Winter Supplement Routine
Winter is in full swing, and so are all of the illnesses that come along with this time of year, and this year, everything seams to be more aggressive than usual.
I have had a couple of questions surrounding what I take for prevention, and what I do with my kiddos for prevention, so I thought I would share our routines.
Obviously, I am not a doctor, and this is in no way medical advice, just sharing what works for us and the routines I follow guided by the support if my long-time Naturopathic Doctor.
I've shared a little bit in the past about my having some auto-immune issues, with no official diagnoses to date and I take supplements to support my body with this in mind all year round, so this is not a comprehensive list of everything I take, but what I use to support my body through cold & flu season.
That said, I now know what I can and cannot take for my body to feel good. For that reason, I personally avoid immune stimulants like echinacea, but I do however use them with both of my children.
My daily prevention routine through the winter months:
Zinc - an essential trace mineral that is important for immune function and reducing inflammation. Australian research has recently shown this mineral's important role in shortening the duration of respiratory tract infections such as cold & flus. For this reason, it's a daily for me during the winter months.
Vitamin C - an essential vitamin, vitamin C plays a role in many aspects of the immune system. It encourages the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection and helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage from potentially harmful free radicals. We take liposomal vitamin C for its enhanced bioavailability on top of including vitamin C rich foods into our diet.
Vitamin D - Vitamin D has been shown to modulate both the innate and adaptive immune system, and deficiency has been linked to increased autoimmunity. Vitamin D has also been a supplement to consider for COVID 19. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with an increase in inflammatory cytokines and a significantly increased risk of pneumonia and viral upper respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase in thrombotic episodes, which are frequently observed in COVID-19.
Lemon Balm - Wonderful for calming the nervous system, calming anxiety, lemon balm is also a helpful fever assistant and full of polyphenols which have strong antiviral action. It makes a wonderful tea for anxious kids and helps calm their nervous systems. I sip on our dried leaves that we grew in the greenhouse nightly before bed.
Nettle Leaf - Another garden herb I sip on daily, nettle leaves strengthen the entire body, and are rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron and potassium. I add a little honey and lemon for the kids and they drink it down.
Reishi Mushroom - Queen of the mushrooms, reishi has long been used for easing stress, supporting immunity and increasing longevity. You can find organic reishi mushroom powder in both our Queen of Green and Mighty Maca powders.
Diet: Lots of leafy greens, I add Queen of Green to my smoothies daily, and Adapt into my elixirs everyday, micro greens, anti-inflammatory foods, peppers, oranges, lemons, celery, garlic, turmeric, wild fish, good quality meat, bone broth ( my favourite is from High Vibe Health)
Daily prevention routine for my kids (5 & 2.5 yrs old):
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C + Zinc
- Good quality fish oil
- St Francis Deep Immune ( a blend of Astragalus and Codonopsis that work together to fortify the immune system by restoring the body’s innate balance )
Diet: same as mine above, but I also add brazil nuts (high in selenium), foods high in vitamin C, Berry Radical in smoothies, oats, baked goods, reduce sugar when possible (I can totally relate that at birthday parties and special events this is super tricky...and you gotta live a little)
What I keep stocked in the cabinet for when they are fighting an active virus/infection:
- Kids Echinacea tincture
- Bee Keepers Naturals Bee Propolis Spray
- Elderberry syrup
- Oscillococcinum homeopathic pellets
- Vitamin C powder
- Lemon balm tea
- Chamomile tea
- Elderflower tea
- Raw honey
- Children's Tylenol - Not all fever is bad! Fever is in fact the body's way of killing an infection. By raising the body's temperature, it helps kill off the unwanted bacteria or viruses. It also boosts the production of infection-fighting white blood cells needed to overcome an illness. However, acetaminophen is hugely liver-toxic and has been shown to decrease glutathione levels, and impair gut health. That said, as a mom who has experienced a febrile seizure with one of my children, I fully believe that there is a time and a place when fever reducers are necessary, and I do keep it on hand and use it when needed.
A couple of other things we are pretty mindful of this time of year to help support our immune system:
Sleep: Getting good quality sleep is so freakin' important. Now, there are definitely circumstances that make a good night's sleep close to impossible, like if you're a new parent, or working shift work, for example. But if you're someone who is able to create a bit of a routine, I highly recommend it.
There have been numerous studies performed to show that a good sleep helps support the immune system by increasing T-cells, which are a type of immune cell that fight against viruses and other pathogens. So, getting good quality sleep can put our bodies in the best shape for when we do encounter a virus.
Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our wellbeing and weaken our immune system. Some level of stress is usually inevitable in day-to-day life, but having tools to navigate through those times can be very helpful. Adding practices like yoga, meditation, or walking in nature into your day can be incredible for reducing stress. I also personally incorporate adaptogens into my life like reishi, ashwagandha and nettles.
Hot/Cold Therapy: We either jump in the infrared sauna or take a hot epsom salt bath followed by a cold shower.
Some of the benefits believed to occur from the drastic shift in temperature are improvements to your circulation, deepened sleep, spike in energy levels, and reduced inflammation in your body. There is also evidence that cold water therapy can stimulate your body's immune system, improving your ability to fight illness.
Laughter/Social Connection: We have become incredibly mindful of who we spend our time with these days and spending it with people who let you be yourself, support and love you unconditionally and make you laugh is such a wonderful boost for not only your wellbeing, but for your immune system as well.
That rounds out our supplement routine for cold & flu season. This one is proving to be a doozy and my heart is with all of you out there trying to keep yourselves and your babies healthy. Sending each and everyone of you healthy healing vibes.