Ten Supplements for Building Immunity

Building and maintaining a healthy immune system through diet and lifestyle is a key to optimum health. The immune system can be supported by some natural substances in the form of supplements, and when we do catch something, supplements can lessen the du

Building and maintaining a healthy immune system through diet and lifestyle is a key to optimum health. The immune system can be supported by some natural substances in the form of supplements, and when we do catch something, supplements can lessen the duration and severity of an illness. Each individual is just that—an individual—so consulting a knowledgeable healthcare provider is the best way to learn about the needs of our individual immune systems.
 
But there are broad strategies for building that immune system through supplements that apply to most people. Full-spectrum tinctures and supplements echo the combinations found in nature, which are what our bodies absorb best. Some experts advise that extracting only what is assumed to be the active part can actually result in ineffective supplements. Traditional naturopath and board-certified clinical nutritionist David Getoff agrees with that idea, and recommends ten nutritional supplements that support immune health.
 
Echinacea seems to be effective in improving the body’s ability to fight off infection.First, echinacea seems to be effective in improving the body’s ability to fight off infection. Unless a patient has autoimmune issues, Getoff recommends echinacea tinctures—for prevention, as much as half a teaspoon three times per day for the average adult, and twice that for someone who is sick.
 
Second, Getoff feels that andrographis is “one of the best-quality immune-enhancing herbs . . . an anti-viral and anti-bacterial that’s been used in China and India for 5,000 years.” Each brand of this tincture may have different strengths, so each dosage would vary.
 
Colostrum is “filled with immunoglobulins . . .[and] brings a huge amount of immune function to the mammal. Amazingly, the colostrum molecule is almost identical between species, so even when we take a cow-based colostrum supplement, our body recognizes it automatically.”
 
Olive leaf extract is a “phenomenal product for anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects.” High doses of an active brand (two capsules, three times per day) can “knock something out” if you’re not well. 
 
Oil of oregano is another beneficial natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral product, and garlic, especially aged garlic extract, has shown great results in studies. High doses are needed to stop infections; for example, six capsules, three times per day. Getoff cautions that anything less than that “is what I call a ‘shrimp scampi dose.’ It’s good for you, but it won’t stop an infection.”
 
Colloidal silver is a good first line of defense to take “when you know you’ve been exposed to a pathogen,” but Getoff does not recommend it as a preventive measure. He would take “one tablespoon, four times a day . . . for 10 days, and if I didn’t get sick after that, then I would stop. That’s a high dose, but it’s harmless.”
 
Getoff believes that colloidal silver with an extremely small particle size is absorbed into the bloodstream before it reaches the large intestine, and will not harm gut flora.
 
Probiotics help build that gut flora, which is a major part of the immune system. Taking active probiotic supplements preventively for three to four months (preferably with food) “can be very beneficial.”
 
Getoff recommends taking one tablespoon of cod liver oil with vitamin A daily. Higher doses of vitamin A from an animal source (not just beta-carotene, which most people cannot efficiently convert into vitamin A) are sometimes necessary, Getoff says, because the majority of Americans are extremely deficient in this vitamin. Dosage would vary from person to person, but Getoff “has been taking 25,000 IU a day for years.” Overdosing isn’t usually a problem—as the Merck manual states about Hypervitaminosis A, “after discontinuation, recovery is spontaneous without any residual damage.”
 
Working in conjunction with vitamin A, Getoff says that vitamin C can help stave off illness if large doses are taken before the bacteria or viruses replicate too much. Taking 2,000 mg of vitamin C and 75,000 units of vitamin A per day (either all at once or in smaller doses over time), beginning “right at the first sign of symptoms” has worked “amazingly” for many of his patients.
 
His final suggestion does not come in tincture, capsule or pill form, and can’t be measured in milligrams or international units. But it is of vital importance to our long-term health. “Get plenty of sleep! Taxing the body from every direction on six hours of sleep a night just doesn’t cut it.” Since stress is a major factor in chronic disease, and lack of sleep is a major cause of stress, Getoff recommends that we all “aim for at least eight to nine hours per night. Your body really needs that time for regeneration, and to develop its powers of resistance.”
 
For more information, see “Building Immune Resistance, Naturally” by Diana Allen. Become a member today to receive access to this journal along with many other health and nutrition resources.

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