As the owner of your body, you are in charge of your health, and when it goes off the rails, you need to take control to get back on track. But what happens when you keep getting sick? When, just as you are coming out of one cold, you immediately you catch another? It’s a massively frustrating complaint that most people are all too familiar with. But as unpleasant as recurring ills can be, they are your body’s way of asking for some help, some attention, and perhaps a little extra TLC.
Physical symptoms are pointers that something in the system is out of balance – and not just an annoying disruption that must be extinguished and carpet-bombed with meds like antibiotics. The challenge is, every day, we’re all exposed to a dizzying array of pathogens, and that goes double for those of us who work in offices and, maybe the most vulnerable, parents of school-aged children. But the trick is figuring out how to toughen up your immune system so that you don’t catch every cootie that rolls through home, office and school yard.
When a new patient comes in complaining of recurring sickness or seemingly high susceptibility, my job is to play detective and help them get to the root of what’s ailing them. Not able to visit the office but desperate not to get sick again? I recommend these 9 essential immunity boosting steps to every patient to begin repairing and resolving whatever is causing them to be out of sorts.
- DO A TWO-WEEK ELIMINATION DIET — to detect and then remove irritating foods that weaken immunity
- ADD FERMENTED FOODS AND PROBIOTICS — to your diet to help balance the bacteria in your gut and strengthen immunity
- PRIORITIZE SLEEP – which is a natural immunity-booster, and make time for downtime during your day as additional immune support (when you’re under-rested, immunity tanks)
- ENSURE ADEQUATE VITAMIN D – with sensible sun exposure and/or supplementation
- DO NOT TAKE ANTIBIOTICS INDISCRIMINATELY – limit their use as much as possible to keep immunity and gut lining strong
- ADD COCONUT OIL – to your diet, it’s a natural antimicrobial, and drink bone broth frequently to help heighten immunity
- DRINK TEAS OR TONICS – made from immune-boosting herbs like andrographis, echinacea, elderberry, and astragalus
- BE LIBERAL WITH SPICES – cook with immunity-boosting spices like garlic, ginger, and turmeric
- TRY A CHINESE HERBAL FORMULA – either yin qiao or gan mao ling – two of the classic Chinese immunity-boosting herbal formulas – but use one or the other, NOT both.
And if the above does not help, head to your doc or a knowledgeable practitioner to test for the following, all of which will help determine what’s going on in your body, and what’s up with your immunity, or lack thereof:
∙ Complete metabolic panel (CMP) with lipids
∙ Complete blood count (CBC)
∙ Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
∙ High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
∙ Thyroid panel (includes TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies)
∙ Antinuclear antibody (ANA)
∙ Lyme disease with co-infections panel
∙ Epstein-Barr virus antibodies (IgG and IgM)
∙ MTHFR gene mutation
∙ Vitamin B12
∙ Vitamin A
∙ 25-hydroxy vitamin D
∙ Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
A final note: Step away from the hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes, cleaning products and so on. They’re not effective at killing germs and regular exposure to most microbes actually helps keep our immune system strong and healthy!