Author: Lily Mazzarella, MS, CNS
It is understandable that some people feel trepidatious about their upcoming Covid-19 vaccines, even those who are very eager to get them. I’ve had countless requests for suggestions to support the body-mind during the vaccination process. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone do everything on it! It is meant to offer ideas in categories—some may resonate more than others.
Let’s start with the basics: it’s important to stay well-nourished, well-hydrated and to limit your stress levels to whatever degree possible. This cannot be overstated!
The limbic system (an early system in the brain that is tied into vigilance, survival and emotional learning) is intimately connected to the immune, nervous and endocrine system. When we are stressed and on high alert, the stress response can interfere with immune response.
So, adjust for the things you have control over (recognizing that some of our life situational stress is outside of our control), like staying off social media and news, not overworking/overscheduling, taking a break from difficult folks and situations, etc. It can lessen stress to know that you are taking care of yourself to the best of your ability!
Nervous system support:
Epsom salt baths—buy a 6-pound bag and use a full HALF in your bath after vaccination. This will help support gentle detox as well as body aches and chills that might arise. If you don’t have a bathtub, a steamy shower with a few drops of your favorite essential oil and can achieve the same effect.
Aromatherapy—Scents can help us relax and bypass our conscious minds. Inhale/diffuse a scent you find relaxing or luscious—lavender, clary sage, and fir are good bets.
Tea—Traditional Medicinals and Organic India have nice blends for stress and relaxation. The Herbal Revolution Rest and Relax is very effective!
Supplemental magnesium—Magnesium malate or glycinate can help the mind and body release tension without being too laxative.
Nervines—Feeling Easy, Nervine AF and In the Moment can help support anxious feelings and tension.
Theanine—a personal favorite. I pair 100 mg chewable Theanine with Feeling Easy for fast-track relaxation.
CBD also works nicely for people to help relax and have more body comfort.
Insight Timer meditation app (free)—search Jennifer Piercy. She has great daytime and nighttime guided relaxation/yoga nidra meditations.
Those with chronic health issues, especially those worsened by stress, may want to explore DNRS, an amazing and effective program based on the premises of neuroplasticity: www.retrainingthebrain.com
Gentle Detox/Pathway support:
A good B vitamin or multi with B’s, B12/folate lozenge, liposomal B12 spray
SAT by Thorne Research—gentle liver support with extracts of Milk Thistle, Artichoke and Turmeric
NAC—supports production of glutathione, a very important intracellular antioxidant and component of liver detox
Salad or GB bitters—supports liver/gallbladder function and healthy bile production—route of elimination for many toxins and breakdown products.
Liposomal Glutathione—for those who want more support
Water + Electrolyes—veggie broth provides lots of soluble nutrients
Take care of the gut! Support bowel elimination if that’s spotty for you. You can use 1-2 TBSP of chia seeds soaked in water; I love the GI Fortify and Blue Heron, as well! If you get constipated with stress, Mellow Lax tincture is a great situational support.
Gentle Immune support:
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. It’s a good time to avoid foods that blunt or skew the immune response, like sugar, excess alcohol and processed foods. We have tons of free recipes and guides for anti-inflammatory eating on our website, https://www.farmacopia.net/blogs/recipes.
It’s a good idea to know your Vitamin D levels, especially prior to vaccination. Low D (below 30, especially) may blunt our body’s ability to form antibodies and have robust and appropriate immune response. Vitamin D 2000-5000 IU per day, preferably with vitamin K2 for absorption/utilization supports immune function.
Research suggests that Reishi, Astragalus, Panax ginseng and probiotics may support our body’s healthy immune response to vaccination. I also think Baical Skullcap belongs in this category.
NAC/Glutathione fall in “immune support” category as well in that they support healthy inflammation levels.
D-Hist, a natural support for our body’s allergy-mediating pathways, with nettles, quercitin, bromelain and NAC may be supportive for some of the symptoms that arise with vaccination.
Gentle exercise: For those physically able to exercise, some GENTLE exercise is a good idea pre and post vaccination. Research shows it may improve our vaccine response! And in general, exercise supports healthy immune response and keeps our lymph system flowing!
If you have histamine/mast cell issues or really bad allergies, talk to your provider about the best over the counter medication to pre-medicate with. The Mast Cell Society currently recommends pre-medicating with an H1 blocker like Benadryl; I have clients with mast cell issues who have used Zyrtec to good effect.
Forest Bathing! This falls under the Nervous System support category as well. Research shows that time in nature helps us mount efficient immune responses and lowers cortisol levels.
The statements in this article are meant to be informative, not to diagnose or prescribe any treatment of symptom or disease. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA.
Lily Mazzarella is not a medical doctor, and does not take the place of a medical doctor. She is a Clinical Herbalist and Certified Nutrition Specialist, and offers information and guidelines pertinent to her field of Health. Farmacopia is a center for health promotion and information.