Hi everyone. I’m Dr. Alexis Daniels, a functional medicine and mind body practitioner at Vitality Lab here at MSA. I hope you enjoyed my guided mediation that we posted last week, and I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves and each other.
I want to take a minute to talk about what we can all do to support our immune systems—from a holistic perspective. This is apt advice no matter the time, but as many of us have our health front of mind these days, I thought it would be particularly prudent to share now.
The foundation of holistic health includes consuming a clean diet (minimal sugar and alcohol), getting restorative sleep, practicing stress reduction and supporting cardio, respiratory and lymphatic health through exercise. If you are already doing all those things, these are my favorite vitamins, minerals, herbs and medicinal mushrooms to enhance overall immunity.*
These vitamins and minerals are the ‘first string’ for our immune system:
- Antioxidant – meaning it protects the body’s cells and tissues like a bullet proof vest
- Helps make collagen, which is a connective tissue that is the “glue” that holds our bodies together. It’s found in bones, muscles, skin and tendons, and is really important for athletes
- Bolsters the white blood cell production and helps the immune system determine what kind of protection is needed
- Powerful immune balancer
- Supports the managers of our immune system called T-Reg cells
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps form many enzymes and creates new cells
- Develops and activates T-lymphocytes, which are the body’s fighter cells
- Supports hormone production, like testosterone, which is great for muscle-building as an athlete
- Those most commonly at risk for deficiency include those with GI conditions like Celiac disease; vegans; and athletes who sweat profusely
- Essential for vision
- Strengthens mucosal immunity, which keeps healthy barriers in our body
Did you know that 40% of the world’s most commonly used pharmaceuticals are derived from plants? Here are a few of my favorite power plants:
- Medicinal Mushrooms like Cordyceps, Reishi, Maitake, and Coriolus
- Immunomodulating – meaning they help our immune system dial into the optimal level
- Can increase macrophage and NK-cell activity – think immune Pacman eating up invaders
- Contains a compound that inhibits bacteria and viruses from penetrating healthy cells, which reduces the chances of contracting any type of infection
- Promotes the natural production of white blood cells
- Acts as an adaptogen to counteract the effect that stress has on the body, including the immune system
- Supports immune function in the respiratory tract
- Acts as an adaptogen to help mitigate fatigue and promote endurance
If you’re interested, you can find these supplements on Thorne’s website.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Dosages listed are for short term use. Please consult you healthcare practitioner. Not intended for children, or woman who are pregnant or lactating.