Last week, I talked about boosting your vitamin C intake by using the powerful little Camu Camu berry. We all know that vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to illness. However, there are other vitamins, minerals, herbs and natural substances that can do wonders to boost your immune system and protect you from the onslaught of colds, the flu and, of course, the Corona Virus aka: COVID-19. In fact, there are many, many natural substances that help in this area, but today, I’ve limited it to four of the very best:
- vitamin D
- oil of oregano
- colloidal silver
Vitamin D ~ The Sunshine “vitamin”
It may surprise you, but vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin. Most vitamins and minerals required by the body must be consumed, because the body does not make the substance. Vitamin D is different in this regard and is more like a hormone. The body actually makes vitamin D in our skin as a result of exposure to sunlight. You may guess, therefore, that most humans are deficient in this all important substance, due to our lack of exposure to sunlight and poor diets.
Vitamin D is crucial for many activities in the body, today, we are especially concerned with the immune system. One study indicated that individuals deficient in vitamin D were more susceptible to respiratory infection than those with sufficient levels.
Here are a few other facts about vitamin D:
- Every cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor!
- It is estimated that as many as 2000 genes or 1/6 of the human genome is either directly or indirectly regulated by vitamin D.
- The digestive system cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D
- Vitamin D is crucial to bone health
- Plays a critical role in the immune system
- Vitamin D is important in the reduction of infectious diseases in the body
Supplements and dosages:
Because most individuals are deficient in this very important substance, a dosage of 2000 to 5000 IU/day is recommended for most people. I HIGHLY recommend vitamin D3, as this is the natural source from animal products. Try to avoid vitamin D2 if possible. The D3 version is easier for the body to absorb.
If you’d like a whole food source of not only vitamin D, but vitamin A and vitamin E as well, I HIGHLY recommend BLUE ICE FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL from Green Pastures. I personally take this every day along with a D3 supplement during cold/flu season.
Oil of Oregano
To be honest, I wasn’t that familiar with oil of oregano, and had to do a bit of research. It turns out this is powerful stuff! It is by far one of the most impressive herbal supplements I’ve seen. It has been used as a medicinal substance for more than 2500 years! Here are just some of the things it does for you:
- supports immune system
- powerful antioxidant
- promotes mood balance
- aids digestion
- allergy support
- weight loss support
- helps with herpes and other lip blemishes
- promotes intestinal balance
- normalize yeast balance
- healthy liver support
Sources and uses:
The Healthy Oil Planet website recommends asking these specific questions when looking for an oil of oregano supplement:
- How much Active Ingredients are in the oil? – The active ingredients in the oil is carvacrol and thymol. Caracrol is the ingredient responsible for the anti-microbial activity of the oil. Therefore, any oil should have high concentrations of cararo.
- What is the Plant Source? You’ll want to make sure the plants that made the oil are: grown wild on native soils, handpicked, pesticide and herbicide-free, grown in an ecologically-conscious manner with conservation programs in place.
- What’s the overall Purity and Quality? Look for the following: Are the oils GMP (good manufacturing practice)-certified? Is it additive-free? Steam-distilled oils are higher purity; Free of solvents; Non-irradiated; 100% natural; Unprocessed and raw
- What form do you want: Liquids or Capsules?
Dr. Axe recommends taking 4 drops 4 times daily for 10 days. It can also be used topically on fungus or herpes cold sores.
Elderberry is a flowering plant native to parts of Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. There are many species of elderberry, but black elderberries are the most commonly used. The berries and flowers are used in medicine, while the bark, roots and leaves are toxic and should be avoided. Elderberries have been used for a long time in wine, jams, jellies and, syrup, which is most common today.
Elderberry syrup is one of the most studied due to its benefits as a powerful immune booster. The berries contain compounds called anthocyadnidins, which have “immunostimulant effects”. Studies show that people treated with elderberry vs a placebo recover faster from flu symptoms. Here are some elderberry benefits:
- cold & flu relief
- reduce sinus infection symptoms
- lowers blood sugar
- a natural diuretic (promotes the production of urine)
- relieves constipation
- improves skin health
- helps relieve allergies
- possible cancer fighting benefits
- improved cardiovascular health
Uses, supplement sources, and cautions:
The most common use of elderberries is as a syrup. The recommendation is one teaspoon per day, which can be increased to 3x/day in cases of illness. Elderberry tea, powders and capsules are also available.
While elderberries have many potential benefits, there are a few things of which to be aware:
- Only eat ripe, COOKED berries. Raw berries should be avoided due to a cyanide-inducing chemical contained in the berries. This can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Purchasing commercially prepared syrups, jams, and jellies are generally safe.
- Elderflowers and berries can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you are susceptible to allergies, use caution.
- Elderberry syrup is NOT recommended for children, unless advised by a doctor.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid elderberries, due to lack of available research on effects to fetal health.
- Due to the immune stimulating effects, individuals with autoimmune disorders should use caution and seek advice from a doctor.
- Can interact with some medications including: diabetes meds, other diuretics, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, and laxatives
I’ve save the best for last. Colloidal silver is something everyone should have in their medicine cabinets. I must admit this one is new for me as well. But as I was doing research for this article, colloidal silver kept coming up as a “must have” for immune boosting and protecting substances. As a member of the wellness community, I’ve heard of it, but dismissed it as something silly or misleading in terms of benefits to human health. But as I did research, I was continually impressed and proven wrong.
So, what exactly is colloidal silver? Basically, colloidal silver is electrically charged silver nano particles suspended in pure distilled water. You’ve more than likely heard the phrase “born with a silver spoon in your mouth”. This phrase stemmed from the knowledge that using silver in the consumption of food, was beneficial to human health. If you’ve used silver to eat, you’ve no doubt ingested silver nanoparticles.
Silver has been used to treat disease for more than 6000 years. In fact, it was commonly used as a natural antibiotic as recently as the 1940’s, when modern antibiotics arrived on the scene. It is scientifically proven to be effective against most organisms and pathogens. Here are some benefits of colloidal silver:
- natural antibiotic
- natural antimicrobial
- natural antiviral
- help with wound care
- improved skin health
- possible help with pink eye/ear infections
- known to help with sinusitis
- helps with cold/flu
- helps with pneumonia, bronchitis
Uses, cautions and sources:
Colloidal silver may be taken/used in the following ways:
- 2–5 drops applied on skin
- to support the immune system take 1 eyedropper orally
- 1–2 drops into eyes for pink eye
- disinfect woulds by applying 1–2 drops on a bandaid
- 5 drops added into a neti pot or directly sprayed into the nose to treat sinusitis
While the benefits are widely known, the safety of colloidal silver is controversial and still up for debate. Many scientists believe colloidal silver interferes with certain drugs. However, as of the writing of this article, there is no research suggesting this is true.
When looking for colloidal silver, make sure the company is reputable and uses a good quality silver source. Poor quality supplements can lead to a condition called “argyria”, which actually turns the skin blue. Good quality colloidal silver WILL NOT turn your skin blue! Here are a few other things to look for in a good quality colloidal silver supplement, from Global Healing:
- Purity matters – pure water is extremely important for this process to work.
- Proper electrical charge is necessary. It isn’t enough to simply have silver nanoparticles in distilled water. Colloidal silver works because the electrical charge is attracted to the bad microbes. Therefore, the silver must have a proper electrical charge
- Use a supplement created using a “high voltage” process. You will, no doubt, find equipment and videos indicating you can make your own colloidal silver. While technically possible, “homemade” versions, using low voltage, will not have the same health effects.
Note: I looked at many lists and sites highlighting the best colloidal silver and this one was on every list and stood out as being the best. The key to this one is “bio-active”, which means it has the proper and important electrical charge.