The Fullscript Integrative Medical Advisory team has developed or collected these protocols from practitioners and supplier partners to help health care practitioners make decisions when building treatment plans. By adding this protocol to your Fullscript template library, you understand and accept that the recommendations in the protocol are for initial guidance and may not be appropriate for every patient.
Immune Support: Maintenance & Acute
(for adults, can be modified for kids)
Your body comes equipped with a powerful army to identify, attack, and beat most invaders. This army needs to be well-fed, well-rested, and have better tools to do battle effectively. This protocol gives two forms of immune support – what can help the body maintain a healthy immune system and what can support the immune system under attack. Note if your body is currently attacking itself (auto-immune disease and conditions) then this is not the correct protocol for you.
But first the most important reminder for your patients.
“A healthy immune system demands better digestion and better detoxification efforts.” – Ashley Koff RD
Thus, the better first step for any better immune support protocol is a digestive assessment (you can use The Better Digestive Evaluation as an intake form to easily assess). As indicated, follow up with specific digestive nutrition upgrades (see other protocols from Ashley Koff, RD) or take your patient through a The Better Nutrition Digestive Tune-Up (review program here). The better next step is to assess detoxification – is your patient reducing their exposure to those toxins that are avoidable, and are they making their better detox nutrition choices daily. You can learn more about this in my Detoxification Protocol here on Fullscript.
Maintenance vs. Acute immune health recommendations:
Your patient’s better total nutrition gives their body what it needs to support their immune system in its’ daily efforts. This includes the lifestyle and nutrition recommendations noted below, as well as those in our digestive and detoxification protocols. When a person gets sick, gets an infection, or otherwise experiences immune challenges, there are helpful lifestyle and nutrition recommendations that can provide the body with extra support. We distinguish these below by putting them in italics.
NOTE: it is essential that a person does not take acute immune health nutrition recommendations as ones they should be doing when they fear or even are at increased risk of an immune challenge. Likewise, the practitioner needs to communicate and oversee the usage of certain nutrients for focused periods of time to prevent them from being ineffective for future use or even becoming a negative for immune health.
In addition to those noted in digestive and detoxification protocols, here are helpful tips and topics to address in efforts to promote immune health.
- Reduce exposure – fist bump or air kiss, cough in the elbow, wash hands (front, back and between fingers), wear scarfs (and clean them), and wash all reusables (bottles, bags, containers) after each use are ways to reduce exposure immune system challengers. During immune health acute situations, avoiding exposure to more immune challenges is important (and also helps reduce risk of sharing any immune challenges).
- Optimize Sleep – there are different types of sleep and there are personal and life-stage differences that impact need. However, everyone’s body needs recovery time. Tracking amount and quality of sleep may be helpful for certain patients, others may benefit from tracking how they feel to learn how sleep impacts their choices and goal(s). The Better Nutrition Journal asks patients to note when they woke up and how they felt on waking. This helps practitioners and patients get data on how the amount and quality of sleep makes a person feel. If it is not better most days, that’s a good indication it is negatively impacting immune health. During immune health acute situations, sleep becomes essential for the body’s recovery. Adjust recommendations accordingly.
- Breathe Better, More Often – bringing in oxygen, expelling waste products is essential for immune health but also for helping your patients manage their body’s stress response better. Teaching them better breathing as well as specific breathing techniques like the 4-7-8 breath is essential.
- Better Stress Management – stress will happen, so should laughter, crying, and other emotions that prevent patients from trapping stress internally. Discuss specific interventions or combinations of fitness, meditation, comedy shows, etc. Likewise, assessing their total nutrition intake of magnesium and comparing it to their total calcium intake will provide insight about their body having the tools it needs to manage stress better. Adaptogen herbs can also be helpful if better quality, amount and consumed with appropriate frequency. During immune health acute situations, the body recovers better in the absence of additional stressors. Adjust recommendations accordingly.
- Fitness may be acceptable and even helpful if it does not induce a state of stress for the person dealing with acute immune health challenges. Adjust recommendations accordingly.
- Sweating may help the immune system, so consider sauna (especially infrared) as well as additional layers of clothing to help induce a sweat. Monitor hydration. Adjust recommendations accordingly.
Nutrition Considerations & Recommendations:
Better nutrition is defined as “giving the body what it needs to run better while reducing what can irritate, overwhelm and disrupt those its’ efforts”. Your immune system needs better nutrition more often to do its’ jobs efficiently and effectively. Here are some top points to cover.
Eat a Rainbow – and the better nutrition rainbow adds white and brown to ROYGBIV. No one color packs more immune support benefits than another, but deeper colors tend to pack more immune support. Foods, spices, drinks, supplements, and even skincare ingredients can help them get in their rainbow daily. Use The Better Rainbow Evaluation to assess your patient’s current intake to see the frequency and sources of colors in their total nutrition to identify gaps and upgrade opportunities.
Added sugar, Caffeine & Alcohol – 2 of the 3 of these suppress the immune system and one of them may depend on the source be better to avoid when immune challenges increase. Added sugar and alcohol should be avoided when the immune system needs to actively engage in battle; coffee is more acid-forming and as such may be unhelpful during these times. Switching to tea and also reducing caffeine may help with recovery efforts.
Dairy considerations – practitioners can make their own decisions about dairy for each patient (hopefully based on the quality and quantity of the dairy, not seeing it as the only way to get in certain nutrients). The Better Milk Nutrition Guide can help as can The Better Nutrition Calcium evaluation and menu. During times of immune challenge, consider reducing or removing dairy but make sure to identify replacements that provide better nutrition support for the immune system (i.e., unsweetened non-dairy milks that don’t also include artificial ingredients).
Plants provide a rainbow of nutrients that help the immune system run better. Additionally, they also provide micronutrients like trace minerals. But not all plants are created equal. If your patient consumes highly refined plant foods, which of the ones consumed most often can you upgrade to a kitchen-process or whole food option. For example, we love teaching that instead of a white flour tortilla you can enjoy a socca pancake from garbanzo bean flour, or instead of croutons you can top a salad with walnuts, pistachios, and other nuts as well as sesame, pumpkin and hemp seeds.
Water helps the immune system keep things moving and helps digestion get rid of what the immune system tells us we don’t need or want. Water also helps escort nutrients into cells (sufficient potassium required, so use The Better Nutrition Potassium evaluation and menu along with the water evaluation to develop personalized better nutrition recommendations).
The Better Nutrition Program Shop of Tools includes the Digestive Tune-Up and Detox Guides, Digestive, Rainbow Evaluation & Menu, Mineral Evaluations (magnesium, calcium etc.) and their menus, are just a few of the over 100 tools, programs, and support included in The Shop of Tools to help you implement this protocol for individual patients, as well as in group programs in-person or virtually. PLUS thanks to Fullscript you save 30% – use ‘Fullscript30’ at checkout to save 30% on The Shop of Tools.
Protocol – Immune Support (Maintenance):
[Include any supplements that tune-up and help support digestive health]
Avoid specific one-off nutrients/isolates for “immune support” unless identified via testing & better nutrition assessments to: a) fill gaps b) address imbalances c) for therapeutic use.
For example, adequate vitamin D is essential for immune health but don’t recommend a supplement until test and intake is evaluated as it will impact recommendations and plan.
Orthomolecular Products – Resvoxitrol
2 capsules, once per day
Get the power of plant nutrients including broccoli seed for glucoraphanin to support detoxification.
OM Organic Mushroom Nutrition – Immune Defense Mushroom capsules or powder
3 capsules or 1 teaspoon, once per day
It helps support the immune in partnership with the digestive system cells.
Protocol – Immune Support (Acute Care)
Note: Homeopathic remedies – these can help address symptoms associated with acute immune challenges without adding additional challenges that some over the counter and medications may add. They are not a substitute for medications recommended by practitioners but can often accompany them without interaction.
Gaia Herbs – Elderberry Syrup
2 capsules, once per day with or without food
To support immune health and in particular for respiratory and throat conditions. Follow serving recommendations provided by manufacturer as a starting point.
Gaia Herbs – Oil of Oregano capsules
Dosage recommendations (Individual tolerance needs to be assessed). 1-4 capsules every 4-6 hours for 3 days or until symptoms diminish. Then maintain 1 capsule every 4-6 hours until symptoms are gone
To help the immune system combat microbial challenges throughout the digestive tract. Do not stay on for more than 14 days.
Mega Food – Acute Defense
2 tablets, 3 times a day for 5 days. May be taken anytime throughout the day, even on an empty stomach
Giving your immune system herbs, vitamins, and minerals that help support its efforts.
NOTE: this product includes elderberry – you can recommend both the syrup and this product, or you can just use this one especially if there is no throat irritation.
Sovereign Silver – First Aid Gel
Apply a liberal layer of the gel in order to allow for consistent, sustained delivery. Leave wet. Do not rub until dry. After absorption, reapply as often as needed to prolong its activity.
For minor skin irritation including cracks around the nose and mouth which can create easier access points for immune challengers, this gel can help support your skin to repair while also contributing to the immune system’s overall efforts.
Are you ready to recommend Better Immune Support Nutrition?
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