• John Steiger

10 Ways to Boost your Body’s Natural Immunity by Thomas C. Ball M.S., D.C.

10 Ways to Boost your Body’s Natural Immunity by Thomas C. Ball M.S., D.C. I realize that this is a very difficult time for everyone right now. The best thing that we can do for ourselves, others around us and for our society as a whole is to continue to follow all the CDC guidelines :

One other thing that we can do is work on boosting our own immune system. I wanted to share a few (10) ideas that may help you.

1) Get Enough Sleep

Research indicates that sleep and immunity are closely tied. Getting enough sleep may strengthen your natural immunity. Adults should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, teens need more (9-10 hours), and younger children and infants may need up to 14 hours per night. Even though our “normal” routines have been drastically changed, still try to stick with going to bed and getting up at the same times daily. It helps if you can keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.

2) Limit the Intake of Sugars in Your Diet

As I mentioned in a previous blog too much dietary sugar can lead to inflammation in the body which can weaken the immune system. Too much sugar can also contribute to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease all of which can suppress the immune system. Lowering your intake of sugar may decrease your risk of developing these conditions.

3) Maintain Proper Hydration

Staying hydrated helps your body naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. Dehydration can directly affect heart and kidney function which can increase your susceptibility to illness. Proper hydration helps: regulate body temperature, relieve fever, digestion and absorption of nutrients, clean airways and improve breathing, improve blood volume and oxygen flow. One way to tell if you are properly hydrated is that your urine will be very light in color.

4) Reduce Stress

I know this one is tough especially right now during a pandemic. Stress increases heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels, adrenaline, cortisol, and free radicals. All of these internal reactions to stress compromise our immune system function. Some activities that may help manage your stress include: meditation, yoga, reading, writing, or my personal favorite stress buster – Exercise.

5) Moderate Exercise

Research shows that daily moderate exercise can boost your immune system function, and help your immune cells regenerate regularly. Now is not the time for prolonged intense exercise because prolonged Intense exercise has been shown to temporarily suppress the immune system. Some moderate exercises to consider are hiking, cycling, yoga and walking.

6) Eat More Whole Plant Foods

Whole plants foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. The antioxidants in these foods help decrease inflammation by combatting unstable free radicals. Whole plant foods are also high in fiber which feed your gut microbiome (healthy bacteria in your gut). A healthy gut microbiome can improve your immunity and help keep harmful pathogens from entering your body through your digestive tract.

7) Eat More Healthy Fats

Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, may boost your immune system by decreasing inflammation. Olive oil, which is highly anti-inflammatory is linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and chia seeds, help fight inflammation as well.

8) Eat More Fermented Foods and/or add a Probiotic Supplement

As stated earlier, gut health and immunity are deeply interconnected. Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are all rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics which populate your digestive tract. Research suggests that this good gut bacteria can help your immune cells identify and target harmful pathogens. Pickled beets are my personal favorite fermented food.

9) Laugh

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which improves your resistance to disease. Laughter has its own list of health benefits: lowers blood pressure, boosts T cells, triggers the release of endorphins, and a produces a sense of general well-being. Maybe try watching the Comedy Channel tonight instead of the News.

10) Add Immune System Boosting Supplements

There are all kinds of herbs and supplements that can enhance immunity. Garlic, milk thistle, ginseng, green tea, black cumin and licorice are just a few of the herbs that have been reported to have immune boosting benefits. Here are a few of my other top recommended supplements.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is perhaps the most popular supplement taken to protect against infection due to its important role in immune health. This vitamin supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection. It’s also necessary for cellular death, which helps keep your immune system healthy by clearing out old cells and replacing them with new ones. Supplemental daily doses typically range between 250 and 1,000 mg.

B Vitamins: including B12 and B6, are important for healthy immune response. Yet, many adults are deficient in them, which may negatively affect immune health.

Curcumin is the main active compound in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and animal studies indicate that it may help improve immune function. Echinacea is a genus of plants in the daisy family. Certain species have been shown to improve immune health and may have antiviral effects against several respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus and rhinoviruses.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient essential to the health and functioning of your immune system. Vitamin D enhances the pathogen fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages — white blood cells that are important parts of your immune defense — and decreases inflammation, which helps promote immune response. Depending on blood levels, anywhere between 1,000 and 4,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D per day is sufficient for most people.

Before adding any supplement- please check with your physician and or pharmacist, to be sure there will be no drug interactions with any medications that you already be taking.

Dr. Ball has over 20 years’ experience in the Health and Fitness industry. He has a Bachelor of Science in Health Fitness and his Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology from Springfield College. Thomas has been a Personal Trainer, Triathlon Coach (USAT), Cycling Coach (USAC) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA).  He was ranked #1 for his age group for New England with the USAT, was ranked #1 in South Carolina in the master’s division for road cycling; 2014, 2015 NE Regional Aqua Bike Champion, 2014 and 2017 USAT Aqua Bike All American. 

Dr Ball's Master's Thesis (on Sports Nutrition) was published in 2 professional journals: The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Medicine Science Sports and Exercise.

Dr. Ball graduated with honors from Sherman College of Chiropractic and is certified in Active Release Techniques. He is currently practicing at Performance Health Center in Natick, MA where he is dedicated and committed to helping his patients minimize their pain and maximize their overall health by combining his chiropractic expertise, Active Release Techniques, along with his knowledge of Exercise Physiology and personal experience as an athlete.


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I hope things are well and you are staying healthy. If you have any questions on the information below, please reach out to mus. On Friday March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. T

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Market Update

Market Update for the Quarter Ending December 31, 2020

Presented by John B. Steiger, CFP®™, AIF® 

Strong December caps off solid year for markets

Markets continued to rally in December. The Nasdaq Composite led the way with a 5.71 percent gain for the month. The S&P 500 gained 3.84 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose by 3.41 percent. These results contributed to a strong quarter for markets. The Nasdaq returned 15.63 percent while the S&P 500 gained 12.15 percent and the DJIA returned 10.73 percent. For the year, DJIA gained 9.72 percent, the S&P 500 returned 18.40 percent, and the Nasdaq gained 44.92 percent.


These strong results coincided with improving fundamentals. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, as of December 24 with 99 percent of companies having reported, the blended third-quarter earnings decline for the S&P 500 came in at 6.9 percent. This result is significantly better than the initial forecast for a 21.5 percent decline.


Technical factors were also supportive. All three major indices remained above their respective 200-day moving averages for the sixth consecutive month, indicating technical support for markets throughout the second half of the year.


International markets also finished the year strong. The MSCI EAFE Index gained 4.65 percent in December, which contributed to the 16.05 percent increase during the quarter and a 7.82 percent annual gain. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 7.40 percent during the month, 19.77 percent for the quarter, and 18.69 percent for the year. Technicals were supportive for international markets at year-end, with both indices finishing December above their 200-day moving averages.


Fixed income markets also ended the year with positive results. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index gained 0.14 percent during the month, 0.67 percent for the quarter, and an impressive 7.51 percent for the year. The 3-month U.S. Treasury yield fell from 1.54 percent at the start of the year to 0.09 percent at year-end. Long-term rates also fell. The 10-year began the year at 1.88 percent and dropped to 0.93 percent by year-end.


High-yield fixed income returned 1.88 percent during the month, 6.45 percent for the quarter, and 7.11 percent for the year. High-yield credit spreads finished the year at 3.87 percent—an improvement from the pandemic-induced high of 10.87 percent in March.


Signs of pandemic progress   

We saw signs of progress on the public health front during the month. New cases per day showed improvement at month-end, although it’s likely the holidays contributed to a lull in reporting. If case growth is in fact slowing, we could see a peak in the next few weeks.


Testing also showed some improvement. A slowdown in testing around the holidays led to the positive test rate increasing modestly at month-end, however. The positive test rate finished the month below the recent highs we’ve seen during the third wave, which is a good sign.


Another positive development was the start of the public vaccination process. The number of vaccinations was relatively low at year-end, but the pace should pick up as state and local governments build out the necessary public health infrastructure.


Economic headwinds remain
The third wave still presents risks to the economic recovery. Retail sales and personal spending fell in November, highlighting the headwinds created by increased shutdown measures. As you can see in Figure 1, this was the first drop for personal spending since initial lockdowns were lifted in April. There is hope that the second stimulus bill and continued public health progress will spur spending growth.

Figure 1. Personal Consumer Expenditures, December 2018-Present






Business confidence and spending held up well despite rising case counts. Both manufacturer and service sector confidence remain near or above pre-pandemic levels. These strong confidence figures have translated into faster spending and output growth.

Risks moderate to start 2021

December’s updates highlighted the risks presented by rising case counts and increased local restrictions. But the resilient economy, combined with the expected tailwinds from additional stimulus and further public health progress, indicates we are in a relatively good place to start the year. Given the short-term uncertainty, a well-diversified portfolio that matches investor goals and timelines remains the best path forward for most. But if concerns remain, contact your financial advisor to review your financial plan.

All information according to Bloomberg, unless stated otherwise.


Disclosure: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures the performance of all issues listed in the Nasdaq Stock Market, except for rights, warrants, units, and convertible debentures. The MSCI EAFE Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure developed market equity performance, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the market structure of 26 emerging market countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. It excludes closed markets and those shares in otherwise free markets that are not purchasable by foreigners. The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index representing securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar-denominated. It covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, with index components for a combination of the Bloomberg Barclays government and corporate securities, mortgage-backed pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index covers the USD-denominated, non-investment-grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high-yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below


John B. Steiger is a financial professional with Wealth Planning Resources, LLC at 460 Totten Pond Road ,Suite 600 ,Waltham, MA 02451.  He offers securities as a Registered Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at  781.547.5621 or at

Authored by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, managing principal, chief investment officer, and Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst, at Commonwealth Financial Network®.

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