Immunity Shots

They are all the rage these days: colorful little 1-2 ounce bottles filled with juices, spices, vitamins and minerals meant to boost immunity. But buyer beware. Some of the bottles found in the grocery or health food store contain “nootropic” ingredients such as ampakenes, cerebrolysin, piracetam, armodafnil, and citicoline, that may cause adverse effects such as headaches, tremors, muscle weakness, diarrhea, stomach pains, sensations of moving or spinning, and more. You’ll want to read the labels of any immunity shots you purchase and be sure you recognize what you are drinking.

Better yet, why not make your own? Combining a variety of common ingredients can give your immune system the boost it needs. Let’s take a look at some ingredients commonly found in immune shots that you may want to include in yours, and we’ll link to a couple recipes to try.

Citrus: Fresh juice of orange, lemon, and lime contain vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potent natural anti-viral and an excellent antioxidant. It stimulates white bloods cells to move to the site of infection and actively participates in killing the microbes. Both orange and lemon fruit contain similar amounts of vitamin C, but there is a greater amount of the vitamin found in orange peel than in the fruit itself. That is why some recipes call for using a high speed blender like a Vitamix® and tossing in the entire washed fruit, then using a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth to remove the remaining solids from the juice.

Citrus fruits also contain fiber, and a variety of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that provide additional health benefits.

Kiwifruit: If you are looking to add vitamin C to your shot, and prefer an alternative to citrus, look no further than kiwi. Kiwis actually contain more vitamin C than citrus fruit. While both green and gold varieties of kiwi are loaded with vitamin C, you’ll need to use two green kiwis to equal the vitamin C in a single gold kiwi. Kiwis are also a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes that provide additional benefits to the digestive, cardiovascular, and metabolic systems.

Ginger:  While you may know ginger root for its stomach-soothing properties, it is also a potent immune booster. It has direct antimicrobial effects against bacteria and viruses, and also has antiinflammatory action. Ginger is a common addition to immunity shots.

Turmeric: This colorful root contains a compound called curcumin, which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and is released  especially when the turmeric is slightly heated.  Always add freshly ground black pepper to your recipe when using turmeric, as a compound in black pepper, piperine, facilitates the absorption of curcumin into the body so it can get to work. Remember to get your turmeric from food rather than supplements.

Berries: Some immunity shots contain berries such as blueberry and strawberry, rather than citrus. Just 8 strawberries provide more vitamin C than an orange! Blueberries contain a bit of vitamin C as well as other nutrients and antioxidants, including quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant flavonoid that promotes a healthy immune response. It has antiviral activity as well as direct antiinflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.

Garlic: Occasionally you will see garlic added to immune shots for its cold- and flu-fighting activity. Garlic contains sulfur, which helps your body to absorb zinc, a known immune system boosting mineral. Garlic also directly increases the number of virus-fighting T-cells and calms the adrenal response to stress (which often lowers our ability to fight infections). In all, it’s a great addition to an immune shot.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains a probiotic combination of yeast and bacteria that may stimulate the immune system and improve gut health. Apple cider vinegar also contains acetic acid which can kill bacteria. When using it in an immunity shot – be sure to dilute properly so it doesn’t burn your esophagus and erode the enamel on your teeth.

Ceylon cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon is preferred over cassia cinnamon for its medicinal properties and substantially lower concentrations of toxic coumarin. Ceylon cinnamon can add flavor and a hint of natural sweetness to your immunity shot while possessing antiinflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects of its own.

Carrot: Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. This antioxidant vitamin stimulates white blood cell production and maintains the integrity of mucous membranes and epithelial tissue, supporting the body’s first line of defense against invading microorganisms.

Leafy Greens: Greens such as spinach, kale, chard, and arugula contain large amounts of vitamins C and K, and support immune cells in the gut that help regulate the immune system.

Supplement boosts: Want to add an extra boost of vitamin C to your shot? Ask your healthcare practitioner about PERQUE Potent C Guard™ buffered mineral ascorbate. Vitamin D3 is also important for immune system support. Ask your healthcare practitioner about adding PERQUE D3 Cell Guard™ during those cooler months when you can’t get enough vitamin D from the sun.

Use some of these ingredients to create an immune-boosting shot of your own or try one of our combinations here.

Do you have a favorite immune-boosting combo? Let us know!

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