……..during a pandemic and beyond.
Charlotte Pulver, is a natural healthcare expert and founder of the Frontline Immune Support Team. She has organised free immune support for hundreds of NHS frontline workers, like my husband Alex, and the blog’s GP Dr. Luke.
Here Charlotte gives seven important tips for boosting your immune system. This is not only relevant now, whilst we’re in the middle of a pandemic, but also in preparation for the future; when we see the usual seasonal viruses emerge towards the end of the year.
1. Vitamin C: has been consistently shown to substantially reduce severity and duration of infections as well as inflammation in the body (reference). In the onset of symptoms, take 3 grams straight away, then 1 gram an hour until recovered.
For prevention, take 1 gram twice a day. Liposomal Vitamin C is the best absorbable one on the market that does not upset your digestion when taken in large amounts.
(Caroline says: if you’d like to understand why we need so much vitamin C – please read my post here)
2. Vitamin D: plays a critical role in promoting a healthy immune response. It has both anti-inflammatory and immune regulatory properties and is crucial for the activation of immune system defences. The vitamin is so important for immune function that low levels of it have been associated with an increased susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune-related disorders.
Take a Loading Dose of 100µg (4000iu) each day for 7 days and then maintenance dose of 10-25µg (400-1000iu) a day for the next few months.
For those at high risk – one very recent research study (April 2020) recommends even higher loading doses (reference).
(Caroline says: for detailed information on vitamin D benefits and who’s most at risk of deficiency – click here)
3. Zinc: supports healthy immune cell strength and helps prevent viral replication. With the onset of viral symptoms take 30mg a day, and for maintenance, 15mg a day.
4. Mushroom Tea: medicinal mushrooms have been used throughout history to treat various diseases, including viral infections, and also for boosting immunity. They reduce inflammation and stimulate the release of immune protective compounds in the body, whilst helping to keep a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut (critical for maintaining a strong immune system). Many health food shops stock mushroom complex tea. For a delicious restorative drink in the onset of symptoms, put half a teaspoon in a mug and pour on water. Drink 1-3 cups throughout the day. As a preventative, powders can be used in tea, smoothies, stews and food on a daily basis.
5. Self Care Tips: Firstly, keep warm. A warm bath with a cup of epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) is restorative for the nervous system. Secondly, get a good night’s sleep. Get to sleep before 10pm, the hours before midnight are the most restorative when asleep. In this time, the body is cleaning the liver so it’s best to be in a state of good rest. You will then awake with a clearer mind and a better rested body as you will have allowed your body to cleanse and properly restore itself.
6. Ginger/Lemon Tea: Ginger is known to be an effective anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. A cup of lemon and ginger is good to drink in the onset of symptoms. And if you have a sore throat, gargling with ginger and lemon, luke-warm tea, a few times a day, will help too.
7. Anti-Viral Essential Oil: many essential oils have antimicrobial properties in them and can be helpful to use in the onset of symptoms. Well known ones are ginger, melissa, chamomile, oregano and bergamot. A good one to use in a multipurpose way is chamomile: add a few drops to your bath and rub a few more on your sternum and the base of your feet. This is a wonderful way to help with the onset of symptoms as well as bring deep relaxation to the nervous system. Bergamot is great to burn in a diffuser in your room, and as a hot water inhalation breathed deep into the lungs. It is anti-viral, but also deeply uplifting for your mood. It also helps to clear any respiratory congestion.
Charlotte Pulver founded the Frontline Immune Support Team to deliver quality, free immune support to frontline NHS staff risking their lives in the struggle to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.