Easy Ways to Fortify Your Immune System This Winter

Published on December 15, 2023

From flourishing flu bugs to constant coronavirus concerns, it’s no wonder that many people are looking for ways to boost their immune system. In this blog post, Dr. Hicks explores how to keep your body’s defenses high to thwart seasonal sickness.

Germ Theory vs. Terrain Theory

The germ theory comes from French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur who believed that the presence of a germ will make the body sick. Pasteur held the notion that if the body is exposed to anything it will become sick. According to Dr. Hicks, Pasteur’s theory is flawed.

Why? “There have been countless events in history where a flu-like symptom might go through a household but not everyone ends up getting sick-even though each person in that house was exposed to the same bug,” said Dr. Hicks. This is referred to as the terrain theory. According to this theory, taking care of the terrain or your internal environment or immune system can help prevent or ward off infectious diseases like viruses, bacteria, etc.

“The more time you spend taking care of the host (your body), the less likely you will be infected or affected by those germs or bacteria,” added Dr. Hicks.

Supplements for Super Support

Many patients wonder what they should be taking to help prevent COVID-19. We recommend the following three supplements:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, which is a hormone, is highly beneficial when it comes to boosting the immune system. There have been dozens of studies showing the massive benefits for patients with the coronavirus being treated with vitamin D. Those who have adequate levels of vitamin D may be able to prevent becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

It’s challenging to get sufficient daily vitamin D from your diet. You could try to get enough from the sun but need 20 minutes of direct exposure to sunlight each day-but it’s questionable if you’ll get enough. The best way to get it is through sublingual (under the tongue) supplementation. We have liquid drops of vitamin D at the practice for purchase.

Zinc

A vital mineral, zinc is also referred to as an “essential trace element.” The reason we recommend zinc is it stops the replication of the coronavirus. Zinc protects your DNA by preventing the virus from attacking your DNA. Zinc also blocks the virus from entering the cell wall.

Vitamin C

According to numerous studies, vitamin C is vital when it comes to boosting your immune system. It helps to strengthen the overall function of your immune system.

Exercise, Sleep & Stress Management

Fit in fitness

It’s no surprise that exercise is vitally important for overall physical health. It helps flush out bacteria, increase white blood cell counts and improve cardiovascular health. You don’t have to a diehard CrossFitter or marathon runner to reap the benefits of exercise.

Exercise can be accomplished by walking as little as 20 minutes a day three days a week. Doing so reduces your risk of heart disease by approximately 5o percent! Even better is developing a good exercise routine, doing something you really enjoy 20 minutes a day for five days a week. It’s important that you find something you love to do or else it won’t be sustainable.

Catch plenty of Zzzzzzs

Many Americans are chronically sleep-deprived, which can negatively impact the immune system. Lack of sleep decreases the immune response. The more and better effective the sleep is the better your body can repair itself.

So how much do you need? At a minimum, you should get 7 hours a night and ideally 8-9. One of the best ways to shut down each night is by turning off your digital devices about an hour before bedtime. That’s because lit backgrounds from your phone, tablet and TV are stimulating, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Keep stress at bay

While we all experience stress in our lives, it’s crucial that we learn how to manage it. Chronic stress suppresses the immune system. We release the hormone cortisol and it spikes causing numerous negative immune responses. The cortisol release decreases T- helper cells which are part of your immune response. There’s also a decrease in some of your immunoglobulin responses. Lack of sufficient sleep also is bad for heart health.

To manage your stress, Dr. Hicks recommends that you spend about 5-10 minutes each day organizing your thoughts and being grateful for 3-5 things. It could be having drinkable water, a roof over your head, a job that allows you to pay your bills or plenty of food in the pantry. By being grateful for the positive things you have going for you you’ll reset your brain and decrease your stress.

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