Our immune systems are the most important barrier we have- it protects us against invaders that can do harm to our health. There are many proactive holistic measures that can help support a patient with a weakened immune system. Holistic, functional approaches can support a patient that needs to strengthen their immune system.
Improving the Immune System
Helping a patient strengthen their immune system may include:
Helping the patient with smoking cessation
Providing a plan for fortifying overall health
Removing food allergies
Creating an appropriate diet plan
Monitoring blood sugar levels
Improving gut health with probiotics and fermented foods*
Other immune function support might include vitamin D supplementation.* Vitamin D levels should be checked to ensure the patient’s levels are in the normal to a mid-normal range. If not, a daily vitamin D supplement would be advisable to help boost the immune system.*
Sleep quality is another area that should be addressed. Patients who are feeling anxious may be struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Better sleep quality is supported with lavender, certain amino acids, and lifestyle suggestions about how to achieve more restorative sleep.*
Nutritional Support for A Healthy Immune System
Nutrition plays an essential role in supporting a healthy immune system as well. Although each person’s nutritional needs will be unique, some of the foods that are encouraged for supporting the body's natural defenses include:
Quality sources of proteins, such as fish, lean red meat, eggs, poultry, nuts, dried beans, peas, seeds, and low-fat dairy products
Fresh vegetables and fruits, especially cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, carrots, peas, green leafy vegetables, oranges, bananas, mango, strawberries, and avocado
Mushrooms, particularly the Coriolus and maitake varieties
Things that patients should avoid or minimize include sugars, processed foods, deep fried foods, alcohol, raw or undercooked foods, unpasteurized dairy products, high-fat or greasy foods.
In addition, patients should especially look to consume the following:
Berberine, an alkaloid found in goldenseal and Berberis aquifolium
Although not recommended for everyone, doing a vegan fast of 500-800 calories for a few days can help by removing inflammatory properties. This vegan fasting will restrict the amino acid called methionine, which will in effect weaken any harmful cells present in the body. While fasting is not appropriate for everyone, many do experience a benefit.
Intermittent fasting focuses attention on when to eat as much as what to eat. Fasting can take different forms, for example:
Eating freely five days per week, but restricting calories to 800 two days per week.
Fast for 3-4 days each month, restricting calories to 800 each of those days.
Eating all meals within an 8-10 hour period, then fasting for 14 hours overnight.
Another strategy is to get blood flowing by exercising for 30-60 minutes a day. Simply strolling for that duration helps to boost circulation, which bolsters the immune system. Other holistic therapies to enhance and restore health might include acupuncture, botanical medicine, and homeopathy. The immune system can certainly be aided by careful attention to diet, exercise, stress management, and supplementation.*
A naturopathic doctor can guide patients and become a partner in an integrated approach to treatment. This includes helping them boost their immune function, improve sleep quality, restore physical health, and optimize overall wellbeing.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.