22 Top Tips for a Healthier 2022

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by Dr. Joseph Mercola

top tips for a healthier 2022


  1. The start of a new year is often a good time to take stock and plan out beneficial lifestyle changes. Included are 22 tips for making 2022 your healthiest year yet
  2. Top tips include optimizing your vitamin D, targeting your immune system with immune-boosting nutraceuticals, treating COVID symptoms early, improving your liver health, protecting your vision and combating inflammation and autoimmune diseases
  3. Items to eliminate include processed foods high in seed oils and processed sugar, as well as electromagnetic field exposures, freedom of speech robbers such as Google and Facebook, and toxic clothing
  4. Items to add include magnesium, collagen, filtered water, vision-enhancing nutrients, osteoporosis-busting exercise and healthy sleep

The start of a new year is often a good time to take stock and plan out beneficial lifestyle changes. Here are 22 tips for making 2022 your healthiest year yet. How many have you incorporated so far, and which ones can you add to your toolbox for the coming year?

Tip 1: Optimize Your Vitamin D

Vitamin D optimization is an absolute foundational strategy for fighting infections as it bolsters the first line of defense of your immune system. Ideally, test your vitamin D level twice a year, in the winter and summer, to make sure you’re in a healthy range of 60 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL year-round. (A compelling body of research suggests 40 ng/mL is the cutoff for sufficiency.)

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by reducing the survival and replication of viruses, reducing inflammatory cytokine production, maintaining endothelial integrity and increasing ACE2 concentrations, which helps lower COVID-19 severity.

If your vitamin D levels are not optimal and you come down with COVID, it is best to take 0.5 mcg of calcitriol on the first day and then 0.25 mcg for a week, as this is the active form of vitamin D. Merely swallowing regular vitamin D capsules will not help with COVID for one to two weeks, which is why you must add calcitriol.

You can learn more about the mechanisms behind vitamin D in my June 2020 scientific report, available on StopCovidCold.com. October 31, 2020, I also published a scientific review1 in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients — “Evidence Regarding Vitamin D and Risk of COVID-19 and Its Severity” — co-written with William Grant, Ph.D., and Dr. Carol Wagner, both of whom are part of the GrassrootsHealth expert vitamin D panel. You can read the paper for free here.

Tip 2: Up Your Intake of Key Immune-Boosting Nutrients

Many nutrients are known for their immune-boosting properties and ability to ward against encapsulated RNA viruses such as influenza and coronaviruses. A number of them were identified and listed in a February 2020 article in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.2,3,4

A number of nutrients have also shown promise against the atypical symptoms associated with severe COVID-19, such as excessive, out of control inflammation and blood clots.

While these symptoms have become increasingly rare as the virus has mutated into milder strains (Omicron being a prime example), some early COVID-19 patients are still struggling with long-term symptoms, colloquially known as “long COVID.” For them, such nutraceuticals may be particularly helpful.

Here’s a summary of the nutritional supplements identified. (For suggested dosages, see the Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases paper.5)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) — Encourages glutathione production, thins mucus, lowers your chances of influenza infection and reduces your risk of developing severe bronchitis.
Elderberry extract — Known to shorten influenza duration by two to four days and reduce the severity of the flu.
Spirulina — Reduces severity of influenza infection severity and lowers influenza mortality in animal studies. In a human trial, spirulina significantly lowered the viral load in patients with HIV infection.
Beta-glucan — Reduces severity of influenza infection severity and lowers influenza mortality in animal studies.
Glucosamine — Upregulates mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS), reduces severity of influenza infection severity and lowers influenza mortality in animal studies.
Selenium — Selenium deficiency increases the rate at which viruses can mutate, promoting the evolution of more pathogenic strains.
Zinc — Supports “effective function and proliferation of various immune cells,” lowering mortality in the elderly by 27%. If treating acute COVID, it’s best taken with quercetin (500 mg) to drive the zinc into the cell to limit viral replication.
Lipoic acid — Helps boost type 1 interferon response, which activate intracellular antimicrobial programs, thereby limiting viral spread between cells, and modulate your innate immune responses, restraining pro-inflammatory pathways and inhibiting cytokine production. They also activate your adaptive immune system.6
Sulforaphane — Helps boost type 1 interferon response.
Resveratrol — A 2005 study7 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases found resveratrol has the power to inhibit the replication of influenza A virus, significantly improving survival in influenza-infected mice. According to the authors, resveratrol “acts by inhibiting a cellular, rather than a viral, function,” which suggests it “could be a particularly valuable anti-influenza drug.”

Tip 3: Treat COVID at FIRST Sign of Infection

Should you develop COVID symptoms, you simply MUST start treatment immediately. We now know early treatment is key for successful resolution of the infection. It could literally be the difference between life and death and I can’t stress that enough. It is far better to overtreat a cold like COVID than ignoring the symptoms and dismissing them.

There are several early treatment protocols available, most of which focus on similar remedies. I believe the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance’s (FLCCCs) protocol is among the most comprehensive. You can find a listing of doctors who can prescribe necessary medicines on the FLCCC website.

There, you can also find downloadable PDFs in several languages for prevention and early at-home treatment, the in-hospital protocol and long-term management guidance for long-haul COVID-19 syndrome.

A slightly revised version of the FLCCC protocol is below. I’ve altered some of the dosages, and added a few more therapies that they have yet to include, such as nebulized hydrogen peroxide and intravenous ozone.

FLCCC Alliance I-MASKplus Protocol

Tip 4: Optimize Your Health With Systemic Enzymes

Enzymes are proteins composed of individual amino acids necessary to speed up cellular functions and biological processes. Some of the bodily processes that require enzymes include energy production, oxygen absorption, toxic waste removal, breaking down fats in your blood, dissolving blood clots and fighting infections.

Proteolytic enzymes such as lumbrokinase and serrapeptase act as blood cleansers that combat inflammation and rebalance your immune system.

In the era of COVID, an enzyme called lumbrokinase may be of particular benefit, as it helps break down blood clots. If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past, and/or received one or more COVID injections, lumbrokinase may be helpful to prevent blood clotting issues.

Proteolytic enzymes such as lumbrokinase and serrapeptase serve to digest unwanted proteins in your blood, like blood clots. They also help combat inflammation and rebalance your immune system, facilitating the removal of inflammatory proteins, removing fibrin (a clotting material that restricts blood flow and prolongs inflammation), reducing edema in inflamed regions, and boosting the potency of macrophages and killer cells.

If you want these enzymes to work on the potentially damaging proteins in your blood and not the food in your stomach, you will need to take them on an empty stomach, either one hour before or two hours after a meal. Otherwise the enzymes will be used to digest your food and not work in your bloodstream.

Tip 5: Boost Your Liver Health With Choline

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common condition caused by an unhealthy processed food diet. Aside from cutting out processed foods high in sugars and seed oils, adding in more choline can be helpful, as it appears to be a key controlling factor in arresting the development of fatty liver.

It does this by enhancing secretion of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles in your liver, which are required to safely transport fat out of your liver. Choline deficiency may result in excess fat and cholesterol buildup. Choline also aids in DNA synthesis and is important for healthy mitochondrial function.

Choline-rich foods to consider loading up on include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, krill oil, organic pastured chicken, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, grass fed beef liver and pastured egg yolks.

A single hard-boiled egg can contain anywhere from 113 to 147 milligrams of choline, or about 25% of your daily requirement, making it one of the best choline sources in the American diet. Only grass fed beef liver beats it, with 430 milligrams of choline per 100-gram serving.

Tip 6: Eliminate ALL Seed (Vegetable) Oils

A compelling report in the journal Gastroenterology offers a radically novel yet logically sound explanation as to why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure, namely their high unsaturated fat intake. Since diet-related comorbidities are responsible for 94% of COVID-19-related deaths,8 taking control of your diet is a simple, common-sense strategy to lower the risks associated with this infection.

Simply put, high intake of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) — a primary source of which is industrial seed oils — is associated with increased mortality from COVID-19, while healthy saturated fats actually lower your risk of death.

Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) makes up the bulk of the omega-6 consumed and is the primary contributor to nearly all chronic diseases, because when consumed in excessive amounts, LA acts as a metabolic poison radically limiting mitochondrial function and your ability to produce cellular energy.

The reason for this is because polyunsaturated fats such as LA are highly susceptible to oxidation. As the fat oxidizes, it breaks down into harmful sub-components such as advanced lipid oxidation end products (ALES) and oxidized LA metabolites (OXLAMs). These ALES and OXLAMs are actually what cause the damage.

While excess sugar is certainly bad for your health and should typically be limited to 25 grams per day or less, it doesn’t cause a fraction of the oxidative damage that LA does. Processed vegetable oils are a primary source of LA, but even food sources hailed for their health benefits contain it, and can be a problem if consumed in excess. Cases in point: olive oil and conventionally raised chicken, which are fed LA-rich grains.

Tip 7: Boost Your Magnesium Intake

Magnesium is required for the healthy function of most cells in your body. Deficiency will impede your cellular metabolic function and deteriorate mitochondrial function, which can result in more serious health problems. Deficiency is widespread, thanks to inadequate consumption of leafy greens, so if you rarely eat your veggies, you could probably benefit from supplementation.

Having low amounts of magnesium has also been shown to significantly increase your supplemental vitamin D requirement. Research by GrassrootsHealth9 shows you need 146% more vitamin D to achieve a blood level of 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) if you do not take supplemental magnesium, compared to taking your vitamin D with at least 400 mg of magnesium per day.

Your vitamin K2 intake can also affect your required vitamin D dosage. Data10 from nearly 3,000 individuals revealed 244% more oral vitamin D was required to get 50% of the population to achieve a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) if they weren’t concurrently also taking magnesium and vitamin K2. So, a simple way to optimize your vitamin D absorption is to take it in conjunction with magnesium and K2.

Foods with the highest magnesium levels include spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and romaine lettuce.

If you’re using a supplement, you may want to use magnesium threonate to provide at least some of your magnesium, as it appears to be most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier. Another effective way to boost your magnesium level is to take Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths, as the magnesium will effectively absorb through your skin.

Tip 8: Improve Your Bowel Evacuation

Healthy evacuation of your bowels is a factor that many tend to ignore. The good news is that improving your bowel function can be as simple as changing how you sit on the toilet. Your puborectalis muscle helps control elimination during a bowel movement and prevent incontinence when you’re standing.

However, when you sit on a typical toilet, this muscle cannot fully relax, which is why you may need to push or even strain in order to have a bowel movement. While squatting, however, the muscle relaxes fully, making elimination easier.

Squatting on the toilet bowl can help you eliminate waste better if you are constipated. But this requires strength, flexibility and balance, especially if you’re not used to this method. Other options include using a simple footstool to help you get into a more “squatty” position or leaning forward as you sit on the toilet, with your hands on or near the floor.

Tip 9: Combat Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of virtually all disease, including cancer, obesity and heart disease. While inflammation is a perfectly normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, it leads to trouble when the inflammatory response gets out of hand and continues indefinitely.

Your diet plays a significant, if not primary, role in this chain of events and is the perfect place to start to address it. Certain nutritional supplements can also be helpful as add-ons. Here’s a summary of key principles:

• Limit or eliminate vegetable oils (seed oils) — A key part of an anti-inflammatory diet involves excluding refined vegetable oils, as they are clearly one of the most pernicious and pervasive poisons in the food supply. Simply avoiding all processed foods and most restaurant foods will go a long way toward helping you avoid them.

• Eat more veggies — Vegetables are a key anti-inflammatory staple. Ideally, opt for organic locally grown veggies that are in season, and consider eating a fair amount of them raw. If you struggle with autoimmune disease or have significant inflammation in your body, though, consider limiting vegetables with high lectin content. Some high- lectin foods can be made safer to eat through proper soaking and cooking, as well as fermenting and sprouting.

• Add in fermented foods — Traditionally fermented and cultured foods are other anti-inflammatory staples that work their “magic” by optimizing your gut flora. A majority of inflammatory diseases start in your gut as the result of an imbalanced microbiome.

Fermented foods such as kefir, natto, kimchi, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, olives and other fermented vegetables will help reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria. Ideally, you’ll want to eat a wide variety of them as each contains a different set of beneficial bacteria (probiotics).

If you don’t like fermented vegetables, consider yogurt made from raw, organic milk from grass fed cows. Yogurt has been shown to reduce inflammation by improving the integrity of your intestinal lining, thereby preventing toxins in your gut from crossing into your bloodstream.

• Boost your omega-3 fat intake — Marine-based omega-3 fats found in fatty cold-water fish that are low in environmental toxins — such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies — are also important anti-inflammatories, particularly for brain and heart health. In fact, your omega-3 level is a powerful predictor of mortality. If you don’t enjoy these types of fish, consider using krill oil instead.

• Cook with herbs and spices — Ounce for ounce, herbs and spices are among the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients available and making sure you’re eating a wide variety of them on a regular basis can go a long way toward preventing chronic illness. Among the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs and spices are cloves, cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, apple pie and pumpkin pie spice mixtures, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme and Italian spice.

Tip 10: Filter Your Water

While the U.S. has many water quality concerns, it doesn’t really matter where you live anymore, as many dangerous chemicals find their way into the ecosystem, spreading from one continent to another. This is why filtering your household water is more a necessity than an option these days.

Filtering your drinking water is good practice, but equally important is filtering the water you use for bathing. This is because immersing yourself in contaminated water may be even more hazardous to your health than drinking it.

Chemicals absorbed through your skin go directly into your bloodstream, bypassing your digestive and internal filtration systems. Unfiltered water can also expose you to dangerous chlorine vapors and chloroform gas, which can cause dizziness, fatigue, asthma, airway inflammation and respiratory allergies.

Unless you can verify the purity of your water, you should seriously consider installing a high-quality, whole-house water filtration system. Ideally, filter the water both at the point of entry and at the point of use. This means filtering all the water that comes into the house, and then filtering again at the kitchen sink and shower. As for the type of filtration system to get, there are various options, most of which have both benefits and drawbacks.

Common options include reverse osmosis (RO), ion exchange, and granular carbon or carbon block filters. Ideally, you want a filtration system that uses a combination of methods to remove contaminants, as this will ensure the removal of the widest variety of contaminants.

Tip 11: Reduce Your EMF Exposure

One of the most dangerous kinds of pollution affecting your health is the invisible sea of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) your body swims in daily, both outdoors and in your home. Common sources include cell phones, cell towers, computers, smart meters and Wi-Fi, to name just a few. Strategies to reduce your EMF exposure include:

Connect your computer to the internet via a wired connection and put it in airplane mode. Also opt for wired keyboards, trackballs, mice, printers and house phones.
If you must use Wi-Fi, be sure to shut it off whenever it’s not in use, especially at night.
Shut off the electricity to your bedroom at night to reduce electrical fields from the wires in your walls.
Use a battery-powered alarm clock, ideally one without any light.
Replace your microwave oven with a steam convection oven, which will heat your food quickly and far more safely.
Avoid “smart” appliances and thermostats that depend on wireless signaling, including smart TVs. Consider using a large computer monitor as your TV instead, as it doesn’t emit Wi-Fi.
Opt out of smart meters if you can or add a shield to an existing smart meter.
Avoid using a wireless baby monitor. Instead, move the baby’s bed into your bedroom, or use a hard-wired monitor.
Remove all fluorescent lights from your home and switch to incandescent bulbs.
Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body unless it’s in airplane mode, and never sleep with it in your bedroom.
Use the speakerphone on your cell phone, and hold it at least 3 feet away from you. Ideally, use your cell phone as little as possible.

Even if you implement these strategies, you’re unlikely to eliminate all exposure, as EMFs saturate public places and can invade your home from your neighbors. To minimize the harmful effects, the following strategies can be helpful:

Increase your magnesium intake — As a natural calcium channel blocker, magnesium can help reduce the effects of EMF on your voltage-gated calcium channels. Since many are deficient in magnesium, I believe you could benefit from as much as 1 to 2 grams of magnesium per day.

Molecular hydrogen — Molecular hydrogen has been shown to target free radicals produced in response to radiation, such as peroxynitrites. Studies have shown molecular hydrogen can mitigate about 80% of this damage.

Molecular hydrogen will also activate Nrf2, a biological hormetic that upregulates superoxide dismutase, catalase and all the other beneficial intercellular antioxidants. This in turn lowers inflammation, improves your mitochondrial function and stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis.

Protective spices — Cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, rosemary and turmeric have exhibited protective effects against EMF-induced damage.

Tip 12: Boost Your Collagen Production Naturally

Collagen is the most common and abundant of your body’s proteins. One of its primary purposes is to provide structural scaffolding for your various tissues to allow them to stretch while still maintaining tissue integrity.

As a compound of essential amino acids, there’s only one way to get collagen: Your body can’t produce it, so you must obtain it through your diet. Historically, traditional diets provided ample collagen in the form of broth made from boiled chicken feet or beef bones. These are by far your best alternatives.

If you decide to use a collagen supplement, it’s important to know what to look for. Laboratory testing has revealed many popular collagen and bone broth products contain potentially hazardous contaminants typically associated with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), so to avoid contaminants, make sure your collagen supplement is certified “100% Organic” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Moreover, collagen supplements can be either unhydrolyzed (undenatured) or hydrolyzed (denatured). The processing that most collagen supplements undergo to become hydrolyzed can also result in questionable byproducts that are best avoided. My personal preference is to use a less denatured (unhydrolyzed) organic collagen supplement, as it has a more balanced amino acid profile.

That said, I still believe the natural approach is best. Making homemade bone broth using bones and connective tissue from grass fed, organically raised animals isn’t very complicated and will produce the best results.

Tip 13: Optimize Your Sleep

One of the most radical and recent discoveries revealing the importance of sleep for health is that each and every organ has its own biological clock. In your brain is a “master clock” that synchronizes these clocks and your bodily functions to match the 24-hour light and dark cycle.

When you upset your circadian rhythm by not getting enough sleep, the results can have far-reaching consequences, affecting everything from mood, creativity and brain detoxification to DNA expression, chronic disease risk — including dementia — and longevity. Helpful tips to optimize your sleep include:

Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible, to avoid lowering melatonin production, which can interfere with your sleep.
Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eliminate EMFs in your bedroom.
Keep all electronic devices at least 3 feet from your bed.
Adopt a neutral sleeping position by propping your pillow under your neck, not your head, to maintain a proper spinal curve.
Reserve your bed for sleeping and don’t keep a TV in your bedroom.
Consider separate bedrooms if sharing your bed with a partner impairs your sleep. Pets may also need to be kept in another room if they disturb your sleep.

Tip 14: Ditch Google and Facebook Once and for All

Over the years, the government and business monopolies, including the likes of Big Tech, have formed a global alliance hell-bent on protecting and concentrating member profits. The price for keeping business going as usual is personal liberty and freedom of speech that may impact these fascist government-industrial complexes.

In recent times, we’ve seen unprecedented efforts to censor natural health topics in various online platforms, especially Google and Facebook, under the guise of protecting you against “misinformation.”

By censoring the voices that challenge mainstream information on crucial health topics like pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, GMOs, pesticides, junk foods, artificial sweeteners and fake meat, Google and Facebook are able to protect the profits of its advertisers and stakeholders.

Across the board, Google only gives you the results they want you to see, while relevant articles and news they deem “harmful” are buried. Facebook, meanwhile, relies on so-called “fact checkers” to dissuade and redirect users away from anything that contradicts the mainstream narrative. We now have proof that Facebook’s “fact checks” are nothing more than opinion pieces, thanks to a lawsuit by journalist John Stossel,11,12,13 but they’re still presented as assertions of facts.

If you’re fed up with Google’s and Facebook’s exploitation and manipulation, the best way to break free is by being informed. If we work together to boycott them, Google and Facebook will crumble.