I'm A PhD & RD: This Supplement Is The Key To Supporting My Immune Future*
With the challenges of the past couple of years, I've found myself reflecting on my personal immune health history (or immune "bio," if you will) while also considering its future trajectory. In seeking daily practices to stay immune strong for the long haul, I recently discovered a targeted, daily nutrition tool that's given me renewed confidence in my immune future.*
My immune health journey.
I'm incredibly grateful to have had a healthy, strong immune system for over three decades—thanks to a foundation that was established during my childhood.
I credit my sage single mother for filling our home and plates with color (fruits, vegetables, legumes, high-quality proteins, whole grains, and dairy). I vividly remember her combing the grocery store aisles and flipping over products to read Nutrition Facts labels to find 100% whole grain and whole wheat options for bread, pasta, and other grains in the 1980s and '90s. She was ahead of her time since this was when oh-so-white processed bread dominated the carbs scene.
Growing up, my brother and I had a modified "clean plate club" rule to follow from mom. The guidelines were as follows: Eat all of your protein and veggies; fruit is dessert; and finishing your grain carbohydrates is optional (as a carb lover, I elected not to abstain).
Processed and canned foods (except tuna fish), snackage, chips, sweets, sodas, etc., did not make their way into our home. Out of sight, out of mind. I kid you not, I discreetly drank my first soda in seventh grade at a school dance.
On the weekends, my grandmother masterfully cooked up my grandfather's fresh vegetables from his impressive garden, along with the healthy fish he had just caught and deboned like a pro.
My immune system doesn't take a break, so why should I?
OK, you get the picture. This plant-, antioxidant-, protein- and fiber-dense dietary pattern—along with quality sleep and regular physical activity—was a naturally strong, pro-immune lifestyle. I can now clearly see how my cardiometabolic health was nurtured and how inflammation and oxidative stress were kept in check (all three of which are critical, intertwined aspects of immune health and resilience).
So imagine my surprise and dismay at age 30 when I became very ill, actually disabled, for over a year. The details of this will be an mbg story for another day. Suffice it to say, a pivotal medical misdiagnosis at age 29 allowed an unknown autoimmune challenge to brew in my thyroid, which led to a number of difficult medical issues (Graves' disease, surgery to remove my entire thyroid, and chronic urticaria). I can now share with profound thankfulness that I healed years ago.
My life-altering health trials made me more immune-conscious. How could they not? From my lens (as a nutrition scientist and R.D.), I began thinking about how my personal nutrition philosophy and approach could be more proactive in nourishing my immune system on the daily.*
immune support+ is now a vital part of my well-being routine.
First, I decided to become more intentional about increasing my omega-3 (EPA and DHA) input from my diet and via supplementation. (Without my granddad's fish, I had become a tad lazy in that area.)
Next, I became more laser-focused on key immune-essential micronutrients.* I was already taking a vitamin D3 supplement but chose to add vitamin C and zinc, too. These three supplements were synergistic with my diet but also gave me assurance where my diet lacked.
A few months ago, I introduced a new targeted nutrition tool to my immune tool kit: mindbodygreen's immune support+. I'm loving it because it covers all three of these essential nutrients—vitamin D3, vitamin C, and zinc bisglycinate—in one product (hello, convenience and fewer products).*
These three "old-school" nutrients are combined with two innovative "new school" immune-powerhouse phytochemicals, quercetin phytosome and Wellmune® beta-glucan.* While I hadn't personally supplemented with these two plant bioactives before, they were definitely on my radar as a scientist because of their clinical trial evidence.
Thanks to immune support+, with just one daily serving (two capsules) after breakfast, I reap the benefits of all five of these immune-nourishing, bioavailable ingredients—each with unique mechanisms to support and strengthen my innate defenses and resilience.*
Taking immune support+ has quickly become a ritual for me—a Monday-through-Sunday kind of thing.* Fact: Our bodies produce over 100 billion immune cells each day. Take a second to mull that over. Point being, my immune system doesn't take a break, so why should I?
Why I encourage daily immune support.
None of us would be surprised if our dentist told us that our teeth and gums were in bad shape if we didn't regularly brush and floss. Yet, we don't nurture our immune system with the same kind of daily dedication. I strongly believe we should, because there is major power in an immune-strong nutrition approach and an immune-strong nation.*
My personal immune health journey has had its highs (mostly) and lows, but the rest of that story is still being written—and I'm helping write it by investing in my immune future.* I recognize that our immune systems are complex, but I'm thankful that now daily immune-nutrition support doesn't have to be.*
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. Ashley received her B.A. in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania (along with a double minor in Nutrition and Music) and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia. Her research contributions span vitamin D, cardiometabolic health, bone density, and weight management. Ferira is a nutrition scientist and dietitian with experience in nutrition product innovation and development, scientific affairs, education, communications, and SEO writing for global firms, including Nature Made, Metagenics, Three Ships, and mindbodygreen.
In addition to her mindbodygreen contributions, Ferira is published in Health, Metagenics Institute, American Family Physician, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and Osteoporosis International. She has a passion for the translation of evidence-based science into innovative and high-quality products and information that help people lead healthier lives. She is a believer in compassionate, informed, and personalized approaches to nutrition, health care, and wellness. Ashley lives in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, where she was born and raised. Whether savoring an orchestral performance or delectable meal at a local restaurant, you will find her enjoying Charleston’s cultural and culinary arts with family and friends.