When thoughts turn to preparing for winter, we turn to our head scientist, Gerda Endemann, PhD. She answers some of the most common questions she gets about immunity from readers, staffers, friends, and family. “People want to know what’s worth doing and whether or not a ‘miracle’ cure they’ve heard about is real,” says Endemann. “What empowers people for self-care is getting specific recommendations and action items.”
Are there worthwhile preventative measures to keep
my immunity at its best?
Good hygiene is obvious. Like a skin-softening hand sanitizer. But it’s also important to make sure that the myriad types of white blood cells in your amazing immune system are well-nourished so that they can be their best selves. Of course, wear a mask when you’re out of the house.
BALLS IN THE AIR
goop, $90/$75 with subscription
Sure, taking vitamin C is a good idea, but your immune system depends on a whole lot more than just a couple of isolated vitamins for nourishment. Immunity is complex, and so is good nutrition. That’s why this daily multivitamin packet includes omega-3s, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and D, all of which are crucial. Plus, it has two other hero ingredients you might not be aware of for lung and skin support: N-acetylcysteine and niacinamide.
HERE COMES THE SUN HIGH-POTENCY VITAMIN D3
Our favorite vitamin D supplement has been updated. It’s now twice as potent, so you need only one small softgel to get a powerful 2,000 IU (international units) for general immune health, including white blood cell and lung support. It still contains the same D3 form that our bodies make, but the D3 is now vegan—sourced from lichen—unlike most vitamin D3, which is obtained from sheep’s wool lanolin.
ESSENTIAL OIL TOWELETTES
I absolutely love the Herban Essentials individually packaged towelettes, which contain powerful essential oils and stay perfectly wet. I keep a couple in my purse and a few in my car to use on sticky hands, dirty handles, and any other less-than-clean surfaces. It’s fun to randomly choose from this assortment of lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, orange, and peppermint.
4-IN-1 AIR PURIFIER
The 4-in-1 Air Purifier uses a VOC filter and an UltraHEPA filter to quietly remove pollen, dust, smoke, volatile organic compounds, bacteria, and viruses from the air. It’s powerful but not too big, so it won’t be in the way wherever you feel like using it. Bonus: It has a washable prefilter.
I’ve had more trouble sleeping than usual, and I know that lack of sleep can affect immunity. What are your best tips for getting more sleep?
First, tire out your body physically with a good workout. Second, address the stressors that are keeping your mind racing. A mind-calming guided meditation can help here. Third, have an evening routine that signals “sleep,” with things like a special bath oil, nice pajamas, and a warm drink. And some people, including me, find melatonin very helpful, once you find the right dose. Start low.
Prepping for Restful Sleep
BOSU PRO BALANCE TRAINER
The versatile BOSU ball can be used for all kinds of bodyweight exercises. It adds an element of instability that makes for a good challenge. With the flat side up, try squats, planks, and push-ups. And then do core work—like scissor kicks and bicycle crunches—with the round side up.
Add Pure Calm to your bath or use a few drops for a nightly foot massage. The fragrance is rich and clean, not too sweet, and not too herbal. Just lovely.
KINSLEY NIGHT SHIRT and PARKER PANTS
goop, $248 each
Our senior creative copywriter, Alyssa Nelsen Geiger, says that these pj’s are what we want: “A good rest starts with a gloriously soft and particularly sumptuous set of silky-soft pajamas. And if they happen to come in a pretty, matchy-matchy print? All the better.” I agree.
YOGA IN A CUP
Now that you’re all warm and cozy in your pj’s, mix this powder into some hot nut milk for a soothing nighttime ritual. The star ingredients are the adaptogens—reishi mushroom and ashwagandha—which are blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint, and licorice.
How do you like to take care of yourself when you’re not feeling well?
When I’m a little under the weather, I like to keep warm and hydrated, get tons of sleep (see above q), and make sure that I’m getting enough vitamin C. (As always, consult your doctor about any illness.)
Cozy Does It
INFRARED SAUNA BLANKET V3
This sauna blanket will definitely keep you from feeling chilly. Our associate editor Kelly Martin’s review sold me: “It’s probably the easiest and most accessible way to experience infrared. You just set it up on your bed or couch, preheat the blanket, wrap yourself up like a burrito, and let the power of infrared—plus internal layers of tourmaline, amethyst, and charcoal—do its magic. When I’m done, I emerge drenched in that post-hot-yoga way I love—feeling glowy, loosened up, and satisfied.”
NURSE! UNDER THE WEATHER BATH SOAK
These bath salts are what goop’s executive beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June, counts on: “This soak is the only beauty product I actively hoard. There’s nothing like it. If I don’t have at least two bags in my medicine chest— each bag makes three baths—I don’t feel prepared. If you feel something coming on, mix the mustard-powder-salt-eucalyptus-tea-tree soak into a hot bath. Stay in there for twenty minutes, then wrap yourself up in towels and curl up in bed for another twenty. If you’re already struggling, the same treatment works magic, I swear.”
ORANGE STRAWBERRY WELLNESS SHOT
If you want the excruciating details about why it’s a good idea to get plenty of vitamin C, check out this Ask Gerda column. If you just want to work on your hydration and vitamin C replenishment, stir a packet of this powder—with organic orange and strawberry—into a glass of water.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.