How to Recover After a Long Illness

We can get ill for a variety of reasons and the effects can linger in our bodies for weeks, months, or sometimes years. The good news is we can help our bodies recover! Read on to learn more about helping your body recover after a long illness.


A long illness is a challenge to our body that requires an immune response. You could be someone who has never been well, no matter what, even as a child. This generally indicates someone who is so depleted of nutrition and is unable to absorb nutrition.  Influenza or a stomach bug can also be “long illnesses” because they can last several days and take a toil on our body.

A note here about immune system challenges: we all know people who seem to never get sick. This isn’t someone who recovers quickly, like say gets a fever, goes to bed and is better in the morning. This is someone who never has any immune response to anything. This isn’t healthy as it can indicate their immune system is so weak, it can’t mount any response at all to an invading microbe. 


We have a video on what happens in the immune system and how the immune system works that we highly recommend watching.

When something comes to our body that needs to be stopped, like an invading pathogen, our inflammatory system issues an alert that something is wrong. General symptoms of inflammation follow: mucus production, heat (like a fever), swelling, diarrhea,  etc.  These symptoms are the effects of your immune system going after the virus – not the effects of the virus. We often think that a virus will cause a symptom, like vomiting. However, the virus does not want you to expel it. It wants to use you as a host and stay in you until it can deplete you. Your body issues the response to expel the virus to get rid of it through vomiting.

When this immune system response happens, we’ll have an increased need of “things” in the body. This can be a demand for more cell replication, more hormones, etc. In general, it’s a response of “more” from the body. We need things like cholesterol, amino acids, trace minerals, calcium, zinc and vitamins to help. If we have undulating fevers that are there for a while, go away, and return, this is a sign of mineral deficiency. Zinc helps our bodies break down toxins. Calcium must be bio-available in circulation of our bodies to be used in tissues. When we don’t have enough calcium, the body will create a fever to pull calcium from other places. It also creates bone aches because calcium is being pulled from the body. Taking Calcium Lactate from Standard Process or consuming raw milk and other dairy products can help to feed the body extra calcium so the fever is not needed. Vitamins F, A, D, anc C are needed when we’re sick. Vitamin F is a fatty acid that comes from animal fat so eating a lot of fat while we’re ill is very important. Cholesterol helps our body make new cells. The immune system needs to create more and more cells so again, eating a lot of fat will help.

The humoral arm of the immune system will also go to work. This is the memory part of our immune system. It’s the piece that remembers how to specifically fight this virus. We commonly think it give us antibodies to fight the virus, but there is conflicting theory on if antibodies do what we think they do. Immunology is not a settled science! Our current germ theory is based off the thought that sterilization means health. We know that’s not true; we now know we need bacteria. This means we must broaden our understanding of disease and how to heal. (Please read Bechamp or Pasteur?: A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology by Ethel D Hume to expand your knowledge on these principles.)

This increased immune system response produces collateral damage from your body trying to fix itself. Remember, the body naturally wants to heal itself and be well, if we give it what it needs.


There’s a lot going on when we’re sick. Our bodies are working very hard to get rid of the pathogens and heal. That’s why we’re often so physically tired during and after being ill. There is so much replication, repair, rebirth, and renewal happening. Huge amounts of energy and resources are taken. Sleep alone won’t help us refill though. When we’ve gotten rid of an infection and the initial symptoms have left, we’ve now depleted the stores of nutrients. We must correct those deficiencies or we’ll see long term effects.

For example, a Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, bleeding gums, easy bruising, varicose veins, nose bleeds, and leaky gut symptoms. Being deficient in Vitamin D & A can lead to SAD syndrome, feelings of depression, lack of energy, and lack of stress tolerance, especially to things that were not stressful before. Missing trace minerals can also lead to poor stress tolerance, as well as soft nails or brittle and fragile hair. Low calcium can mean muscle cramps, spasms in your foot, heart palpitations, teeth problems like teeth moving, and bone problems like osteoporosis. 

Additional different nutrients might be used up or nutrients used up in higher quantities depending on where the attack was. For example, if our lungs are attacked, we’ll need even more cholesterol, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. 

If you don’t know exactly what the attack was to help heal in the moment, you can go off the lingering symptoms. Continue to fuel your body for many months after to fill up the reserves. Eat nutrient dense food that’s easy to absorb. If you don’t refill, you leave your body more vulnerable to whatever comes next. The GAPS Protocol can help to restore nutrition to the body by healing and sealing the gut and creating a good microbial base to keep out toxins. Finally, help your body detox the toxins that are collateral damage from the fight. Try these methods to help detox.

Be well!

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