Written by Katherine M. Coleman, M.N.T.
Through strengthening your immune system and therefore building your resistance in the midst of cold and flu season you attain the ability to ward off disease. The inability to do so is the result of a weakened immune system. It is this lack of resistance that causes individuals to be susceptible to bacteria, microbes, toxins, parasites and viruses passed on from co-workers, friends, and family. Between the stress of the holidays and the arrival of sugar coated Valentine’s Day, people are less likely to eat well or exercise regularly, two habits that enhance your immunity. Aside from avoiding sugar binges and making sure you still eat your vegetables, there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure you have a strong immune system.
- Exercise 20 minutes 4 times per week
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
- Get 10 minutes of sunshine every day on exposed sunscreen-free face and arms
- Eat 8 servings of veggies per day, especially dark green leafy ones!
- Practice hugging, laughing, and thinking about something that makes you smile–stress suppresses your immune system!
Immune Neutral (anyone- even autoimmune patients- can use):
- Homeopathics taken at the very onset of cold- and flu-like symptoms can sometimes keep you from even getting sick, just feeling a little tired instead. They should be taken at the first sign of illness, and it’s usually best to keep them on hand or they can be used once you’ve contracted the virus to help you recover from unrelenting symptoms. The Healing Center’s favorites include:
- Apex Energetics Formulas
- Flumax-Pro: for flu-like symptoms including fever and chills, aching muscles, headache, malaise, weakness and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and scratchy throat.
- PNU-Pro: for symptoms of minor upper respiratory conditions such as coughs, phlegm, fatigue, fever, chest congestion, and sinus symptoms.
- GripiaPro: for common cold symptoms like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fatigue, stuffy head, and fever.
- Retrovir: for mono like symptoms from retro-viruses like Epstein-barr, it can help with fatigue and malaise, swollen lymph’s, muscle weakness, mental confusion, and painful joints.
- Apex Energetics Formulas
Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids
- Nutritionists consider Vitamin C to be the single most important supplemental nutrient for the proper functioning of white blood cells and maintaining a strong, efficient immune system.
- Vitamin C and bioflavonoids complement each other. Bioflavonoids are the brothers and sisters of vitamin C with their own actions for the immune system and an ideal ratio between the two is 1:1. Beneficial sources of bioflavonoids include rose hips, quercetin, curcumin, ginkgo biloba, resveratrol, bilberry, and milk thistle.
- Probiotics are living, supplemental microorganisms that drive balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. Two common ones include Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium, however a variety of different strains from dairy free sources is best. A high level of good bacteria helps to keep the bad bacteria in check, helps prevent nasty fungi and parasites from taking root, as well as aiding with vitamin absorption and helping the immune system stay strong and balanced.
- The modulation of immune responses occurs via your gut’s mucosal immune system and is responsible for 70% of immune system functioning. Because 70% of immune function occurs in the gut, a normal, healthy bacterial balance is critical. Our Favorites are:
- Orthobiotic from Orthomolecular Products- 1 tsp./ day
- HLC Synbiotic from Pharmax- ¼ tsp./day
Colostrum Bovine Serum
- Colostrum Bovine Serum can be used as a surrogate immune system when we need additional support or are immune-compromised. It can be especially powerful for those with autoimmune conditions.
- Colostrum contains over 37 different important natural immune factors and more than 8 growth factors that work with the body to combat illness and promote full health. When consumed as a supplement, some of the antibodies and immunoglobulins present in colostrum remain in the intestinal tract to support proper immune function and healthy intestinal flora. Our favorites are:
- Ig2000 from Xymogen- 1 scoop/day
- Cellemax from Apex Energetics-1 tsp./day
- Supplementation of Vitamin D has proven to have a dampening effect on excessive and inappropriate behavior of immune cells by acting as an immune regulator and reducing inflammation. It is stored in the liver and the lining of your digestive tract to help fight infection and this savings account is called upon during times of need, such as the long winter months. 50% of your levels are gone in six weeks after last sun exposure which is one of the reasons people start getting sick 2-3 months after summer is over.
- Ideally, one should have ten minutes of sun exposure per day, which is better than any supplemental consumption. Supplementation should always be in an oil based form and serum levels should be about 60 to 80 nanograms per deciliter on labs, which needs to be checked annually especially if you are taking it orally. Our favorites are:
- Bio-D-Mulsion from Biotics- 1-2 drops/day for people w/ gallbladder issues
- Liqui-D3 from Rx Vitamins- 1-2 drops/day
Ideally, we would only need foods to boost our immune system, but America’s food supply is “nutritionally challenged” and micronutrient depleted. This makes supplementation more critical. Our next post will discuss immune boosting herbs and why you should be cautious taking them. When an individual is autoimmune, he or she must be able to determine specifically which herbs are best for use, because some will make him or her feel even worse. Dr. Starling determines this on an individual basis. All supplements mentioned can be bought at the office or ordered online, refer to our self-order sheet.
Calder PC, Field CJ, Gill HS. Nutrition and Immune Function. New York: CABI Publishing, 2002.
DeLuca HF, Cantorna MT. Vitamin D: its role and uses in immunology. FASEB J 2001;15:2579-2585.
Higdon, Jane. “The Bioavailability of Different Forms of Vitamin C.” The Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University, May 2001. Web. 15 September 2011.
Kats U, et al. J. Anim. Sci. 1994;72:2075-81
Kharrazian, Datis. Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal. Garden City, NY: Morgan James, 2010.
Richards, Byron. “Vitamin D – A Gene-Regulating Super Nutrient.” Wellness Resources News and Views. Wellness Resource, Inc. 6 Nov. 2008. Web. 15 Sep. 2011
Shahani KM and Friend BA: Nutritional and therapeutic aspects of lactobacilli. J Appl Nutr 36: 12552, 1984
Webb AR, Kline L, Holick MF. Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in the human skin. J Clin Endorinol Metab 1998; 67:373-378.