Optimize Your Immune System


Woman cutting food

By Derek Bown, DC, HFM Functional Medicine


For almost two years the world has had to learn how to stay safe while living amid Covid-19 and its variants. Vaccines, masking, social distancing, and even quarantining have been suggested and mandated with positive results.

As we adapt to life with this virus—and we WILL—how can we have some degree of influence on that adaptation? What can we do to positively affect our own immune system?

There are really four main ways to help our own immune system:

1) Exercise

2) Food choices

3) Nutritional supplementation, and

4) Rest and regeneration.

These topics are not the only ways we can help ourselves, but they are powerful and certainly within our control!

Exercise can be a helpful way to stimulate our immune system. The important point here is just enough! The research notes that exercising less than 60 minutes is key. And keeping our intensity levels below 60% of our maximum heart rate. Also, limiting the frequency to 3-4 times weekly is important.

Food choices are important as our immune system is challenged by the transition into our colder months. We need more calories as the temperature drops. Hearty, complex carbohydrates are welcomed, and they release their calories slowly. Who doesn’t look forward to stews and heavier grains as Autumn arrives? Thermogenic (heat and energy-producing) foods and spices are helpful and have both immune stimulation and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Nutritional supplementation is also key to optimizing our immune system. There is a large amount of data in support of multiple nutraceutical and botanical agents. This list is not exhaustive but very helpful.

Our next blog will go into much more detail about the agents discussed here and the ones we will include next month! Here are readily available products with dosages to maximize your immune system response.

1) Zinc 30-60 mg orally daily, in divided doses

2) N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) 600-900mg, 2x/daily

3) Vitamin D3, 5,000 IU orally, daily

4) Vitamin A, 10,000-25,000 IU, daily.

5) Vitamin C, 1,000-3,000 mg orally, daily

Rest and regeneration are the least thought of but maybe the body’s most natural way to maximize our immune response. As we rest, we create new immune system cells and repair compromised tissue in our body. Our society has not put a premium on rest! Your immune system is far more powerful with a proper amount of it though. Rest well and feel well.

If you are interested in more information on how Functional Medicine may benefit you, call HFM Functional Medicine at 920-320-4700.