** The following is an excerpt from Dr. Larrow’s Winter, 2018 Update Newsletter. If you’re not already subscribed then please follow through to the bottom of the page to do so. Thank you. **

Here are several things you can do to help support your immune system come this holiday season.

Throughout this time of year we are busier, eating more, and sleeping less which puts us at an increased risk of getting sick. Here are some nutrients and ideas that can help you to make it through the holiday season healthier.

  • Vitamin D3 - Before you just add vitamin D3 to your treatment plan, it is important to get your levels tested. Ideal lab values would be 55 to 80. Vitamin D helps to boost the immune system, of course, but since it is a fat-soluble vitamin it can become toxic at high dosages which is why testing is important.

  • Vitamin C - Another great immune boosting vitamin. However, know that too much of this will leave you with looser stool or even diarrhea. Usually, 1000-3000mg extra when sick is helpful at shortening the duration of your illness.

  • Zinc - 30mg per day can help to boost your immune system, but zinc and copper also balance each other out. Therefore, too much zinc and your copper level might go low.

  • Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) - A wonderful immune boosting plant. The berries are rich in anthocyanin which have antiviral properties and can help with inflammation. I ask that you please get a pre-made sambucus product unless you have made your own sambucus for years. Often, these pre-made products also have other immune boosting herbs and can sometimes include vitamin C and/or zinc.

  • Avoid Sugar - This is a big one. As a reminder, 1 teaspoon of sugar can knock your immune system out for 4 hours.

  • Drink Plenty of Water - Especially if you are drinking alcohol.

  • Lifestyle and Common Sense - There are also everyday things we can do to keep ourselves healthy. It is ok to say no to some events. Pick and choose the most important holiday events. You cannot be there for everything as you need down time so get some rest. It is also ok to just say that everything is too much and that you need to stop and relax for a bit. Also, wash your hands more during these months. When in doubt wash your hands.

Take it easy as best possible this holiday season. Thank you.

- Dr. Anita M. Larrow, ND

Image credit: Leslie Seaton (Via Wikipedia/Flickr) (CC 2.0)