By: Dr. David Lee, Chiropractor, Life / Health / Peak Performance Coach
This cold and flu season will be one like no other that we have ever seen. With the obvious pandemic still plaguing us, in addition to the regular cold and flu season that I predict will be even stronger this year, it is that much more important that we keep our immune systems strong. Our best defense against all illnesses still is, and will always be our immune system.
I rarely get sick, and when I do my recovery time is very quick, and the severity of my symptoms are quite mild. Am I bullet proof and can I prevent myself from catching everything? No, I’m still human just like everyone else, and yes, I get knocked on my butt once in a while as well. However, this is usually a rare occurrence and I can sometimes go many seasons before I catch anything. Am I blessed with amazing genetics, and am I built differently from everyone else? Sadly no, I was not born on the planet Krypton, but my lifestyle and disciplines I regularly do make me super human, and more resilient than most.
There are many known ways to keep your immune system strong. In general, the strategies in health optimization are also the same strategies for a strong immune system. A fully optimized healthy lifestyle is also a great strategy for a strong immune system, and the list of all optimized strategies can be quite extensive. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on a few things specifically more geared towards the immune system.
Sleep, is, and will always be the number one health optimization strategy. I don’t care how much you do of everything else, if you perfect every health optimization strategy but don’t have enough daily quality sleep, you have built your house on a poor foundation and it will eventually collapse. When asking basketball legend LeBron James what his number one training strategy is to consistently dominate on the court? He won’t say his workout routine, how much he lifts, or how much time he spends practicing, he will say it’s sleep. He fully understands that the fountain of youth, health, and vitality stems from great sleep.
I know that many of us struggle with sleep, as have I in the past. I have struggled with, and tried every sleep strategy known to man. I have finally figured out what has worked for me, and will continue to adjust my strategies as needed to ensure that I sleep well. I will eventually write more blogs regarding sleep as there is a ton of information on this topic. But for now, make sleep a top priority in your life, and do whatever it takes to ensure great sleep.
2. Stress Reduction
We are a stressed-out nation. Working in the financial district for more than 20 years, treating and coaching many highly successful people, I realized that I work in the most stressed-out block in the country. I learned real quickly that most people’s pain, physically, mental, and emotional turmoil stems from stress. I have been on a mission to solve not only the root cause of my stress, but also others and have compiled a dream team at Pineapple Health to help people with all elements related to stress.
Stress will ruin you, and not only break you down physically, but will also rob you of your peace and joy. You must declare war on stress, and not only manage it, but shatter the root cause so that it never exists. It IS possible to be very productive, successful, and have great relationships without your hair turning grey and falling out. If you struggle with this like everyone else, and don’t know how to get out, feel free to contact me and let’s get you started on your path to freedom.
Who should take supplements? In short, virtually everyone. As well as we may eat, our world is not like it used to be a hundred years ago. Our food is much more commercialized leading to depletion in our soil, depletion in the nutrients in our food, not to mention being bombarded by many toxins, metals, radiation and many other stressors creating more free radicals in our system. To have an optimal life we all need to supplement. What we take and when we take them will vary drastically for each individual. There is no one size fits all supplementation protocol for everyone. Below I will list a few more essential ones for the immune system.
If there is one supplement that basically everyone in Canada must take it’s without question Vitamin D. This is more than just a vitamin, it is essentially a hormone, and the only real way to get it naturally is through sunlight. However, having a great tan does not ensure proper vitamin D levels. People can absorb it very differently, and your ability to turn sunlight into vitamin D can decrease as you age.
The recommended dosage is typically about 1000 IUs, however I find that this is too little for most of us. The average person should be taking more towards 3000 – 6000 IUs. If you don’t know how much you should take, I would suggest starting with about 3000 IUs for a month, then get a vitamin D serum level test and adjust your dosage from there. You should ideally be on the high side of normal.
Vitamin D is known to be deficient in as much as 90% of all Canadians, and there have been direct correlations to vitamin D deficiencies in those who die or become severely ill from many of our cold and flu viruses. It’s so simple and cheap to take, make this your top supplement priority.
This is one of our most powerful anti-oxidants and helps fight free radicals, a must in keeping our immune system strong. The benefits of vitamin C are numerous. As for the immune system, it works by encouraging white blood cell production which is our body’s defense mechanism against infections.
There are many schools of thought on dosages. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, your body could tolerate much higher doses. For regular supplementation I would recommend between 1-4 grams assuming it doesn’t upset your stomach.
Another essential vitamin crucial for boosting immune system function including the development of neutrophils and natural killer cells, all required for fighting off infections. Also great for cell growth, wound healing, and assisting in breaking down carbohydrates.
Recommended dosage would be between 25-40 mg per day
This is one of our most important minerals that is vital for many crucial roles in the body including energy production, as well as supporting muscle, nerve, and heart functions. As for the immune system, magnesium improves the white blood cells ability to seek out and destroy infections.
Recommended dosage would be 100-300 mg per day.
Note: all of the supplements listed above are recommendations for the general population. Speak with your health care provider to ensure that these are safe and ideal for you, and don’t conflict with any health issues you may have.
4. Vitamin IV Therapy and Acupuncture
Vitamin IV therapy is a game changer. You can have a custom bag made up for you, and have all of the above and then some put in an IV that goes directly into your blood stream. Oral supplements while still great and beneficial, don’t get fully absorbed as it goes through your digestive system. With Vitamin IVs you can achieve super oxidant effects that are simply impossible to achieve orally.
One of my top super human strategies, especially during the cold and flu season. I typically do an IV once a month, and tend to double up to twice a month during the winter months. Our ND Dr. Moira Kwok runs our IV lounge if your interested in getting started.
Acupuncture has numerous benefits and is my go-to treatment for many health ailments including sleep, stress, circulation, energy, and definitely immune function. Acupuncture increases the amount of your immune cells, encouraging them to reproduce and fight off infections. Acupuncture is provided by our TCM practitioner Jumy Kim, as well as our ND Dr. Moria Kwok
This is without question my favorite bio-hack. The benefits of cryotherapy are numerous, including boosting your mood, improving sleep, skin and collagen production, energy, balancing hormones, and so much more… As for your immune system, it will increase your cellular function especially your white blood cells to help fight infection.
The king of cryotherapy Wim Hof AKA the iceman said it best: “If you don’t go to the cold, then the cold comes to you.” During the winter we all tend to retreat, stay indoors, and stay under a warm blanket. I do the opposite. I challenge myself and continually increase my cold tolerance. I will intentionally go out with less layers and practice my breathing techniques while surrendering to the cold. This is one of many hormetic stressors that I expose myself to in order for my body to strengthen and adapt. Cryotherapy is much more challenging to do in the summer as even my cold showers aren’t as cold in my house. However, no shortage or cryotherapy methods in the winter.
Take control of your health. There are many things you can do to improve your health and immune system. Don’t fear the winters, don’t hibernate, get out, embrace and enjoy them. Challenge yourself, and enjoy our beautiful country and all of its 4 seasons! If you’re fed up of getting sick all winter long, contact me for more health and immune strategies, and see how I can coach you to super human status!
If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comment section below.
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