Immune Optimization: A Review of Dr. Mark Hyman COVID Webinar

Dr. Mark Hyman is a leading Functional Medicine MD and a trusted thought leader. His opinion is important to me so we tuned in to his recent COVID webinar. Below are paraphrased points to share, and in the video I go into more detail on some of the points (from my perspective).  

What I have to say and share is not to be taken as medical advice.

Notes from the webinar…..

The healthier we are the less likely we are to get sick.  Take care of our own health.

12% of Americans are metabolically healthy.  42% are obese therefore 3X more likely to die from this.

Change or upgrade your lifestyle to include an anti-inflammatory diet to support you in the reversal of disease.  

He speaks to the power of food  & lifestyle.

Practice social distancing. He believes this will be around in some form for the next 12-18 months.


Food is medicine that we may use to bolster our immune systems. He cites that malnutrition = immune deficiency.

Get off sugar, refined & processed foods.  The immune system doesn’t work when blood sugar spikes. Don’t let that happen. Work to balance your blood sugar. Reach out to us at My Healthy Beginning for Nutritional Coaching if you don’t know where to start.

Have good protein source at each meal (high in zinc). This may include: poultry, chickpeas, nuts (cashews/almonds), hemp & pumpkin seeds, oysters, red meat, spinach, and yogurt as good choices.

I’ve added a list of what Zinc is responsible for in our bodies:

  • Proper immune function
  • Skin health and hair growth
  • Metabolism of food and absorption of other nutrients
  • Hormone balance
  • Gut health
  • Mental clarity
  • Wound healing
  • DNA synthesis
  • For eye health
  • Proper cell division (one of the reasons it is vital during pregnancy)
  • Even adequate taste and smell

Dr. Hyman suggests eating 8-10 servings of plant foods, fruits, and veggies per day.

If you want to feed the virus, eat sugar! Again, keep blood sugar stable with whole foods.

Supercharge microbiome.

Fiber feeds good bacteria (chia, flax, whole grains, veggies, chicken soup)

He speaks of immune boosting lifestyle interventions. I suggest the following as a place to start: reduce toxicity, kill off pathogens, increase food quality, work to decrease inflammation and manage stress.

My favorite part of his webinar may be when he recommends having good healthy relationships. He says Love is Medicine.  Get connected.

Utilizing mindfulness resources such as meditation & yoga to boost your immune system. Take time to relax, follow your breath, take a bath, get a massage. These methods are also effective in reestablishing ritual & habit which creates calm and stability in our lives. Now, I understand getting a massage while practicing social distancing may be tricky, however, perhaps you could trade back, neck, and foot rubs at home to share and receive this care at home.

At My Healthy Beginning, Founder, Nichole Hirsch Kuechle, uses PSYCH-K® as a mindfulness technique to support clients in releasing limiting beliefs and stress.

Sleep is necessary for the body to recover and to get rid of toxins. Our brain drains inflammation when we sleep.  Healthy sleep habits begin with how you start your day, contrary to popular belief.

Exercise is helpful and supportive. Work yourself into mild to moderate exercise for 40 – 45 mins per day.

Now that it’s spring many are taking to their garden for sunlight, movement, and playing in the dirt-all fantastic for boosting immunity. Vitamin D suppresses the hyperinflammatory response of the body. He also suggests Nettle tea as a way to calm the immune-inflammatory response. 

“When therapy is too expensive, garden and you’ll get tomatoes.”


It is our immune response to the virus that is so harmful. We need vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc for support. 

I thought it might be helpful to include examples of those vitamin rich foods.

Vitamin A rich foods:

Beef liver, cod liver oil, spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, red pepper,

Vitamin C rich foods:

Guava, bell pepper, kiwi, orange, strawberry, papaya, broccoli, tomato ,kale, green peas

Vitamin D rich foods:

Salmon, herring, sardines, CLO, tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms

Vitamin B2 rich foods:

Beef, eggs, milk, pork, spinach almonds avocado egg, asparagus

Vitamin B6 rich foods:

Ricotta cheese, salmon, eggs, tuna, liver, beef, carrots

 Vitamin B12 foods:

Animal liver, kidneys, clams, sardines, beef, tuna, nutritional yeast

Folic acid rich foods:

Leafy greens, beets, citrus, legumes, asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, nuts/seeds

Iron rich foods:

Quinoa, lentils, tofu, spinach, oyster, molasses, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, broccoli, dark chocolate

Selenium rich foods:

Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, egg, brown rice, shrimp/prawns, cottage cheese, mushroom, chicken, liver, oats, sardines, beef, turkey, spinach

Zinc rich foods:

Legume, chocolate, lamb, oysters, cashews (and other nuts), eggs, chickpeas, beef, seeds, turkey, yogurt, oats 

A brief overview 

—> Whole food nutrition

—> Restorative sleep

—> Meditation

—> Exercise

—> Limit alcohol

—> Hydration

—> Vitamins A, C, D, zinc, quercetin, elderberry, probiotic

—> Melatonin

—> Therapies such as Vitamin C IV’s and Ozone. These are powerful against infections such as, but not limited to,  Lyme, viral infections, ebola, (being used in Italy) There are risks and some benefits.

–> Masks, we may want to use. As of this blog post, the use of masks has not been mandated in Minnesota.

–> Avoid ibuprofen


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