No doubt you will have seen much talk in the media recently about “the Flu”. Having a strong, healthy immune system is your best insurance against influenza this winter, helping reduce susceptibility to colds and flus. The stronger your immune system is, the better it will be able to fight viruses and bacteria it comes into contact with.
Your Immune System: The Army Within
Inside your body there is an amazing system of immune cells and tissues whose sole purpose is to defend you against invasion by bacteria, viruses, allergens and parasites. Collectively, this is called your immune system. A healthy immune system is like having your own private army. When the soldiers in your army are working well, you hardly even notice that they are there. You feel healthy, you have low levels of inflammation, and you are resistant to infections. However, when the army becomes depleted, disorganised, confused or overworked, then you may start to notice signs that all is not right.
Armour for Your Army
There are some key herbs and nutrients which may help your army to fight off any potential invaders and prevent infections this winter.
• Herbal immune boosters: The following herbs have been shown to fight the pathogens which cause the common cold and the flu and are now available from us in liquid herbal medicines or convenient tablets.
− Andrographis paniculata is an Ayurvedic herb which has a long history of use for bacterial & viral infections. Clinical studies have shown it may reduce the severity and duration of colds & flu plus it has an immune boosting effect. Its anti-inflammatory properties contribute to its symptom-relieving properties.
– Echinacea boosts the immune system by enhancing phagocyte activity. Echinacea is a good preventative to take during the colder months. It also assists the lymphatic system.
• Nutrients for immune support:
– Zinc is the most important mineral for your immune function. A zinc deficiency may cause a weaker immune response, predisposing you to a more lengthy or severe cold. In fact, optimal zinc status has been found to inhibit the common cold virus. At Avedissian Natural Health we have a great Zinc Taste Test that can determine whether you are deficient in zinc (or not!)
– Vitamin C is also important as it increases the activity of infection fighting white blood cells. Vitamin C may prevent the common cold as well as shorten the duration of the symptoms. Other important nutrients include Vitamin A and D.
• Good bacteria for a good immune system:
– Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM is a strain of beneficial bacteria that naturally occurs in the human gastrointestinal tract and is important for healthy digestive and immune function.
– Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 is another good bacterium that has been shown to maintain normal immune response in healthy individuals; and
– Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 enhances cellular immune resistance through stimulation of your immune soldiers, particularly of natural killer cells.
These immune-boosting good bacteria are available in one easy to take capsule – just ask us about it today.
Exercise for the immune system
Exercise has an impact on our immune system. The role that exercise plays in immunity is complex and could be considered a paradox, as it can both boost and suppress the immune system. Randomised exercise training studies have demonstrated that near daily exercise for 12-15 weeks by women who were previously inactive was associated with a significant reduction in upper respiratory tract infections. The exercise involved brisk walking for 40-45 minutes, 5 days per week.
However, longer, more intense exercise may decrease immunity. A study on elite rowers indicated that prolonged intense rowing training lowers the concentration of an important protein in saliva that helps immunity. This might leave individuals at greater risk of contracting illness. So if you’re someone who exercises frequently and at a high level every time, you could be more susceptible to illness.
Speak with us at Avedissian Natural Health (call 9453 0779) today about boosting your immune system throughout the Flu Season. We can help all ages – from babies, toddlers through to the elderly. Avoid those colds and flus!