The winter months are a time when cold, flu, and other viruses thrive. Your immune system’s level of health can determine whether you get sick, have a mild infection, or something that is much worse taking you longer to recover from. Here are strategies to strengthen your immune system so that you are protected year-round.
1. Vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin has many functions aside from good bone health. Vitamin D has been associated with decreasing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, Type II diabetes, dementia, cognitive impairment, fractures, fall prevention, Type A influenza, high blood pressure, as well as decreasing joint and muscle pain and increasing strength and speed. Vitamin D also plays a significant role in immune function. Vitamin D deficiency will increase your vulnerability to infections including viral infections like COVID-19, cold, RSV, and flu. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to inflammation in the gut tissues leading to leaky gut which then helps further impairment to your immune system. The normal range for Vitamin D3 is between 40-80 ng/mL. I recommend having your Vitamin D tested annually and supplementing to get your levels between 60-80ng/mL. The recommended daily maintenance dose is 4000-5000 IU. Taking a Vitamin D3 supplement daily is an effortless way to improve your gut and immune function.
2. Supplements can aid in boosting your immune function and give you an added layer of protection any time of year. Omega 3, zinc, vitamin C, magnesium and Vitamin D3 with K2 are inexpensive ways to strengthen your immune system.
3. Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Time Restricted Eating (TRE) are effective methods for stimulating production of new immune cells and will give your immune system a kick start. A fasting period of 14-16 hours daily will stimulate autophagy which is the way your cells get rid of waste and the byproducts of metabolism. When your cells are bogged down with metabolic gunk they do not work as well as they could and produce less energy. Your immune system relies on cellular energy for a robust immune response.
4. Exercise removes toxins through your sweat and lymphatic system. This helps to improve the effectiveness of your immune system. Vigorous exercise has been shown to be most effective at rejuvenating your immune system, but any exercise is good. Make a daily commitment to 30 minutes of brisk exercise of any kind.
5. Sleep or good quality rest is essential for a healthy and robust immune system. It is during sleep that you repair and heal. When you are sick, your body naturally encourages you to rest. Lack of good quality sleep reduces the activity in your immune system making you more susceptible to getting a cold, the flu, other infections and covid.
6. Cold laser therapy, also known as Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), has been shown to combat bacterial and viral infections reducing the severity and duration of an infection, but can also be preventative. Cold laser or LLLT increases energy production in your cells, reducing inflammation and enhancing cellular cleanup. All aid in improving your immune system function.
A good diet, supplements, regular exercise, adequate rest along with cold laser therapy, intermittent fasting, or time restricted eating will strengthen your immune system year-round. A healthy functioning and robust immune system will keep you doing the things you love with the people you love this winter, and throughout the year. Remember, it is never too late to make a Shift in Health.