Tag Archives: nutrients

Structure Your Time To Step-Up Your Immunity


Right now, most of us have some sort of shelter-in-place rule as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic. That probably means working at home and even spending most of our time inside. And that’s a dramatic shift from how most of us normally live.


With the wrong habits and a poorly managed schedule, this can affect your immune health in a negative way. 


But these aren’t normal times, and we’re all doing our best to adapt to a new environment. Being in an office during your workweek creates a routine and order that helps maintain discipline. Going to the gym or a yoga class provides a structure that makes sticking to your workout easy.


You don’t always have that routine and structure when you work from home. 


Many of us are facing newfound hurdles that can throw a major wrench into our already-busy schedules. Maybe you’re trying to manage your normal workload while home-schooling your kids. Or you’re finding that endless temptations and distractions can quickly sabotage your productivity. 


You’re not alone — we are all managing a completely new routine that can feel overwhelming.


That’s why I emphasize to my patients — who I’m seeing virtually right now, by the way — the importance of establishing and maintaining a consistent routine. Not only does it help your mental health, but it also will keep your immune system strong as we weather the world’s biggest pandemic challenge since the Spanish flu of 1918.


A strong, structured routine benefits your health and happiness in so many ways.


When you have a system, you know you can get most things done. In that routine, making sure to factor in enough time for sleep is critical to keep your immunity up to beat. Falling asleep at a specific time ensures you get great sleep and wake up refreshed to tackle the day ahead.


You make smart food choices that support gut health and you’re able to fit in some kind of exercise that improves your mood and wellbeing.


All of these little wins add up in big ways. You find that you have more control over things than you might initially think.If you don’t believe me, think about when you don’t structure your time


In that scenario, the day flies by as you get that nagging feeling that you haven’t done the things you need to. And you probably spend so much time going back and forth between text messages and emails, that you finish the day feeling mentally exhausted.


You might mindlessly graze on junk food while you’re reading Facebook, which only amps up your stress levels. You complain that you don’t have the time or energy to exercise. All of these things cut into your sleep levels, creating a vicious cycle that increases your stress and anxiety, while decreasing your body’s defenses.


In turn, these things pack a powerful punch straight to your gut — or immune system.



1 – The gut is the gateway to your immunity.

2 – Lack of sleep chips away at your ability to fight off infections.


What affects your gut affects your entire body. This is because the gut microbiome doesn’t exist in a vacuum. This complex system interacts with inflammatory, metabolic, and circadian clock systems.


When you structure your time, you structure how your gut and immune system work in a positive way.


FOCUS ON THESE THREE THINGS..that we all have control over





How you structure your time can dramatically impact all of these, which in turn can shape your health and wellbeing for better or worse. Let’s look at all three in detail and how you can manage them well. 




A lot of us are stress eating right now. Stress eating often involves mindless eating, and more specifically, mindlessly eating unhealthy foods. It might not feel like it at the moment, but our current situation will end. Let’s move forward lean and healthy, not packing on extra weight and sabotaging our health.


Maintaining a regular eating schedule will help when you’re working from home


Your  immune health, your gut, and your waistline will all benefit when you keep structure and consistency. That includes not reaching for snacks or fasting between meals, which improves blood sugar and insulin sensitivity — two very important processes that help maintain a healthy weight.


Studies show that regular meal timing and consistency can benefit you in many ways. Doing so can lower inflammation levels, improve how well you sleep, make your body more resilient to stress, and improve your gut bacteria. All of that can support a healthy immune system.


Trust me, I know how easy it is to graze all day long when you’re working. But even with healthy foods, constant grazing can take its toll on your gut and overall health.1 



1 – Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Prep as much as you can to make things easy. If you need to, portion out snacks ahead of time. 

2 – Get delivery*. Right now, restaurants are really suffering. One way to support your local businesses is with curbside pickup or delivery. You can manage portion sizes, and letting someone else fix your food can give your day some excitement. 

3 – Create a kitchen curfew. Being at home all day gives you constant access to foods. Chances are, if foods are readily available, you’re more likely to graze. Have a substantial dinner and close down the kitchen for the night! Take any evening snacks to the living areas. This is a great time to experiment with intermittent fasting, which has so many benefits for gut health, immune health, weight loss, and more. 


*TOP TIP – Order more than one day’s worth of meals, and follow…


1 – Throw out delivery bags

2 – Wash your hands

3 – Eat off your own plates 

4 – Store food in your own containers


When you eat healthy foods within a certain time frame, you’ll find the scales are moving favorably in your direction. You feel better and look better. 


If you’re a fasting newbie, you don’t need to go crazy here. Even an overnight 12-hour fast can work wonders here. That means you eat within a 12-hour window and don’t eat during the remaining 12 hours. You’ll be sleeping for part of that time anyway. Fasting has so many benefits. Doing so can positively impact your gut microbiome, lowering gut permeability and improving inflammation2.


A happy gut means a healthier immune system!


Once you get over the initial hurdles — fasting can be hard in the beginning — you can enjoy the benefits that fasting can create. Some patients even enjoy fasting: They have more energy and mental focus when they fast regularly. 


Keeping a strict eating schedule that incorporates some type of fasting will improve the quality of your gut microbiome and strengthen your gut barrier3As a result, you’re less likely to have problems like leaky gut. Because most of your immunity lies within the gut, you maintain a strong immune system.




I haven’t met many people who didn’t struggle with stress before this pandemic. But for just about everyone, those stress levels have been dialed up to 11. More than any other time, this current situation is creating the perfect opportunity to develop a resilient mindset that manages stress.


A little bit of stress can make you stronger, but that stress response should eventually taper down. Feeling nagging, low-key stress — which many of us do right now — can worsen nearly every disease on the planet. 


When you don’t manage stress levels, your health takes a big hit. You increase your risk for problems like heart disease.4 Equally alarming, other areas of your health can be affected as well, most notably the gateway to your immune system and immunity — your gut.


I see this all the time with my patients who struggle with gut problems. Your brain and gut are very intricately connected. When one is out of balance, the other is quick to follow.5 Think about a time when you felt anxious, depressed, or stressed out. Did you find yourself running to the bathroom more often or otherwise experiencing gut issues? 


That’s the gut-brain connection!


And it used to happen to me a lot when I was younger — way before I got my gut in order using the protocol I put together in my Gut C.A.R.E. Program™


Research shows the stress response can alter the natural balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, causing the gut ecology to shift in favor of a more hostile group of bacteria. Stress also delivers a massive hit to your immune system. One meta-analysis looked at over 300 studies about immunity and stress over three decades. Researchers concluded that chronic, low-grade stress can damage your immune system.6 


Stress can suppress the immune system’s ability to respond to infections.


When you’re stressed out, you’re also more likely to make other unhealthy choices — including binging on junk food or reaching for a third glass of wine — that impact your immune health, gut, and more.So, in order to step-up your immunity, stress management is a key component of an immune-boosting strategy. And the best way to manage stress is to structure time in your day that is dedicated to activities that lower stress.


Little measures can go a long way to manage stress levels. Here are my go-to 



YOGA. One of my favorites  since it can help you quiet your mind so you can feel and then release the tension stored in your gut and other places in your body. You don’t need to do it long: Incorporating yoga as part of a daily routine can take just 10 minutes. 

SCHEDULE* time for breaks. Take five minutes out of every hour and do something fun. Call a friend, step outside to get some fresh air, watch a funny YouTube clip, play with your pets, or do some deep breathing. (Learn more about that in tip three)

MOVE often. You don’t even have to call it exercise. Just get your body moving. Most of us are sitting throughout the day, whether that involves working or scrolling your news feed. Even doing some pushups or squats throughout your day will benefit you tremendously. 


*TOP TIP – Set your phone or other electronic device to remind yourself to pause, breathe, and find gratitude for the present moment




Several of my patients have told me they aren’t sleeping well right now. Many of them are glued to Fox, CNN, MSNBC, or whatever their poison is, which builds anxiety and fear that cuts into their sleep cycle.


Sleepless nights spell terrible news for your gut, immune health, and so much more. 


When you don’t get enough sleep, your body makes fewer immune cells called cytokines that target infection and inflammation. Your body creates and releases cytokines when you sleep. Not getting good sleep can spell bad news for your immune system.8 


Studies show that when you don’t get enough sleep or high-quality sleep — both of these matter — you’re more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. If you do get sick, poor sleep means you don’t recover as quickly.9 That’s because poor sleep can be a stressor on the immune system. Researchers found that poor sleep can even reduce your body’s response to the flu vaccine, making you more susceptible to getting sick.10


When you don’t sleep well, your gut takes a hit. 


You throw off your gut rhythm by adversely affecting the balance of favorable and unfavorable bacteria and compromising the gut wall.11 This can lead to things like constipation or diarrhea in the short term, and over time can even affect insulin signaling.12


But even if your circadian rhythm seems normal and you are spending eight hours a night in bed, if you are waking up during the night, the overall quality of your sleep suffers. Scientists call this poor-quality sleep “sleep fragmentation.” Just as missing out on sleep affects the gut, sleep fragmentation can also adversely affect the gut microbiome.13


In other words, when something is off — in this case, sleep — your gut feels the impact. 


Poor sleep can also mess with your fat-regulating hormones like insulin. You’re more likely to graze throughout the day because you’re hungrier. And you’re not exactly making gut-friendly food choices!14 All of those things add up to weight gain. 


Staying up late at night, watching TV, surfing the web, or looking at social media on your smartphone, all mess with your melatonin secretion, and this can spell horrible consequences to your immune system. 


If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, consider taking a melatonin supplement. Melatonin has been well-studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. As the study that I mentioned shows, melatonin limits virus-related diseases, making it ideal for COVID-19. Melatonin can help you better manage anxiety and sleep better.15  




1 – Avoid Blue Light at Night

Once upon a time, we got most of our light from the sun — NOT TODAY. 


On average, adults spend about half of their waking hours staring at screens.16 That screen time — staring at laptops, TV, phones, and tablets for hours — can mess with your body’s biological clock, impacting sleep levels but also contributing to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. That’s because blue light suppresses melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythm. Blue light can help you stay more alert during the day, but at night it can impede sleep levels. 


Researchers compared the effects of 6.5 hours of blue light and green light exposure. They found that blue light suppresses melatonin for about twice as long as the green light. Blue shifted circadian rhythm patterns twice as much.17


I encourage patients to turn off electronics about two hours before bedtime. Read a physical book, take a hot bath, do some meditation or yoga, or find what helps you relax and unwind. If that’s not always possible — I know how addictive those Netflix shows can be! — invest in a pair of glasses that block blue light. Studies show wearing these before bed can significantly improve sleep quality.18 


2 – Meditate Before Bed

Meditation is a great way to end the day and sleep more soundly. Even meditating a few minutes before bed can help your body better relax. 


Meditation also improves control of the autonomic nervous system. Doing it regularly can activate parts of your brain that control sleep. Meditation can also increase sleep-supporting neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin.19


It can even reduce nighttime cravings and help you relax before going to sleep. Once you get into this habit, you will find that your sleep is more restful and you will wake up feeling refreshed. Personally, I have the best sleep when I take time to meditate for 20 – 30 minutes before I retire for the evening. 



  • Find a place in your home that is peaceful and provides a comfortable location to sit, ideally on a cushion so that your sits bones are supported and your back is straight
  • Turn the lights down, and light a candle. You can put the candle across from you in your line of vision as a point to focus on.
  • Commit to an amount of time you’ll sit in meditation: 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes and set a timer so you don’t have to think about it.
  • Soften your eyes as you look at the candle or close them (as I prefer to do when I want to go inwards), and start tuning into your breath.
  • Take a deep breath in, hold it in for a moment, then exhale.
  • Develop a rhythm: 4 second inhale; 4 second hold; 8 second exhale; repeat
  • Let thoughts roam freely in and out of your mind, but don’t hold on to them or follow them like Alice down the rabbit hole of your ever-active mind.
  • Bask in the break the stillness gives you until your time is up. 


A meditation before bedtime lowers your blood pressure, regulates your heartbeat, calms the nervous system, and sets the tone so your brain can enter the healing state that restful sleep is for the body. By the way, remember to blow out the candle before you go to bed. 


3. Get Early Morning Sun 

The way you start your day will make a big impact on your sleep patterns. And the best way to do that is with sunshine. Research shows that phototherapy can provide the following:



  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

…and MORE!


Among its benefits, sunlight can boost levels of your feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin can also optimize levels of melatonin and improve your circadian rhythm. 

The source is critical: 


Get light from the sun, not artificial light. 


Timing matters too. Aim to get sunlight in the morning, within the first hour after you wake up. If possible, get 30 – 45 minutes of direct sun exposure. If a walk around the park or lake isn’t possible, opening your window in the car or office can also give you some morning sunlight.20 


Try Something New


One final idea about structuring your time — try something new! 


Right now, you might find yourself in a pattern of the same activities day in and day out — including meals. Variety can beat boredom and improve your mood. 


Rather than focus on the lack of, like not being able to do or eat your favorite meals, find the opportunity within the limitations imposed upon us. Without a commute for most of us, you have gained time you can spend in a variety of activities to shake things up and enrich your day.  


Understandably, even with keeping stress at bay and getting your ideal sleep, putting into place a healthy immune-boosting diet can prove more difficult than the first two combined. From queuing up outside markets for groceries, to discovering your options are limited if not sold out, each week can be a bit of a toss up. 


To maintain the optimal levels of the vitamins and nutrients required to step-up your immunity is no easy task, let alone getting variety in your diet to avoid the boredom that leads to mindless grazing while having to work from home. Meal replacement smoothies make the most efficient way to meet that challenge head on and provide support for immune health.


But you also want to choose the right meal replacement


Unfortunately, many commercial brands contain poorly balanced formulas, don’t provide the right delivery system, and contain gut-irritating ingredients such as dairy and gluten. These and other problems mean that you’re not always getting the right amount of these nutrients to support immune health.


That’s why I created H A P P Y  G U T® Cleanse Shake — where you can rest assured that when you order, you’ll receive a top quality, professional-grade meal replacement.  This is the exact gut-restoring and detoxing meal replacement I use myself and with my patients. 


From raw material selection through manufacturing, to shipping of the finished product…

H A P P Y  G U T® adheres to the strictest of quality control standards, including the requirements of the FDA Dietary Supplement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).



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Managing the quality of your sustenance, stress, and sleep are all part of how to Structure your Time to Step-up Your Immunity!




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Take The Right Vitamins And Nutrients To Increase Your Immunity


There’s never been a more critical time to create and maintain a healthy immune system. 


I’ve long approached immune health from a different perspective: The gut. If you’ve read my blogs or book Happy Gut®, you know the crucial roles that your gut plays in immunity. 


Most of your immune system, after all, is in your gut. Your small intestine lining houses about two-thirds of your body’s lymphocytes, the small white blood cells that create an immune response. Those lymphocytes form a powerful army that seeks out and destroys pathogens. These are the bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that cause illness. As lymphocytes travel throughout your body, they rally your immune system in other organs. 


To keep a strong immune system, start with your gut. Dysbiosis — an imbalance between favorable and unfavorable bugs in the gut — can wreak havoc on your immune system. The patients I see with gut problems oftentimes get sick more often. When we fix their gut, their immune system becomes stronger, too.


What you put on the end of your fork dramatically impacts both your immune system and your gut, for better and worse. Eating a wide variety of foods with protective nutrients and phytochemicals helps support a healthy immune response. I’ve talked about many of those foods in Happy Gut®.


Even when you’re eating the right diet — and let’s face it, most of us aren’t — you may not be getting the key nutrients you need to support immune health. My patients frequently ask me what key nutrients they need to defend against viruses and other bugs to keep a strong immune system.


I’ve found that most people are deficient in at least one of these nutrients. These are my top five go-to nutrients when I feel a cold or the flu coming on. They’re the ones I frequently “prescribe” to my patients when they want to do everything possible to keep their immune system strong.  Following each of them are recommended doses for prevention and to increase your immunity.




Vitamin D was actually named before its mechanism of action was known. It is not a vitamin; it’s a hormone!


That distinction is important, because whereas vitamins act as cofactors for enzymes, hormones like vitamin D cross right into the nucleus of the cell where they influence gene expression. This workhorse nutrient plays a big role in your immune response. 


Vitamin D carries a long history for fighting infections1. Interestingly, before antibiotics, vitamin D from cod liver oil and sunlight was used to fight tuberculosis2. In fact, since one of the main ways your body makes vitamin D is by the effect of UV light on the skin, it’s no surprise that even before they knew vitamin D existed doctors placed patients outdoors to get sunlight to help them recover from the 1918 flu pandemic.  


Vitamin D is crucial for your gut, too. Optimal levels of vitamin D keeps your gut barrier strong. A strong gut means that things meant to stay within your gut, such as large proteins, do. When these things slip through your gut wall, on the other hand, an immune reaction can occur. 


Vitamin D can also impact your microbiome, the diverse ecosystem living inside you comprising of trillions of probiotic gut bacteria that help maintain a healthy digestive system. The right quality and quantity of probiotic gut bacteria impacts your immune system, for better or worse3.


Vitamin D does a lot of other things: It also helps the gut absorb calcium and mobilize it to your bones, for instance, and lowers the inflammation levels that contribute to many diseases4Unfortunately, many of us are:


Deficient in Vitamin D

  • 42% of adults in the U.S. in fact, according to a 2011 study5
    • 69% for Hispanics
    • 82% for African-Americans


These deficiencies can impair your body’s ability to fight bacterial and viral infections, including respiratory infections6. Vitamin D deficiencies could trigger viruses such as influenza7One report looked at almost 19,000 people. Those with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for other variables8.


Ideally, you’ll get vitamin D from diet and sunlight. Unfortunately, very few foods contain good amounts. Those that do, such as fatty fish and egg yolks, are foods that most of us don’t eat regularly. Likewise, most people don’t spend enough time in the sun to make sufficient amounts. That makes a supplement the ideal way to get vitamin D.


Vitamin D comes in two different forms:

  • Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol
  • Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol


Vitamin D3 is the superior form to replenish vitamin D levels, because it is absorbed better orally9Always check your levels 4 – 8 weeks after starting a supplement to assess your response.


Recommended vitamin D dose: 5,000 IU daily




Your body needs vitamin A, another fat-soluble vitamin, for vision, growth, development, healthy skin, reproduction, and a strong immune system10.  


When you think about a strong immune system, you might include things like your spleen and gut. But so many other parts of your body protect against viruses and other foreign invaders that can create illness. Consider the mucous barriers that trap bacteria and other infectious invaders in your eyes, lungs, gut, and genitals. Vitamin A plays a key role in keeping these mucus barriers strong11.


Vitamin A supports white blood cells, which help capture and remove bacteria and other foreign invaders12. Supplementation can help reduce infectious diseases such as viruses13. Vitamin A can also support your immune system in other ways, such as lowering inflammation14. 


Deficiencies, on the other hand, spell bad news for your immune system. Too little vitamin A can impair your body’s response to infection, for instance, so your immune cells can’t function as well15.


In food, Vitamin A comes in two forms:

  • Animal Foods – including eggs and wild-caught seafood contain the active form of vitamin A16
  • Plants – provide inactive forms of vitamin A precursors called carotenoids17


Your body contains two enzymes that convert carotenoids or inactive vitamin A into active vitamin A. Some people have genetic variations that can inhibit this conversion18, potentially creating vitamin A deficiencies. Gut health also plays a role here. Your small intestine converts beta-carotene into retinol19. Gut problems could inhibit this conversion.


To support gut and immune health, eat plenty of colorful plant foods, like:

  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • cantaloupe
  • papaya
  • broccoli sprouts

These provide the carotenoids that research shows can decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, and more20. 


But to get the most bioavailable, preformed vitamin A, you’ll want to choose animal sources such as eggs, grass-fed beef, and wild-caught seafood. If you’re not eating sufficient amounts of these foods, consider getting vitamin A from a fish oil source. Liver and fish oils are highest in preformed vitamin A21.


One word of caution: Too much vitamin A can be a problem for pregnant women. Always talk with your healthcare practitioner before you supplement during pregnancy. 


Recommended vitamin A dose: 5,000 – 10,000 IU daily for immunity





When you feel a cold coming on, you might automatically reach for vitamin C. And for good reason: The cells within your immune system can accumulate and utilize this water-soluble vitamin. Optimal levels can even help reduce how long you’re sick22.


Among its specific benefits, supplementing with vitamin C can help prevent and treat respiratory and other infections23. But ideal levels of vitamin C can support your immune system in ways you might not immediately consider. 


Consider your skin, the body’s largest organ and a barrier to the potentially damaging things you’re exposed to daily. Vitamin C helps protect your skin against pathogens and free radicals that can create damage24Deficiencies, on the other hand, will reduce your immune system’s ability to fight pathogens. Low levels of vitamin C can make you more susceptible to infections. Infections, in turn, can significantly lower vitamin C levels25. 


Healthcare practitioners are using intravenous (IV) vitamin C with patients with COVID-19 to support the immune system. Experts note that “intravenous high-dose vitamin C could be [a] safe and beneficial choice of treatment in the early stages of COVID-19.”26 In fact, researchers in China are currently studying whether high-dose vitamin C is ideal for patients with severe COVID-1927. We expect those results in the fall of 2020.


Using high-dose IV vitamin C for infections isn’t new. One study published in 2019 looked at high-dose vitamin C infusions for people with severe infections.28 These patients had sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition when the body’s chemical response to an infection becomes out of balance. Sepsis can damage multiple organ systems.29 They also had acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe condition that can lead to irreversible lung injury and death.30


Researchers found a lower death rate at 28 days among people who received the high-dose vitamin C.  This study didn’t look specifically at COVID-19 infections. However, the endpoints of severe infections are the same. Sepsis and ARDS are the most common conditions leading to intensive care unit admission, ventilator support, or death among those with severe COVID-19 infections.31


With all the coverage about COVID-19, I’ve read some critics point out that not all studies support vitamin C’s benefits on the immune system. 


Many of these studies had limitations, including:

  • Not using enough vitamin C 
  • Taking vitamin C after a cold kicked in
  • Using ascorbic acid, a synthetic version of vitamin C that usually comes from genetically modified corn. Many commercial brands of vitamin C also lack bioflavonoids.


In other words, getting ideal amounts of vitamin C is important, but so is getting the right form. Many oral forms of vitamin C are poorly absorbed, especially at higher doses.32 The best form of oral vitamin C is liposomal C. This form adds a carrier to the vitamin C to help your body better absorb and utilize this vitamin. While IV-form vitamin C is better, research shows that liposomal vitamin C absorbs better than regular vitamin C supplements.33


Because it’s water soluble, you can’t overdose on vitamin C. Your body will excrete any excess amounts. But don’t take too much at once! Vitamin C can cause loose stools and other gastric distress that can mess up your day! Start on the lower spectrum and gradually increase your intake. 


Recommended vitamin C oral dose: 2000mg daily

Recommended IV dose: 7,500 – 15,000mg daily for 3 days (for sick patients)34




This plant pigment — scientifically called a polyphenol — is found in foods including broccoli, apples, berries, grapes, some herbs, tea, and wine.35  


As a powerful antioxidant, quercetin helps the body fight the free radicals that can damage your cells and compromise immunity. Quercetin can help stimulate your immune system to fight viruses, reduce allergies, and lower inflammation.36 


Those benefits make quercetin ideal to fight the common cold, which is caused by several respiratory viruses. In fact, quercetin could be more effective than a vaccination to fight the common cold.37 Quercetin can halt viral infections and replication with no serious side effects.38


Studies show that quercetin could inhibit the early stage of influenza, the viral infection that attacks your respiratory system.39 Other research shows that quercetin can halt respiratory viruses, including rhinovirus, which is responsible for most common colds. In athletes, quercetin can even reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections after exercise.40


One study found that Quercetin could:

  • Lower inflammatory cytokines 
  • Lower lung inflammation 
  • Lower viral load
  • Improve lung function
  • Reduce susceptibility to influenza A virus infection and its severity41

As a nutrient, quercetin works great on its own. I also like pairing it with other flavonoids such as epigallocatechin-gallate (ECGC), the active compound in green tea. These flavonoids act as signaling molecules. 


Recommended quercetin dose: 1,000mg daily





Zinc is a trace mineral that plays a big role in your immune system on so many levels. In fact, researchers call zinc “a gatekeeper of the immune system” because nearly every immune cell is dependent on zinc.42 


Zinc helps regulate both the innate immune system, your body’s first line of defense against viruses and other potentially dangerous invaders. This mineral also helps out your adaptive immune system, a backup defense that kicks in when your innate immune system is overwhelmed. 


Studies show that zinc can reduce the duration of cold symptoms, especially in adults.43 Zinc status is strictly regulated by two transporting proteins. When either malfunctions, your immune system can become tremendously impaired.44


Like with the other nutrients here, zinc deficiencies can hurt your immune system, impairing:

  • Process of phagocytosis – when your immune cells destroy something harmful like a virus
    • Think of phagocytosis as Pac-Man. The word — “phagos” = to eat; “kytos” = receptacle or basket — refers to the immune cell taking in the harmful organism, almost like swallowing it.
  • Production of cytokines – your immune cells secrete these messenger molecules
    • Cytokines communicate inflammatory signals both inside and outside cells45
  • Growth and function of lymphocytes white blood cells and one of your body’s main types of immune cells
    • Lymphocytes include T and B cells. B cells produce and secrete antibodies, which help activate the immune system to destroy pathogens. T cells can only recognize viral antigens outside the infected cells. B cells, on the other hand, can recognize the surface antigens of bacteria and viruses.46


Zinc deficiencies can increase your risk of infections.47 While deficiencies can create problems, more is not better. High amounts of zinc can impair the immune system similarly to zinc deficiencies. When it comes to nutrients, balance is always the key.48


Zinc is also a powerful antioxidant. The inflammatory cytokines that certain immune cells release can increase free radical production. Increases in these cytokines could suggest zinc deficiencies. Supplementing with zinc can help your body better manage those free radicals and prevent the oxidative stress that damages your cells.49 


When your body is inflamed — say, when you’re sick — zinc can help prevent free radical overload.50 Zinc can also indirectly impact your immune system in several ways. This mineral contributes to the production of many hormones, including thyroid and growth hormones. Your pancreas also contains a large amount of zinc, which helps regulate insulin secretion.51


Zinc also supports your gut, too. Several studies show that this mineral can support the tight junctions within your gut wall for conditions such as crohn’s disease52 and inflammatory bowel disease.53 When those tight junctions become damaged, gut problems including leaky gut can surface.


Certain things can also inhibit how well you absorb this nutrient. Phytates are anti-nutrients found in certain foods including wheat. They can interfere with the absorption of zinc and other minerals. Since the production of stomach acid is dependent on zinc, having low stomach acid could be caused by a deficiency.


Getting the right form of zinc is essential, since this mineral does not cross the cell membrane easily. Quercetin can help zinc get into cells more easily, where this mineral has been found to block viral replication.54 In other words, zinc is an essential mineral for blocking the spread of a virus once it enters and infects your cells.


Don’t take zinc supplements for more than three to six months without checking your zinc/ copper ratio. Taking too much zinc can deplete levels of copper, another important trace mineral. Be sure to ask your doctor to check both your zinc and copper levels, because it’s important to know what’s stored inside your cells.


Recommended zinc dose: 15 – 30mg daily with food





Even with the healthiest diet, I find that many patients lack one or more of these immune-supporting nutrients. The critical step is to replenish levels, since many people initially have deficiencies in at least one nutrient. Then, I focus on maintaining optimal levels of these nutrients to increase immunity. 


Supplements make the most efficient way to get these vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support immune health and so much more. But you also want to choose the right supplements. 


Unfortunately, many commercial brands contain poorly absorbed forms, don’t provide the right delivery system, and contain gut-damaging ingredients such as dairy and gluten. These and other problems mean that you’re not always getting the right amount of these nutrients to do their job.


That’s why I created HAPPY  GUT® — where you can rest assured that when you order, you’ll receive a top quality, professional-grade nutritional supplement.  These are the same supplements I use myself and with my patients. 


From raw material selection through manufacturing, to shipping of the finished product,

HAPPY  GUT® adheres to the strictest of quality control standards, including the requirements of the FDA Dietary Supplement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).


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1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821804/
3 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.03141/full
4 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
5 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821804/
7 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/246737/
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3349454/
10 http://www.fao.org/3/Y2809E/y2809e0d.htm
11 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits#section3
12 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits#section3
13 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10604208
14 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162863/
15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8801180
16 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854912/
17 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits
18 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19103647
19 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits
20 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854912/
21 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
22 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19263912
23 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763
24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763
25 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763
26 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339511104_High-dose_intravenous_vitamin_C_treatment_for_COVID-19
27 https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT0426453
28 https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/treatments-for-covid-19
29 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sepsis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351214
30 https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/treatments-for-covid-19
31 https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/treatments-for-covid-19
32 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
33 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915787/
34 But even 15,000mg may be too low, and studies still need to elucidate what is the ideal dose of vitamin C for severe infections with a viral pneumonia, like Covid-19.
35 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27187333
36 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27187333
37 https://www.longdom.org/open-access/quercetin-a-promising-treatment-for-the-common-cold-2329-8731.1000111.pdf
38 https://www.longdom.org/open-access/quercetin-a-promising-treatment-for-the-common-cold-2329-8731.1000111.pdf
39 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728566/
40 https://www.longdom.org/open-access/quercetin-a-promising-treatment-for-the-common-cold-2329-8731.1000111.pdf
41 https://www.longdom.org/open-access/quercetin-a-promising-treatment-for-the-common-cold-2329-8731.1000111.pdf
42 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/
43 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3394849/
44 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748737/
45 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/
46 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320182585_Difference_Between_T_Cells_and_B_Cells
47 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/
48 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748737/
49 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/
50 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/
51 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30772815
52 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11383597
53 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637104/
54 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25050823