Integrative Health Blog

While You Wait for Your COVID Vaccine...

Posted by on Wed, Feb 24, 2021

As of this article, 13% of Americans have received at least 1 dose of the COVID 19 vaccine.
And while many have even received their second shot, still millions patiently await their turn.

When it comes to vaccinations, there are several factors that influence how you will respond. Your age, gender, genetics, and what happened when you were in your mother's womb are intrinsic factors that cannot be modified. Additionally, properties of the vaccine itself are out of your control.

However, several variables such as your overall nutritional status, stress levels, physical activity and sleep patterns are completely under your control and if addressed, will help maximize your response. Check out the list of interventions below to help you optimize your health and allow your immune system to generate a robust response to the vaccine.

10 things to do NOW while you wait

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Tags: vaccinations, immune system, virus

COVID-19 and Comorbidities

Posted by on Mon, Feb 22, 2021

COVID-19 will probably be with us for months or maybe even years to come.

Most people will have little to no symptoms – especially if you are young and in good health. However, those with comorbidities are vulnerable for major complications including a higher risk of dying. Comorbidities means more than one illness or disease occurring in a person at the same time. So, comorbidities are conditions that were present before you got COVID, such as diabetes, COPD, or kidney disease. Getting serious about prevention and minimizing your comorbidities is the key to survivability, or more importantly, thriving in these uncertain times.

Action Steps to Enhance Your Health and Immune Resistance

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Tags: immune system, virus

10 Foods to Nourish the Immune System

Posted by on Tue, Dec 01, 2020


One of the best ways to keep a strong and healthy immune system is to eat well. What does this mean? We are often confused by the latest and greatest diets, but eating to nourish our health is not a fad, but a lifelong habit.

Nutrient-dense whole foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats, wild-caught fish, and flavorful spices are the basis for a good diet. Things that come out of a box, package or can are not promoting good health. We need to feed our bodies at the cellular level, and this is best done with a fresh, nourishing diet.

Incorporate these foods into your diet to help keep the immune system strong:

Pumpkin 

Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and antioxidants beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, and is wonderful to eat and low in calories. Pumpkin can be pureed and added to smoothies, pancakes, granola, protein balls, even macaroni and cheese! (see pumpkin recipes). The nutrients and antioxidant benefits of pumpkin include: protecting eyesight and skin, low calorie/high fiber aids weight loss, may reduce some cancer risk, can boost mood, the immune system and helps fight infection. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack and they are a terrific source of protein, zinc, and iron.

Garlic

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Tags: holistic nutrition, immune system, integrative medicine

Let's Think About Virus Prevention

Posted by on Wed, Jun 10, 2020

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was Right

It is more important to understand the patient who has a disease, than it is to understand the disease that a patient has.  ~ Hippocrates

Now that we are mostly through the first stages of the Corona or COVID-19 pandemic, we can appreciate that all the good preventative efforts (masks, social distancing, hand washing, disinfecting, etc.) have slowed the spread, giving our healthcare system “breathing room” to process new cases. 

Of course, as I have often explained, the media and governmental agencies tend to focus only on the virus and not on our innate immunity, which is our best defense system.  However, having slowed the spread of COVID-19, it gives us all time to think about ways to enhance our immune systems, so I will reiterate here some information from my previous articles for two important reasons:

  • It looks like COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and while you may have escaped the first wave, it is a good idea to beef up your immunity now and for a long time to come. Don’t drop your guard.  Just remember the acronym, ABCD and…Z.  Everything that you do to enhance your immune system also helps protect you from cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases.

  • The latest research on Vitamin D from 10 countries shows (surprise, surprise) that deaths are much lower in those who have higher vitamin D levels.

Be sure to have your physician test your Vitamin D level, and keep it optimized.  The ideal levels are greater than 50 ng/mL.

Basic Supplements to Support the Immune System

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Tags: immune system, integrative medicine

Improve Your Immune System Health to Fight Virus

Posted by on Wed, Apr 15, 2020

We are ALL concerned about how exposure to coronavirus could adversely affect the health of ourselves and our loved ones. We want to know:

  • Am I at high risk for COVID-19?

  • Is my immune system strong enough?

  • What can I do at home to remain healthy while social distancing?

  • What should I be eating?

  • Are there certain vitamins or minerals that may help?

The key to who gets sick and who does not lies in the strength of their immune system. The healthier you are, the better chance you have at fighting the Coronavirus. To combat coronavirus, or any flu or cold or virus, we must first support the immune system.

But how do we do this?

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Tags: flu, immune system, functional medicine, virus

Coronavirus: Healing the Gastrointestinal Tract to Boost Immunity

Posted by on Sat, Apr 11, 2020

One of the ways to tune up your immune system and give you more resistance to the Coronavirus is to heal your intestines.  A healthy gastrointestinal tract is often synonymous with a healthy immune system, which strengthens your resistance to any and all infections.

Roughly 60% to 80% of our entire immune system is estimated to surround our gastrointestinal tract to keep our microbiome, the bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses, in check.   If an overgrowth of unfriendly flora occurs or our immune system is reacting to various foods (e.g., food allergy), a lot of our immune systems energy is diverted to the intestines and away from the immune system’s other responsibilities such as resisting or fighting infectious invaders like Coronavirus.

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Microbiome

How can we tell if the immune system is wasting its energy fighting food proteins or the flora growing in our intestines?  One way is to consider symptoms.  If bloating, excess gas, abdominal discomfort, loose stools, acid reflux or constipation are a regular occurrence, you may be suffering with food allergy/sensitivity and/or the overgrowth of unfriendly intestinal flora.  Sometimes it is impossible to figure out which foods are involved, and which micro-organisms are overgrown without diagnostic functional medicine testing, like a stool test, a urine test and blood work.  Once the diagnosis is made, it’s a relatively simple process to correct the flora and get your immune system to then divert its attention away from the intestines to other parts of your body.

Healing the Gut with the 5 R’s

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Tags: immune system, gut, functional medicine, integrative medicine, virus

Coronavirus: It's Not Just About the Virus (Mostly)

Posted by on Tue, Apr 07, 2020

It’s more important to treat the person with a disease, than it is to treat the disease that a person has.

                                                                                                  ~Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine

When I was in medical school almost 50 years ago, we were recruited for an experiment to test the common cold virus (i.e., a rhinovirus).  I didn’t volunteer even though some extra spending money would have been nice, but my classmates did.  Students were selected who had essentially no antibodies to rhinovirus.  In exchange for a pittance, researchers at the University of Virginia Medical School divided the volunteers into four groups (if my ancient recollection serves me well): 

  • Group 1 was the control and received no virus.

  • Group 2 received a very low dose.

  • Group 3 received a moderate dose.

  • Group 4 received a high dose.

As you might expect, no one in group 1 became ill, whereas everyone in group 4 got a cold.  A few in group 2 came down with the sniffles and about half of those in group 3 “caught” the cold.  The takeaway from this outcome was that we all have a dosage threshold of inoculation.  Despite this well-established fact, I see little discussion about immune resistance to the corona virus and almost all discussion is about the virus itself.  It’s as if the quote above from the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, has never been heard.  It’s also similar to integrative cancer treatment – modern medicine’s expertise treats the cancer but may tend to ignore the whole person (with an immune system), who is fighting and killing cancer cells.

The Role of the Immune System

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Tags: immune system, functional medicine, integrative medicine, virus

Winter is Coming! Prepare for a Healthy Season with Essential Oils

Posted by on Mon, Oct 14, 2019

Please join us for a fun and informative class and learn how to use essential oils to stay healthy and stress-free this winter!

Title: “Winter is Coming! Prepare for a Healthy, Stress-Free Season with Essential Oils”

Date:  Wednesday, OCTOBER 23, 2019

Time:  6:00- 7:30 pm

Place: National Integrated Health Associates

           Washington, D.C.

Presenters:  Janette Coffee, CHC, and Denia Tapscott, MD

REGISTER                

As the weather is starting to cool and leaves are starting to change, we are heading into one of my favorite seasons.  Fall always reminds me of my childhood and the excitement of getting back to school, sweaters, boots and the start of the holiday season. 

However, as we head into fall and winter, we also enter the dreaded cold and flu season.  Plus, the added busyness of getting back to into a routine after the summer, and all the extra responsibilities as we prepare for the holiday season can increase our stress levels.   When we are stressed our immune system can be compromised, and we might be more susceptible to those unwanted “bugs.”

Using essential oils as part of a daily self-care routine may help support the immune system and promote relaxation and better sleep.  Essential oils are known to have powerful cleansing and purifying properties, which may help boost immunity and reduce feelings of stress. 

Wouldn’t it be great to truly thrive and experience abundant health and energy as we head into this season? 

Using Essential Oils

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Tags: immune system, essential oils

Vitamin D for Disease Prevention and Optimal Health

Posted by on Tue, Jul 09, 2019

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for your health at every age.  In fact, the illnesses associated with vitamin D deficiency are numerous. Recent studies on vitamin D reveal the hazards of D-deficiency and the benefits by maintaining an optimum level:

  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a greater risk for cancer.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased incidence and severity of asthma and wheezing disorders.
  • Vitamin D deficiency affects the cardiovascular system. Deficiency of vitamin D increases the risk for heart attack, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, and heart failure.
  • Vitamin D has been shown to be an effective treatment for psoriasis.
  • Vitamin D supplementation reduces the incidence of autoimmune diseases, specifically multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes (when taken during infancy).
  • Vitamin D enhances the immune response and provides protection against upper respiratory infections, influenza, and middle ear infections.

Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency

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Tags: vitamins and minerals, immune system

Vitamin D Helps with Seasonal Changes and Immunity

Posted by on Thu, Oct 25, 2018

As the population of North America progresses through seasonal changes from summer to fall and then into winter our bodies also go through critical changes.   

The days get colder and shorter with decreased sunlight exposure promoting changes and alterations in our immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems (especially the brain) as well as lesser changes with the other body systems.  

These seasonal changes will bring illness unless our systems are healthy enough to adequately adapt.  Because a large percentage of our population is already unhealthy (huge numbers are obese, pre-diabetic or worse- highly stressed, immune compromised, or have chronic disease ) seasonal changes will add another level of stress which frequently results in illness.

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Tags: vitamins and minerals, immune system