IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME: FIND YOUR BALANCE

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)

IBS affects between 3% and 20% of Americans. (Source 1)

IBS is typically diagnosed based on symptoms and by ruling out other conditions. The exact causes of IBS are unknown. Some suggested causes include increased intestinal inflammation, digestive motility, intestinal bacterial overgrowth, food sensitivities, carbohydrate malabsorption and infections. (Source 2)

IBS can present with many different symptoms: abdominal pain/cramping, diarrhea, constipation (or back and forth between the two), gas/bloating, food intolerances, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety or depression.

Many people have heard of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Perhaps you have been diagnosed with IBS by your doctor, or know someone who suffers from it or maybe you suspect you may have IBS because you have many of the above mentioned symptoms.

BALANCE: MIND, BODY, SPIRIT

Let me begin by stressing that we all need balance in our lives. This may seem like a strange place to start when IBS appears to be solely a physical ailment. However, our bodies, like everything in our lives, need to be in balance. We are holistic beings and it is not possible to compartmentalize without causing an imbalance.

We need to consider our BODY, our MIND and our SPIRIT. Focusing on only one of these will cause issues in one or both of the others. Imbalances may lead to many different issues and result in disease.

A balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit is key – healthy nutrition, adequate movement, mental stimulation, having a grasp on your financial situation, healthy relationships with self and with others, deep breathing, yoga, meditation and self care – like a bath or a massage or some alone time to read a book and sip a cup of tea. These things all contribute to creating balance in our lives. 

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Physical ailments, like IBS, are typically addressed allopathically in our current medical paradigm. Rarely does a person go to their medical doctor and find themselves discussing self care, finances or even exercise or nutrition as it relates to the present diagnosis.

The allopathic method tends to focus on symptoms, potential causes of these symptoms and suppressing symptoms with medication. For example, if you go to your doctor with the primary complaints of gas, bloating and acid reflux, you will typically be asked questions about diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, specific food triggers, current and past infections, medications/supplements you are taking, and family history, Of course, any good doctor will tell you (what you may already suspect) to cut out the alcohol and smoking and any foods that cause these symptoms. He may even recommend that you add a probiotic, especially if you are currently taking an antibiotic or have a long history of antibiotic use. These are all great recommendations by themselves. However, a person typically doesn’t want to go to the doctor only to be told to quit smoking, quit drinking and quit eating foods that trigger our symptoms. We have come to expect the “magic pill” that fixes all of our problems.

ACID REDUCERS

You will often be given a prescription for an acid reducer, either an H2 Blocker like Pepcid (famotidine) or a proton pump inhibitor like Prilosec (omeprazole) or maybe even simply get a recommendation to take Tums (calcium carbonate) after meals to neutralize the stomach acid. 

These treatments may help in the short term, but they are suppressing symptoms and not treating the underlying issue, unless perhaps your issue is truly an overproduction of stomach acid. Often there is not an excess of stomach acid present, on the converse, there is often a lack of stomach acid that is leading to the bloating, gas and reflux because the stomach is not efficient at digesting the food with the low level of digestive acid and enzymes. This may lead to a slower gastric transit time and putrification of the food in the stomach, leading to the excessive gas and bloating and the feeling of acid reflux.

Adding any medication is always a determination of benefit to risk ratio. If the potential benefit is greater than the potential risk then it is a reasonable treatment to try. No medication is without potential risk and these risks should be considered.

In the example of being prescribed a proton pump inhibitor like Prilosec (omeprazole), this medication has few, if any short term side effects, making it a perfect medication to prescribe, initially, to suppress symptoms. However, this medication suppresses stomach acid production which can lead to decreased assimilation of vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids, etc)  from food because of the low stomach acid and enzymes. This can cause a degree of malnutrition and a multitude of other issues. If the body feels it is not getting adequate calcium, for example, it will begin to steal calcium from the bones, potentially leading to osteoporosis. This medication can also prevent the microbiota from functioning properly. Since ⅔ of our immune system resides in our gut, this can lead to decreased immunity, putting every system of the body at risk. As you can see, one medication has the potential to start a whole cascade of damaging effects.

Looking at the “Big Picture” and the “Why” is exceedingly helpful. Physicians are highly trained medical professionals and they are, at times, truly life savers. However, we are the guardians and protectors of our own bodies. If we don’t take a proactive role in accepting responsibility for our own health and wellbeing this can lead to many health issues.

L-GLUTAMINE

One supplement that has potential for healing the intestinal lining and helping to improve overall GI health is L-GLUTAMINE. There are no studies to date showing the specific benefit of L-Glutamine for IBS but improvement has been experienced by many and there are very few risks to taking this amino acid. Side effects may happen if you’re allergic to L-glutamine, or if you’ve taken too much. Some effects include nausea, vomiting, joint pain, or hives. If any of these occur the supplement should be decreased or discontinued.

The recommended dose to start is 5 grams of L-Glutamine Powder mixed in 2 ounces of water (or beverage of choice) and taken in the morning and at bedtime on an empty stomach. Some physicians will increase this to 4-6 doses per day but this should be done under your physician’s supervision. This amino acid has the ability to improve intestinal permeability and this, in turn, protects against unwanted toxins entering the digestive system.

PROBIOTICS

Probiotics can be very helpful in restoring balance to the microbiota in your digestive system. (Source 3) The microbiota is made up of beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms. The beneficial organisms play a critical role in your health, but if they are damaged and not thriving, this gives the pathogenic organisms a chance to overgrow causing an imbalance in the microbiota. (Source 4)

Probiotics are strains of live bacteria or yeast found in food and supplements. They provide health benefits, are safe to take and are similar to the helpful microorganisms in your gut microbiota. (Source 5)

Some common probiotic food include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods. Some people with IBS cannot tolerate fermented foods, dairy or foods high in FODMAPs. This is where adding a probiotic supplement can prove to be very beneficial.

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES

Digestive enzymes support healthy digestion, optimize the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and protein, and promote optimal nutrient absorption. For these reasons,  digestive enzymes might help alleviate common IBS symptoms.

Right now, there isn’t enough evidence to support the use of digestive enzyme supplements in treating IBS. Small studies have shown some promise, but more research is needed. There is potential benefit and very little risk to trying digestive enzymes. They may help to alleviate some or all of your IBS symptoms.

The basic digestive enzymes include:

  • amylase — breaks apart complex sugars into smaller molecules like maltose
  • lipase — breaks down complex fats into smaller fatty acids and glycerol
  • protease — breaks down protein, so it can be made into amino acids

Rainbow Light Digestive Enzymes

IBS AFFECTS WOMEN MORE THAN MEN

Research has determined that IBS dis-proportionately affects women more than men. (Source 6) 

This may be related to women being natural nurturers. Not that men can not be nurturers, but women can be more focused on taking care of those around them, children, family, friends, neighbors, etc. Taking care of others and neglecting our own self care can lead to an imbalance in the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus). Making self care a priority BEFORE you take care of others, finding your purpose and fully realizing your passionate self are a few ways of rebuilding your self esteem and rebalancing your 3rd Chakra. This rebalancing can be helped with tapping, yoga, meditation, deep breathing and essential oils to name a few. By rebalancing your body, mind and spirit and putting yourself first, you are better equipped to care for others. It is a win-win situation for everyone. 

ESSENTIAL OILS

ESSENTIAL OILS (EOs) like peppermint oil in a product called IBGard, are sometimes recommended for internal use to help acid reflux. You can safely take some EOs internally, however, In this case, topical application will have the biggest impact on healing your energetic body (Chakra System). 

EO’s should be diluted with a carrier oil like almond oil or coconut oil and then applied to the abdomen to get the most powerful results. This will be more effective than diffusing or ingesting the EOs.

These are a few EOs that can help to balance your 3rd Chakra

  1. Ylang Ylang 
    1. For Cooling & Clearing Anger/Frustration
    2. Joyful & Peaceful
    3. Promotes confidence, self esteem, self acceptance
  2. Juniper
    1. Helps with frustration and annoyance
    2. Strengthens will power
    3. Helps overcome fear of failure, helps you to branch out
    4. Restores self confidence & self worth
  3. Roman Chamomile
    1. Helps with excessive ego, ego based drive, paralyzes us into inaction
    2. Cultivates patience and self nurturing
    3. Enables you to own your limitations without self criticism
  4. Fennel
    1. Great oil for digestive system
    2. Reduces tendency to over think and over analyze
    3. Activates mind energy centers
    4. Calming
    5. Promotes Self Love & Self Acceptance

YOU ARE WHAT YOU ABSORB & ASSIMILATE

You are what you eat, but more specifically you are what you absorb and assimilate. Things that impede this absorption and assimilation, and lead to GI issues like IBS, are: 

  • Stress
  • Digestive Stressors
  • Lack of mastication because of Dental Issues.
  • Lack of Intrinsic Factor (a substance secreted by the stomach which enables the body to absorb vitamin B12)
  • Parasites, JUICE FAST GUIDE & PARASITE CLEANSE
  • Candida, HEAL CANDIDA NOW
  • Anything that is stressing your body can lead to an imbalance which can result in disease.

SYMPATHETIC & PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

Psychological Stress is widely accepted as an important factor contributing to IBS (Source 7)

The central nervous system (CNS), the brain and the nerves that control your body, operates on internal controls that seem to run on autopilot. The CNS is divided into two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Some classify it as having a third part, the enteric nervous system, which controls most of the activity of the gastrointestinal system.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic systems usually work in tandem. 

The parasympathetic system is known as the “rest and digest” system. It controls body functions like urination, defecation, digestion, tear production, and saliva production.

The sympathetic nervous system is your “fight or flight” side. Stress and anxiety activate this system and they set off a chain reaction of hormone release that increases how fast your heart beats, pumps more blood to your muscles, and slows or even stops your digestive processes.

Stress and anxiety sometimes trigger overactivity of your gut. This causes the diarrhea and stomach churning that those with IBS know well. In others, the brain signals are underactive, and their gut may slow down, resulting in constipation, gas, and abdominal discomfort. (Source 8)

VAGUS NERVE

You can improve IBS symptoms by activating and toning the Vagus Nerve.

The big culprits that cause poor vagal nerve function are stress, fatigue, overwhelm and anxiety.  Activating your vagus nerve has been shown to reduce anxiety and activate the “rest and digest” of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Ways to activate, tone and improve vagal nerve function:

EAT MINDFULLY

  • It’s not just WHAT you eat that helps improve digestion but HOW you eat plays a role in vagal nerve health.
  • Chew food until it’s liquified before swallowing.  (20 chews)
  • Eat meals mindfully and slowly, without rushing.
  • Take a Deep Breath, before beginning to eat and between bites

BREATHE

  • Slow, deep breathing will activate the vagus nerve and stimulate the relaxation response otherwise known as the “rest and digest” 
  • Digestion can only happen in the parasympathetic state
  • Slow down and take 6 breaths per minute. (Breathe in for a count of 4, Hold it for a count of 8, Release it for a count of 8 and Repeat)

INVIGORATE WITH COLD

  • Take a cold shower, splash your face with cold water or invigorate your body with cold water at the end of your shower. 
  • The exposure to colder temperatures improves your stress response and helps reduce anxiety.

MAKE SOME NOISE

  • Singing, humming, chanting, and gargling will stimulate the vagus nerve by activating the muscles at the back of the throat and vocal cords connected to the nerve.

MEDITATE & PRACTICE YOGA

  • Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and stimulates the vagus nerve.
  • Yoga helps to reduce stress and improve mood.  

GET MOVING

  • Low to medium impact exercise stimulates the digestive system and therefore the vagus nerve.  It also helps move waste through the body and helps reduce stress. 

ENJOY MASSAGE OR ACUPUNCTURE

  • Certain acupuncture points have been known to improve vagal function, especially points in the ear.
  • Massaging specific parts of the body, especially feet or carotid sinus (right side of the neck) can help lower heart rate and blood pressure, which can improve vagal function.

INFLAMMATION

Systemic inflammation in the body is typically the underlying issue in all disease and IBS is no exception.

Many things contribute to overall inflammation in the body. Diet is a contributing factor and should be considered when trying to decrease inflammation.

An anti-inflammatory, plant based diet focusing on whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, healthy fats and anti inflammatory herbs and spices can be extremely helpful in decreasing inflammation. Organic choices are always best:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Dark red grapes
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Scallions
  • Leeks
  • Broccoli
  • Beans of all types
  • Lentils
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Green tea
  • Avocado & Oil 
  • Coconut & Oil
  • Olives
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • Almonds
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Dark chocolate

The anti inflammatory diet is a great place to start but sometimes, with IBS, even these healthy organic foods can act as triggers for symptoms.

ELIMINATION DIET: LOW FODMAP 

Low FODMAP Diet

  • FODMAP: Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides And Polyols
  • Eliminates Fermentable Carbs that irritate the gut lining
    • Oligosaccharides
      • Wheat, Rye, Legumes, Various Fruits/Vegetables (garlic & onions)
    • Disaccharides
      • Milk, Yogurt, Soft Cheese
      • Lactose
    • Monosaccharides
      • Various Fruits (figs & mangos), 
      • Sweeteners (honey & agave) 
      • Fructose
    • Polyols
      • Various Fruits & Vegetables (blackberries, lychee)
      • Low Calorie Sweeteners (especially in sugar free gum/mints)
      • Mannitol & Sorbitol

Most FODMAPS are PreBiotics, which are a necessary food for microflora in gut

FODMAP Diet Stages

  • Stage 1: RESTRICTION (3-8 Weeks)
    • Avoid all high FODMAP foods
    • Progress to stage 2 once symptoms are under control
  • Stage 2: REINTRODUCTION (Systematically)
    • Test food one at a time for 3 days each
    • Identify which foods you are able to tolerate
    • Identify how much of these foods you can tolerate
  • Stage 3: PERSONALIZATION
    • Modified FODMAP Diet
    • Very important to reintroduce foods
    • Increases diet variety, flexibility & long term compliance
    • Improves Gut Health & Quality of Life

As you can see, following a FODMAP Elimination Diet may be a daunting task for some, but with the right mindset and motivation it is doable and can be life changing.

FOOD SENSITIVITY TESTING: IgG

Food Sensitivity Testing could help guide people with IBS towards a diet that could reduce or eliminate symptoms. These tests can be pricey but are a helpful guide if the anti inflammatory diet and/or the FODMAP Diet is not providing a reduction in or complete elimination of IBS symptoms

ACTION STEPS

12 ACTION STEPS TO TAKE WITH OR WITHOUT AN IBS DIAGNOSIS

  1. Quit Smoking
  2. Eliminate or Decrease Alcohol
  3. Eliminate Trigger Foods
  4. Decrease Coffee/Caffeine as it relates to symptoms
  5. Add Stress Management
  6. Add Self Care
  7. Add Vagus Nerve Stimulation
  8. Add L-Glutamine
  9. Add Probiotics
  10. Add Digestive Enzymes
  11. Add Essential Oils
  12. Consider Food Sensitivity Testing

GET Happy – GET Healthy – GET Whole

Have a Beautiful Day!

Gina Lynn

DISCLAIMER 

Any statements expressed in these recommendations are for informational purposes and self-help only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your health care provider before embarking on any cleansing, detoxing, or juicing program, or before beginning any new diet or nutritional program. Always consult with your personal health care physician regarding taking any supplements, as only your health care provider can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should never undertake a cleanse, a fast, a detox or a parasite cleanse of any kind. Also, those on medication should always have their medical doctor’s approval before making any dietary changes.

***As an Amazon Associate I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases from the links above.

You are under no obligation to purchase from these links. I have provided them for your convenience***


10 WAYS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNITY NATURALLY

Simple dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen your body’s natural defenses and can help you fight harmful pathogens.

DISCLAIMER: The suggestions described below may boost your immune health, but there are no studies to date that offer evidence that these strategies specifically protect against COVID-19.

1. EAT MORE WHOLE PLANT FOODS

  • Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in Antioxidants, Fiber, Phytonutrients and Vitamin C. All of these may lower your susceptibility to illness.
  • The ANTIOXIDANTS in these foods help decrease inflammation by binding to  free radicals. Free radicals cause inflammation when they build up in your body. 
  • The FIBER, in plant foods, feeds your gut micro-biome, the community of healthy bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut micro-biome can improve your immunity.
  • Juicing is a fantastic way to get a concentrated dose of PHYTONUTRIENTS. These concentrated plant nutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. 
  • 66 Day Health Mastery Program is a fantastic program that introduces juicing and helps create a healthy lifestyle.
  • The VITAMIN C, plentiful in raw fruits and vegetables, benefits the body in many ways. It aids in wound healing, bone and tooth formation, strengthens blood vessel walls, improves immune system function, increases absorption and utilization of iron and acts as an antioxidant.
  • Since our bodies cannot produce or store vitamin C, it is very important to have an adequate daily intake.
  • It is beneficial to have a daily intake of at least 2000mg/day. Supplementation is typically necessary to achieve this amount.

2. EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS

  • Healthy fats, like those found in coconut oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds and avocados are anti-inflammatory and may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens. Since chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system, these fats may naturally combat illnesses.
  • Low-level, acute inflammation is a normal response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation is damaging to your body and can suppress your immune system.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in sustainably caught, wild salmon and chia seeds, help fight inflammation as well.

3. EAT LESS SUGAR: ELIMINATE ADDED SUGARS

  • Limiting sugar is an important part of an immune-boosting diet. 
  • Added processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup and refined carbs may contribute disproportionately to excess weight and obesity.
  • Obesity increases risk for chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 
  • Chronic health conditions can weaken your immune system and may increase your risk of getting sick.
  • Curbing your sugar intake can decrease inflammation and aid weight loss, thus reducing your risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease and keeping your immune system strong.
  • Sugar intake should be limited to less than 5% of your daily calories. This is about 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of sugar for a 2,000 calorie diet. This sugar is best when it is coming from whole food sources that contain fiber which helps the body to process the sugar more efficiently.

4. HYDRATE

  • Hydration doesn’t directly protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health.
  • Dehydration can make you more susceptible to illness.
  • Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These issues can increase your susceptibility to illness.
  • Be sure you’re drinking plenty of purified water each day.
  • A reasonable goal is to aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces. (Example: if you weigh 180 pounds,  you would aim to consume 90 ounces of fluids per day, with a good portion of that coming from purified water).

5. MICROBIOME SUPPORT: ADD PROBIOTICS

  • Gut health and immunity are inseparable. 
  • Probiotics from supplements or from fermented foods may support your immune system by crowding out harmful pathogens and introducing helpful organisms to your gastrointestinal tract.
  • Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and natto, are rich in these beneficial bacteria called probiotics.
  • People with Candida Overgrowth may not be able to tolerate these fermented foods because they may encourage the Candida Overgrowth.
  • Heal Candida Now is a fantastic program that can help eliminate the Candida.
  • Probiotic supplements are a great option.

6. MOVE: ENGAGE IN MODERATE EXERCISE

  • Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
  • Jogging, biking, walking, swimming, hiking and yoga are great options.
  • Most people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
  • All forms of movement help. Aim for moving more than you are sitting.

7. POSITIVE MINDSET: STAY OUT OF FEAR

  • In recent years, researchers have found that your mind can have a powerful effect on your body. Immunity is one area where your thoughts and attitudes can have a particularly powerful influence. 
  • There are many benefits to positive thinking but most surprisingly are the physical health benefits it can bring.
  • Positive thinking helps you approach a difficult situation with the thought:  “How can I make the best of this situation?”
  • Stress lowers our natural immunity to disease. Positive thinking helps to fight stress and thus helps protect our immune system.
  • Book, The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton
    • In his book, The Biology of Belief, Dr. Lipton explains that stress is responsible for up to 90% of illness, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
    • When an individual is in stress, the release of stress hormones shuts down the immune system to conserve the body’s energy for running away from the perceived stressor – the evolutionary ‘fight or flight response’.
    • Fear breeds stress and the fear of the coronavirus is more deadly than the virus itself!
    • Advice from Dr. Lipton: “If you are someone with a compromised immune system, it is supportive to surround yourself with loving family and friends, nature, and positive thoughts as well as any other nutrition and vitamins that you may already be taking for your health and wellbeing. Following your intuition about what is best for you is key! The point here is that no matter who you are and what your state of health, you will only benefit from steering clear of the fear and supporting yourself in whatever way feels best to you.”

8. SLEEP: GET ENOUGH & HIGH QUALITY

  • Sleep and immunity are closely tied.
  • Inadequate sleep may increase your risk of getting sick.
  • Getting adequate rest may strengthen your natural immunity.
  • Most adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Teens and Children need more. Teens may need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.
  • When you are sick, listen to your body and rest! You may need more sleep to allow your immune system to fight the illness.
  • Blue light emitted from your phone, TV, and computer may disrupt your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle.
  • Limit screen time for at least an hour before bed, reading a book is a much better sleep inducer.
  • Consider getting blue blocker glasses or adding this feature on your next pair of glasses.
  • Adjust the lighting on your devices to emit less blue light and more red light. This is a built in feature, in the settings, on many devices.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene: Go to bed at the same time every night, Sleep in a completely dark room or use a sleep mask, and avoid screen time within one hour of going to bed.

9. STRESS MANAGEMENT

  • Lowering your stress levels is extremely important to support your immune system.
  • Long-term stress can suppress the immune response and cause inflammation.
  • Take an honest look at our everyday routine and notice where and when stress is most intense.
  • Sometimes just the simple act of respectfully saying “no” can go a long way to reducing stress.
  • Deep breathing is a quick and effective method to reduce stress and you can do this anywhere. Just take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 7, Hold it for a count of 7, Breathe out slowly for a count of 7, Hold again for a count of 7, and Repeat as many times as necessary.
  • Exercise like walking in nature and yoga are stress reducing.
  • Meditation and Journaling can be helpful mindfulness practices that help manage stress.
  • Laughing by yourself or with a friend is so therapeutic. Watch a funny movie.
  • Listen to some calming music and put some essential oils in a diffuser, or just on a cotton ball. Both the music and the aromatherapy can be calming.
  • Decrease Caffeine Intake. Caffeine can be a huge contributor to adrenal stress. Everyday stress can be damaging to your adrenal glands as well. Even though that cup of coffee may seem necessary to get you through your day, it may be contributing to the overall stress on your body.

10. SUPPLEMENT SMARTLY

If you decide to supplement, make sure to purchase products that are high quality, non-GMO and have been tested by a third party like United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and ConsumerLab.

  • Vitamin C
    • Why Vitamin C?
    • Vitamin C is a powerful Antioxidant. Antioxidants bind free radicals and help your body fight inflammation which is essential for immunity and general health.
    • Vitamin C Boosts the immune system, reduces severity of allergic reactions and helps your body fight off infections.
    • Vitamin C is water-soluble and is better absorbed when taken throughout the day rather than all at once. 
    • If you take more Vitamin C than your body needs, the excess will cause mild diarrhea. This is a simple way to know  if you are taking too much.
    • Start by taking 1000mg twice daily, if tolerated, increase by 1000mg daily until you are taking 1000mg every 4 hours (5000mg while awake). This is generally enough when you are feeling well and can be increased when feeling ill by adding another 1000mg to each dose, one day at a time, as tolerated.
    • Lipophilic Vitamin C is better absorbed but also more expensive.
      • LivOn Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C 1000mg
      • This is great to add at the first sign of any illness (stuffy nose, scratchy throat, headache, fever, etc.). Add one or two packets of LivOn Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C 1000mg to about 2 ounces of water, stir and drink.
    • Capsules are convenient and typically have less ‘junk’ ingredients than tablets.
    • Powders are great; you just have to implement them into your diet.
  • Vitamin D
    • Why Vitamin D?
    • Vitamin D is actually a hormone that regulates many functions in our bodies.
    • Our bodies manufacture Vitamin D from sunlight. This requires 10-30 minutes of daily sun exposure with no sunscreen. Most people in northern climates will require Vitamin D supplementation for optimal health.
    • Vitamin D deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick, supplementing will typically counteract this effect. 
    • In addition to decreased immune function, Inadequate Levels of Vitamin D can lead to:
      • Increased Inflammation
      • Slower Wound Healing
      • Hair Loss
      • Low Energy
      • Depressed Mood
      • Increased Bone or Muscle Pain
      • Impaired bone health
    • A good starting dose of Vitamin D3 is 2000-5000IU every day. 
    • Levels can be tested with a simple blood draw. Normal range, for most labs, is 30-80 ng/ml, 30 is surviving and 80 is thriving. You definitely want to be closer to 80 than to 30; increase dose accordingly.
    • Vitamin D3 with Coconut Oil, 5000 IU
    • Nature’s Plus Vitamin D3, 5000 IU
  • Zinc
    • Why Zinc?
    • Zinc is considered an essential nutrient. This means that your body can’t produce or store it. For this reason, you must get a constant supply through your diet.
    • Zinc is important for many essential functions in your body. It supports immunity, wound healing, your sense of smell and taste, energy production, hormone function, mood and the cardiovascular system.
    • Zinc, as a supplement, can be helpful in supporting your immune function when you are ill or fighting off an infection. 
    • It is typically not necessary to supplement when feeling well. Unless a medical condition is hindering absorption, you should easily reach the RDI for zinc through diet alone.
    • High-Dose zinc supplements can lead to dangerous side effects. 
    • Limit intake to 20 to 50mg daily for a limited duration of time.
    • If supplementing, take with Magnesium and Quercetin at bedtime.
    • Supplements, if taken, should be chelated (attached to an amino acid which makes it easier to pass into your intestines for absorption)
    • Zinc Picolinate: Thorne Brand or NOW Brand 
    • Zinc Orotate: Solgar Brand
    • Stay away from Zinc Oxide which is poorly absorbed.
  • Quercetin
    • Why Quercetin?
    • Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid in the human diet, providing you eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. 
    • It’s estimated that the average person consumes 10–100 mg of quercetin daily from fruits, vegetables, and herbal sources.
    • The health benefits of flavonoids, like quercetin, come from their antioxidant functions inside the body. 
    • Quercetin may interact with various medications, including blood thinners, blood pressure medications, and antibiotics. Speak with your health care provider before taking any supplement, including quercetin.
    • As a supplement, quercetin appears to be generally safe with little to no side effects and many potential benefits.
    • People take this supplement to Boost Immunity, Fight Inflammation, Combat Allergies, Increase Exercise Performance & Maintain General Health
    • Recommended dose is 500mg once or twice daily for up to 12 weeks.
    • Taking periodic breaks from taking quercetin may be a good idea
    • Taking quercetin supplements with Zinc and/or Vitamin C will increase its absorption.
    • Quercetin is available as a dietary supplement in powder and capsule form.
  • Probiotics
    • Probiotics may help give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body.
    • More studies are being done on specific organisms. This will hopefully provide helpful guidance to choosing probiotics in the future.
    • Choose a probiotic with at least 10 different organisms and change your probiotic often to get diversity.
    • Take 1 capsule daily on an empty stomach
    • Prescript Assist Capsules
    • Garden of Life Critical Care, Women’s, Men’s
    • Renew Life Probiotic
    • Now Brand Probiotic
  • Elderberry
    • Taking elderberry supplements may reduce upper respiratory symptoms caused by viral infections and help alleviate flu symptoms. However, more research is needed.
    • Elderberry has been used to treat infections for a long time and is being researched for its effects on immune health.
    • It may enhance immune system response and may help shorten the duration and severity of viral infections, as well as reduce related symptoms.
    • Elderberry supplements are sold in liquid or capsule form. 
    • It is best to find a trusted local source who can provide a fresh product that is not filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
    • Black Elderberry Capsules
      • Take 1 capsule 2 – 4 times daily 
  • Garlic
    • Garlic contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs.
    • Whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. 
    • When garlic is crushed, sliced or chewed, this compound turns into allicin,, the main active ingredient in garlic.
    • Allicin can be deactivated by heat.
    • Crushing garlic and allowing it to stand for 10 minutes before cooking can help prevent the loss of its medicinal properties.
    • Garlic may reduce the risk of becoming sick in the first place, as well as how long you stay sick. 
    • Garlic Supplements
  • Magnesium
    • Magnesium is an important mineral, playing a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body.
    • Among its many functions, it supports the immune system.
    • Magnesium together with zinc may boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. 
    • Magnesium deficiency has been linked to chronic inflammation and this leads to decreased immune function.
    • Magnesium deficiency is common today because of our depleted soil and the common S.A.D. (Standard American Diet)
    • Choose a magnesium supplement that is chelated (attached to an amino acid) which makes it easier to pass into your intestines for absorption.
    • Mega Magnesium, Take 3 capsules daily at bedtime.
  • B Complex Vitamin
    • B vitamins, including B12 and B6, are important for healthy immune response.
    • Many adults are deficient in them for a variety of reasons and this deficiency may negatively affect immune health.
    •  Stress B-Complex, Take 1 capsule daily

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