As the world is reopening after being locked down for over a year, many of us are planning summer travel. Even if you are vaccinated, I encourage you to be diligent when in public spaces. This includes continuing to wear a mask when appropriate like the airport, washing your hands well, and avoiding excessive exposure to individuals you do not know. You also want to continue to protect your immune system particularly as new variants are still popping up across the globe.
The immune system is a very complex web of cells that protect the body from infection. It also helps to move excess fluid (lymph) from our tissues so that we don’t accumulate toxins. We have two main parts of our immune system: innate and adaptive. Our innate immune system works like the first responders; as soon as we get exposed to a pathogen, they come running immediately when our internal environment is threatened. Our adaptive immune system is more delayed as it responds to a specific foreign substance and creates an antibody response. Below are some of my favorite recommendations to keeping your immune system strong!
My top tips for immune support
Get outside first thing in the morning if possible. When our eyes are exposed to direct sunlight in the morning we support our natural circadian rhythm which enables us to have better quality sleep. So take off those sunglasses! In addition, exposing our microbiome to nature helps to support our innate immune system. 70-80% of our immune system is in our guts and is foundational to overall health. Breathing in fresh air helps to support our entire ecosystem.
Supplement a healthy, plant-focused diet with Vitamin D and melatonin. I recommend checking your levels first with a serum test with the goal to be between 60-80. The dose of Vitamin D you will need will vary depending on where you start. In addition, ensure that you are taking a Vitamin D supplement that is complexed with Vitamin K2. These two fat-soluble vitamins work synergistically to help direct the mineral calcium to your bones and not your arteries! Melatonin is also a wonderful addition to support your immune system. Not only does it help to reset your circadian rhythm if you are traveling across time zones, it is also an antioxidant. This helps to combat any oxidative stress your body may be exposed to while traveling. People can have varying levels of sensitivity to melatonin, so you may try micro-dosing at 0.5 mg to start and see how you feel before ramping up. A little goes a long way! Remember to always check with your healthcare provider before adding in new products.
Prioritize getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is the number one “supplement” you can take to support your immune system. This is the best time of day for our bodies to truly rest and reset from the day.