How To (Really) Boost Your Immune System Right Now

If you are looking for up to date information on the Coronavirus, please head to the CDC’s website.  I have spoken to a number of medical professionals and this is their advice on where to source the best information from.

Even for the healthiest of us, right now feels like a scary time. Personally, I’m considering upcoming travel choices, ensuring we have enough of our prescriptions for at least 90 days (well, Lila’s prescription as she is the only family member that needs one), and making sure we are stocked up on non-perishable food. And of course, washing my hands at every opportunity (hot water, soap, lather for 25 seconds, dry thoroughly – but you knew that). 

Whilst it is hard to sort through the health information available to us, it is clear and undisputed that strengthening our immune system is one thing we can all prioritize to help fight off any viruses that may come our way. I also think that taking affirmative action and feeling a sense of control is so important at times like these, and can make us feel more empowered and positive about the days ahead. 

Here are my top tips (and the steps I’m personally taking) for boosting the immune system: 

  • Prioritize Gut Health – I’ll keep banging on this drum until everyone hears me! Between 70-80% of our immune system is housed in our gut, and it really is the first line of defense between our bodies and the outside environment. Minimize processed foods, eat 7-9 servings of veggies a day for pre and probiotic fibre, take a good quality probiotic (I recommend New Chapter’s Probiotic All-flora) every day, add in collagen powder and bone broth to heal the gut lining and have some fermented foods (yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha) 3-4 times a week. Now is the perfect time to undertake my 28 Day Guided Gut Healing Program to ensure optimum gut health. 
  • Magic Micronutrients – now really is the time to think about the nutrient density of your food. Our bodies need an incredible amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals just for our basic metabolic processes, and to help them fight off any germs, bacteria or viruses we need to give them an abundance. Before eating, ask yourself, ‘will this help or hinder my health?’, and  ‘how can I make this the most nutrient-dense option available right now?’. Choose the highest quality proteins you can, aim to eat at least 5 different colored vegetables a day, and help micronutrient absorption by adding in good fats such as avocado and olive oil. 
  • Know your numbers – now is a great time to head to your PCP for your annual physical (we should all be doing this at least once a year, but every 6 months is ideal). For effective management of all chronic or acute illnesses, early detection is key. For a deeper dive into your health consider our Comprehensive Wellness Program at Russak Dermatology. 
  • Smart Supplementation – I’ve always recommended foundational supplements as an ‘insurance’ policy, and I stand by that viewpoint even more now. A great multivitamin and probiotic are essential, and for immune health, I highly recommend New Chapter’s Fermented Vitamin D, Lifeshield Immune Support and Elderberry Force.Elderberry is a potent source of Vitamin C (trials are currently taking place for a cure for the Coronavirus using high strength Vitamin C, but it is early days), and several studies show its efficacy in reducing the severity and shortening the symptoms of colds and the flu. For my clients with compromised gut health and/or high toxic burdens I’m also recommended Nutrient IV Therapy (ensure this is performed by a medical professional – I head to SOWA Medspa in Boston and Russak Dermatology in NYC).
  • Move your body – whilst its tempting to stay at home and hibernate until the worst is over, this is one of the worst things that you can do. Exercise has a number of immune-boosting benefits including helping to clear your respiratory system of bacteria, raising your body temperature to help prevent the growth of bacteria, helping the movement of infection-fighting white blood cells, and aiding the lymphatic system to move waste products out of the body, according to the US National Library of Medicine. 
  • Heat it up – infrared saunas work similarly to a fever in the body, raising your core body temperature to about 102°F (39°C). The body responds to this simulated “fever” by stepping up its immune response and mobilizing the Th1 branch of the immune system. This branch is antiviral and antibacterial, as opposed to the antiparasitic and anti-allergic Th2 system. Additionally, increasing body temperature has been shown to improve the adaptive immune response. This helps the body “remember” the microbes you’ve been exposed to, and to be better prepared to activate a response next time they encounter an exposure. In addition,  near-infrared light activates white blood cells and increases antibodies against pathogens. I visit BDY SQD when I am in Boston, and Higher Dose when in NYC.