Bonus Episode: Immune Support During a Health Crisis

March 20, 2020

Are you concerned about your immune system because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Many of our clients are asking what they can do to boost their immune systems. Hear how to support your immune system with good food choices and key immune-support supplements. This podcast will be especially helpful for people whose health conditions require extra support during our current health crisis.

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DARLENE: So welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Darlene Kvist. I am the founder of Nutritional Weight and Wellness and of course the podcast, Dishing Up Nutrition. Today I personally want to share my thoughts and recommendations on how you can support your immune system during our current health crisis. You know, as a Certified Nutrition Specialist licensed in the state of Minnesota since 1996, so I've been around for a long time.

LEAH: Absolutely.

DARLENE: So I am one of those people that fall into that category that I have to be careful with my immune system right now.

LEAH: Absolutely.

DARLENE: So that is one of the reasons that we put this podcast together special for people who have these issues. So we're going to make recommendations and of course we're going to focus on making good food choices that will support your immune system because we are nutritionists and dietitians and that's where our thoughts go first.

LEAH: Food first like you always say.

DARLENE: I know. I will also spend some time, we will also spend some time during this podcast recommending key immune-supporting supplements. Now, they're not going to be real fancy ones. They're just going to be something that you can do. So joining me today as our co-host is Leah Kleinschrodt.

LEAH: Good job.

DARLENE: Ooh, that's the hardest part of this podcast.

LEAH: I know. I know.

DARLENE: …who is a Registered and Licensed Dietician, and she has been working individually with clients for the last three years, but I think it's going on four.

LEAH: Yeah, I don't know. I don't do the math really well. I talk food. I don't talk math.

DARLENE: Okay, sounds good.

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: Welcome Leah.

LEAH: Thank you, Dar. It's good to be here with you today. And we know the fears about Coronavirus. We have had calls. We have had emails; numerous calls and emails from clients and from people who do the checking online, and they really want to know what they should do for themselves, for their family members, for the people around them, particularly to boost their immune system. What can they do to protect themselves?

DARLENE: People are really scared these days, aren’t they?

LEAH: Mmhm. So we wanted to pull the show together today to just provide some of our clinical knowledge in this podcast about what we believe people will find useful from a food perspective and perhaps from a supplement perspective as well. Unfortunately, we know like there's no magic pill that's going to boost your immune system overnight and make you completely immune to all of this.

DARLENE: No, absolutely not.

LEAH: But the next best thing that we can do is talk about food first, which is a real food diet, which includes real meat. It includes real vegetables and real, natural fats that these types of things really supply as many nutrients as possible. They give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of nutrients and those nutrients really help you maximize your health.

DARLENE: You know, given the fact that Nutritional Weight and Wellness company is a company specializing in nutrition education, you know, our staff of nutritionists, dietitians and nutrition educators always recommend, just like you said, real food and food first. And we really recommend avoiding all processed foods especially right now. So what do we mean when we say real food? To me that means the food that I grew up eating. You know, for protein, we ate eggs from the farm; real eggs. We ate chicken, beef, pork, and some fish. And the interesting thing is they were all raised on that farm without chemicals, without antibiotics; any of those things.

LEAH: As close to local as you can get.

DARLENE: Yes. So of course we recommend buying grass-fed meat that's free of antibiotic residue for the best immune support because we're thinking immune support. We also recommend eating two to four ounces of animal protein at least four times a day. Leah, kind of let's share some ideas of how people can put animal protein into their diet so that they have a good immune function.

LEAH: Right. Well let's talk about why, like why are these meats, is the fish good for us?

DARLENE: Yeah. That's a good idea. Let's get them why.

LEAH: Yeah, we’ll give them both. We'll give them the why and the what and the how and everything. So meat, whether it is the beef, the pork, the chicken, the turkey, the lamb, the fish, the seafood, whatever it may be, it really is a key factor for our immune system because meat is rich in a couple of different nutrients. So let's focus on vitamin B6 being one of them. B6 is really important for the formation of healthy white and red blood cells. And especially when we talk about the immune system, we really are talking about those white blood cells.

DARLENE: So then an interesting thing is that animal protein, besides the B vitamins or those B vitamins, again, Leah, which ones do the meat supply for people?

LEAH: Yeah, so vitamin B6 is one of them and vitamin B12 is another one. B12 is really important for strengthening up that immune system. So the category of the B’s seems to be really important.

DARLENE: And they all come from animal protein. So also, animal protein contains some really key minerals that support our immune function. I don't think people realize that minerals really support the immune function. So animal protein is an excellent source of iron, which is critical for a good immune system. Interesting, isn't it?

LEAH: Right.

DARLENE: Animal protein is a great source of zinc, which is also key for good immune function.

LEAH: I think most clients or most people are keyed into the zinc piece, but maybe not the iron quite as much.

DARLENE: Exactly. You know, given the recommendations for all of us to stay home means there will be a lot of more cooking going on, I hope.

LEAH: I hope so.

DARLENE: So maybe we'll be actually able to get more and more people cooking these days.

LEAH: Yeah; a great time to experiment.

DARLENE: So what would you suggest, Leah, for some ideas for people to make? I mean we have to start out with something that's simple.

LEAH: Something that's simple, accessible. It doesn't require a hundred different ingredients.


LEAH: Right; so I think about some of the recipes that we have on our website, which is I mean these are great. We have breakfast. We have lunch recipes. We have dinner recipes, snack; kind of up and down. We have a whole bunch of recipes.

DARLENE: And you know, when we put the rest of our cookbook together, our Weight and Wellness Cookbook, and any of our recipes, we really try to make them simple with fewer ingredients so they're not overwhelming.

LEAH: And they still taste amazing.

DARLENE: And they still taste good; yes.

LEAH: That's the key thing too. So a couple that I really personally love, one of those is our Sloppy Joe recipe. So especially thinking about families out there now, if you have kids that are staying home and we need to think of extra lunch ideas and things like that, the Sloppy Joe recipe is really quick. So a couple of pounds of ground beef, you know, onion, celery, carrots, and then a kind of a tomato-based sauce in there comes together so easily and it makes a lot. So you have leftovers then, which is wonderful.

DARLENE: And kids love it.

LEAH: And kids really love it.

DARLENE: I know my grandchildren love that.

LEAH: Yeah, I feed that to my son who's 18 months old too and he's gobbles it up as well.


LEAH: So I love our Sloppy Joe recipe, but also our Bison Burger recipe is nice and simple. And even if you're, even if you're not making your own patties per se, you can buy regular bison, beef or bison burgers or regular beef burgers.

DARLENE: Or turkey burgers.

LEAH: Yeah, chicken patties, turkey patties, any of those would fit that bill for getting in those B vitamins and contributing to that real protein.

DARLENE: So you know, if you're thinking in terms… what would you add then if you're just going to serve some Sloppy Joe or some burger? What else would you add with that to make a full meal?

LEAH: Well, right. So if we're trying to stay away, say from some of the processed side dishes or like say a bun, something like a cooked sweet potato would work really well, and you can even shape the potato into a bun-type form. So you could even sandwich that patty between two slices of sweet potatoes.

DARLENE: You know, interesting. When you say sweet potatoes, the first thing I think of, I always think nutrients: beta carotene.

LEAH: Yes.

DARLENE: A very good antioxidant.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. And maybe on that sweet potato, you're adding some of that good fat in there so you get some flavor into it as well. So that could be butter. That could be coconut oil. That could be ghee. It could be any number of different fats.

DARLENE: So you know the other thing that animal protein does, it supports the amino acids needed to make our neurotransmitters. And why are we talking about this is because so many people right now are under so much stress that when you're under stress, you start to use up your neurotransmitters. And two of the more familiar neurotransmitters that we use kind of daily to handle stress, and particularly right now; one of them is dopamine and the other is serotonin. So here is what happens: meat breaks down into two key amino acids: L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan. And L tyrosine is the building blocks for making dopamine. Well, dopamine makes you feel good. It gives you energy.

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: You know, I certainly had my eggs this morning and I'm making good dopamine right now.

LEAH: Yeah; when you start your day off like that, it sets you up for a better, kind of more energetic day.

DARLENE: Yes. And L-tryptophan is the building blocks for serotonin. I think there's some misconceptions that a lot of people have is they have no idea that they can make their own serotonin. They think they have to get it from a pill of some kind. And that's not really a good source. So what does serotonin do? You know, we need it right now; a lot of it right now because everyone is stressed. And so that it helps us keep us calm, you know, and it manages our stress and anxiety. And again, it's real critical at this time. So because stress lowers your immune system. So eating a couple of eggs for breakfast and a beef patty for lunch, and a salmon steak for dinner supports your immune system and supports your neurotransmitters. Remember also, animal protein is key to all of our B vitamins and it's also key to making a lot of our minerals, so…

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: It's a good thing to have.

LEAH: Right; can't go wrong there. And so we, you mentioned Dar having a breakfast that contained eggs and getting, getting your protein in from there. But I have a fair number of clients who come into the office and either they, they don't eat breakfast or they're like, “Oh, I just can't stomach say meat or eggs that early in the morning.” So I wanted to put in just a little suggestion that seems to work well for a lot of my clients and that's doing like a protein shake in the morning because sometimes getting something cool and “liquidy” down is a little easier than say, chewing on some eggs or chewing on a beef patty or sausage or bacon and things like that.

DARLENE: Yeah. You know, it's so interesting, Leah, when I was kind of taking time to spend some time with my grandchildren, they loved having a protein shake in the morning.

LEAH: Mmhm.

DARLENE: …rather than the eggs.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. And it's fast and it's easy. It's tasty and gets you going onto the next step of your day.

DARLENE: So how do you suggest for people to make this protein shake?

LEAH: Well, I usually encourage people to do a batch of protein shakes at once so you're only getting the blender dirty once.

DARLENE: Perfect.

LEAH: So maybe you're getting out the big blender but you're only getting a dirty once and then you only have to clean it once.

DARLENE: Exactly!

LEAH: So if you're going to make say three to four protein shakes at a time, you can start with pouring in one full can have the full-fat coconut milk into the big blender and then you use that same can, you fill it up with water and you pour that water into the blender as well. If you could make that filtered water even better.

DARLENE: Yes, much better.

LEAH: Yup. Then you add say three to four scoops of a good quality protein powder and we have some good quality ones; a good Whey Protein Powder or a Paleo Protein Powder if you don't tolerate dairy really well. Then lastly for that antioxidant punch, for that, for that real piece about kind of boosting up that immune system, a couple of scoops, two to three scoops of our Key Fruits and Greens. And each scoop contains 20 servings of fruits and vegetables or 20 servings of high antioxidant power.

DARLENE: That’s hard to believe, isn't it?

LEAH: Right.

DARLENE: That little scoop has that much.

LEAH: That little scoop; absolutely. And so you blend that all in the big blender and then you can divide it out into containers. I have glass Mason jars at home that I'll just pour them into. You put the extra ones in the freezer to be used, say in the next couple of days. You keep one out for yourself now and down the hatch it goes. So all the ingredients are in, you hit the on button, blend them up, and then each shake, I mean gives you that well-balanced meal of the protein, good healthy fats and the antioxidants, some of those real food carbohydrates that we get from our fruits and our vegetables. And it tastes great. And like I said, sometimes it's easier to get that down than to actually say chew on a piece of meat.

DARLENE: You know, and I also think it's great for kids. I mean, kids think that they're, they're having something bad.

LEAH: Yeah. It tastes like a treat, but it's getting, especially if you have some of those picky eaters where it is hard to get, say, vegetables down them, this is a nice easy way to, to sneak some of that in.

DARLENE: You know, Leah, last Saturday when I was quickly going through the grocery store trying to get everything in that I needed for a little while, I noticed that all the cans of full-fat coconut milk had been bought out.

LEAH: Oh no.

DARLENE: And so I looked and I thought, “There's not even one left.” And the only coconut milk that was available was the light coconut milk. You know, I kind of smiled and thought to myself, “Well, people have been listening.” And they know that they need to have full-fat products for good health.

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: And they start with their coconut milk. So Leah, talk about why you recommended a shake made with full-fat coconut milk. How does a full-fat coconut and milk support the immune system? I think that's what people would be wondering.

LEAH: Right. What's so special about this coconut milk?


LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: You know, and because it's full-fat, they're going to say, “Am I going to gain weight if I use that?”

LEAH: We get those questions a lot, don't we?

DARLENE: Yes, we do.

LEAH: So our coconut products, so thinking about that full-fat coconut milk or coconut oil; it's one of our tropical oils and they're very antimicrobial. That's one of the special things about them. So they help you fight bacteria, fight viruses, fight different fungi.

DARLENE: That's interesting to even know to think about that a food, something that we use every day has that ability to fight virus, fungus and bacteria.

LEAH: Mmhm.

DARLENE: Naturally.

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: And it isn’t in a pill.

LEAH: Food as medicine in our kitchen.


LEAH: Yeah. So we recommend using that full-fat coconut for the smoothies or the shakes or you can use it in your cooking when you're doing sauces or soups or when you're sautéing your vegetables, you can use that melted coconut oil or for different meats. I'm thinking about like a chicken curry or say like a stir-fry dish where you have, you're getting in that protein, you're getting in lots of vegetables. Another option could be making fat bombs for a snack using that coconut oil, so that melted coconut oil is wonderful.

DARLENE: And people will just have to call and get that recipe from us if they don't have it already.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely, so and sometimes in addition to the coconut oil say, if you're just missing your butter a little bit, you can add a little bit of butter in there just for that nice kind of buttery, creamy flavor. But other fats and oils that can also support your immune system could be, we talked about butter, we talked about coconut oil. But ghee, which is clarified butter, olive oil, avocado oil, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream; any of these would fit the bill. You do want to stay away from refined oils; the vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil because these are damaged factory fats that actually create inflammation in your body and can harm your immune system.

DARLENE: That's another interesting thing, Leah. Actually these bad fats can create inflammation in your body, and we know that if your body is inflamed, your immune system probably is not working as well as it should be right now. So I think it's really important just to kind of stay away from those manufactured factory kinds of fats. And you know, I think it's a time that when people really need to eat more vegetables during this high stressful time because many of the studies have shown that fruits and vegetables, which we've already put in the protein shakes, provide nutrients like beta carotene, like sweet potatoes, beta carotene, vitamin C; like the blueberries is a great way to think about it. You know, vitamin E and lots of the nuts have vitamin E; and these are all great antioxidants. You know, a couple of favorite ways to get more antioxidants into my diet, and I think a lot of us do this. We eat blueberries, fresh blueberries with heavy cream or you know, like we talked about before, a sweet potato with butter.

LEAH: Yes.

DARLENE: Isn‘t that a great idea?

LEAH: I love that. And you know we talked about that canned coconut milk just a minute ago. I don't do really well with dairy, so I use the canned coconut milk as that substitute for the cream when I'm doing something like the berries and the cream, so…

DARLENE: That's a good idea.

LEAH: Yeah. So we have a couple more recipes that we would like to share with you or give you access to.

DARLENE: So I think we're going to take a little break here.


LEAH: So a few of those recipes that we thought we would highlight for you and they're still on our website,, is the Chicken and Ranch Stuffed Peppers. And then another recipe; it's relatively recent I'd say in the last year or two that we've put this one up. It's Pumpkin and Root Vegetable Soup recipe.

DARLENE: I think kids right now that are home from school would love that recipe.

LEAH: Uh huh. Okay. So listen up people. If you have kids home from school right now, put that on your to do list and make, make that recipe and see what comes of it. And then email us if it was a hit for your household. And you can email us or you can find out more of these wonderful recipes at our website,

DARLENE: So right now it is really important to eat real food to support your immune system. And during this major health crisis, we recommend avoiding processed foods. You know, we understand that many people feel as though the world has flipped upside and everything says “stress”. We also know that when people are feeling stressed, they grab for some type of processed, sugary treat. You know, they think it's going to help them feel better. But in fact it actually makes people feel worse.

LEAH: It's that short-term gratification versus the long-term ramifications of, of eating that way. So the sugar may make you temporarily feel better, but in the long-term it actually decreases your immune system. So we encourage people to stay away from the processed foods because we know that actually about 75% of processed foods contain added hidden sugars.

DARLENE: Isn’t that interesting? Say that again. So we know that about 75% of processed foods contain added hidden sugars in them to make them taste good and to keep us wanting more and to keep buying them. But researchers have found that sugar can reduce the ability of our white blood cells. So that immune system, it decreases their ability to kill germs by 40%; so during this time when we're really trying to take all measures, all safety measures to, to combat this virus, we say put the sugar down and just focus on the real foods.

DARLENE: That's yes; perfect. Now, I don't know if people are doing that, but now they have another reason to do it. It's to support your immune system.

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: So you know, and I think it goes without saying that it's best to limit the amount of alcohol you're drinking these days. Because again, alcohol lowers your immune function. You know, I believe everyone, we’re trying to do everything we can to keep our immune system functioning the best it can and some people have to work harder at that. I know I'm in one of those categories. I have to work harder these days to keep my immune system up. So, so now we kind of want to go on and share some immune-supporting supplements that we have found to be helpful. Is that, can we move to that; Leah, from that?

LEAH: I think that sounds like a plan. We've hit on the food, but now there might just be a couple of key things that some people can add into their repertoire that may make a big difference for them.

DARLENE: Right. You know, one of the most important supplements to consider is a probiotic called bifidobacteria. You know, it may actually surprise you that much of our immune system comes from our intestinal track. I think that's new information for a lot of people.

LEAH: Every time I teach our Weight and Wellness series and we bring up that topic, it's like eyes open and they're really honed in to that idea that actually our gut health has a huge impact on our immune system.

DARLENE: You know, so bifidobacteria is the most abundant good bacteria in our small intestinal track. And babies actually get bifidobacteria from breast milk, which they do that because it supports their immune system. So actually bifidobacteria helps us digest our foods so that we can actually get the nutrients, access and nutrients out of our food and into our bloodstream. And then we, you know, during this current health crisis, what I'm doing is I take three bifidobacteria in the morning when I first get up. I take three before lunch and three before dinner. Now before this I was only taking six. Now I'm taking nine.

LEAH: Now you’re taking nine.

DARLENE: You know, I believe that if people just add this one thing that they're going to notice a difference. They're probably going to notice they have more energy because they're getting the nutrients from their food. They have less gas and bloating and they have fewer sugar cravings. So it's going to help them stay away from all those processed foods.

LEAH: It sounds like it's really a “Jack-of-all-trades”; this bifidobacteria, all of those, that good bacteria in our guts.

DARLENE: I think I've been talking about bifidobacteria for at least 20 years.

LEAH: Oh yes.

DARLENE: If not 25 or 30… so another key probiotic that I have added and I have a lot of my clients add is something that's called Biotic 7. And I have people taking that at bedtime away from the bifidobacteria, and one or two. It just adds an extra level of protection. And interesting, one of the things that I, nice side effect is some of my clients said, you know, “I don't get bladder infections or urinary tract infections nearly as often as I used to.”

LEAH: Oh, that's interesting.


LEAH: So not only immune system, but thinking about, well, and I guess this is part of the immune system, but just fighting, being able to fight off those infections a little bit easier.

DARLENE: Exactly.

LEAH: Yeah. So I'm also a fan of the Biotic 7. I use that personally myself. This is another thing I wanted to bring up, though, that I get, I take myself and I also give my son, Cod Liver Oil. How many of our listeners out there did you get cod liver oil growing up? Was that grandma's remedy or mom's remedy for anything that ails you? So two teaspoons every day of cod liver oil can be very protective and beneficial for our immune system. The two big benefits with cod liver oil is mostly the vitamin A that's in there. So, and this is the active form of vitamin A, the form that's found in animal products that our bodies actually very readily use well. And it helps us deal with stress, but it also helps support our immune system.

DARLENE: That's interesting that vitamin A helps us with our stress, isn't it?

LEAH: Mmhm; right. And like our big food forms of vitamin A; liver is our best source, but I have very few clients coming through the door that are consistently eating like liver a couple of times a week. So that's where cod liver oil can be, it's still, it's like an “oldie but a goodie”.

DARLENE: You know, that's an interesting, my mother used to make liver and onions probably once a week or once every other week. And we all loved it.

LEAH: Oh, well there you go. And it was great vitamin A and very beneficial for your immune systems.

DARLENE: Another critically important supplement you need during this crisis is vitamin D. I think everyone is recommending vitamin D to support your immune system. You know, it's really important to have an adequate level of vitamin D, and we think of that as maybe somewhere between 50 and 80 at least; not lower. And sometimes we see clients that have 12, 14, and 17. That is not very protective right now. So I actually recommend to people, to clients to take enough vitamin D to maintain a level, again, somewhere between 50 and 80 or some people are even recommending higher levels right now. You know, I find that most people here and I think throughout the United States pretty much right now need to supplement with 4,000 to 5,000. I use a vitamin D daily. Now, some people may need more depending on the results of your last vitamin D test. And so everybody's scrambling to find out “What was my level?”

LEAH: Yeah, yeah. You're going in and asking the doctor, cause it's not typically something that the doctors will offer. It’s something that you have to ask for. So just good to know like you have to ask for this to get that level checked.

DARLENE: You know, we have a great vitamin 5,000 capsule. We also have 1,000, but we also have liquid vitamin D, so you know, you can get vitamin D in any different formula that you want.

LEAH: Right. And that's where I like cod liver oil too. I just mentioned that a couple minutes ago that it's great. It has a great source of vitamin A. It has a little vitamin D in it as well.

DARLENE: Yes, it does.

LEAH: So, for some people that may be even be enough vitamin D. For some people you might need a little bit more, but it can almost kill two birds with one stone there

DARLENE: You know, one of the things that I always recommend, when you're shopping for vitamin D, get one that is an oil-based and not a powder base. And I think that's why the cod liver oil vitamin D works so well too.

LEAH: Yeah; yup. So moving on from vitamin D, we always want to talk about vitamin C as well. And I think a lot of people are cued into that Vitamin C is a very effective antioxidant and immune supporter. But now what are we talking about when it comes to dosing for vitamin C? So I recommend starting with around a thousand milligrams of vitamin C, and this is a supplement where you do want to work up slowly because too much vitamin C can cause loose bowel movements; can cause a little diarrhea. But you can, if you work up slowly, you typically avoid those consequences. So if you start with a thousand milligrams of vitamin C and then add another thousand milligrams every day, or maybe it's every other day until you're taking probably somewhere in the range of 5,000 milligrams per day is a good place to settle in for most people. Some of the research suggest actually people can do well taking even higher doses; 10,000 milligrams per day. So we have a couple of options in terms of vitamin C support. One is our Complete C 1000 could be a good choice. If you prefer more of a powder, we have a nice Buffered Lemon C Powder. That could be another nice choice. And those are easy enough to taper up and taper down to depending on what your personal level needs to be.

DARLENE: And I think that vitamin C is I think in everyone's recommendations right now. You know, one of my very favorite supplements is a liquid grapefruit seed extract and it's called Advantage Liquid Concentrate. You know, and it comes in about a two ounce bottle. It's not a very big bottle, and I suggest adding four to six drops in a little bit of water, like a fourth of a cup of water and then kind of squish it around your mouth and gargle with it. And if you do that right before bed or maybe when you get up in the morning, but I think before bed, it really helps to, you know, it basically stops a virus, bacteria and fungus from growing at that point. You know, if you're a person that's starting to kind of come down with a cold or something like that, then I suggest to clients to put eight to 10 drops in water, drink it maybe a couple of times a day. It's a great supplement. I mean, you know, and easy. It doesn't taste very good though.

LEAH: It's very potent in that, in that sense.

DARLENE: So you almost know what's working.

LEAH: Right. Yes. Which is why, you know, you're not putting 20 drops in a glass of water. You're using five to 10ish maybe.

DARLENE: So do you have other ones?

LEAH: Yeah. Another one we mentioned more towards the beginning of the show: we talked a little bit about zinc. So zinc is one of those major minerals that we find in our proteins, in our animal meats. But especially right now for some people it may be beneficial to get zinc in a supplement form just to ensure that you're getting a high enough dose to be protective against these viruses and bacteria and keeping your immune system up to snuff. And the thing about zinc is too, you need to eat zinc every day cause our body really doesn't store it very much or very well. So it's something that we do need to take in on a day to day basis. So one capsule of our zinc supplement would be adequate for most people to maintain that high level of zinc and give you that extra layer of protection. One other supplement that I have also started recommending is WholeMune, which is by Ortho Molecular. And this is a supplement that contains beta glucan and clinical studies found that this supplement actually prepares and protects the immune system from ongoing stressors. So this is something that is really nice as a preventative or something that you can take long-term that really helps build up that immune system response. And even just one capsule a day is very beneficial.

DARLENE: And one of our dietitians that we work with says that every time she's going to travel, she starts taking it and she never gets sick.

LEAH: Yes; yeah. That was a nice little clinical pearl that she shared with us the other day.

DARLENE: You know, another one that I have clients taking often is something that's called Super Lysine. And lysine, just a couple in the morning really will kind of perk up your immune system, your viral immunity and help with that. Another thing that I think one needs to think about with supplements is one that I think is really important is something that's called Magnesium Glycinate. And we have talked about magnesium a lot on Dishing Up Nutrition. But you know, I think why do we talk about magnesium as an immune supporter? It's because it helps you sleep. So right now, if people could get eight to nine hours of sleep every night or most nights, if possible, it's going to pop up your immune system and you're going to feel better. So I suggest to people to take anywhere from 400 to 800 milligrams of magnesium at bedtime so that you get to sleep longer and better. You know, magnesium glycinate is well-absorbed, doesn't give people diarrhea. I mean it's easy to take. So another thing that I often have people taking is if they're having trouble getting to sleep, and a lot of people have trouble sleeping; we know that. So I have people take a sublingual melatonin. You just put it under your tongue, let it melt, and about 20 minutes later you're probably falling asleep. And you know, some people need three milligrams. Some people need five. Some people who need 10. And so just take what you need. And most people if they take the right amount they’ll wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and really ready to go.

LEAH: So it might take a little bit of playing around to find the right dose for you so that you don't wake up drowsy, but you're able to fall asleep. And especially if you're watching the news these days and getting wrapped up in social media, it's easy to go down some of those rabbit holes and then get kind of stressed out before bed. So if you just need some of that help to fall asleep and to relax that mind, that's where melatonin and magnesium can be really great for that.

DARLENE: Right. And you know, if people are really having struggles right now, I would say just call our office or email us because we have so many different ideas to help people with all this stress that they're going through and help people actually get a decent night's sleep.

LEAH: Yeah. So Dar, you and I, we really shared a lot of information today in kind of a short period of time. So for listeners, if you are confused or stressed or fearful, we are still currently conducting nutritional counseling by phone or by a video platform called Zoom cast. And the main takeaways from our podcast today, just to summarize kind of the bullet points here, is to eat real food, to avoid those processed foods, especially the sugars and the refined oils. Get as much sleep as you can. Aim for eight to nine hours, especially if you don't have a commute now to and from work, use that extra time to get some sleep in. Drink eight to 10 glasses of filtered water daily, and take a bifidobacteria probiotic to just maintain that healthy intestinal tract.

DARLENE: So Leah, before we kind of end today, I think of what I would really like to do is jump back into one more supplement that I have been using for oh, at least 20 years.

LEAH: Okay.

DARLENE: So we know it's good.

LEAH: Yes, let us know. What is it?

DARLENE: It's called Wellness Formula. What a great name. And I usually have people… because it's a combination of all the things that people need to support their immune system. And so it's all put in one capsule. So I have people during this time probably taking anywhere from three to six a day. And it does really work. People, you know, if they start to feel like they're getting sick a little bit, they start taking six a day and pretty soon they don't have any symptoms.

LEAH: Yes, I know Wellness Formula has been pretty popular lately and we do even have a liquid form that I really love, but so capsules and liquids work just as well.

DARLENE: So I, we really thank everyone for listening today to our podcast. You know, Leah and I hope we have left you with some ideas and tips that you can use during this health crisis. To help support your wellness efforts, we are offering free shipping on all of our supplements and we're doing our very best to keep up with all the supplements in stock. And that's really difficult right now.

LEAH: Especially with that Wellness Formula like you mentioned.

DARLENE: You know, so if you're still having questions about any of the supplements or anything we shared with you today, you know, email us at or call our office at (651) 699-3438 and we'll try to help you, you know, weather this storm. And one of the things is remember: cooking and eating real food is one of the best immune boosters available to us today. I think we're all practicing that.

LEAH: So thank you for listening to our podcast and have a wonderful day.

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