Last week, we discussed ways to strengthen your immune system naturally. Aside from “self care” approaches including diet, exercise, and stress management, here are some advanced ideas for 21st-century “health care.”
- Have your vitamin D levels tested. The most recent research indicates that the level of 25(OH)-D in your blood should be 40-80 ng/mL. The U.S. RDA for vitamin D is intended to prevent rickets, not to strengthen the immune system. A blood level of 25-30 is insufficient if you want robust health.
- Supplement with vitamin D3. Unless we work outdoors in the southern U.S., most of us will need to take a high-quality vitamin D supplement during the winter to maintain protective levels of vitamin D in our blood. This should be, specifically, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). In the northern U.S., we may need to take 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.
- Take probiotics. Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your intestinal tract? It is your primary line of defense against the outside world. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help us break down and absorb our food. They also keep harmful pathogens from entering our bodies. A 2009 clinical study in Pediatrics journal shows that children taking probiotics twice a day have a much lower risk of developing cold and flu symptoms.
- Get chiropractic care. Our current understanding of the body is that the immune system and nervous system are intimately linked. They developed from the same embryonic cells. They respond to the same hormones and neurotransmitters. Chiropractic care improved function of the nervous system so the body and brain can communicate more effectively. This makes the body more resistant to stress and illness because it is operating efficiently. Families who use chiropractic care very often report strengthened immune systems, for both parents and children. Care of the nervous system is part of a wellness lifestyle!
About the author: Dr. Barbara Kaiser, DC, CCWP, is a wellness-certified chiropractor at Vital Life Chiropractic in Eagan, Minnesota.