Posted in General by Penny WadePenny Wade on 12 June 2020

The heading does say ' In difficult times' but in fact we need to be nurturing the immune system all the time to keep it strong for these difficult times!  Whether it be diet/lifestyle,massage, supplements or herbs. 

I attended a webinar on 'Respiratory Viral infections' a few weeks ago. The webinar was divided into three parts but I am going to give you a shortened version of one of the talks by Dr Elizabeth Steels titled " Nourishing Support for Healthy Respiratory and Immune Function'. 

So how do we nourish our immune system as a defence to viruses? It is based on the fact that viruses replicate in your cells every 1-3 hours, so supplementation is 'pulse dosed' every 3 hours to get the best outcome. Nutrients can slow down this replication process. Vitamin C is a case in point as much research has been done on it.  In the following table doseages for Vit A, C, D and Zinc supplements are shown for prevention, early infection, acute infection and recovery.


Nutrients - Immune/anti-viral activity
Nutrients Daily dose Prevention early infection Acute Recovery Pulse dosing
Vit A 10,000-25,000 I.U. * * ** * 1/day
Vit C 1-5g * ** *** ** every 3 hours
Zinc 20mg * ** ** * 2-3/day
VIt D 2000-5000i.u * ** ** * 1/day


Mushroom mixes are also very useful for prevention and all through an infection to recovery.

Re Vit D3 production from the sun instead of a capsule the following guidelines are helpful:

  • Vit D3 is essential for calcium absorbtion in the gut to improve bone strength as well as the immune system. 
  • In NSW we are 80%deficient in Vit D despite all the sunshine we get. We can congratulate the 'Slip, Slop Slap' campaign for that to fight skin cancer. 
  • It is quite safe and more effective to have levels of 135-225 nmol/L of Vit D in your blood tests even though 80 nmol/L is considered acceptable. 
  • So if you want to get your Vit D from the sun the following exposure times are recommended, exposing your arms and shoulders:
  • ?Winter - Aim for 30 mins of sun at noon
  • ?Spring and Autumn - 20 mins at noon
  • ?Summer - 6-7 mins 10am or 3pm

Diet and Lifestyle

♦ We need to eat adequate protein to carry Vit A to the cells, otherwise you will be Vit A deficient. Vit A deficiency leads to susceptibility to infections. Prolonged infection or after surgery leads to a need for protein. 

Protein amounts

♦Pulse dose over 3-4 meals a day. 1.2g/kg/day-1.5g/kg/day. It will depend on your weight.

So if you are a 60kg female you would ned 72-90g of protein a day. An 80kg male would need 96-120g of protein a day. This is not a 90g or 120g steak, it is the actual amount of protein in your food. The following table explains this.



Protein content of food135g
Protein amounts 10g 20g 25g 30g
Eggs 1 egg 2eggs   3 eggs
Chicken 45g 90g 115g  
minced beef 65g 130 165 195
fish 65g 130g 165g 195
lamb 45g 90g 115 135
steak 45g 90g 115g 135g
hard cheese 45g 90g 115g 135g
tuna " " " "
Ham/pork " " " "
Tofu " " " "







Viruses demand sugar in the diet to replkicate themselves, the reason why we feel so tired in recovery because the virus is producing lactic acid from the glucose. So avoid sugars and have a low glycaemic diet.


Stay well hydrated and drink hot drinks.



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Winter 2020

In this edition I talk about the new way of doing things in the clinic to keep everyone safe, plus an outline on how to strengthen your immune system with supplements and lifestyle to reduce your chances of getting a virus. This is based on a swebinar I did with a Dr Elizabeth Steels  an adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the area of supplements and the immune system.

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