How Strong is your Immune System?
Winter is almost done, but the battle against colds, flus and viruses rages on and boosting the body’s own healing powers against disease is more important than ever.
You do everything you can to avoid germs – wash your hands, use sanitiser, wear a mask – but toxic bacteria and viruses remain determined to invade and infect your body. However, if you strengthen your immune system with these must have supplements, your chances of staying healthy, strong, and energised will soar.
The Super Six:
Vitamin C: This operates in several ways to support and improve immune
function, as it is required for the optimal T-cell activity as well as collagenproduction; this in turn supports skin, tissue and cellular health and slows the entry and progress of infection in the body. Besides its role in immune health, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that plays a role in preventing chronic diseases like heart disease and cataracts.
- Vitamin D: Despite living in ‘the sunburnt country’, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals one in four Australians has a vitamin D deficiency – with seven percent being severely deficient. Food alone cannot provide an adequate amount of vitamin D, and sunscreen curtails the body’s ability to manufacture enough of it from sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for immune function, along with strengthening bones, normal muscle contraction, and keeping blood fats and blood pressure at correct levels.
- Zinc: A zinc deficiency can trigger poor wound healing, leading to colds and flu, compromised smell and taste, skin problems such as acne, and poor immune function. Zinc protects the body against colds, flu, mouth ulcers, a sore throat, conjunctivitis, and gum problems. It also strengthens the body’s resistance to more serious health problems, including arthritis.
- Quercetin: A bioflavonoid and potent antioxidant that is found in onions and apples. Its disease- fighting and immune-boosting potential stems from its ability to reduce inflammation and prevent the release of histamine, which causes symptoms widely associated with infection, like a blocked nose and a sore throat. Quercetin also fights free radicals, strengthens blood vessel walls and increases blood flow.
Echinacea: A wealth of evidence shows that this herb is highly effective in fighting viruses that cause colds and flu, as well as improving resistance
to other infections and recurrent ailments, such as vaginal yeast overgrowth, urinary tract infections and ear infections. It stimulates immune system cells that fight infections and boosts the T-cells’ production of interferon, a natural virus fighter.
- Probiotics: These bolster immunity by actively growing the population of beneficial bacteria in your gut, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria, which prevent the overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria and yeast.
Children’s immune care
Kindy and school present prime opportunities for children to catch the latest bug and bring it home.
Thankfully, herbs and vitamins fight colds and flu in children, as well as relieve symptoms. Herbs such as echinacea are traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to decrease respiratory tract infections, while zinc, vitamin C, citrus bioflavonoids and probiotics are important to improve immune function in children.
Information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice or treatment from qualified healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any allergies or diagnosed conditions, or are taking prescription medications, always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements.