With COVID-19 racing around the global this year on top of the usual common colds (often caused by weaker coronavirus infections) and flus, you might be thinking it is time to boost your immune system with nutrition and supplements.
Vitamin C is a really important nutrient to keep your immune system strong. It is particularly helpful at boosting your immune system against viral infections. But some people have trouble swallowing tablets and capsules.
Mixing vitamin C into a beverage solves this problem. It also can spread out the vitamin C dosage over more time than taking a gram at a time in capsules or tablets, improving the amount that will be absorbed and reducing the odds of digestive upset such as diarrhea that can come from large amounts of vitamin C taken in a short amount of time.
The amino acids in collagen-rich foods such as bone broths are important to repairing vascular system damage such as what happens from high levels of systemic inflammation from a viral infection that leads to problems like abnormal bleeding due to leaks in small blood vessels. These amino acids also may help improve skin, nails, bones, and teeth.
The glycine in these collagen-rich foods is also important for liver detoxification processes. Most people probably do not get enough glycine in their diet and supplements each day, especially people who are eating “modern” diets that emphasize meat over complete animal protein including bone broths and connective tissues such as joints, skin, and “delicacies” such as chicken feet so loved by the Chinese.
However, making bone broths is time-consuming and it can be difficult and expensive to obtain high-quality bones unless you’re raising your own chickens or ruminants. Pre-made bone broths are expensive, especially if they are from organic bones.
Collagen powders are a great option for getting the amino acid nutrients you’d find in bone broths. They make it super-easy to add protein to many kinds of foods and drinks.
Making Vitamin C and Collagen Health-boosting Drinks
You can combine the vitamin C and collagen powder along with anti-viral ingredients to make various drinks that taste good and boost your health.
We often make simple health-boosting drink mixes with recipes along these lines:
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Start with a glass about 12 ounces in size partially filled with about 8 ounces of water.
Add the following:
- 1 to 2 grams (usually 1/4 to 1/2 tsp) of non-GMO vitamin C powder (helps body repair collagen and boosts immune system) (vitamin C powders are selling out due to the COVID-19 crisis, so you may have to settle for another brand that may be from GMO corn or pick a high vitamin C berry powder such as camu camu berry)
- one scoop (usually 10 grams to 15 grams) of a good quality collagen powder, such as this beef collagen powder or this multi-species collagen powder
- 1/4 tsp of organic ginger powder (nice for taste and also anti-inflammatory) or even better multiple tablespoons of ginger juice (which also has anti-viral effects)
- 1/4 tsp of organic Ceylon cinnamon powder (nice for taste, has anti-viral properties, helps regulate blood sugar, and Ceylon cinnamon is much lower in coumarins which are hard on the liver)
- 1/2 tsp (about 1 gram) of L-lysine powder (lysine has well-known anti-viral effects, probably most often mentioned as useful against herpesvirus)
- 2 to 3 grams of glycine powder (adds sweetness and is an important amino acid that is a major part of collagen, is used for liver detoxification, and often helps improve sleep)
- electrolytes using 1/8 tsp each of Himalayan sea salt, potassium citrate powder, potassium chloride powder (adds important minerals and helps buffer vitamin C acidity, plus most people get far too little potassium each day)
- small amount of stevia powder (such as this Frontier Organic Stevia Leaf Powder) to adjust taste to your liking, amount dependent upon the particular powder and your taste
- optional: 1/4 tsp (about 1 gram) of taurine powder ( helps with nervous system and cardiovascular health and often improves sleep)
- optional: small amounts (1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp) of various fiber powders (e.g. larch, inulin, XOS (xylooligosaccharides), acacia, baobab) that dissolve reasonably well (food for keeping your gut bacteria healthy)
- optional: squeeze of lemon and/or lime to taste
Stir well. It may take some vigorous stirring to get all those powders to blend in which is why the steps above didn’t start with a full glass.
This combination tastes good and is low in net carbohydrates and calories while being high in nutrients.
If it is not sweet enough to your liking, you can adjust the glycine and stevia higher without raising blood sugar. This is great for everybody, but even more so for anybody struggling with diabetes.
You can vary the quantities of almost all of these ingredients a bit and still get an acceptable result, so making drinks like these might even be good measuring and mixing practice for your children. The main one that may have a large effect on taste from small quantity changes is the stevia as some stevia powders are super-concentrated.
Further Boosting Anti-Viral Effect
If you can get fresh ginger and juice it, this will add even more anti-viral properties as discussed in the top-rated book Herbal Antivirals by Stephen Buhner. As the book’s section on ginger explains, only fresh ginger has the anti-viral properties. Dried ginger such as ginger powder retains anti-inflammatory properties, but not the anti-viral effects. So the powder is OK for general use, but the juice is much better if you’re facing off against viral infections.
Pre-made ginger juice may have the anti-viral properties, but it may depend upon the way it is processed and stored.
Herbal Antivirals covers a wide range of common viral infections and includes protocols for SARS coronavirus, influenza, common cold, and even Ebola. Plus there’s detailed information on many of the herbs and a section about how to make tinctures. It and its companion book Herbal Antibiotics are great to have at ready access these days with the virus crisis and lack of mainstream treatment options plus the risk of shortages of antibiotics since 97% of them are made in China.
Keep in mind that Herbal Antivirals is selling really quickly right now and even big vendors such as Amazon are having to wait for restocking, so if you’re at all interested in this sort of information in a printed book (rather than a Kindle book), it would be better to get a copy soon than to miss out. I got my printed copy a few years ago and refer to it each year to help others who get seasonal illnesses.
For other variations to further boost anti-viral effects, try elderberry syrup and/or manuka honey as they both can add sweetness and a different taste along with anti-viral properties. Do keep in mind that some elderberry syrups and all honeys are higher carbohydrate ingredients, so don’t overdo it as sugar suppresses the immune system for hours.
Picking A Stevia Powder
Stevia powders are not all the same. There are variations in taste, for starters.
More importantly, if you are trying to stay low-carb or ketogenic or just want to avoid common glyphosate sources, then pick one that does not cut the stevia with maltodextrin or another carbohydrate filler that are often from glyphosate-sprayed crops.
NOW Organic Stevia Extract is very concentrated (1/32 teaspoon might be enough for the above drink recipe), dissolves very well, and is inexpensive per serving when you buy it in a large container that will last you maybe even a few years.
If you want something more whole and natural for a sweetener than a stevia extract, try Frontier Organic Stevia Leaf Powder. It is not as concentrated (try 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon for starters in the above drink recipe) as it includes the whole stevia leaf. It is green which looks weird to some people, but it tastes good and dissolves reasonably well.
Another option is to pick stevia liquid sweeteners, such as this best-selling NOW Foods Certified Organic Stevia Liquid.
Savings and Simplifications
We use a couple of pounds of collagen powder per month, so finding a quality product at a good price is important. Our favorite for quality and price is Custom Collagen beef collagen powder that comes in a 5 pound container and is sourced from pasture-raised beef in South America.
It works great in these sorts of drinks. It also mixes well into smoothies, yogurt, kefir, soups, and stews with no obvious change in taste.
Costco is a good inexpensive source for both kombucha and apple cider vinegar as they are now selling their own brands in many stores. For even more savings, you can learn to make your own kombucha and apple cider vinegar.
If you are mixing in fibers for their pre-biotic benefits, there are some combination fibers that save steps such as XOS plus acacia fiber and XOS plus inulin fiber. You might also pre-mix the variety of fibers you are using into their own container and measure from that.
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