Anyone else starting to feel like this, not quite sure which way is up?! This is our current status. This holiday season has been insanely busy for us. We have been blessed to see and spend tons of time with friends and family we don’t usually see but that coupled with Christmas shopping, consistency and balance for family and health it can start to get a little crazy, even for me!
So what do I do to make sure we all stay on our A-game and don’t get sicks or make those we love sick. Here are some supplements I keep in my immune arsenal.
1) Ashwagandha – This one is for me and I make Drew take it to. This adaptogenic ancient Indian herb is essential for helping me to stay balanced this holiday season. Not only does it help me manage my stress, but it also boosts brain function, lowers blood sugar + cortisol levels and and can help to combat feelings of depression. All the feelings I get this time of year.
2) Elderberry Syrup – My grandmother tells me this story about how her mother use to make her and all 12 of her siblings (imagine??) line up and take a tablespoon of cod liver oil before going to school to keep them healthy. Have you ever tasted cod liver oil? Cod liver oil is an excellent immune booster but luckily for us there is another option out there that has excellent benefits for the immune system, as well as inflammation and is loaded with antioxidants that help to remove toxins. I make my kids line up before heading out to the bus and give them each a tablespoon. Elderberry syrup has been around 100’s of years and has been shown to help fight the cold + flu.
3) Vitamin D – We synthesize this vitamin in our body when we are exposed to the sun. It is not technically a vitamin until we consume it as a supplement either in pill form or as an addative in our food. Once synthesized in the body it acts as hormone that communicates with the parathyroid gland to help with absorption of calcium. We are finding that it is essential for a lot of other functions in the body as well, including a the immune system. One report studied almost 19,000 subjects between 1988 and 1994. Individuals with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for variables including season, age, gender, body mass and race. People with darker skin have a harder time absorbing sunlight than those with lighter skin.
You can get vitamin D from eating fish, fish liver oil (cod liver oil, anyone?!) and eggs. Most of us do not get enough of this, especially those of us in the Northern parts of the country, the cold weather along with pollution makes it very difficult for us to get enough naturally from the sun so supplementation is important. Most of my families diet is raw, whole foods that do not contain additives so we will supplement especially in the winter months.
4) L-Lysine – This one is for me also. I have developed an autoimmune reaction to Epstein Barr virus that I acquired as a kid. No biggie but when my immune system gets week I get super super sick. I will also get a cold sores. I take l-lysine to support my immune system. It is an amino acid (protein) that has been shown prevent the herpes virus that causes cold sores from replicating, reducing and preventing cold sores!
A few studies have shown that lysine can block receptors found in the stress response. A one-week study in 50 healthy people noticed that supplementing with 2.64 grams of lysine and arginine lowered stress-induced anxiety and reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Everyone is different and may require different doses. For example, those with hyperthyroidism should not take ashwaghanda because it can make symptoms worse. So check with your doctor before you start anything. If you are ready contact me for some recommendations of good quality supplements. You know the pure stuff!