11 Immune-Boosting Supplements Recommended By An M.D. and Founder of An Integrative Health Practice
Updated: May 14, 2020
Me to my supplements: "I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you..." - Lord Huron
If you're reading this, wellness likely plays a prevalent role in your life. This may take the form of an interest in clean (i.e. non-toxic) skincare and cosmetic products, an anti-inflammatory diet of organic food, an affinity for alternative medicine, a deep appreciation of yoga and spirituality — or even a decked-out supplement shelf. Ideally? All of the above.
Holistic health takes a multi-faceted approach to wellness. It touches upon diet, lifestyle, stress-reduction, ample self-care, and can still incorporate Western medicine alongside Eastern and energy medicine practices. Uniquely tailoring a blend of these components is what helps you create a lifestyle that supports your wellness, rather than depleting it.
Personally, this has long meant receiving treatment from MD's that incorporate alternative medicine and healing modalities into their treatment philosophies. This is why I have personally been a patient of Dr. Kelly McCann, M.D., MPH & TM, founder of the functional and integrative health destination, The Spring Center, ever since moving from New York.
I can safely say that the care I have received while a patient at The Spring Center has been transformative for my overall health. I am brutally honest about the fact that I find much of what Orange County has to offer to be downright loathsome, but I can still celebrate the areas in which it excels: the Mexican food, their excellent cosmetic dermatologists, and the healthcare I have received at The Spring Center.
Simply put, Dr. McCann is brilliant. I have learned so much from her that I have actually featured her expertise in pieces on TheThirty, MindBodyGreen, and FabFitFun. Her knowledge of Western medicine, contemporary research, and evidence-based treatments in alternative medicine makes her wellness wisdom unmatched.
As a fan of holistic health (and, frankly, as a Virgo), part of my treatment plan has always been to fortify my health with supplements. With the spread of Covid-19 impacting our lives, added immune support via nutritional supplements is key to physical health and peace of mind. Here are some of the most powerful immune-boosting supplements recommended by Dr. Kelly McCann, MD.
Our gut health is closely linked to our immune function, with two thirds of the immune system located in the GI tract. Whenever you feel yourself becoming sick, McCann recommends that you take extra probiotics — as many as two to three times the regular dose.
She emphasizes that you should use whatever probiotics you can access, but sells Ultrabiotic 100 and Corebiotics in the office. I personally love the formula above by The Nue Co., which also includes prebiotics to feed the good bacteria, or probiotics, in our guts. Other notable mentions include Bio Kult Mind, which features anti-viral Zinc, and Probiogen's blends, which use an advanced spore technology for heightened bio-availability.
There is a startling correlation between vitamin D deficiency and chronic illness, from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, to autoimmune illness. McCann explains that it modulates the immune system and is critically important when fighting off infections.
She suggests taking 5,000 iu daily, but to increase this dose to 20,000 iu for three days if you start to become sick. Children can also take increased doses of vitamin D at this time; although without bloodwork, but no more than 2,000 iu.
The powerful antioxidant reduces oxidative stress and aids with proper immune function. The proper dose of this mainstay in our skincare *and* supplement regimens is 1000 mg taken twice daily, ideally in the liposomal form for optimal absorption. If it causes GI upset, you can take less; conversely, if you begin feeling sick, take more.
Vitamin C is abundant in several natural sources, such as kiwis, acelerola cherries, yuzu, oranges, and amla berry. BareOrganics makes an excellent amla powder supplement for less than $20 to consider adding to your regimen, and it can also be found in my favorite hyperpigmentation-fighting, elasticity-promoting skin supplement, The Nue Co. Skin Filter.
"Transfer factor are something that we make in our bodies naturally; however, we can take it as a supplement to help provide an immune boost," she says. The preventative dose is two capsules daily, taken away from food and other supplements (but quickly followed by food as it can cause GI distress). If you start to get sick, McCann recommends you increase the dose to three capsules daily.
McCann explains that Zinc is known to support immune function and prevent viral replication when taken at 45 - 60mg daily. To aid with absorption, she recommends taking it with a multi mineral blend that contains 1-2 mg Copper. "A regimen could be one capsule of Spring Center Mineral Support plus 30+ mg of Zinc," she notes.
Note: Zinc is sold out practically everywhere. I've been getting some Zinc from a skincare blend. Ancient Nutrition makes a blend to consider once it is back in stock.
The body requires N-Acetyl Cysteine in order to make antioxidants, such as glutathione. "It has been shown to yield a significant increase in immune function and has been shown to aid in respiratory conditions," explains McCann. Aim for 600 - 900 mg daily, but if respiratory symptoms develop, take more.
According to McCann, this is a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage (caused by said free radicals).
Hint: This is the active ingredient found in Moon Juice's new supplement for skin, above. If you're interested in preventative skincare, well then, two birds, one stone...
To reduce inflammation, you can incorporate various anti-inflammatory herbs into your supplement regimen and diet. For instance, I have been adding organic curcumin powder to my French Chilaquiles. Product ideas include anything with turmeric, ginger, boswellia, quercetin, etc. The Spring Center carries anti-inflammatory blends such as Anti-InflammaX, InflammaBLOX, SPM Actives, and Phytoprofen.
Note: When using fresh turmeric, naturopathic doctor Nadia Musavvir, ND, reminds us to add pepper in orderly for the body to properly absorb it.
The Spring Center Virex Plus has long been used to treat the common cold and flu for patients. However, it is likely beneficial for mild to moderate cases of corona virus as well. The dose is two capsules daily. Contact The Spring Center for inquiries at (949) 574-5800.
McCann explains thatsome newer research suggests high doses of Quercetin (think: 1000 mg daily) can be helpful for treatment of Covid-19. The above blend is on sale.
Medicinal Mushrooms, Echinacea, Elderberry, Andrographis, Astragalus, Goldenseal and Oregon grape are all additional suggestions McCann makes to aid with mitigating viruses and inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Dr. Josh Axe's supplement line, Ancient Nutrition, carries an incredible assortment of fermented Turmeric, Holy Basil, and immune-boosting mushrooms. Unfortunately, stock is limited right now; the Turmeric and mushroom blend are both available, though.
Available May 5, Tia Mowry's line of vitamins is now offering elderberry. Elderberry is another immune-boosting remedy McCann mentions. It is packed with antioxidants, helping to fight free radicals and protect against oxidative stress. Overall, it helps to improve cellular immunity.
What are your favorite immunity-boosting tips? Please share.