How to Boost Your Immune System – Fundamentals
Before we discuss the role of supplements, it’s important to cover off some of the basics of preventing infectious diseases. There are simple steps we can all take the reduce the likelihood that we’ll contract viruses like the common cold and flu. Here are a few of the fundamentals;
- Wash your hands regularly – use warm water and soap so they are thoroughly clean
- Don’t touch your eyes or nose – the virus can infect your body by these routes
- Get a good night’s sleep – tiredness makes us more susceptible to diseases
- Exercise regularly – moderate exercise can help to reduce your risk
- Don’t share household items – like towels or cups since bugs can easily be spread in this way
If you do get sick, then it’s also important to protect others from becoming infected. The Center for Disease Control recommends that people who are ill should stay at home and avoid being in close contact with others. If you need to cough or sneeze, then do it directly into a tissue and then throw it away immediately. Wash your hands afterward and keep communal surfaces or shared objects disinfected.
Supplements can also play a vital role in both the prevention of disease and your ability to respond to it. Some nutrients have been found to boost your immune system so that you’re less likely to become sick or experience severe symptoms. They can also reduce the duration of your cold or flu so that you recover much faster. In this section, we look at how to boost your immune system by taking the most effective supplements.
We all know that berries are good for our health but did you know that elderberries are a particularly powerful immune-booster? Laboratory research has found that the flavonoids in these berries can inhibit the activity of the H1N1 flu virus. Tests found that elderberry compounds bound to the virus and blocked it from entering healthy cells. Perhaps most exciting is the fact that the berry’s extract was found to be more effective than pharmaceutical equivalents such as Tamiflu®. This indicates that elderberries are a powerful flu-preventative and may be an important component of an immune-boosting diet.
If you’re wondering how to boost your immune system, then zinc should be high on your list. This micronutrient is essential to its functioning ability yet almost 1 in 5 people are deficient in it. Zinc can have a powerful effect on how well the immune system functions in a number of different ways. Research shows that it is a cofactor in over 300 chemical reactions in the human body, many of which affect immunity. It also has a direct impact on the production and function of white blood cells which are responsible for fighting infections. People deficient in zinc are much more likely to have a weakened immune system so it’s crucial to keep your levels up all year round.
Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)
Maitake is a type of Japanese mushroom with promising effects in relation to immunity. It contains high levels of polysaccharide compounds known as D and MD fractions. These have been shown to stimulate the immune system, particularly in the fight against infection, HIV, and cancer. One study by the University of Louisville examined the immune-enhancing effects of both maitake and shiitake mushrooms. It found that consuming an extracted form of these fungi for 14-days resulted in a significant increase in immune function. Incorporating maitake into your meals or taking a concentrated supplement may result in enhanced immune function overall.
Licorice root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. It contains almost 300 flavonoids, many of which mimic the activity of pharmaceutical compounds. Some are so effective that they’re even being developed into commercial medicines. Research has shown that licorice has numerous defensive effects against potentially harmful diseases. This includes antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties. Some compounds work by stopping viruses from replicating so that they quickly die and become benign. Other increase the production of white blood cells so that there are more available to deal with an influx of foreign microbes. For bacterial infections, licorice flavonoids can slow its growth and reduce their production of toxins which often cause the negative symptoms we experience.
Echinacea is a well-known immune-boosting supplement that’s widely available across the country. It’s sometimes known as the American coneflower due to the distinctive shape of its seeded head. The phenols in echinacea have antioxidant properties which can combat free radicals and prevent cell degradation. Some varieties also contain alkylamides which have been shown to positively affect the immune system. One study found that taking echinacea significantly decreases the duration of colds. Half the participants were given three doses of the compound on a daily basis for a period of four months. Compared to the placebo group, those who took echinacea saw a 26% decrease in cold episodes.
You might not associate larch trees with health foods but they contain a powerful polysaccharide that can help fight infectious disease. Research has shown that it can enhance several types of cell involved in fighting infections, including leukocytes, macrophages, and pro-inflammatory cytokines. One study found that taking larch tree extract decreased the number of colds people experienced by 23%. Incorporating it into your supplement routine may reduce the chance that you’ll catch a cold or suffer from flu.
Olive Leaf Extract
A Mediterranean diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables has been shown to be beneficial for many aspects of health. But did you know that olive leaf extract may be one of the key components? It contains higher levels of powerful polyphenols than olive oil as well as a wider variety. These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the risk of diseases like cancer. They’ve also been successfully used to treat HIV-infected cells and reduce the spread of the virus within the body.
The immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C are well-documented. Many of the immune system’s cells like phagocytes and t-cells require the vitamin to function at capacity. If your body is deficient, then these cells will struggle to perform as well as they should. This can mean that you’re less able to fight off infections and experience more severe symptoms too. It’s also a potent antioxidant and can even regenerate other vitamins in the body. This can help to protect you from harmful free radicals that are caused by environmental factors like pollution.
Astragalus comes from a legume and has been used to boost the immune system for centuries. It stimulates the system to work more effectively and also has antioxidant effects on cells. The extract has been used to successfully treat a number of conditions, including colds, respiratory infections, and fibromyalgia. Scientific trials have shown promising immune-boosting activities as well as being safe in terms of unwanted side-effects. It may therefore aid people’s resistance to infections and support a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system as well as absorption of other key nutrients like calcium. Unfortunately, many of us rely on the sun as our main source which means our levels decrease during the winter. This means that supplementation is the only option for half of the year because there simply isn’t enough sunlight to meet our needs. A large-scale review looked at 25 randomized control trials conducted across 14 countries and involving over 11,000 participants. These involved vitamin D supplementation as a treatment for flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia. The results found that it was particularly effective in preventing these conditions, especially in people who are deficient to start with. So if you’re thinking about how to boost your immune system, ensuring sufficient vitamin D levels is essential.
Bromelain supplements have been shown to protect against both bacteria and viruses. It works by preventing bacteria from attaching to healthy cells and boost the effects of the body’s natural antibiotics. It can also function as an anti-fungal agent and has been shown to clear skin conditions that have fungi at the root. By incorporating it into your supplemental nutrition, you can get many of the added benefits that this compound offers.
How to Boost Your Immune System – Summary
Suffering from cold and flu symptoms don’t have to be an inevitable part of seasonal changes. Covering off the fundamentals like washing your hands regularly and getting good sleep will go a long way to keeping you healthy. There are also lots of scientifically proven supplements that are helpful for enhancing immune function. Incorporating these into your daily diet or supplement routine can give you the extra boost you need to fight off infection and enjoy a disease-free winter.
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Our Immune Defense Topical Patch can provide all the nutrients required to support a strong and healthy immune system. It utilizes ingredients known to support cells like leukocytes and cytokines that fight infections and protect your body from diseases. Plus, the carefully selected ingredients can work in combination to enhance the effects of other nutrients. The patch contains zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, echinacea, astragalus extract, elderberry, larch tree, olive leaf extract, bromelain, maitake mushroom, and licorice root. It can help to fuel your body with the essential nutrients it needs to maximize immune function and antioxidant protection. Simply wear the patch under your clothes or overnight to absorb everything you need to enjoy immune-enhancing benefits without hassle. Learn more here.