You frequently wash your hands, take regular doses of vitamin C, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. But somehow you find yourself sniffling, coughing, and sneezing more frequently…and it’s not even flu season. For hard-charging, high-achievers, this issue often strikes in the middle of an important work project, a family vacation, a bout of travel, or a crucial block of workouts or training sessions.
Think of just a few of the ho-hum, standard, old-school pieces of advice you’ve traditionally been given told to kick the cold, some ancient and some modern, including:
- Take oodles of vitamin C and zinc
- Get plenty of bed rest, don’t exercise or get exposed to cold you’ll weaken the immune system
- Use antibiotics or a handy Z-pac to fight off viruses
The problem is that most of these strategies simply don’t work and may end up weakening the immune system even further. In fact, supplements will help, but need to be in a high-enough dose and a form that you can actually absorb when you’re sick, exercise will actually facilitate the detox process while bed rest will keep lymph fluid stagnant, and antibiotics will wipe out the good bacteria in the gut that supports the healthy environment our body needs to heal.
The immune system just isn’t as simple as it sounds, and in this episode, you will discover the inner workings of human immunity, and underground, little-known methods to strengthen the immune system and bounce back from sickness fast.
In reality, the immune system is made up of six different immune system components that help fight off invading pathogens, and this chapter will dive into each, including the lymph system that helps transport compounds out of the body and to specific organs, the respiratory system that moves mucus and contaminants upwards and outwards from the digestive tract, the skin that provides a thin but effective layer against pathogens, the white blood cells that, if the pathogens get in through the skin, attack them in your blood and in other tissues of the body, the spleen that provides support against bacterial infections, the stomach that harbors good bacteria (which help fight pathogens and absorb nutrients and secretes acid that will kill off the harmful ones) and finally, intestinal cells that secrete antibodies to fight off foreign invaders.
Creating a bulletproof immune system begins with moving lymph fluid throughout the body, keeping the respiratory system ready, limiting pathogens passing through the skin, keeping white blood cells elevated, strengthening the spleen, and repairing and maintaining proper gut health. You can fortify your defenses every day with various strategies, but to maximize this effect, you must also limit the amount of invaders we come in contact with. If your body is too busy dealing with physical or emotional stress, then the immune system won’t be able to efficiently fight off infections. For example, carcinogens from the environment, food, and hygiene products can compromise the immune system’s defense mechanisms and possibly give birth to new pathogens that will later harm the body, and inflammation caused by ingestion of unhealthy fats, stress, and lack of recovery can also weaken the gut, leading to more toxins spilling into our bloodstream.
From echinacea to elderberry to oregano and beyond, it is completely possible to equip the medicine cabinet with every natural compound that exists to create a bulletproof immune system, without breaking the bank. So now that you understand why things are far more complex than simply popping pills and getting some rest, let’s delve into research proven strategies to help each leg of the immune system table to hold up to the debilitating hacksaw of illness and disease, including:
- Improve circulation of the lymph system with physical movement. One of the easiest ways to do this is by shaking the body in an up-and-down motion for a couple of minutes. Whole body shaking is an excellent way to exercise and detoxify every cell in the body. Similar effects are seen with the use of a rebounder trampoline, vibration plate, and other forms of exercise like swimming and yoga. These activities can make bone marrow strong, strengthen the spine, and support the kidneys and adrenal glands. When lymph flow improves, more toxins are cleared out of the system and the immune boosting supplements that are consumed will get where they need to go.
- Use thieves blend, a unique and little-known essential oil blend that has been shown to fight off infections and support not just the immune system, but also the digestive system and respiratory system. Diffusing this blend during sleep can help to keep the immune system strong during these critical hours of repair and regeneration. Here’s an article I wrote on how to use Thieves to enhance the strength of the immune system.
- Echinacea has been shown in research to relieve upper respiratory symptoms such as inflammation, whooping cough, and the common cold. Check out the fascinating results of this meta-analysis study from the University of Connecticut that shows one form of echinacea can cut the likelihood of getting a common cold by over half and also reduce the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days in the trial.
- A very effective form of zinc that can be used to fight a cold is zinc acetate and the exact zinc protocol that can used to kick the common cold fast – in as little as a single day rather than an entire week, can all be checked out here.. Also check out the details on a meta analysis of zinc supplementation that shows why traditional zinc supplements are ineffective.
- Provide fast cold and flu relief with elderberry teas, elderberry tinctures, and elderberry supplements. The anthocyanins in elderberry have been shown known to have potent immunostimulant effects. In fact, a 2016 study showed that elderberry supplementation can vastly reduce the duration and symptoms of the cold in air travelers). Another study in the Journal of International Medical Research found that when the elderberry extract is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, it shortens the duration of symptoms by an average of four days.
- Colostrum acts as a form of passive immunity while providing a substantial dose of antibodies such as IgA, IgG and IgM, all of which help to fight pathogens in the intestinal tract. The growth factors in colostrum stimulate the gut to patch up holes created by excess inflammation and damage by toxin exposure, research shows that colostrum can restore a leaky gut lining to normal permeability levels, and athletes who pop colostrum prior to exercising in hot weather can completely banish the gastric distress that so notoriously accompanies exercise in the heat.
- The important components in glycine and bone broth that can enhance digestion and fight inflammation. Bone broth is considered a powerful detoxification agent since it helps the digestive system expel waste, improve the body’s use of antioxidants, and facilitate the sealing of openings in the gut lining. Incorporating this super soup into the diet provides a substantial boost to the immune system.
- Use potent “superfoods” such as coconut products, garlic, medicinal mushrooms, and chia seeds to provide antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal compounds that support the immune system. Plant foods rich in fiber will provide pre-biotics for the immune supporting probiotic bacteria in the gut to feed from. Many vegetables, when consumed with the dirt still on them, will then add soil based probiotics that diversify the gut and support the immune system. You can also get an additional gut boost by adding in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and natto for a concentrated and diverse source of probiotics.
- Create a decoction tea from chopped slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, and licorice root. The combination of these herbs soften and soothe mucous membranes all the way from the throat to the stomach to the small and large intestines, creating an environment that flushes the lymph system and allows good bacteria to multiply while providing adaptogen like effects that protect the bacteria from stress and environmental irritants. Check out this interview on how to address food intolenrances using scientific and clinically-proven approach.
- Be careful with Vitamin C. Taking the wrong vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid could be a waste of your time, and better forms of vitamin C that actually work, including new studies that confirm the right type of vitamin C supplementation at 1,000 mg per day shortens the duration and mitigates the severity of colds, while also preventing colds from developing, especially in those with low vitamin C levels.
- Oregano oil’s phenols can act as steroid-like compounds for the immune system, including thymol (a natural fungicide that works as a shield against toxins) and carvacrol (which has been found to be extremely effective against various bacterial infections). The reader will learn the best sources for potent herbs such as Origanum vulgare and Thymus capitatus. A dd a few drops of oils made from these compounds to pot of boiling water to inhale the steam for sinus relief.
The fact is, the modern day immunity marketplace is flooded with supplements and herbal formulas claiming to cure the common cold overnight or to make the human body bulletproofed to illness, but it is quite difficult to sift through the bold marketing and fake supplements. But you can indeed defy all odds of getting sick and create an unstoppable immune system via the use of movement strategies that can be employed immediately, stacked with research-proven but little-known supplement, food and lifestyle strategies.
Want to start simple? Start here: your lymphatic system responds quite well to the G-forces generated during exercise and more notably, when bouncing on a trampoline. But another technique for enhancing the movement of lymph fluid is even easier: just plant both legs into the ground and let yourself bounce up and down while wiggling the hands and the fingers. Do this for five minutes tomorrow morning when you wake up and notice how your entire body feels more energized and awake. This whole-body shaking technique is actually an ancient Qi Gong practice!