EXTRACTED FROM JOE COHEN OF SELFHACKED
I’ve been biohacking my immune system for over 10 years. I have done many experiments and I have noticed things that worked to prevent me from getting sick, and things that haven’t.
Combined with my knowledge of the human body, I will let you know the secrets I have learned that have improved my immune system.
My Top Supplements
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of research and trial and error, and these are the top supplements that I use to prevent myself from getting sick.
- Nutritional or Brewer’s yeast – contains nucleotides, cysteine, and folate, all of which feed the immune system.
- NAC – cysteine increases glutathione and is great for the respiratory system. Proven to reduce the likelihood of getting sick.
- Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake & Medicinal Mushrooms – powerfully boost the immune system. Actually, I’ve gone overboard a few times in my experiments and got fevers from taking too much.
- Oregano Oil – I use drops plus the pills.
- Bee products – honey, propolis, royal jelly, pollen.
- Colostrum with honey – I take 15g of colostrum at a time if I feel I’m about to get sick or am already sick. I don’t take it daily because it does have dairy and I’m a bit sensitive to it.
- Echinacea is also a good supplement, as it boosts immunity and shows some activity against coronaviruses.
- Monolaurin is specifically very good for viral infections, but I haven’t been able to verify this with testing. I have taken up to 30g a day of this stuff with no noticeable side effects, whereas most supplements come with recommendations of 1-3g.
I am taking these products now:
- 1200mg NAC
- 30g Nutritional yeast or Brewer’s yeast
- 1 capsule Echinacea/Astragalus immune mix & Astragalus/Mushroom mix
- Astragalus (if you’re taking both mixes above, this isn’t needed)
- Multiple servings: Honey, Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen, Propolis Ginseng mixed in tea
- 1 serving Mushroom blend powder – 10 mushroom blend
- 1 Mushroom blend pills – includes reishi, maitake, shiitake, cordyceps, agaricus
- 1 capsule Oregano Oil + Oregano oil drops
- 250mg Lactoferrin
I have this on hand as needed:
- Raw Garlic cloves
- Raw onions
I find staying hydrated to be quite important for infection prevention. Dry weather in the winter is more likely to get you sick, because it seems viruses can take hold better in dry weather. If you drink more water, it can cause your mucus membranes to be more moist and lower the likelihood that you’ll get infections. Viruses are more likely to degrade in moist conditions.
Studies have found that drinking tea, for example, can decrease the likelihood of getting a cold and flu. I have found that when I’m stressed, I’m much more likely to get sick. Stress is known to suppress the immune system. Not getting enough sleep is the quickest way for me to get sick. Stress and sleep are probably the most noticeable for me in terms of preventing me from getting sick.
I have also found recently that being colder or doing cold therapy in general increases the likelihood that I get sick. It powerfully suppresses inflammation, but the immune system and inflammation are linked. You can’t decrease inflammation without suppressing the immune system in some way, and vice versa. Being cold includes acute cold or chronic cold.
I have also found that if I combine too many anti-inflammatory lifestyle therapies, I am more likely to get sick. These include sun, exercise, sauna, and cold therapy. For example, when I would get a good amount of sun and exercise while playing volleyball, doing cold therapy in the ocean often suppressed my immune system too much. It’s most important to pay attention to your body. If you are feeling run down, don’t push yourself too much.
I don’t support excessive sun, exercise, sauna usage or cold therapy, whereas I am a big fan of these in moderation. I also don’t support combining moderate amounts of all four of these together – for example going into the sauna right after getting a lot of sun.
Moderation is the key and you should switch off between the therapies. Even moderate amounts of these therapies suppress the immune system, but the immune system needs a certain dosage of these stressors to stay in balance, and in the long term it’s healthier. But in the short term, these therapies suppress the immune system.
- Drink more water, especially hot water (teas)
- Sleep well
- Stress reduction/Meditation
- Stay warm
- Don’t overdo certain health behaviours (as mentioned)
I’ve personally noticed that I would be way more likely to get sick if I consumed any of the following:
- Smoking (nicotine as well, but much less)
- Marijuana and drug use (cocaine, MDMA, psychedelics)
- Added sugars (soft drinks, flours, etc…)
- Processed foods
To be honest, I have not noticed trends between good hygiene and how often I get sick, which goes to show you how powerful the other things that I am recommending are. But these approaches make sense and are recommended by global and national health bodies.
- Frequent hand-washing
- Don’t touch face
- Don’t shake hands
- Fully cover mouth if you cough
- Don’t bite nails or put hands in mouth
- Don’t touch doorknobs, handles – I use my shirt or jacket to open doors
As a result of Coronavirus, I’ve been taking the following extra measures:
- Social distancing – try to keep distance from people (for more extreme times such as now)
- Cleaning my phone & laptop trackpad daily
- If I eat messy foods, I’ll also wear gloves, but that’s more out of convenience, as thoroughly washing hands will accomplish the same thing.
- And of course, listen to any guidance by the health authorities.
If you’re looking for further advice on supplements or lifestyle changes, book in a free consultation where we can discuss the best options for your health needs.