It’s that time of year again, cold and flu season is creeping in. While you will likely be exposed to the viruses associated with either or both, you need not succumb to the uncomfortable symptoms they offer. There’s a wise old saying that I adhere to: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Last week we looked at key components of the immune system including the thymus, lymphatic system, bone marrow, and Peyers Patches and their basic functionality in my post titled Do You Want a Super Strong Immune System. We looked at the benefits of optimal nutrition and the negative impact sugar has on the immune system. We even learned a bit of the power of a holistic approach to immune health including a positive mental outlook! Today we are going to dive more deeply into the nutritional needs of the immune system, specifically looking at the role of nutritional remedies in immune health.
Key Nutritionals – And One Amazing Herb
Over the years I have come to appreciate the role excellent nutrition plays in immune health. Obtaining a solid nutritional foundation including a good multi vitamin/mineral remedy along with Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Echinacea have consistently proven effective in the support of optimal immune health. Let’s take a brief look at each.
A Solid Foundation – A Solid Multi Vitamin/Mineral Remedy
Inside of you lives an intelligent design that guides your immune system; however, in order to operate fully it needs nutrients! Let’s face it, our diets are imperfect and the world we live in is less than pristine. Unless you are living in the middle of nowhere, eating only organic produce, drinking clean water, and living a stress free life it’s a pretty good bet that you are deficient in the key nutrients your immune system needs to fight foreign invaders. The best way to fill in some of these short comings is by introducing a well-rounded multi vitamin/mineral into your daily regime. Make sure it is derived from whole foods and is manufactured by a reputable company.
The powers of this fat soluble vitamin cannot be understated. Yet, just when the suns begins to wane in the Fall our need for this vitamin increases! (Our body will make Vitamin D from the cholesterol in our skin when exposed to the sun.) Doesn’t seem fair does it. Studies on Vitamin D suggest that this powerful nutrient might help prevent several cancers including colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Additionally, research suggests that it may help prevent and treat diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Vitamin D not only helps you immune system fight bacteria and other foreign invaders, it also serves as an immune modulator helping your immune system to adapt to stressors. And your T cells, those important immune system cells that fight for you, first seek Vitamin D before activation. Time to Vitamin D up!
We have all heard that Vitamin C is important for our immune systems; however, do you know why? Well, to begin we must understand that the human body does not produce Vitamin C and therefore we must ingest it. Our immune cells have what are called transporter molecules, little pumps that move Vitamin C into them. When we are exposed to a foreign invader, or an infection, these little pumps increase in activity as they usher in increased levels of Vitamin C for the immune cells to work optimally. If you don’t have enough Vitamin C in your system then your immune cells will suffer, leaving you vulnerable to a cold or flu virus.
Echinacea is king when it comes to immune supporting herbs. This immune modulator, meaning it helps the immune system increase or decrease in activity as needed, supports the immune system as it fights off viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders. A meta-analysis published in Lancet Infections Diseases evaluated 14 studies on Echinacea and found that this mighty herb cuts the chances of catching a cold by 58 percent and reduces its length by 1 ½ days.
For proper doses on any of the above mentioned remedies we suggest that you seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.