Recommendations to improve vaccine efficacy and reduce discomfort from adverse effects
When you choose to receive a vaccine, you want it to be effective with reduced side effects. Here is a generalized list of recommended diet, lifestyle and supplements to assist with a positive vaccine experience.
Immune System 101
Broadly speaking, vaccines stimulate the body to create antibodies. Antibody creation is the end result of T cell and B cell activation. Immune cells present the foreign object, known as an antigen, to T cells which stimulate B cells to create antibodies. During this process immune cells such as NK cells, monocytes, neutrophils and T cells can also stimulate an inflammatory process to kill the antigen.
The first antibody created by B cells is IgM, which is generated within 2-3 days. IgM is followed by IgG and then IgA antibodies. IgG antibodies are approximately 78% of the immunoglobulins in the serum. IgA antibodies are found primarily in secretions such as mucus and saliva. In addition some B cells will become Memory B cells. When re-activated in the future, they react quickly to generate antibodies against the offending antigen.
A healthy immune system has a balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. It is able to generate a robust response to antigen capturing and removal while generating antibodies.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a natural byproduct of immune system activation. But ROS in excess can cause oxidative stress which escalates inflammation. Anti-oxidant support is critical for reducing damage to cells and tissue.
1. Antioxidants can be found in foods such as colorful fruits and vegetables including dark berries, carrots, red peppers, sweet potato, cocoa, and dark leafy greens. I also recommend a bioflavonoid supplement such as Quercetin.
2. Glutathione (GSH) is our endogenous antioxidant to reduce oxidative damage meaning we make it in our body. The precursor amino acids to make GSH are cysteine, glycine and glutamate. Specific supplements to increase glutathione include liposomal glutathione and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which is a precursor to glutathione.
3. Vegetables high in sulfur are important for the sulfation pathway, a major pathway in detoxification. These include the brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, as well as leeks, onions, and garlic from the allium family.
4. Our primary antioxidant is superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is found in high quantity in goji berries.
Nutrition impacts the immune system’s ability to respond. A good multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement will ensure coverage if diet is deficient. The following table lists nutrients that play a direct role in the immune response and the foods they are found in.
Vitamins and Minerals for Immune Function
What to Avoid
It is recommended to avoid foods and drinks that cause inflammation. This includes sugar, processed foods and poor quality fats that can be easily oxidized. And do not get a vaccine if you are feeling ill as your immune system will already be activated and could fatigue.
Getting a vaccine can be stressful. Stress increases cortisol which dampens the immune response. Reduce stress with a 20-minute walk outside or a flower essence rescue remedy.
Post Vaccine Adverse Response
Common adverse effects to a vaccine include soreness at the site of injection and a mild fever. If you have a more adverse reaction to any vaccine, report it at https://vaers.hhs.gov
Homeopathy can be helpful to alleviate pain and soreness at the site of injection. Remedies commonly used for vaccine reaction include Ledum 30C, Thuja 30C or Silica 30C. If you have a constitutional homeopathy remedy, you can also take your constitutional.
It is recommended to avoid use of acetaminophen following a vaccine. A fever is the body’s natural immune response to fighting an infection and should not be suppressed. In addition, acetaminophen requires a large amount glutathione to be metabolized in the liver. If glutathione is insufficient, it creates metabolites that are toxic to the liver.
It is also recommended to avoid NSAIDs and aspirin following a vaccine. Inflammation recruits immune cells and sets the stage for repair. When you get a vaccine, you want to support mild inflammation to allow the immune system to work.
Taking a good probiotic will also assist your immune system response and improve vaccine efficacy.
Increasing anti-oxidants and ensuring good nutrients in your diet can directly contribute to a robust immune system that responds well to a vaccine intervention.
This Vaccine Preparation handout is available as a downloadable PDF at this link.
Medical Disclaimer: This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified health care professional. It is not intended for use in diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing treatment. Please consult your physician or healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or beginning any treatment for any health problem. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.