Category Archives: Immune Support

Its cold and flu season- don’t participate!

It is very apparent that the cold, flu and Covid season is upon us.  Here are 5 tips to staying healthy and what to do if you get sick.  For those who have read many of my older articles, you may find the links below a reminder of what to do.

Wet Sock Therapy. This simple technique works to improve the immune system as a preventative and treatment. Read instructions HERE.

If you get sick, see what Viral Fighting products Dr. Rodgers suggests.  See my handout HERE  (includes the Wet Sock protocol)

We all hate them, including me, BUT wearing a Mask over the mouth and nose may reduce inhalation of air droplets carrying viruses. Personally, I am grateful for a mask when the stranger next to me in the grocery store sneezes or coughs.

Washing hands frequently and avoiding touching your face also reduces transmission of viruses.

Air purification.  Ultra HEPA air purifyers trap viruses and other particles. Choose a product that has replaceable pre-filters, HEPA or Ultra Hepa filters, and filter to remove noxious gases.  Avoid products that produce ozone or other ions.

Lastly, if you have a naturopathic appointment, but are not feeling well, consider a Telehealth visit instead. Telehealth hours have been extended during December and January.

Staying healthy with A healthy Lymphatic System.

Glenda Bell, LMT of Radical Lymphatic Therapy describes why taking care of our Lymphatic System is so important.

Lymphatic Massage helps clear toxins from the body and support the Immune System. it is an excellent technique to move toxins from breast tissue, decrease inflammation before and after surgery, and perhaps even re-set emotional trauma.

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

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

Are these foods in your kitchen?

These foods help improve your immune function and can easily become dietary stables.

  • Green Tea. Green tea contains beneficial anti-cancer and anti-oxidant compounds. The best way to get the most out of your green tea is to re-steep the tea leaves with each cup of tea. It is ok to add other tea to the used leaves. Beneficial compounds become more available with each steeping.  Alternatively, consume the full leaf green tea as matcha powder.
  • Turmeric. Turmeric root has liver supportive nutrients and is a power anti-oxidant.  Its orange color provides the color for curry powder.  Add turmeric or curry powder to steamed vegetables, stews, or stir-fry.  Purchase raw turmeric root and add to protein smoothies. Prepare raw root by cutting into ½ inch portions and freezing until needed.   A little fat (coconut oil) or oil (fish oil, olive oil) taken at the same time is helpful for absorption.
  • Mushrooms.  Mushrooms have amazing immune enhancing properties. They are best used raw. Cut into salads or add to protein smoothies. Do not consume mushrooms if you are mold sensitive.

Improve your gastrointestinal biome. Our total health depends on gastrointestinal health.  The following foods help support healthy bacterial populations.

Pre-biotic foods supply food for beneficial bacteria:

  • Jerusalem Artichoke (sun spuds)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Spices: Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Cinnamon

Probiotic foods contain beneficial bacteria:

  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt  – Choose high protein/low carb varieties.

Herbs to support your stress response and reduce inflammation. These herbs help lower the inflammatory protein Interleukin-6 that may be related to the COVID-19 inflammatory response. They are also very helpful to support the stress response.

  • Lemon balm. This garden weed helps to improve a relaxation response. Easy to make a sun tea from this herb.
  • Passionflower is an anti anxiety herb. It is usually combined with lemon balm in natural sleep formulas.
  • Ashwaganda is an herb used for thyroid and adrenal support.

Immune supportive Nutrients

If I were to suggest 7 supplements to support your immune system, I’d list them as:

  1. Vitamin C (3000 milligrams daily)
  2. Vitamin C (3000 milligrams daily)
  3. Vitamin C (3000 milligrams daily)
  4. Vitamin D (2,000-5000 IU daily)
  5. Selenium (200 micrograms daily)
  6. Zinc  (10-20 milligrams daily)
  7. Magnesium (400 milligrams daily)

The reason I suggest Vitamin C as the top 3 immune support nutrient is that humans do not make Vitamin C. That means we need to obtain this very important nutrient from our food or from a nutritional supplement. Vitamin C helps reduce the inflammatory response and protects cells against oxidative damage to cells, thus protecting cells against an inflammatory response to infections. Vitamin C is also important for neurotransmitter dopamine production, collagen and other connective tissue formation, and cortisol production.

The following recommendations are suggested due to their known immune system support.  Additional nutrients may be needed if you feel ill.  Please be aware, these recommendations are to improve your immune system; they are not intended as a cure for Covid-19.   I’ve listed references at the bottom of the article if you want to read more about these key nutrients.

Visit Fullscript for supplements if you think you are not getting the levels suggested from your diet.  

Vitamin C Goal: 3000 mg/day.

Vitamin C taken in divided doses throughout the day helps to maintain a good circulating dose and improves ability to absorb in the digestive system.  Vitamin C can be obtained as ascorbic acid. To reduce any acid affect on the stomach, ester-C / buffered formulations can be obtained.  Additionally, taking small doses (i.e., 500-1000 mg) throughout the day may reduce stomach or other gastrointestinal disturbances. Diabetics need to be cautious with fruit and Vitamin C intake as both may affect blood sugar values.

Vitamin C Containing Foods Vitamin C level (milligrams)
Guava (1 cup) 377 mg
Orange (medium size) 70 mg
Sweet red pepper (1/2 cup) 95 mg
Kiwi (1 fruit) 64 mg
Lemon (1 fruit) 44.5 mg

Vitamin D Goal:  2000-5000 IU (50-150 mcg)

Do not rely on the amount of sun exposure you get to determine your Vitamin D levels. The best way to determine if you have adequate blood levels of Vitamin D is to get a blood test.  One study suggests that the a serum Vitamin D level above 38 ng/ml or higher “should significantly reduce the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections…”

Vitamin D Containing Foods Vitamin D Content (International Units)
Cod Liver Oil (1 tablespoon) 1360 IU
Rainbow Trout (3 ounces) 645 IU
Salmon (3 ounces) 570 IU
White button mushrooms, exposed to UV light under controlled conditions (1/2 cup) 366 IU
Egg (1 large) (Vitamin D in yolk) 44 IU

Selenium Goal: 200 mcg/day

Selenium helps with anti-oxidation in the regeneration of vitamin C and glutathione. It is also involved with thyroid function.

Selenium Containing Foods Selenium content (micrograms)
Brazil Nuts (1/2 ounce = 2-4 nuts) 272 mcg  
Halibut, dry heat cooked, (3 ounces) 47 mcg
Sardines   (3 ounces) 45 mcg
Ham, roasted (3 ounces) 42 mcg

Zinc Goal:  10-20 mg/day

Zinc is very important the immune system.   Zinc may reduce viral replication in cells. Quercitin (500-1000 mg) and molybdemnum (1 mg) can help zinc get into cells. Please note, that chronic overdosing of zinc may deplete copper levels. Take 1-2 mg copper for every 15 mg of zinc. Pregnant women should not take more than 25 mg zinc daily.

Zinc Containing Foods Selenium content (milligrams)
Oysters (3 ounces) 74 mg
Beef, braised (3 ounces) 7 mg
Pork chop, cooked (3 ounces) 2.9 mg
Pumpkin Seeds, dried (1 ounce) 2.2 mg
Cashews, dried (1 ounce) 1.6 mg

Magnesium Goal: 400 mg daily.

Magnesium is used in hundreds of biochemical reactions that have implications for muscle pain, bone density, mood, energy, detoxification, and immunity.  Significantly, magnesium deficiency may lead to an inflammatory response. One of the issues with Covid-19 is its ability to turn on a strong intra-cellular inflammatory reaction.  Adequate supplementation of magnesium is very important to reduce the risk of a strong inflammatory reaction.

Magnesium Containing Foods Magnesium content (milligrams)
Almonds, dry roasted (1 ounce) 80 mg
Cashews, dry roasted (1 ounce) 74 mg
Soymilk (1 cup) 61 mg
Peanut butter, smooth (2 tablespoon) 49 mg

I hope you are getting these nutrients from your food. However, it may be difficult to get everything you need. Visit Fullscript for supplements if you think you are not getting the levels suggested from your diet.  


Maggini, S et al. A Combination of High-dose Vitamin C Plus Zinc for the Common Cold. The Journal of International Medical Research.  2012; 40: 28 – 42

Sabetta, JR et al.  Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and the Incidence of Acute Viral Respiratory Tract Infections in Healthy Adults. PLoS One, 5 (6), e11088. 2010 Jun 14  PMID: 20559424.  PMCID: PMC2885414.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011088

Wintergerst ES1, Maggini S, Hornig DH.  Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function.  Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(4):301-23. Epub 2007 Aug 28

Tam, M et al. Possible roles of magnesium on the immune system.  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, 1193–1197. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601689

Laires MJ1, Monteiro C. Exercise, magnesium and immune function. Magnes Res. 2008 Jun;21(2):92-6.

Shanka, AH and Prasad, AS.  Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;68(suppl):447S–63S.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.


Do you have an autoimmune disease or know someone who does? Want to learn more about treatment without immunosuppressant drugs?

Autoimmunity occurs when the body’s immune system fails to recognize the body as part of itself, resulting in organ damage. Different types of autoimmunity will affect different organ systems. Rheumatoid arthritis, Celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Scleroderma, Type I Diabetes, Lupus, Crohn’s disease, Sjögren’s, and Ankylosing Spondylitis are all types of autoimmune disease.

Many times, prescription medication is provided to suppress the immune system. Unfortunately, the suppression of the immune system may increase the risk of infection and cancer. Alternative approaches exist that may be beneficial to reduce the imbalance of the immune  system. Remission may be possible.

Dr. Rodgers offers the following strategies to identify and treat the underlying causes of immune dysregulation.

Dr. Rodgers offers the following strategies to identify and treat the underlying causes of immune dysregulation.

  1. A thorough medical intake and physical exam including lifestyle, diet, stress levels, past medical history help determine cause and extent of the disease.
  2. Identify and remove any inflammatory foods, including those triggering the immune system. This includes food sensitivity evaluation and Celiac evaluation. Removing foods that trigger inflammation empowering you to take charge of your health on a daily basis.
  3. Digestive analysis to determine gastrointestinal health including inflammatory makers, immune status, and microbiome composition. The GI system is home to the largest amount of immune cells in the body. A compromised gastrointestinal system negatively influences the entire immune system. It is important to identify gastrointestinal bacteria as some bacteria have been known to trigger the onset of autoimmunity in susceptible individuals.
  4. Obtain a nutritional overview using an organic acid test to determine nutrient status, mitochondrial status, oxidative stress burden, detoxification function, and microbial-related products. This testing is highly informative and determines what nutrients are needed and if certain microbes need to be eradicated or supplemented.
  5. Blood sugar balancing. Both elevated and low blood sugar can have an impact on the immune and hormone systems.
  6. Hormone evaluation including cortisol, DHEA, testosterone. If needed a full hormone panel completed.
  7. Identify and remove environmental triggers such as fragrance, toxic metals, mold, etc.

To schedule your evaluation with Dr. Rodgers, click here.

Food Sensitivity – How to Identify

Food Sensitivity

The immune system protects us from infection. When activated by infection, the immune system produces proteins called immunoglobulins and other inflammatory compounds.

Foods can also trigger similar immune reactions when food particles pass through an inflamed intestinal barrier.

Sometimes, these reactions cause a histamine release that can lead to severe tissue inflammation as seen in anaphylaxis. Histamine reactions fall in the category of Allergy.

What is Food Sensitivity?

Foods can also trigger non-histamine immune reactions that result in numerous non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, skin rash, mood disturbance, digestive complaints (i.e., constipation, diarrhea, nausea, acid reflux, etc.) and more. These non-histaminic reactions are classified as sensitivity reactions.

As a Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Rodgers offers two methods for identifying food sensitivities. By using these tools, patients are provided a powerful method to help identify and control the underlying cause of inflammation.

  • Elimination-Challenge of the most common foods notorious for causing inflammation.
  • IgA/IgG sensitivity and Lymphocyte Response Assay (LRA) blood testing.

Call 208-275-0007 if you would like more information about these diagnostic tools.

Backyard Medicinal Herbs

I garden, therefore I weed.

I have a small backyard garden that provides lettuce, tomatoes, basil and other vegetables. To make sure these vegetables get all the soil nutrients they deserve, I ruthlessly remove all weeds.

I define a weed as any plant growing where I don’t want it to be. I use 2 toxin-free weed removal methods.

  1. Pulling weeds by hand.
  2. Spraying of concentrated vinegar on stubborn plants.
  3. For added help, the Northend Organic Nursery has an organic yard care program.

Five beneficial weeds also reside in my yard. I don’t try to grow weeds, but I do leave one small area in my yard where I don’t eradicate them completely. In that space, they magically transform from weed to beneficial medical herbs.

Mallow.  Mallow leaves contain both vitamins and minerals: beta-carotene, vitamin C, selenium, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium. If one is not willing to use in a salad, the plant can be dried into a powder and added to soups or smoothies. The leaves and roots are slippery (mucilaginous) and can be used to soothe the digestive tract.


Dandelions seem to be the bane of every home owner. However, this is one of the most powerful medicinal herbs we all have at our disposal. The leaves can be used as additions to spring salads. As medicine, the leaves help increase urination. The roots contain compounds to strengthen the cleansing action in the liver. 




Lemon Balm. Like most mints, Lemon Balm has the propensity to take over any garden if left to its own devices (i.e., make sure to plant in a container). Lemon balm’s leaves are easy to pick for making tea. It is calming and helps reduce anxiety. Leaves can be used fresh or dried. Cats and bees also love it.


I love Burdock as an herb until a velcro inspiring seed pod becomes lodged in a pet’s fur. The root is used in many liver-cleansing formulas.




A new weed arrival to my yard this season: Mullein.  This statuesque desert plant’s spring leaves are used in lung tonic formulations.