6 Supplements That Help Boost Your Immune System Naturally
It is often said that there is nothing you can do against viruses, other than vaccinate, or use conventional treatments. But remember, plants have been dealing with viruses since they were on the planet, and the phytochemicals they create as a viral defence can also be useful for humans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88925/
The objective of this blog post is to share with you some of the botanicals and other supplements I have found particularly useful in keeping myself and others healthy during the cold/ flu/ virus season. (For legal reasons I refer to my experience.)
Please note that the Optimum Health supplements listed below were formulated based on a history of producing the desired results...i.e. we incorporated them because we found them effective. Also, I am not suggesting that you use all of the products discussed, but rather use the post as a quick reference that may be helpful in your quest to keep your immune system working optimally. (Everyone is individual, and different things work for different people!)
1.) Propolis, Goldenseal, and Echinacea Combinations
One of the most valuable natural anti-viral substances that I have encountered is bee propolis, particularly when combined with other immune boosting botanicals. The antimicrobial properties of propolis are well established. (see: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2013/308249/ ) Also called "bee glue", propolis is what bees used to seal, repair, and disinfect their hive.
For years this formula was my go to for colds, and particularly the flu, which I have seen it shut down within hours. The original product was called Bee-Fense, produced by Solaray, but when the company pulled out of Canada we were no longer able to get it. So we produced it ourselves with some small variations and named it BEE-Immune. If I feel something coming on, I take 4-5 capsules, 3 times per day on an empty stomach, and have had good success in reversing development even after the symptoms setting-in were obvious.
Yet propolis can also be used on an ongoing basis, and for this application I have found that 2-4 capsules per day taken on an empty stomach usually suffices. The immune supporting properties of plants like echinacea and goldenseal are well established, and interestingly, echinacea has recently been found to engage your endocannabinoid receptors, thereby potentially providing an anti-anxiety effect in addition to an immune boost (see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16142631 )
2.) Opti-Immune C&F
I designed this formula to address not only the first stages of avoiding a cold or flu, but also to shorten duration or reduce the severity if you get sick. It can downgrade the symptoms of a cold or flu because the ingredients are anti-inflammatory and help keep your energy levels up. In addition these botanicals possess potent immune supportive properties…i.e. antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal.
Experience has shown that Opti-Immune C&F works best taken two capsules at a time, up to 3 times per day between meals. (I use it if a bug feels like it is going to keep coming past an initial shot of oregano.) Many find it works well when taken at bedtime. I use it on somewhat of an ongoing basis during the winter to keep my immune system balanced, (i.e. competent yet not over-reactive), but don’t take it for more than three weeks or so without a break. I have also found it useful in clients for food allergies/reactions, and candida yeast, but if you use it for candida, start slowly and work your way up to avoid die-off reactions.
3.) Oregano Oil
At the first sign of a sore throat or nausea, or for bug-ridden places like airplanes and hospitals, I reach for our Optimum Health Opti-Potency Oregano Max. Truth be told, this product tastes awful, and is hard to get down, so you might want to have some water on hand when using it for the first time. Yet, I find it extremely effective as long as you start using it before a bug has had a chance to get established, i.e. within a day or two of realizing that you are catching something...generally the sooner the better. A study from the University of British Columbia which looked at the activity of different oregano preparations against the influenza virus found that though all preparations demonstrated antimicrobial activity, Oreganum minutiflorum was the most potent strain, and is the type of Oregano used in our Opti-potency Oregano Max.
This is a good item to simply keep on hand, but if storing long-term, make sure the bottle is upright to avoid the oil solubilizing the rubber dropper.
How I use it:
I take it 1 squirt at a time, about 1/2 to ¾ of an inch in the dropper, and try to get it right on the portion of my throat that feels sore. I then just grin and bear it while I experience “the burn”. If I am taking it for nausea, I will immediately swallow it and drink a glass of water. I will do this 3 to 5 times per day for up to 3 days. If after this it hasn't done the trick, chances are it's not going to. Remember, if you use Oregano Oil numerous times a day, be sure to take adequate amounts of probiotics... also critical for immunity.
4.) Opti-Silver Solution
Though many people use this and similar products internally with great success, I find that in order to get concentrations high enough to be effective, you’ve got to take a lot of it on an empty stomach... a minimum of 1 ounce, 3 times a day. I find this very effective for nausea. I have also used it for sore throats. I pour it into a small spray bottle and spray directly on the sore area many times in succession.
Topical use for infections:
I have also used a spray of Opti-Silver Solution for myself and my family applied to the eyes, ears, nose, or throat. In this regard it can be used frequently to provide a barrier to entry of bugs while on planes, or in a hospital etc. I also find it great as a tissue friendly hand sanitizer. I even use it to mist leftover food that I am putting in the fridge, to prevent mould growth. Recent studies have shown silver can enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics, and even possesses anticancer properties…which isn’t a surprise given that knocking out bugs reduces inflammation.
5.) Microencapsulated Vitamin D
Based on the fact that a Caucasian with no sunscreen, and full-exposure to our summer sun will produce approximately 1000 IU of Vitamin D PER MINUTE (!), starting in October, when we in Canada stop producing vitamin D from the sun, I bump my Vitamin D intake to 10,000 IU per day. (I may miss one or two days a month) If I am fighting a bug I may take 20 to 25,000 IU for one to three days. As spring arrives I decrease this until the summer, where if I get good sun exposure, I may not take any that day or the next. I have always gotten and seen the best results for immunity and inflammation with microencapsulated Vitamin D. (And at higher doses like those mentioned, I also always include Vitamin K.)
Scoffed at for decades by the establishment, the evidence for the importance of probiotics for immunity, combatting inflammation and improving gut function is now overwhelming! At Optimum Health we have been stressing the importance of probiotics for good health ever since opening in 1994. The only catch is that each person’s gut bacterial profile is as unique as your fingerprint, and determining which source of probiotics works best for you may involve some trial and error. Fermented foods work well for some, but not everybody. Some get heartburn from pickled vegetables, and others are allergic to milk products. If you are fighting a bug, I would say a supplement is a better bet to avoid succumbing to it, or recovering from it, especially if it involved a lot of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
As for dosage, for daily maintenance I take 3 capsules of our Opti-Elite Probiotics up to 3 times a day. Yet if you are actively fighting off a bug, you can safely take far more than this. Even though the numbers seem high, remember that you are adding this to well over 100 Trillion bugs already in your gut...like a pinch of sand in a 5 gallon pail! Morning and bedtime are usually what I recommend, but those with digestive difficulties may find that taking their probiotic supplements with their meal
Hope this information is helpful.
John Biggs, BSc, NCP, OHP
Owner, Optimum Health Vitamins
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.