Naturopathic Immunity Tips | By Mary Shackelton

Last Updated: November 24, 2020By

As the Coronavirus continues to spread, Boulder naturopath Mary Shackelton believes naturopathy offers valuable insights for people around the world navigating rapidly evolving news about its spread, virulence and unique dangers. One vital naturopathic perspective revolves around immunity, with an emphasis in helping bodies avoid illness in the first place. With more than 20 years of experience practicing naturopathy, Shackelton has valuable tools to share for people around the world and across Colorado, as the virus appears in new communities every day.

One key point, which serves as the foundation for a lot of how naturopaths view all viruses, including coronavirus, is the stronger your immune system, the less likely you will suffer from a serious illness if exposed.


We believe four commonly available vitamins represent an important first step in boosting immunity: Vitamins D, C and A, and zinc.

Vitamin D

  • 5,000 ius (International Units) per day with food.

Vitamin C

  • 1,000 mg, one to two times per day


  • 30 mg per day with food

Vitamin A

  • 50,000 iu per day with food

Antiviral Herbs

We also embrace antiviral herbs for immunity strength. The herbs listed are best taken in liquid form in water between meals. Some of the most valuable antiviral herbs in nature’s arsenal include:

Oregano oil

  • 300 mg per day


  • 500 mg three times per day


  • 120 drops two per day


  • 120 drops two times per day


  • 120 drops two times per day

Olive leaf in capsule form

  • 500 mg twice per day


  • 120 drops two times per day


In addition to championing vitamins and antiviral herbs for immune health, we also view gut health as yoked firmly to the body’s immune response. With more than two decades of practicing naturopathic medicine, I understand the importance of gut health. It is the foundation of much of our overall health, and that includes the strength of our immune systems.

We recommend taking a strong probiotic (100 billion organisms) to help strengthen immune systems.

Avoid Things That Weaken Immune Response

Building and buttressing immunity isn’t just about leveraging powerful substances like vitamins, herbs and probiotics. It also involves steering clear of things that sap immunity.

  • Sugar reduces white blood cell function for up to eight hours post ingestion.
  • Processed and packaged foods are lacking in vital nutrients.
  • Stress reduces immune function.
  • Lack of sleep increases susceptibility to illnesses.
  • Smoking reduces lung tissue resilience and increases susceptibility.

Diet Matters

We can turn to a wealth of substances, as well as things to avoid, to help put muscle on our immune systems. But in the end, building immunity also revolves around lifestyle. In naturopathy, health does not rise simply from prescriptions and procedures. We also understand that the ways in which we lead our lives contributes to health. And diet is absolutely key.

  • Include raw garlic liberally in your diet up to two cloves per day.
  • Stay focused on eating between seven and nine servings of vegetables a day. These nutrient dense whole foods are medicine!

Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash.

Mary F. Shackelton, MPH, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor who practices environmental medicine with an emphasis on women’s health. Dr. Shackelton is a member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine with a focus on chronic disease, conditions associated with environmental exposure, and chronic hidden infections, such as Lyme, mixed bacterial infections, and immune dysfunctions. She has a BLOG in which she writes about her passion of the environment and its impact on human health.

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