The body’s immune system gets worn down every day by stress caused by any number of factors: pollution in the air or water, stress at work and home, finances, aging parents, global warming or the state of world affairs. The constant bombardment to immunity breaks down defenses quickly unless healthy eating, regular exercise and plenty of sleep are incorporated into an already overtaxed 24-hour day. The body’s defenses need backup, and that’s where supplements come in.
A potent Chinese herb that works with the deep immune system at the cellular level, astragalus boasts more than a 1,000-year history of protecting the body against damage from free radicals circulating in the bloodstream, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM). Traditionally, members of Chinese households drink a hot astagalus infusion every day throughout the winter when the immune system needs extra protection.
The purple cone flowers grow throughout the United States. This powerful supplement stimulates production of white blood cells, the cells responsible for immunity, reports Phyllis A. Balch, CNC in her book “Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing.”
Another ancient healing supplement, garlic dates back to the time of the Egyptians. Garlic supports a healthy cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of heart disease, according to the UMM.
Important for eye health, vitamin A’s antioxidant properties also protect the body against many cancers and supports the immune system of those who receive radiation treatment for cancer. Balch states vitamin A slows the aging process, which helps the body retain its strong immunity.
Vitamin B maintains healthy nerves which in turn keeps the spinal and cranial nerves functioning at optimal level. The immune system suffers serious detriment if nerves become unable to sense attack and the brain or spinal cord cannot respond to tell the body to protect itself.
Vitamin C aids the manufacturing of the immunologic protein, interferon, as well as anti-stress hormones. Vitamin C binds with toxic metals and prevents their interference with the body’s processes.
Actually a compound of eight antioxidant compounds, vitamin E’s powerful antioxidant properties make it a powerhouse of immune system support. Whether it’s fighting off cancer or repairing nerves, vitamin E’s ability to destroy free radicals and protect the cells makes it an important immune system ally.
Considered a close relation to vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 stimulates the immune system through its support of cell energy and circulation. Japanese medicine includes it in the treatment of congestive heart failure, states Balch.
One of the immune system supporting proteins and certainly the most plentiful amino acid in the body, glutamine, helps build healthy cells able to withstand attack from viruses and bacteria.
Another antioxidant which protects the body from free radicals, zinc also helps increase the absorption of vitamin A and assists in maintaining the proper level of vitamin E in the blood, states Balch.
Building up your immune system before the winter months is very important. I get all my patients on 5-6,000iu’s of Vitamin D for starters and 1-2,000 for children. Your main antioxidants are Vitamin A, C, E, Zinc, and Selenium. The ones that have stood the test of time are your simple zinc and vitamin C. Two of my favorites. I use whole food zinc throughout the day and whole food vitamin C hourly when I start to feel the little tickle in my throat. Rest and hydrate and it may not even become a full on cold. Many supplements that we carry have a combination of the nutrients listed above. Congaplex or Congaimmune are go to products for the children I treat with many of them having strep throat and ear infections. Fevers will not run out of control until the body runs out of vitamin C and calcium. Astragalus and IAG are the immune builders to take prior into the winter season to build and prepare your body. They contain arabinogalactans which increase immune fighting cells in the body. I can easily go on with this topic but this is a good place to begin.