Women’s Health Expert, Amy Myers, M.D. on Boosting Your Immune System
What do you recommend for supporting immunity? — AL
Anything you can do to reduce your body’s toxic load and support it in getting rid of toxins can help to support a healthy immune system—particularly important if you have had a history of Epstein Barr (mono), herpes, or other viruses.
Here are some tips:
Aim for an organic diet—with lean, grass-fed animal protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Avoid GMO foods, packaged processed foods, and hybridized foods like wheat.
I typically add collagen or L-glutamine to my smoothies on a daily basis, as these both support a healthy gut lining, as well as help support optimal digestion.
I also recommend optimizing your body’s production of glutathione—the number one detoxifying molecule, or master antioxidant, in our body. Our body naturally generates this free-radical scavenging molecule, which helps us metabolize and get rid of toxins such as alcohol and heavy metals. Glutathione serves many other functions in the body, and even helps support hormone balance. It’s also thought to support the immune system, especially during cold and flu season. But it’s difficult to get enough of the building blocks of glutathione in our diet.
Glutathione itself as a supplement is typically not well absorbed orally, because it is broken down in the gut, that is, unless you take the acetylated form of glutathione. (In the latter, an acetyl group is added onto the glutathione molecule to prevent it from getting broken down.)
You can also take the building blocks of glutathione: Vitamin C, broccoli extract, and N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC) are some of my favorites. They’re readily and efficiently used by the body, so you’ll find them in goop’s Balls in the Air regimen, which I consulted on.
The most direct way to take glutathione is via IV. Some people do this for extra support for their immune system. You can also effectively take it nebulized—where you breathe it in—and finally, there are ways to do glutathione suppositories rectally.
I advise that people take a really high quality multivitamin (also included in Balls in the Air), so that you’re getting other critical nutrients like zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D; all critical for immune health.
Some people might need additional supplementation (which a doctor can see via blood work). For instance, most of the autoimmunity patients at my clinic take vitamin D supplements; you should consult your doctor if this is a concern you have.
A high quality probiotic is beneficial—60 to 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut, so you want to make sure it’s working well.
Some of my patients also take an Immune Booster Powder, made of bovine colostrol whey peptides, that contains 40 percent IgG immunoglobulins to support immune function.
When we’re talking about getting rid of toxins: You want to make sure you’re peeing, pooping, and sweating every day. Stay very well hydrated, drink lots of filtered water (not out of a plastic bottle). If you’re not having a bowel movement every day, I recommend taking magnesium citrate to support healthy bowel function. For sweat, infrared saunas and exercise are great.
Many of us can benefit from reducing the stress in our daily lives. Practicing stress-relieving techniques (whether meditation or anything else you enjoy) is a good idea for everyone. I love the Muse meditation headband, and am also a fan of HeartMath.
Amy Myers, M.D. specializes in women’s health issues, autoimmunity, thyroid dysfunction, and gut health. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection. She sees patients from around the world in her functional medicine clinic Austin UltraHealth, based in Austin, Texas. Dr. Myers developed the goop vitamin/supplement protocol, Balls in the Air, designed to keep us on our A game. You can get Dr. Myers’ complimentary 35 Gut Recovery Recipes eBook here.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.