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Strengthen Your Immune System, The OPTMZ Way!
We all know the advice. Take Vitamin C, increase fruit and vegetable intake, maybe include some zinc, don’t go out in the cold, drink your antibiotics, and whatever you do, don’t exercise! Yet we still seem to get the sniffles and the flu every year. Some of this advice works, to some degree. Some of these actually serve to only weaken the immune system further!
Supplementing can certainly help to not only fortify your immune system but to also help with the recovery process when you do in fact get sick. The challenge is that you need to take a high enough dose that you can absorb. Similarly, mild exercise can actually help with the detox process as opposed to making you sicker. This is because if you remain sedentary, your lymph fluid doesn’t move properly, which is the last thing you want for a strong immune response. Antibiotics wipe out the bad stuff, but they also wipe out the good stuff and should therefore be a last resort.
Read More: To Supplement or not to Supplement
So how do you build a super-powered immune system?
Immune System Basics
There are six parts to your immune system which all work together to create your body’s immune system response. This article will focus on how to optimise each of these components to optimise your immune system!
The six parts of your immune system are as follows and shared here so that you know where your focus should be:
- Lymphatic (lymph) system: the network that moves lymph fluid (infection-fighting white blood cells) through the body and filters out toxins and waste
- Skin: a barrier to the outside world and contains more than 20 billion T-cells (a type of white blood cell)
- Respiratory system: there is a mucus layer in your airways that traps pathogens (microorganisms that can cause disease) before they can reach your lungs (also why nasal breathing is so important and breathing through your mouth is such a terrible idea)
- Spleen: this organ is responsible for storing white blood cells and platelets and can filter your blood to help fight bacteria
- Lymphocytes: small white blood cells (B cells and T cells) that launch an attack (Killer T Cells) on pathogens and build an army (Helper T Cells) for an immune response to invaders
- Gut: good bacteria control the bad bacteria. There is no strong immune response without a healthy gut microbiome, which is why the foods you eat are so crucial to a strong immune system
Finally, you’ll also hear people talk about two distinct but complementary immune systems, namely the innate immune system (first line of defence) and the adaptive immune system. They both operate differently but the strategies outlined below help you to optimise both!
Building a Superpowered Immune System
The following tips and strategies are designed and shown to build a next-level immune system. Incorporate one or all into your daily routine, but especially when you feel yourself coming down with something!
- Sunshine, sunshine, glorious sunshine!
Not only does sun exposure leave you healthier overall to prevent illness, but a good dose of Vitamin D is one of the most potent strategies to remedy illness. Even in winter, 15-20 minutes of daily sun exposure is the best thing you can do for your immune system.
SHOP HERE: The TRUELIGHT Energy Square can help you get the healing benefits similar to sunlight.
This might be contrary to what you’ve been told in the past and I’m certainly not advocating for any shape or form of remotely strenuous exercise. But something like walking or light yoga or another form of mild movement is one of the healthiest ways to support your immune system when you’re already sick.
More importantly, a good movement regime when you are healthy is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy. It supports your lymphatic system and allows your body to build the necessary defences.
- Colloidal silver
Cost-effective and easy to come by, colloidal silver strengthens the immune system and helps to fight infection.
- Light fasting
Digestion is one of the most labour-intensive activities that our body undertakes. Digesting food diverts resources away from dealing with illness, so over-eating, while super comforting when you’re not feeling well, is not a good strategy when you want to get better. I say light fasting because this is also not the time to engage in fasts much longer than 12-16 hours.
- Bicarbonate of soda
Yip, that stuff you generally already have in your kitchen cupboard. Taken with some water, bicarbonate of soda has been shown to strengthen the body’s anti-inflammatory response and calm down an autoimmune response.
- Don’t suppress a fever & wet sock therapy
Granted, there isn’t a ton of clinical research on wet sock therapy, but this natural and drug-free method has been practiced in integrative medicine for decades. Basically, you put on socks that are icy cold and wet before going to sleep because it rallies the body’s defences to battle and stimulates the immune system, increases circulation, and decreases congestion and healing time. Doesn’t sound like much fun, but results have been rather spectacular!
By the same token, when possible and especially in children, the best response to a fever might be to let it run its course (within reason and in consultation with a doctor, because too high a fever or too long is obviously dangerous). This allows your body’s immune system to do its thing and therefore strengthens it over the long term.
- Supercharge Lymph Flow
As one of the key components of a strong immune system, focusing on the lymphatic system is key. The best strategies for this are:
- Rebounding on a mini trampoline, vibration plates or just simply jumping up and down and shaking your body!
- Sweating – either through mild exercise or through sauna
- Dry skin brushing
- Hydration, hydration, hydration!!
- Massage (yay!)
Herbal solutions: Astragalus and Ginger root
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- Thieves Oil
This essential oil, usually made up of oils like clove, garlic, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary is a powerful way to enhance the functioning of white blood cells, increase lymph fluid circulation and kill airborne activity (read up on how Thieves Oil got its name!). A great way to use this strategy is through a diffuser in your home. A potent ingredient in this cocktail is aged garlic extract which enhances the function of immune cells and thereby reduces the severity of colds and flus.
Research supports this awesome little compound’s ability to relieve upper respiratory symptoms such as inflammation, the common cold and whooping cough. There’s even a meta-analysis from the University of Connecticut which shown that echinacea can cut the likelihood of getting a cold by over half! This affordable, readily available superstar boosts the immune system in a significant way! You’ll find this little gem in the PRIMESELF Bio Shield formulation.
If recent events have shown us anything, zinc is one of the very best immune-hacking supplements! Research strongly backs its efficacy. It is a micronutrient which is abundant in foods like meat (especially beef liver), cheese and seafood (think oysters). To supplement dietary consumption of zinc, good options include a beef liver supplement, a zinc lozenge (look for zinc lozenges specifically to fight a cold as it works through a different mechanism than a tablet due to releasing ionic zinc when it starts to dissolve, key to its antiviral activity) or an IV drip of trace elements which includes zinc.
- Bone Broth
Chicken soup good for a cold or flu? Turns out a big fat YES! Bone broth is good at the best of times, but when you want to boost your immune system, increase your consumption as much as you can (especially if you can add in some chaga mushroom, more on this shortly!). Due to big words like arginine, glycine and alkylglycerols, bone broth packs a powerful punch for supporting your innate immune system.
In my view, mushrooms are probably the most potent yet underrated immune-supporting foods! They are powerhouses in terms of delivering B vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and other molecules that fight bad bacteria and viruses.
The best immune-supporting mushrooms are:
- Chaga, the “king of medicinal mushrooms” (also in PRIMESELF Bio Shield) is worthy of its nickname. Research shows that they activate the immune cells responsible for fighting cancer cells and gives us the ability to fight pathogens. Its antiviral properties are particularly impressive.
- Shiitake mushrooms (found in the PeakO2 product) have studies from the American College of Nutrition backing their efficiency at improving the immune system. The really cool thing is that they can kill off bad microbes while leaving beneficial bacteria intact – win!
- Cordyceps (also in PeakO2) is a fungus found on caterpillars, but don’t let this put you off! It’s so effective in boosting immunity that it can even assist in cases of asthma!
Turkey tail mushroom (also in PeakO2) stimulates Natural Killer cell function.
- Bee Propolis
The Greek word “pro” literally means defence. Antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it really is anti all the bad stuff!
- Fermented Foods
Given that more than 75% of your immune system is actually in your gut, immunity all starts with the bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods (in the absence of a histamine intolerance) are an excellent way to boost the immune system.
- Vitamin C
There are some conflicting studies on whether Vitamin C actually helps combat colds and flu. Turns out, the most important variable is the purity and quality of the supplement that you take. As we know, citrus fruit are a great source, but don’t underestimate the power of papaya, strawberries, pineapples, raspberries and kiwis as powerful Vitamin C sources. Something also well worth considering is a high-dose Vitamin C IV infusion. I also recommend the PRIMESELF Bio Shield product, Vitamin C is only one of the super potent ingredients in this powerhouse supplement.
- Oregano Oil
Wild oregano oil has incredible antiseptic and antioxidant properties. It’s great against fungal infections, for healing wounds and shows massive benefit in fighting colds and flu! Make sure you get one with at least 70-80% carvacrol content (as opposed to thyme based).
- Get Dirty!
Yes, being exposed to germs may actually make our immune systems more resilient. Kids who don’t live in overly sanitised environments and play in gardens and get exposed to all manner of “germy” things boast far stronger immune systems!
Activities like mindful meditation, gratitude journaling, yoga, acupuncture or general positivity are shown to have a real and tangible impact on immunity. Stick with me here: there are scientifically backed studies showing the physical and mental benefits of these practices, in all aspects of life and including immunity.
A diet low in sugars and processed foods is your best friend. Pathogens feed on sugar. Don’t feed the bad guys! Focus on immune boosting foods like mushrooms, garlic, lemon, ginger, turmeric, carrots, kefir, chia and berries!
Read More: Your health starts in the gut
Shop our best selling immune boosting supplements here:
- PRIMESELF Bio Shield
- VitaActive C60 MCT Oil
- PRIMESELF Organic Super Greens
- NeuroActive Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN)
- NeuroActive Quercetin Dihydrate
- NeuroActive Resveratrol
Your immunity shouldn’t only be top of mind when you are staring to get sick or when winter rolls around. Building a strong immune system is an ongoing pursuit as it’s a cornerstone of overall health and longevity. Follow the approaches in this article to make sure you address all the components of a healthy immune system throughout the year and you’ll be able to keep infections at bay no matter what the season!
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- Thea is the founder of Neolaia – Biohacking SA and passionate about all things biohacking, functional medicine, holistic and ancestral wellness. She enjoys the occasional triathlon, is fanatic about yoga and the gym and loves n=1 biohacking experiments more than anything else! Learning about the latest in scientific research for health and wellness and applying this knowledge is what makes her happiest!
This information does not serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and does not provide a comprehensive explanation of the different compounds. Always consult your doctor first when making any changes to medication or supplementation.