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Yours in Health: How to boost your immune system

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By Dr. Andrea Wick EBS CONTRIBUTOR

Viruses have always been a nuisance to humankind and will continue to be as long as there is life on this planet. The human body’s immune system has an innate power of knowing how to heal itself. We need to give our bodies more credit for the intelligence they possess and even learn how to enhance it. Here are some tips to keep yourself healthy and some supplements that I recommend taking, at this time, to keep your body in balance.

Lately, patient after patient has told me they feel stressed, fat and bloated. The No. 1 word here is stress. Stress can cause a myriad of symptoms and is the most important element to keep under control. When we feel as if we don’t have control over what is happening in our world, stress may seem impossible to control.

Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted by the adrenal glands and its main function is to control blood sugar, regulate blood pressure and metabolism. Cortisol is a fundamental steroid hormone for the immune system. There are many tools that you can use to keep cortisol in balance. Moving your body is important, however be mindful of not over exercising since intense exercise can increase stress on the body. 

I recommend trying daily yoga, qigong, meditation, and walking outdoors. Getting adequate amounts of sleep, ranging from eight to nine hours along with a healthy diet (decreasing sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods) will help to keep cortisol levels normal as well. Practicing these habits will help you keep your weight in check and stress manageable.

Here is a list of supplements I recommend taking regularly at this time:

  1. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for regulating the immune system. If you are unable to get 20 minutes of sun exposure daily without sunscreen, I recommend taking 5,000 IU per day. In order to ensure you aren’t getting too much vitamin D, you can always have your blood levels tested by your doctor. 
  • Zinc is a mineral that is important for the healing process and helps to regenerate body tissues. Zinc glycinate and picolinate are the best, highly absorbable forms, take 20-30 mg daily.
  • Vitamin C helps to repair tissue and protect the immune system. Liposomal vitamin C is the gold standard because it is more readily absorbed into cells and easy on the stomach; I recommend 2,000 mg daily.
  • Chaga mushrooms are powerful for boosting immunity and have properties that help to fight infection and cellular communication.
  • Adaptogenic herbal remedies, help to regulate cortisol and help with energy and sleep, blends that include: ashwaganda, rhodiola, magnolia and l-theanine are most helpful.

In conclusion, know that not all supplements are the same. Just as it is important to read the labels on your food, read the labels on your vitamins. Do not buy supplements that have fillers such as corn syrup, corn, soy, aluminum, polyethylene glycol, and dyes such as red No. 27.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices at Healing Hands Chiropractic in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors.

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