Maximum Health: Ways to Improve Your Immune System


By Rosie Main 

If you want to optimize your immune health and reduce your risk of a cytokine storm (see definition below), there are various immune nutrients that may help you. 

It is important to note that since COVID-19 is a new virus, there is no research suggesting that these immune nutrients would specifically benefit COVID-19 prevention or recovery. However, there are scientific studies that show their immune benefits for other viral infections, including the flu, other coronavirus infections, and other respiratory infections. As with other infections, I recommend protecting your body and optimizing your immune health with the best immune nutrients. 

While at this point, research is ongoing and scientists are working hard to understand COVID-19 and find treatment options, there are some promising developments. The good news is that you don’t have to wait to take steps to protect your health. There are a number of things that you can do to improve your immune system, including using immune nutrients that may help to calm a cytokine storm. 


Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is an essential immune nutrient. It supports your immune system, brain, nervous system, lung function, cardiovascular health, bones, and teeth. The best way to meet your vitamin D needs is through the sun. Unfortunately, during the winter months and times of gloomy weather, it is impossible to meet all your needs. 

Research suggests that low vitamin D levels may contribute to viral epidemics in the winter, while optimal vitamin D levels may help to reduce the risk of viral epidemics and pandemics. Observational and supplement trials suggest that higher 25(OH)D concentrations of vitamin D immune nutrient supplementation may reduce the risk of various viral infections, including influenza, dengue, hepatitis B and C, pneumonia, and respiratory viral infections. 

Research suggests that vitamin D supplementation may reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by the innate immune system and as a result may also lower the risk of a cytokine storm and pneumonia. 



Curcumin is the active compound of one of the most rigorously studied herbs. It has been used in Asia for its medicinal properties, and countless studies have shown its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-biotic, and anti-fungal benefits. It has been used for joint pain, digestive issues, and many other chronic health conditions. Curcumin is a powerful immune nutrient with countless benefits, and current research on COVID-19 treatment options has shown its potential benefits. 

The molecular docking study found that curcumin, EGCG, and beta-glucan, as well as quercetin, myricetin, genistein, myricetin, and daidzein may show benefits as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Curcumin ranked number two in most categories. It ranked number two against 6lu7, 6lvn, 6vw1, 6vww, 6yte number four against 6vsb, number five against 6vsb and 6lxt of COVID-19. The study recommends 500 mg of curcumin. 

Taken in the form of turmeric, they suggest 15.625 gm per day. Take it 3 times a day every 6.5 hours. If you are using turmeric, mix it with lukewarm milk or plant milk. 



Probiotics are incredibly important for your digestion and gut health. Since your gut is connected to all areas of your body, healthy gut flora is important for your immune system as well. It’s not surprising that probiotics may help as immune nutrients. 

Researchers have found that probiotics may have immunomodulatory effects. According to a scientific review, some probiotics, including certain species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, can play an important role in innate immunity. They may help your body by increasing the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells and support adaptive immunity. 

Probiotics may help to stimulate anti-inflammatory cytokines and improve your body’s defense system against invasion by bacterial, fungal, viral, and other infections. 


Vitamin C 

Vitamin C may be one of the most well-known immune nutrients that protect against immune deficiencies and which supports the prevention and recovery from the common cold and upper-respiratory issues, and also protects your cardiovascular system, eyes, skin, and other parts of your body. Research has found that vitamin C may help to optimize the innate and adaptive immune system. 

On the other hand, vitamin C deficiency may lead to impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. Vitamin C may help to improve your body’s immune response and to prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections, including respiratory issues. 



Zinc is another powerful immune nutrient known for its benefits for providing immune health support and inflammation reduction as well as for improving cold and respiratory symptoms, wound healing, acne reduction, and lowering the risk of age-related diseases. Research on atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus suggests that zinc deficiency may contribute to low-grade systemic inflammation. 

Zinc deficiency may also lead to increased inflammatory cytokines. However, zinc supplementation may have anti-inflammatory benefits, increase the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines, lower oxidative stress, and help to achieve homeostasis. Findings suggest that zinc may help to prevent or calm a cytokine storm. 


Elderberry is an Immune System Modulator 

Elderberry is nature’s richest source of quercetin and this compound helps it act as an immunomodulator to help balance the immune system. One study examining the structures and the immunomodulating properties of the pectic polymers from elderberries has found that Sambucus elderberries contained immunomodulating polysaccharides and may benefit respiratory illness. Another study examined the immune-modulating effects of astragalus root and elderberry fruit extracts in bone marrow-derived murine dendritic cells by measuring IFN-β and other cytokines with ELISA and RT-PCR tests. 

Results suggest that both elderberry and astragalus increased L. acidophilus-induced IFN-β production while decreasing pro-inflammatory reaction to E. coli. These findings suggest that both elderberry and astragalus offer antiviral and immune-enhancing benefits. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of 180 participants on the effectiveness of black elderberry for respiratory issues has found that elderberry supplementation may substantially reduce upper respiratory symptoms and may be beneficial for cold and flu recovery. 

Again, cytokines are an essential immune response to fight off any kind of infection. None of the research indicates that elderberry would lead to excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines and hyperinflammation from a cytokine storm; instead, they show that elderberry may help to balance the immune system and offer the right amount of benefits. 


Final Thoughts 

Cytokines are an important part of your immune response. However, when your body releases excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines it results in hyperinflammation called a cytokine storm. A cytokine storm may lead to serious complications and even death in serious COVID-19 cases and in other infections. 

Optimizing your immune system is critical to improve your health and to decrease your risk of a cytokine storm. I recommend that you take my recommended immune nutrients along with a nutrient-dense diet and a healthy lifestyle in order to optimize your immune system and overall health. 


Rosie Main, D.C., owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest Lane, Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living Radio on 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, visit 

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