DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, or before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.
Want to share this article? Visit our re-post guidelines.
- Boost immune function to fight viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.
- A robust immune system ensures potential invaders don’t get past your defenses and wreak havoc throughout your body.
- People with “weak” immune systems tend to get sick more often than those with healthy ones.
- Having a healthy immune system and taking sensible precautions will help you combat any viral or bacterial onslaught.
- Sleep acts as a critical modulator of the immune response and strengthens immune defense.
- You can take a variety of immune-supporting supplements to help fight pathogens.
- Consider dietary restrictions since certain foods may suppress immune function.
- Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and electromagnetic radiation (EMR) reduce immunity.
- Wash your hands and use natural sanitizers to protect against potential invaders.
- The right amount of exercise can boost immunity and protect you from disease, but don’t overdo it.
- Reducing stress and emotional upset can also boost immunity. Healthy management of your reactions to uncertain or stressful times can boost immune function and resilience.
5 Tips to Boost Immune Function
Whether you’re exposed to the flu, a severe cold, or other viruses, there’s one major requirement to fight them off—a strong immune system. Viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens come knocking on the door of our defense system daily. Much of the immune system resides in the gut, specifically the microbiome. These gut bacteria detect invaders and signal the rest of the body’s immune defenses to kill the pathogens. Healthy and vigorous immunity ensures that those potential invaders don’t get past your immune defenses and wreak havoc throughout your body.
When a viral or bacterial threat attempts to storm the gate, the fundamentals of health play a critical role in fighting back. One of the most significant concerns during these times is underlying health conditions, including poor immune function. People with “weak” immune systems tend to get sick more often than those with healthy immune systems. Supporting a healthy immune system and taking sensible precautions is the key to combating any viral or bacterial onslaught.
So how can you boost immunity naturally? Let’s take a look at some helpful suggestions.
#1: Get Plenty of Sleep to Boost Immune Function
Sleep acts as a critical modulator of the immune response. It’s a highly effective antiviral and anti-pathogenic tool. Sleep presumably increases B lymphocyte production, and as a result, antibody production. B lymphocytes are a type of small white blood cell that produces antibodies. Antibodies grab on to foreign invaders and mark them for destruction.1
Without enough sleep, your body will not produce enough of these immune defenders. So make sure to get eight to nine hours of sleep per night. Take steps to improve your sleep naturally. Say “no” to other areas that interfere with adequate sleep, particularly when the body faces a pathogenic threat. Prioritize your health. You need sleep for immunity, proper liver function, and more.
Also of note: When the body faces viral or bacterial threats, the mitochondria’s main role changes. Mitochondria — the small structures within cells that produce energy — switch from their primary energy-producing role to an immune defense role when needed. That’s why it’s typical for people to feel fatigued when infections challenge them. While mitochondria support immune defenses, they produce less energy.
Your body needs to rest and heal when it’s fighting something off. You can also try mitochondrial-boosting supplements to support your mitochondria in their role of viral protection.
#2: Take Supplements to boost immune function
► Colloidal silver
Colloidal silver is a suspension of microscopic silver particles in a liquid. Since ancient times in Greece, Egypt, Phoenicia, Macedonia, and Rome, people have used silver medicinally to keep immunity strong. These civilizations knew that silver possesses potent antimicrobial effects. Medical texts written by Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” state that silver has beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. He also praised silver for its wound healing and tissue repair abilities. Silver was one of the few antimicrobial treatments available before antibiotic drugs were developed.2
People have also used colloidal silver in medicine and agriculture for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant actions. The size of the silver particles in a colloidal silver solution can vary. For example, nanoparticles are silver particles less than 100 nanometers in size. Studies show that silver nanoparticles are effective antimicrobials and are active against many drug-resistant bacteria when coupled with antibiotics. You can take colloidal silver as a dietary supplement or apply it directly to the skin. You can also use it in a nebulizer, which allows breathing of the cold steam into the lungs and sinuses.3
► Vitamin C
Vitamin C affects several components of the immune system. It stimulates the production and functioning of white blood cell defenders, especially neutrophils, lymphocytes, and phagocytes. And in response to microbial invaders, white blood cells (phagocytic leukocytes) release non-specific toxins called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS can kill pathogens but damage the white blood cells themselves in the process. Vitamin C has antioxidant functions that can protect the white blood cells from that damage.4
In this way, vitamin C can act as the commander of your immune army. Many vitamin C types are available on the market, so it may be wise to rotate the different types. Liposomal vitamin C comes in capsule and liquid forms. Botanical sources include amla (amalaki powder), camu camu, and dried rosebuds. Dried rosebuds supply a natural form of alkaline vitamin C.
IV vitamin C can also help fight pathogens. It may support the immune system by clearing the terrain and removing current infections that occupy the immune bandwidth.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient, and it manages many different physiological functions. Research has also found it plays a critical role in viral infections. People with zinc deficiency are prone to infections. Since the lymphatic tissue in the gut shrinks in zinc-deficient individuals, the number of immune cells protecting them reduces as well. Zinc also inhibits viral replication and supports other immune system functions.5 6
You can increase your zinc levels through foods or supplements. A wide variety of foods contain zinc, particularly:7
- Organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised meats
- Wild-caught shellfish, particularly oysters
- Legumes, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Seeds, particularly pumpkin, hemp, squash, and sesame seeds
- Nuts, like cashews
- Organic, grass-fed, and pastured eggs
- Organic, grass-fed, and pastured dairy products
- Whole grains
- Some vegetables, including potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Dark chocolate
If you opt for taking supplements, zinc glycinate and zinc gluconate are both well-absorbed forms. But remember that more is not necessarily better, as too much supplemental zinc may weaken your immunity. Take about 20 to 50 milligrams (mg) per day when boosting immune function and fighting infection.8 9
► Trace minerals
Your body only need small amounts of certain minerals, but that small amount plays a crucial role in a healthy body. You use trace minerals for cell signaling. A strong immune system means the cells are communicating effectively. Look for supplements that contain naturally occurring, plant-derived trace minerals to give your immune system an extra boost.
► Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in activating the immune defenses, particularly the T cells. Vitamin D helps to boost immunity and fights back against various forms of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that might exist within the body. Plus, vitamin D can regulate both innate and adaptive immune responses. Vitamin D deficiency may also increase autoimmunity and susceptibility to infection.10 11
Unfortunately, most of the American population is vitamin D deficient. Aim for about 10,000 IU daily of vitamin D. Sources include:12
- Pure cod liver oil
- Desiccated liver and whole food liver supplements
- Mushrooms (contain beta-glucans)
- Wild-caught fatty fish
- Sun exposure
Viruses and other pathogens can easily enter an unhealthy cell with poor cell membrane integrity. The good fats found in wild-caught fish and other animal proteins strengthen the cell membranes. Robust cell membranes are critical to good health.
Selenium helps support the immune response and prevent viral replication. Some forms of supplemental selenium are much more bioavailable — and therefore more beneficial — than others. Aim for about 200 micrograms (mcg) per day from Se-methylselenocysteine or another highly bioavailable selenium source.13
CBD is a cannabinoid compound derived from hemp or cannabis. It does not affect the mind like another well-known cannabinoid, THC. Cannabinoids modulate immune system macrophages, a type of white blood cell that clears out toxins, viruses, and other pathogens. Along with boosting immunity, CDC acts as an effective anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. But stay mindful of the purity and potency of any CBD product you purchase. Many companies have released inferior products just to jump on the CBD bandwagon.14
► Essential oils
Many essential oils used in aromatherapy contain antimicrobial properties. Specific essential oils have antiviral activity, including:
- WO China healing oil
Frankincense oil is a traditional medicine derived from the boswellia plant. It possesses anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antiseptic, antianxiety, and anti-neurotic effects. These essential oils may stop or slow a cytokine storm — an immune system overreaction to a viral infection. Cytokine storms in the lungs can damage lung tissue. They can also lead to breathing difficulties, acute respiratory distress, and death.15
Your body needs iodine for proper immune system functioning. Seaweed, eggs, and supplements containing kelp are good sources of iodine. To help boost your defense system, increase your iodine levels at the first sign of illness. Make sure to take iodine supplements early in the day, as it can act as a stimulant and interfere with sleep. But not all people tolerate supplemental iodine well. Go low and slow at first to let your body acclimate.
► Cistus incanus tea
Cistus incanus has potent antiviral activity, even against viruses that cause life-threatening diseases. It fights influenza virus activity, reduces the symptoms of the common cold and upper respiratory infections, and inhibits HIV infections, Ebola, and Marburg virus. Cistus incanus also destroys biofilms and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Interestingly, recent studies suggest that Cistus extract targets proteins in the viral envelope. This can prevent the virus from attaching and entering into cells, as well as reduces the reproductive ability and virulence of the virus.16 17
Other potentially helpful foods and supplements
Broccoli sprouts are young broccoli plants. Extracts of broccoli sprouts contain antiviral compounds, including sulforaphane. Studies also indicate these sprouts have antibacterial and anticancer activity as well.18
Fermented foods like miso, kimchee, kefir, sauerkraut, and pickles provide the gut with bacteria that enhances immunity.19
Garlic is a potent antimicrobial that kills off viruses and bacteria.
BioActive Carbon binders are one of the most significant breakthroughs in modern functional medicine. They contain energized small-, medium-, and long-chain carbons that can be altered for binding different kinds of substances. BioActive Carbon is a unique type of extract that comes from fulvic acid and helps to boost immunity.
The following also support an antiviral and antimicrobial protocol:20
- St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- Chinese skullcap
- Green tea
- Coconut oil and coconuts
- Stevia (whole plant)
- Reishi mushroom
- Lomatium root (Lomatium dissectum)
- Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
- Olive leaf extract
- Manuka honey
- Oregano oil
- Black cumin seed oil
- Bitter melon
- Pantethine (vitamin B5)
#3: Consider dietary restrictions to boost immune function
To help support immunity system, you may want to avoid certain foods and maintain a healthy diet. The following can suppress or interfere with immune function:
- Sugar (suppresses the immune system for up to six hours after ingestion)
- Refined carbohydrates
- Wheat and corn (due to pesticide residues, mold, fungi, and their inherent decrease in immune function)
- Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Caffeine and other stimulants (due to boosting cortisol levels, a hormone that can lower immune function)
- Refined foods and oils
- Pre-packaged and fast foods
#4: Eliminate or reduce emf exposure to boost immune function
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and electromagnetic radiation (EMR) reduce immunity. They are everywhere in our environment, from Wi-Fi to “smart” devices, and they can affect your body’s own electromagnetic field. EMFs emit a positive charge and supply positive ions to the human electromagnetic field. This positive charge creates a perfect storm for negatively charged viruses to replicate. Studies show that EMFs also compromise the immune system.21 22
Even low levels of radiation can lead to immunity impairments, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and dementia. To eliminate or reduce EMFs:
- Turn off Wi-Fi at night
- Put EMF protection stickers on your electronic devices
- Remove the Bluetooth headset from your ear
- Sleep in a shielded room
- Minimize cell phone use or place it in airplane mode more often
- Do not charge the phone near your body, especially your head
- Reduce your use of wireless devices by hardwiring when possible
- Avoid carrying your cell phone on your person
- Avoid using portable computers and tablets on your lap
- Limit usage of wireless devices by children since they are particularly vulnerable to electromagnetic frequencies
Grounding the body and creating a negative charge can boost immunity. When your body carries a negative charge, your body’s systems work correctly and you can better protect yourself against viruses and other pathogens. Whenever possible, increase exposure to negative ions and reduce exposure to positive ions.
#5: wash hands and use natural sanitizers to boost immune function
Try the following to kill microbial invaders that might challenge your immune system:23
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use natural sanitizers that are alcohol-based, or sanitizers made of colloidal silver or essential oils
- Use hydrogen peroxide as an external disinfectant
- Use hypochlorous acid (HOCL) spray as an effective antiviral and antibacterial disinfectant
Along with these methods, try infrared saunas. They stimulate heat shock proteins (HSPs), which are essential for the immune system. This process creates a “faux fever” that helps eliminate infections. Research has also found that HSPs aid in the activation of lymphocytes and macrophages, two types of white blood cell defenders.24
Use Practical, Yet Effective, Solutions to Boost Immune Function
Applying the practical, yet effective, advice included here can help support your immune system at its optimal level. You can make many lifestyle choices to help fight against viruses and microbial invaders naturally. If your immune defenses weaken, you are well-advised to start rebuilding your protection as soon as possible.
For instance, you can address your nutrition, sleep, and physical activity habits when you first start feeling ill. Consume more foods that will boost your immune response and avoid those that will weaken it. Besides modifying your diet, consider your sleeping habits. Are you getting enough restorative sleep at night? Plus, keep in mind that regular physical activity helps boost immune function. But find the right balance. Overdoing exercise can add unwanted stress to the body, while the right amount of physical activity can protect you from diseases.
Emotional stressors may also challenge your immune system. Stress leaves you more susceptible to infection. Managing your daily stress, especially during trying and uncertain times, can help protect your body from potential invaders.
Lastly, if you want to stay healthy, don’t underestimate the power of the immune system to naturally protect and heal you. If you want to dive deeper into practical, yet effective, solutions to boost its function, check out this article on how supporting the body’s mitochondria can also provide exceptional immune system support.
- Besedovsky, Luciana. “Sleep and Immune System.” Pflugers Arch., vol. 463, no. 1, pp. 121-137. Jan. 2012. Web.
- “History of Silver.” Sovereign Silver. Web.
- Siddiqi, Khwaja Salahuddin et al. “A Review on Biosynthesis of Silver Nanoparticles and Their Biocidal Properties.” Journal of Nanobiotechnology, vol. 16, no. 1. Feb. 2018. Web.
- “Vitamin C.” Linus Pauling Institute. Jan. 2020. Web.
- Kar, et al. “Zinc Chelation Specifically Inhibits Early Stages of Dengue Virus Replication by Activation of NF-ΚB and Induction of Antiviral Response in Epithelial Cells.” Frontiers. Oct. 2019. Web.
- Watts, Todd and Davidson, Jay. “Secrets to Healthy Zinc Levels (Hint: Do a Parasite Cleanse).” Microbe Formulas. July 2019. Web.
- West, Helen. “The 10 Best Foods That Are High in Zinc.” Healthline. Apr. 2016. Web.
- DiSilvestro, Robert A, et al. “Moderately High Dose Zinc Gluconate or Zinc Glycinate: Effects on Plasma Zinc and Erythrocyte Superoxide Dismutase Activities in Young Adult Women.” Biological Trace Element Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, vol. 168, no. 1. Nov. 2015. Web.
- Maret, Wolfgang and Sandstead, HH. “Zinc Requirements and the Risks and Benefits of Zinc Supplementation.” Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology: Organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS), U.S. National Library of Medicine, vol. 20, no. 1. Feb. 2006. Web.
- “Vitamin D Crucial to Activating Immune Defenses.” ScienceDaily. Mar. 2010. Web.
- Aranow, Cynthia. “Vitamin D and the Immune System.” Journal of Investigative Medicine: The Official Publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research, vol. 59, no. 6. Aug. 2011. Web.
- Jungert, Alexandra et al. “Dietary Intake and Main Food Sources of Vitamin D as a Function of Age, Sex, Vitamin D Status, Body Composition, and Income in an Elderly German Cohort.” Food & Nutrition Research, vol. 58. Sept. 2014. Web.
- Steinbrenner, Holger et al. “Dietary selenium in adjuvant therapy of viral and bacterial infections.” Advances in Nutrition (Bethesda, Md.) vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 73-82. Jan. 2015. Web.
- Hernández-Cervantes, Rosalía, et al. “Immunoregulatory Role of Cannabinoids During Infectious Disease.” Neuroimmunomodulation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, vol. 24, no. 4-5, pp. 183-199. Nov. 2017. Web.
- Al-Yasiry, Ali Ridha Mustafa and Bożena Kiczorowska. “Frankincense—Therapeutic Properties.” Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej (Online). Jan. 2016. Web.
- Rebensburg, Stephanie et al. “Potent in Vitro Antiviral Activity of Cistus Incanus Extract against HIV and Filoviruses Targets Viral Envelope Proteins.” Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, No. 1. Feb. 2016. Web.
- Kalus, Ulrich, et al. “Cistus Incanus (CYSTUS052) for Treating Patients with Infection of the Upper Respiratory Tract.” Antiviral Research, Vol. 84, No. 3. Dec. 2009. Web.
- Furuya, et al. “Sulforaphane Inhibits HIV Infection of Macrophages Through Nrf2.” PLoS Pathogens, vol. 12, no. 4. Apr. 2016. Web.
- Melini, Francesca et al. “Health-Promoting Components in Fermented Foods: An Up-to-Date Systematic Review.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 5. May 2019. Web.
- “Retroviruses: Dangerous Pathogens in Our DNA.” Dr. Jay Davidson.com. Sept. 2019. Web.
- Johansson, Olle. “Disturbance of the Immune System by Electromagnetic Fields—A Potentially Underlying Cause for Cellular Damage and Tissue Repair Reduction Which Could Lead to Disease and Impairment.” Pathophysiology, vol. 16, no. 2-3. Apr. 2009. Web.
- Asghari, Ali et al. “A Review on Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) and the Reproductive System.” Electronic Physician, vol. 8, no. 7. July 2016. Web.
- Shang-Heng, et al. “Antibacterial Effect of Hypochlorous Acid Solution on Nasal Discharge from Patients with Chronic Rhinosinusitis.” International Journal of Otolaryngology. Feb. 2018. Web.
- Tsan, Min-Fu, and Baochong Gao. “Heat Shock Proteins and Immune System.” Journal of Leukocyte Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, vol. 85, no. 6. June 2009. Web.