Our 4-Supplement Advice for Viral Illnesses

 Among my family and friends, I’m known as the one who is up-to-date on the latest natural health news and supplement information. I LOVE learning about natural ways to stay healthy. As a result, I’m always on-call to dish out natural healing wisdom, but this fall I have gotten way more requests for do-it-yourself ways to boost immunity and stay healthy than usual.

That’s no surprise given that we’re entering flu season in the middle of a global pandemic. Several friends have had family members get diagnosed with Covid-19 and others are nervous about exposure. Everyone is asking what they can do to build up their viral defense so they can avoid getting sick or recover quickly. 

vitamin supplements for a healthy immune system

There’s no doubt in my mind that every single person can improve their immune response by taking care of their nutritional needs, getting enough rest, cutting out junk food and supplementing intelligently. 

Here is my short and sweet list of essential immune-boosting supplements that I have been sharing with all my friends and family this fall. I’ve also been taking them myself!

When you first start feeling a little lousy, start this protocol right away. And you’re feeling great, working these four supplements into your routine can help you stay that way.

Feel Better Fast Protocol

  • Vitamin D 1000-5000IU/day all winter
  • Quercetin 500mg 3/day
  • Elemental zinc 50mg/day
  • Vitamin C 2000mg 3/day until feeling perfect (can take more up to bowel tolerance)

Vitamin D

happy mature couple healthy in the sun with vitamin d

The superstar of immunity supplements is none other than the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D helps regulate your immune response, and high levels correlate with lower rates of respiratory viral illnesses such as flu and COVID in many recent clinical studies. Adequate D levels seem to be a good protection against severe illness.

The easiest thing to do for vitamin D is to get daily sun on your skin: 15 minutes during early afternoon hours is enough for most people’s needs. If sun is not available try supplementing with D3, full name cholecalciferol. 

Vitamin D3 will help your body absorb calcium, so it’s best to take some K2 along with it to direct the absorbed calcium into your bones where you want it. You will be getting stronger bones as well as better immunity; it’s win-win. Most doctors recommend maintaining vitamin D supplementation all winter long.

We take a daily vitamin D dose of 1000-5000IU. Sometimes higher levels may be needed, but it’s best to get your levels checked so you know. My daughter was just prescribed 10,000IU/day for 2 weeks and then 5000IU per day after that since her levels are too low. We’ll then recheck her levels in 8 weeks and possibly adjust her dosing.

Quercetin + Zinc

 healthy man running on cold day in flu season with healthy immune system from vitamin supplements

Zinc is especially great for helping the immune system defeat viral illnesses. It is able to inhibit the replication of viruses within cells. The hindrance of viral replication is why it's important to take zinc early in the infection process before the viral load is large. The other important point is to get the zinc into your cells where it does its work; this is where Quercetin can help.

Quercetin acts as a zinc ionophore and shuttles zinc into the cells where it interferes with the virus's ability to thrive and multiply. Quercetin is also an antihistamine and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with allergy symptoms as well as helping the body combat illness.

Vitamin C

healthy kids drinking orange juice for vitamin c and immune defense

Here’s another superstar supplement and one that we should be taking every day in large quantities. Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and supports both the adaptive and innate immune systems. 

Your body will require and use much more C at times of stress and illness, so large doses are very helpful to your body when you’re not feeling well. Your tummy will get a little rumbly when you’ve taken too much, but because it’s water-soluble there is no overdose value. If needed, just back off to smaller doses and/or less frequent doses. Your body basically tells you how much it needs!

We generally take 2000mg of vitamin C every day and at the first sign of illness increase to 2000mg every hour while awake (if possible) until we feel better. Our family loves taking liposomal C when ill. It is a buffered liquid that's easy on the stomach and is easy to take in large quantities without swallowing tons of pills. 

My husband became a believer in the power of C when he was coming down with the flu and 2000mg of C every hour helped him to recover in one day. He went from fever, chills, muscle aches and sore throat to feeling fine the next day. It was dramatic. 

My daughter likes to get her extra C when she has a sore throat by adding liposomal C to her herbal tea for yummy flavor and an antioxidant boost. I also encourage the kids to munch on vitamin C gummies when they’re fighting a bug for some extra doses. 

Honorable Mentions

happy woman on cold beach healthy protected against winter illness

Magnesium at 400mg twice/day will help with better sleep, muscle relaxation, achiness and will improve the body’s overall efficiency as it works to defeat the offending microbes. I try to take magnesium before bed every day, sick or healthy. It just makes me feel better overall.

Vitamin A has some potent antiviral functions and can be taken in high doses for short periods of time to boost immunity against illness. I’ve taken 10,000IU/day for several days at first signs of illness with great results.

There is no guarantee that you won’t catch an illness this winter, but staying strong will definitely help you recover faster if you do. It pays to take good care of yourself!

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