it needs to get rid of, be it a virus, bacteria, toxin, etc.
When we take symptom suppressing medications, this reduces the body’s ability to fight and heal, and in the long-run can actually cause further issues.
I’m not saying to never use conventional medications for pain or other symptoms. Sometimes we need these things.
But, it’s good to know that there are so many ways we can support the body through the healing process so that when the body is healed, it’s stronger and has had the chance to fully fight whatever it was fighting.
Here are some of the steps I personally take to support my immune system naturally:
As always, please keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list, and of course, I recommend talking to your practitioner about what’s right for you.
Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations:
Eat lacto-fermented foods – Foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and other lacto-fermented foods and beverages encourage the growth of protective bacteria which can safeguard your body from pathogenic viruses and bacteria.
This paper shows how kefir can protect the body from viral infection including the one that starts with a C. (I’m not spelling out the word on purpose.) I like to add 1/4 cup to my smoothies. It’s an easy way to get in some additional nutrients.
Some of my favorite brands that make quality fermented foods: Green Valley, Farmhouse Culture, Barrel Creek, Wildbrine, and GTS Synergy.
Sleep – Sleep is when the body not only rests, but it restores, detoxes, heals and repairs. When we are sick, 8-9+ hours of sleep a night is incredibly helpful so the body can have the time it needs to heal.
Castor oil packs – When castor oil is absorbed through your skin (according to Cayce and McGarey) your lymphocyte count increases. Increased lymphocytes speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which promotes healing.
You can use the pack on various parts of the body. For example: if you have some kind of upper respiratory illness, using a pack over the lungs can be beneficial.
I use castor oil packs regularly to support my liver and highly recommend having the supplies on hand so you can use them when you get sick. Here are instructions and the list of supplies needed.
Avoid sugar and processed foods – Sugar lowers your immune system almost immediately after digestion. When you are sick, it’s important to keep the immune system supported so it can do its job.
Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods – As I mentioned above, the body uses up the nutrients the body has on hand when it’s trying to heal, so replenishing the body with nutrient dense foods can be very helpful. Soups and stews are a wonderful option and provide the body with a wealth of nutrients.
If you don’t feel like eating, then sipping on warm meat stock or bone broth with some added Celtic sea salt can be helpful. I always keep some broth in my freezer so that I have it on hand if I start to not feel well.
Exercise – Movement of the lymphatic system is very important to help the body eliminate toxins, including viruses and bacteria. So, even if you aren’t feeling well, make sure to move your body. This could be a very slow walk, stretching, or gentle bouncing on a rebounder.
Sunshine and fresh air – Vitamin D is very important for the immune system, and sitting outside in the sunlight helps restore vitamin D in the body.
If you are sick, opening up the windows to let in fresh air and also getting outside for fresh air is very rejuvenating.
Epsom salt baths – Soaking in a warm bath with epsom salts is a great way to relax the body and also replenish magnesium and sulphur.
I recommend adding 1-2 cups of epsom salts to your bath and soaking for about 20 minutes. Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil can also be very nice!
Red light therapy – LLLT is a low level light therapy that triggers biochemical changes within cells and can be compared to the process of photosynthesis in plants, where the photons are absorbed by cellular photoreceptors and trigger chemical changes.
The light used for LLLT is a wavelength in the red to near infrared spectrum (600 – 1000nm) and has the ability to penetrate the skin and soft/hard tissues. It can help with pain, inflammation and tissue repair. It has also been shown to help accelerate the body’s ability to heal itself.
I purchased a photon red light from SaunaSpace a couple of years ago and have found it incredibly helpful when I’m not feeling well. Not only does it help accelerate the body’s ability to heal, it also helps calm the nervous system.
Near infrared sauna therapy – Can be used to help the body with a variety of health issues such as: joint and muscle pain, thyroid disease, circulation, digestion, tissue and cell repair, and detoxification. It also helps support the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, thyroid, and the central nervous system. Here’s more info about sauna therapy and the one I personally use.
Whole Food supplements to support the immune system:
Immuplex – This is a fantastic daily immune support supplement. It’s an excellent source of iron, zinc, copper, chromium, folate, vitamins A, B6, and B12, and antioxidant vitamins C and E.
Congaplex – This is what I reach for when I get sick. It’s helpful to support the immune system for issues such as congestion, viral infections, cold, flu, fever, etc. A chewable option is also available.
Calcium Lactate – This is a great option to provide support in the immune system response function. I like to take this for additional support when my body temperature is rising.
Cod Liver Oil – Vitamins A and D in cod liver oil are very beneficial to support the body when sick.
As I mentioned above, the body uses up Vitamin A very quickly when it has a fever, so I like to supplement with cod liver oil until the body temperature comes back down. This doesn’t bring a fever down, but instead, acts as additional support for the body.
Drenamin – When the body is sick, the adrenals have to work overtime, so I like to support my body with Drenamin. It’s a combination of adrenal support, vitamin C (which contains tyrosinase, which is organic copper), and a combination of choline, B6 and riboflavin. I also like to take this daily for some solid adrenal support.
If you have very low blood pressure, be aware that it could create a drop in blood pressure. Again, this is why I always recommend talking to your practitioner about the best supplements for your situation.
Echinacea – This herbal supplement is helpful to support the immune system and respiratory tract, and can help relieve a dry, hoarse throat.
Thymex – The is helpful to decongest the lymph and support the immune system. Thymex supports a healthy thymus gland, the master gland of the immune system.
Zinc Liver Chelate – This is a good source of zinc and copper to support the immune system.