In my yard, the first signs of spring are showing up. Green shoots have broken through the brown ground from bulbs buried deep in dark soil. Birds sing out cheerful chatter to one another during frigid mornings. Best of all, a few flowers have actually blossomed! Drooping white snow drops and delicate yellow crocuses promise longer days, warmer weather, and maybe, just maybe a serious shift in the trajectory of our local, national, and global pandemic.
As March brings us into early springtime, a lot of people, myself included, are thinking about vaccination for COVID-19. If you read my last post, “Six Steps to Prepare for COVID-19 vaccination,” you know that I’ve been doing my homework about effective ways to give our immune systems the best chance of helping us out as needed.
In that post, as well as in an earlier one, ” Which Crown Do You Choose?,” I focused on the importance of paying close attention to your daily diet and lifestyle-relate choices, which is the best way to prepare your body to tolerate viruses and their vaccines. If you or a loved one is going to sign up for one of the currently available vaccines, there are some additional measures you can take to help optimize your response to the shot.
Today my focus is on the possibility that in preparing for vaccination, you may want extra nutritional support from select supplements as well as from certain foods. So I’m suggesting a basic list of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to consider for your immune resilience.
Supplemental Nutrition to Support Immune Function
Of course, you’ll want to consult with your doctor or nutritionally-savvy health care provider to help you determine whether any of these, or other nutritional supplements known to help enhance immunity and reduce symptoms, would be appropriate for you at this time and if so how much.
So far, studies on the coronavirus suggest that the nutrients discussed below can help with reducing complications from COVID-19 and it’s vaccines. You may wish to have some of these supplements on hand to take for at least five days before and five days after receiving the vaccine.
~ Vitamin A, especially for a confirmed case of the virus. According to recent research, vitamin A supplementation, when balanced with vitamins D and K, can improve resistance and recovery rate. Good food sources include liver, cod liver oil, carrots, spinach and kohlrabi.
~ Vitamin C. In addition to consuming foods rich in vitamin C – for example citrus, red bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, and camu-camu powder, if you test positive for COVID-19 you may want higher doses of C in supplemental form. Vitamin C is not only anti-viral, it’s also antibacterial, antihistamine, and boosts antibody production.
Note: according to medical experts, vitamin C supplementation should be avoided for 24 hours before and after vaccination in order to enable your immune system to respond more effectively to the shot.
~ CoQ10 can be especially helpful for elderly individuals to help offset any triggering of imbalance in their mitochondria.
~ Vitamin D. Since low levels of D are a co-factor for COVID complications, ideally you’ll have your vitamin D (Hydroxy 25) level checked by your doctor. That way you’ll know whether you need extra vitamin D3 in your system and how much. This is especially important for people with digestive issues. The best natural sources of D include sunshine and certain foods: liver, butter from grass-fed cows, fatty fish, egg yolks, fermented cod liver oil, and mushrooms.
~ Multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement that includes a good balance of vitamins B, K, and D. If those forms of supplementation are not for you, remember that another excellent way to obtain many of the important vitamins and minerals needed for immune resilience is to consume a “rainbow” of colorful vegetables and fruits, ideally every day.
~ NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine), which is a precursor to the glutathione that is needed for detoxification, can also help with management of viral symptoms. However, note: as for vitamin C, it’s best to avoid taking NAC for 24 hours just before and after a COVID-19 vaccine.
~ Probiotics. Probiotic foods and/or supplements, if tolerated, can help balance the good bacteria in your gut. As you have most likely heard, a well-balanced gut micro-biome is essential to a well-functioning immune system. Good food options to consider include naturally fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi, or my favorite gingered-carrots made by Real Pickles. Other options include miso, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.
~ Quercetin. If you test positive or are symptomatic, know that quercetin is a commonly available flavonoid and zinc ionophore that facilitates the transport of zinc across lipid membranes. Quercetin has the potential to inhibit the infective nature of the SARS-CoV-2 Viral Spike Protein.
~ Selenium & Zinc, especially if you experience COVID- related symptoms. Both these minerals boost immunity. Zinc also inhibits the intra-cellular shedding of the SARS- CoV-2 virus. Food sources of these minerals include liver, beef, oysters, scallops, lamb, oats, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts.
Other supplemental options to consider for supporting your immune function include such agents as mushrooms (for example, maitaki, shiitake, or reishi), echinacea angustifolia (a medicinal herb with a long history of use for respiratory health), and resveratrol (a naturally occurring polyphenol with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties).
Also, remember that the pleasure and health benefits of simply going outside and gazing at the natural marvels of early spring plant and bird life can give your heart joy and your immune system some welcome nourishment!
If you’d like support around strengthening your immune function or for addressing some other aspect of your health, please contact me for a free consult. I’d be happy to talk with you about your concerns and healing options. You may reach me through my webpage at https://renewvitality.com
1) Dr. Sarah Ballantine, The Paleo Mom Podcast
2) Dr. Mark Hyman, The Doctor’s Farmacy Podcast, with Dr. Patrick Hanaway – “The Functional Medicine Approach to Treating COVID-19 and Post-COVID Syndrome” https://outlook.office.com/mail/search/id/AAQkADkyZWY2NzY2LTZiY2 MtNGYzNS05MDE5LWM4YjQxMTE0ZGUxNwAQAN%2FTV7qlT55Jrxwjc 3ND4YM%3D
3) The Institute of Functional Medicine,
https://functionalmedicine.widen.net/s/jsx6jjtfvm/pandemic-pre- vaccination- protocol?fbclid=IwAR3AOM3dkWQOMae86naPfxVYhXpcWDCjYaoxDeF- paUeY7yXQNL5ZD7EUgk ; https://www.ifm.org/…/covid-19-vaccines-in- phase-3-trials/
4) Andrea Nakayama, 15-Minute Matrix Podcast: Episode #161 with Dr. Elana Roumell re vaccine preparation; #132 with Allison Post rabout self-support; #127 A. Nakayama Maps COVID-19; and #129 with Donna Jackson Nakazawa on COVID-19 brain-related stress
5) Wholistic Kids & Families, Dr. Katerai with Dr. Elroy Vojdani
6) Yanuck, Pizzarno, Messier, Fitzgerald; “Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery” file:///Users/rosamondreedwulsin/Downloads/New%20COVID- 19%20Peer-Reviewed%20Publication%20- %20Natural%20Interventions%20for%20All%20Four%20Phases%20of %20the%20COVID%20Dise.webarchive