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  • Dr. Kate Henry

Nutrients & Lifestyle Factors for Optimal Immune Function

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

*I published this back in March, 2020. It's still true. Now there's even more evidence to support these claims, which you can check out on PubMed by clicking the links under each nutrient.*

Your immune system is naturally and powerfully anti-viral when you give it the right ingredients.

We all think about amping up our immunity when a new cold, flu or virus is going around. With coronavirus making the news, its natural to wonder what you can do to keep yourself from getting sick.

Luckily, there are a few proven, strategic ways to supercharge your immune system. Scroll down learn more about why these strategies work.

  • Vitamins A, C & D

  • Zinc

  • Probiotics

  • Herbal medicines & medicinal foods like olive leaf, elderberry, etc.

  • Sleep

  • Hygiene

  • Nature

  • Movement

Vitamin D: Optimize your levels

Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system. If you have low levels of vitamin D, you're more likely to get sick and get a more severe form of viral and bacterial infectious illnesses than someone who's not deficient.

Check out the COVID-19 specific research on the role of vitamin D in reducing mortality from this particular viral illness. It's compelling. Your takeaway should be that you don't want to have a vitamin D deficiency when you're exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

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How do you know if you're deficient?

Ask your doctor to check your levels or order a test on your own. 92% of US adults do not consume enough vitamin D through diet, according to the CDC. So it's quite common to be deficient.

How do you get more vitamin D?

Natural sources of vitamin D include sunlight and foods like cod liver oil. This link leads to a table of the top sources of Vitamin D compiled by the NIH. If you haven't been consuming much of these foods, especially after a long winter, it's a good idea to check your levels make sure you're not deficient and then determine along with me or your doctor how much to supplement.

2000 IUs of vitamin D per day was shown to prevent influenza and rotavirus infections in several randomized controlled trials. You may need more or less depending on your individual health, particularly if you've got kidney issues. This isn't something you want to guess about. Feel free to schedule a free Discovery Call with me if you want to learn more about vitamin D and your individual health and goals.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a building block for both innate and adaptive immunity. It helps to create healthy mucosal membranes in your respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, and aids in the production of immune cells. Most doctors don't check for vitamin A levels because an overt deficiency is uncommon in the U.S., but your levels can absolutely be suboptimal due to a diet low in