Author Archives: sararodgers

Wheel of Health Immune Basics

Each piece contributes to health.

How many pieces are strong in your life?

   Strengthen HealthWeaken Health
ExerciseExercise 5-6 x per week, at least 30 minutes. Find activities that you like to do. Exercise to the level you are not exhausted immediately or hours after your activity.Sit all day without breaks.
SleepGo to bed at the same time nightly. Obtain 8 hours sleep/night
Strategies if sleep disturbance occurs.
Go to bed after midnight. Use electronics and screens in the bedroom.
DietEat colors of the rainbow in fruits/vegetables daily. Eat organic foods.   Drink clean, filtered water. Choose immune supportive foods. Identify and avoid food sensitivities.Fast foods food, processed foods. Colors, additives, preservatives. Partially hydrogenated oils. Sugary foods. Drink pop/cola, sugary drinks.
Social InteractionsSpend time with friends and loved ones.Continue toxic relationships. Isolate oneself.
Relaxation/SpiritFind quiet time daily such as with prayer, meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc. Mindful Breathing.   Find ways to minimize stress. [i]Fill the day with screens and external, busy, and loud influences.
DetoxificationReduce toxins in your homeAvoid Fragrance and other personal care toxins.. Make your home a healthy sanctuary. Avoid EMF exposure. Consider HEPA air filtration. Avoid pesticides inside and outside home. Consider a guided detoxification program.  Choose synthetic fragrance in personal care products, candle. Apply insecticides and herbicides in and around the home.    Wi-Fi in the home.
SupplementationChoose quality supplements. Choose targeted immune support supplements. Handout:  Staying Healthy during the Cold and Flu Season and Wet Sock technique.Caffeinated products.

[i] Morey, J et al. Curr Opin Psychol. 2015 Oct 1; 5: 13–17. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.007

Avoiding Covid: Strategies to Reduce Exposure to the SARS CoV2 (Covid-19) virus and variants.

Avoiding Covid means reducing physical exposure to the virus.   Other articles explore the Immune Strengthening Strategies to reduce getting sick once exposed to the virus.

3 main strategies have been shown to help reduce Covid exposure.

Avoiding Exposure to the virus.  Avoid crowds and unmasked individuals. Creating pods of friends who maintain good virus avoiding strategies.

Block the virus from getting into your sinuses and lungs. This includes a physical barrier over the ports of entry. A mask covering your nose (port of entry into your sinuses) and mouth (port of entry into your lungs) can greatly reduce virus particles from entering your body.  N95 masks or equivalent type of masks are significantly helpful to reduce viral exposure.

Cleaning the Air that may contain virus particles. A HEPA or ULPA HEPA air filter can trap viral particles.

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. HEPA will trap 99.97% of particles
0.3 microns and larger in diameter.

ULPA HEPA, (Ultra Low Particulate Air) will trap 99.99% of particles 0.12 microns and larger.

  • The SARS CoV2 virus is approximately 1 micron in size.  
  • Both HEPA and ULPA HEPA filters are good at removing small particles like viruses. Most viruses are carried on larger particles like vapor and will be stuck to the filter.  Electrostatic charge can also reduce viral loads in the environment.
  • A word on ozone emitting filters. Ozone can inflame the respiratory tract.  Avoid ozone emitting devices due to possible damage to the lungs.  (Medically prescribed ozone is used in a different mechanism than that generated by air filters.)  
  • A HEPA or ULPA HEPA air filter is also very handy during poor air quality days, such produced by fire smoke.

Antibody Super Boost

(Please note: This is a highly simplified explanation of one part of the complex immune system.)

Antibodies are one part of our adaptive immunity and are formed to combat specific pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites, including the Covid-19 virus. 

Antibody Creation

When exposed to a pathogen, the adaptive immune system starts figuring out what the pathogen is and makes an antibody to that specific pathogen.  These antibodies reduce the ability of a pathogen to function and present the pathogen to other immune cells that further inactivate or kill the pathogen.

For example, every time you get the flu or a cold, your body makes antibodies for that specific virus. Children get more colds than adults because they are being exposed to these viruses for the first time. Over time, the child builds a “library” of antibodies that they use to respond to pathogens quickly if re-exposed. Most adults have a large library of antibodies that reduce their risk of getting ill again.

The reason we have a cold for 7-10 days is because it takes time to mount a full immune response. It is hard to speed this process up.  Supplements, herbs, and a low inflammatory diet may reduce the severity of a disease, but the time it takes for the body to react to a virus is similar for everyone.  If one has the antibody to a virus in the library, the body may resolve the infection before a full immune response is needed.  

Covid-19: A Sneaky Genius

The sneaky genius of Covid-19 is two fold:

  1. The word ‘Novel’ when describing the Novel Corona Virus refers to its debut to the world’s population. As humans, we are all like children in that we are experiencing this Corona virus for the first time. Our immune reactions are like that of children: new.
  2. Covid-19 has an ability to inhibit the initial innate immune response, increasing significant inflammation, and potentially slowing or stopping the communication needed to build antibodies[i],[ii],[iii],[iv].  If you’ve had Covid-19, you created antibodies to the virus, but slowly.  

Out-Sneak Covid-19:   Use an Antibody Super Booster

The vaccines developed following Covid-19 epidemic allow the body to create antibodies before an infection occurs.  The vaccines have the blueprints from mRNA to help a cell manufacture a portion of the virus’ spike protein that is then presented to the immune system. (These mRNA blueprints do NOT integrate into your DNA and are destroyed by the body after 72 hours). The adaptive immune system does not know that this spike protein is not a real threat, it only knows that is it a foreign object and must be responded to.  Anti-covid-19 spike protein antibodies are then manufactured and are ready to quickly deploy the next time a spike protein enters the body, i.e., as the full virus.

The vaccination process allows the body to start fighting a Covid-19 infection from the moment of infection, compared to a delayed and inflammatory response if unvaccinated.

Type of Response to CovidInitial Antibody CreationCovid virus affect
Natural Response / UnvaccinatedSlowly – Antibodies need to be made from scratchCovid-19 suppresses immune response, increasing inflammation and slowing down antibody creation
Vaccinated ResponseQuickly – already in LibraryReduced – the antibodies are already in the library, ready to attack the virus.

Some vaccinated people may still get a Covid-19 infection, but their pre-manufactured antibodies allow them a fighting chance to clear the virus before the virus has a chance to rapidly grow and cause debilitating disease or death.

People who had an Covid-19 infection may benefit from vaccination as well but may only need one vaccination injection. [v],[vi]

Some may argue that the mRNA vaccines are not natural. An alternative argument is that these vaccines stimulate your strongest tools to super boost your natural adaptive immunity before you get exposed to this potentially deadly virus.  

Besides the Covid-19 vaccines, it is important to support your innate immunity by:

  • Eating an anti-inflammatory diet (reduce/avoid sugar, alcohol, and foods you know cause inflammation). Click here[vii] for more information.
  • Supplement your immune system. Click here[viii] for more information.
  • Develop and maintain healthy sleep habits. Click here[ix] for more information.
  • Exercise daily to the level of your capability.
  • Find ways to laugh and relax daily. Click here[x] for information on tools to help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Avoid toxins in your daily life such as fragrance, chemical cleaners, or pesticides that may damage your immune system. Click here[xi] for more information.
  • Identify and avoid food sensitivities. Click here[xii] for more information.

If you are struggling with any of these issues, please seek care with your naturopathic physician who is trained to help you find balance.

[i] Azkur AK, Akdis M, Azkur D, et al. Immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and mechanisms of immunopathological changes in COVID-19. Allergy. 2020;75(7):1564-1581. doi:10.1111/all.14364

[iii] Chowdhury MA, Hossain N, Kashem MA, Shahid MA, Alam A. Immune response in COVID-19: A review. J Infect Public Health. 2020;13(11):1619-1629. doi:10.1016/j.jiph.2020.07.001



[vi] Ebinger JE, Fert-Bober J, Printsev I, et al. Antibody responses to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. Nat Med. 2021;27(6):981-984. doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01325-6







Hormone Support for Immune Health

Hormone balance can greatly affect immune function.  3 hormones are very important in this process.

Dr. Rodgers provides the following tests for her patients.

Thyroid hormones.
When the thyroid system is not functioning properly, the innate immune system may not function optimally[i]. Innate immunity is the part of the immune system that is always functioning to reduce infection. Innate immune cells include natural killer cells (NK cells), white blood cells, macrophages, and other immune cells such as dendritic cells.

  • Testing thyroid hormone: TSH, Free 3, Free T4, Reverse T3.

Cortisol is an important stress hormone produced in the Adrenal glands.  Cortisol reacts to stress by raising blood sugars, activating the immune system, and triggering the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (inflammatory signaling molecules). Chronic stress can dampen the feedback system that helps to reduce cortisol production.[ii] Chronic cortisol release may lead to chronic inflammation, resulting in a reduced immune response when needed.

  • Testing cortisol levels:  A diurnal rhythm test of cortisol and cortisone (cortisol’s storage form) can be helpful to determine the daily total amount of cortisol and if there are high and low points of cortisol release during the day.  A diurnal rhythm test is usually collected from urine or saliva samples.
  • AM Cortisol. If a diurnal test is not available, an early morning blood draw can be helpful. Obtain the blood sample as early in the morning as possible,  before 8 AM.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D has a significant role in supporting immunity.  Vitamin D helps to regulate innate immunity. Vitamin D influences the immune system in the digestive tract, the location of majority of immune cells.  Vitamin D may also be a key nutrient to reduce inflammatory cytokines.[iii]

  • Testing Vitamin D levels:  A simple blood test can determine Vitamin D levels.
  • Retesting.  Testing 3 times a year for several years may be helpful to determine your levels during high and low sun exposure months. 
  • Test results low:  If you have low Vitamin D levels. Please ask your prescriber how much Vitamin D you need to raise your Vitamin D levels. Also ask for a re-test of Vitamin D 6 weeks after you start supplementing. A re-test will determine if the therapy was successful.

[i] Montesinos MDM, Pellizas CG. Thyroid Hormone Action on Innate Immunity [published correction appears in Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019 Jul 19;10:486]. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:350. Published 2019 Jun 4. doi:10.3389/fendo.2019.00350

[ii] Morey JN, Boggero IA, Scott AB, Segerstrom SC. Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function. Curr Opin Psychol. 2015;5:13-17. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.007

[iii] Sassi F, Tamone C, D’Amelio P. Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and Immunomodulator. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1656. Published 2018 Nov 3. doi:10.3390/nu10111656

The Rainbow Diet and other simple diet suggestions

Eat colors of the rainbow daily. Colors found in foods help reduce inflammation and facilitate tissue repair.

7 colors are seen in Rainbows: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. 

Some people use ROY G BIV to help remember these colors. 

Choosing colors can be an easy way to make healthy food decisions. 

(Please note, that artificial colors do NOT count such as FD&C colors or processed foods with added natural colors.)


  • Red: tomato, raspberry, strawberry, red pepper, radish, beets
  • Orange: sweet potato, orange, mango
  • Yellow: yellow pepper, banana
  • Green: leafy green lettuce, broccoli, spinach, astragalus, been greens
  • Blue: purple potatoes, blue berry

Can you think of more colorful foods to choose?

Other healthy food suggestions.

  • IF eating grains, choose whole, non gluten grains such as brown rice, teff, amaranth, quinoa
  • Avoid “white” foods such as white rice, white bread
  • Avoid fast food
  • Avoid simple sugars such as cookies, cake, chips, etc.
  • Fats:
    • Choose organic sources of nut and seed oils (cold, expeller pressed, unrefined oils: canola, flax, olive, sunflower, or sesame) packaged in dark glass bottles.
    • Seed/Butters: Raw or home roasted sesame, pumpkin, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, squash
    • Fish from low mercury sources. See
    • Avoid products whose ingredients list partially hydrogenated oils


Food News: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollen is an easy-to-read guide providing simple suggestions for choosing healthy food and staying away from junk food.

Reconnect your brain – Video with Dr. Spencer Zimmerman.

Patients with any brain dysfunction such as ADD, ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Processing disorders, Concussions, Traumatic Brain Injury, Vertigo/Dizziness, Chronic fatigue, or neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and Multiple sclerosis usually struggle on a daily basis.

Dr. Spencer Zimmerman of Idaho Brain and Body Institute discusses the treatments options he offers to help patients relieve suffering.

Covid corner: Answering questions about Ivermectin and the vaccines.

There is a lot of misinformation in the news stream about Covid-19 treatments and vaccines. A recent podcast by The Natural Medicine Journal provides science-based answers about:

  • Ivermectin, a proposed alternative treatment/vaccine.
  • Do vaccinated people shed the virus?
  • Do people who had Covid-19 need to get vaccinated?
  • Bonus question not covered by the podcast: Do vaccines become part of our DNA?

Here is the summary of the discussion.

Ivermectin: a vaccine alternative or viral preventative? Answer: Not really for either.

Ivermectin is a prescription drug traditionally used to treat parasitic infections. There is some evidence that this drug reduces viral penetration into cells and some practitioners have been prescribing it as a treatment or vaccine alternative. Unfortunately, this drug has not shown significant effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 or reducing the spread of the virus. The studies showing some effectiveness indicated that the drug only lessened the disease duration by 2 days. This may be helpful, but the side effects including rash, eye pain and visual changes, mental status changes, balance disruption, gastrointestinal disruption, fever, and swelling in hands and feet could occur with each dose.  Because the virus continues to exist in the community, unvaccinated individuals desiring to take Ivermectin would need to take this drug regularly.

In my medical opinion, the risk factors for taking this drug are too high and benefits too low to consider this drug for treatment or prevention of Covid-19.  There are low cost, viable, and non-toxic prevention measures available to most people including social distancing and using mouth and nose guards (ie, masks) to reduce viral penetration into respiratory cells. Vaccination is also low risk for most people, requires minimal use, and has proven effective. 

Do the approved vaccines shed the virus?  NO.

The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines do not shed virus.  This is due to the fact that the vaccines do not form complete virus nor do they have the mechanism to shed thru the respiratory tract or gastrointestinal track.

Furthermore, once the vaccine is used by the cells, it can not reproduce to create more vaccine.

I’ve had Covid-19 and recovered. Should I get vaccinated? YES, especially if over the age of 65.

Those with past infections of Covid-19 may benefit from vaccination.  An immune system may build some immunity against Covid-19 after infection, but it may not be strong enough in some people to prevent another infection.  It is difficult to know who has high or low immunity following a Covid-19 infection. The reason for a potential low immune response is because the virus is good at blunting an initial immune response as a way to give itself time to replicate before the immune system activates.  The good news is that people with a history of Covid-19 infection may only need one vaccine injection due to the immense immune response after 1 dose of vaccine.

Bonus topic, not discussed in the podcast:

Do the vaccines integrate themselves into my DNA?  Answer: NO.

The Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson ( J&J ) vaccines do NOT change your DNA.  

To help understand how they work, think of the following analogy.

  1. Creating immune antibodies is like ordering a manufactured product (without having to go to Amazon).
  2. You first have to send an order to a manufacturing plant with the blueprint instructions to build your product. The vaccines are the manufacturing blueprints to build a small part of the virus. For Pfizer and Moderna, the blueprints are mRNA embedded in a fat base.  For the J&J vaccine, the blueprints are DNA embedded in a deactivated adenovirus.
  3. These blueprints are NOT sent into our DNA but are interpreted by the protein-building systems of the cell.  
    1. mRNA vaccines go directly to the manufacturing machines.
    1. DNA vaccines have to be converted into mRNA which is then sent to the manufacturing machines.
  4. Once protein-building systems of the cell interpret the mRNA blueprints to build a part of the virus’ spike protein, the finished product, a spike protein remnant, is then released from the cell where the immune system can take a look at it.
  5. When the immune system sees this incomplete spike protein, the immune system then creates an immunoglobulin, an immune protein, which is then put in the immune “library” to be remembered when needed. Later, if you are exposed to the entire virus, the immune system activates when it recognizes the part of the  virus that looks like your manufactured product (the spike protein remnant). The immune system can then easily eradicate the virus before it embeds into your respiratory cells.
  6. This process explains why the vaccine does not shed. Once this process is complete and the cells have used all the vaccine mRNA or DNA to make the spike protein remnant, the cells can not make more spike protein remnant. The body is ready, however, to make more immune protein when presented with the virus and provide you with immunity.

Dandelion – Weed or Free medication? And what about those protective effects against drowning?

 If you do not spray herbicides or pesticides on your lawn, you can harvest the numerous medicinal and nutritional benefits from the Dandelion plant.  In addition to widely known benefits of dandelion, two recently published scientific articles caught my eye about 1) its health benefits when combined with astragalus root and 2) the mysteries of not drowning.  See links at the end of this article to read more about dandelion’s beneficial nutrients and how to easily prepare dandelion root tea. For those not able to harvest their own dandelion, a discount code for the Vervain Collective’s apothecary is also provided at the end of the article.

Dandelion root (water extraction) + Astragalus root may help insulin resistance and diabetes. Diabetes is a growing epidemic worldwide that is prompting the need for an ever-expanding list of medications. What if some of that medication was freely growing outside your door? 

The first study [1] looked at insulin resistant cells when water extracted dandelion root was combined with astragalus root. The study’s results showed that 3-parts water extracted dandelion root to 1-part astragalus root (3:1 ratio) relieved insulin resistance in cells. Both Dandelion root and Astragalus root are already safely used for liver and kidney protection against oxidative damage, and adrenal and immune support, respectively, [2],[3],[4] all of which are important health benefits to diabetics.

The second article[5] is great for science teachers, engineers, or nerds who want to have a little fun distraction. Who knew the dandelion seed puff ball can demonstrate anti-drowning strategies? When submerged, the dandelion’s seed puff ball creates small pockets of air that protects the seeds from water saturation. More fascinating is that the puff ball’s shape returns in full when released from the water. The researchers hypothesize that the dandelion seed puff may be a model for a new type of life vest. Even if you don’t like to read scientific papers, the pictures of air being squeezed out of the puff balls are fun! Click HERE for the YouTube VIDEO. (Yes, I’m one of those nerds.)

This website provides some nutritional information about the dandelion plant. These websites teach how to prepare a water extraction of your dandelion root as a tea from fresh dandelion root or dried dandelion root. If you do have diabetes or other medical issues, please consult with Dr. Rodgers or your physician to make sure this herb is right for you before using.

If you don’t have any dandelions of your own and would like to try these herbs and other plant-medicine options, you can go to The Vervain Collective in Garden City. This apothecary is co-owned by one of my colleagues, Dr. Nicole Pierce, NMD. Use my discount code, DRRODGERS, for a 20% discount on your next purchase in their online store, in a bulk herb order, or in person at 3308 W. Chinden Blvd!

[1] Li J, Luo J, Chai Y, Guo Y, Tianzhi Y, Bao Y. Hypoglycemic effect of Taraxacum officinale root extract and its synergism with Radix Astragali extract. Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Feb 26;9(4):2075-2085. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.2176. PMID: 33841825; PMCID: PMC8020951.

[2] Protective Effects of Taraxacum officinale L. (Dandelion) Root Extract in Experimental Acute on Chronic Liver Failure.  Pfingstgraf, IO et al. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Mar 24;10(4):504.  doi: 10.3390/antiox10040504.

[3] Shahzad M, Shabbir A, Wojcikowski K, Wohlmuth H, Gobe GC. The Antioxidant Effects of Radix Astragali (Astragalus membranaceus and Related Species) in Protecting Tissues from Injury and Disease. Curr Drug Targets. 2016;17(12):1331-40. doi: 10.2174/1389450116666150907104742. PMID: 26343107.

[4] Liang W, Li H, Zhou H, Wang M, Zhao X, Sun X, Li C, Zhang X. Effects of Taraxacum and Astragalus extracts combined with probiotic Bacillus subtilis and Lactobacillus on Escherichia coli-infected broiler chickens. Poult Sci. 2021 Apr;100(4):101007. doi: 10.1016/j.psj.2021.01.030. Epub 2021 Jan 16. PMID: 33647724; PMCID: PMC7921871.

[5] Pugno MC, Misseroni D, Pugno NM. Air-encapsulating elastic mechanism of submerged Taraxacum blowballs. Mater Today Bio. 2021 Jan 28;9:100095. doi: 10.1016/j.mtbio.2021.100095. PMID: 33718857; PMCID: PMC7933492.