Do you find yourself catching every cold that comes along? Does it take you a long time to get over things? Do you worry about your immune system and its ability to protect you?
A lot of people worry about this, whether it’s the annual cold and flu season or a worldwide virus pandemic. We all could use some help keeping our immune systems strong and healthy so we don’t get sick!
Here are some lifestyle and supplement suggestions for immune support.
Yeah, yeah, we know. Sleep is important. I can practically SEE the eyeroll when I tell patients this. However, most patients admit they don’t get more than 7 hours of sleep per night. We KNOW sleep is important, but we don’t DO this sleeping thing.
Sleep deprivation increases your stress levels (see below), not to mention it contributes to weight gain. If you’re concerned about keeping your immune system strong, sleeping at least 7-8 hours per night is a good place to start.
Anybody out there got stress? Yeah, me too. Would it surprise you to know your stress level significantly impacts your immune system? Stress depresses antibody levels and makes you more prone to infection.
I already have a whole page devoted to supplement suggestions for stress. Head over there and check it out!
There are quite a number of nutrients that have been shown to improve immune function. You’ve probably heard of some of them! Here’s a lovely article which summarizes a lot of the current research about nutrients and immune support.
Vitamin C – Helps maintain mucosal barriers, supports immune cell function and production of antibodies, acts as an anti-inflammatory and is a powerful antioxidant. Also has direct anti-microbial activity. Shaklee has a number of forms of this nutrient: Sustained Release (swallowable) Vita-C and Chewable Vita-C (suitable for kids as well). We also have Vitalized Immunity which is a fizzy tablet containing 1000 mg vitamin C and a number of other nutrients designed to support immune function.
Vitamin D – Supports the mucosal barrier in the GI tract, lungs and kidneys. Has anti-inflammatory effects, supports the function of macrophages and T cells (immune cells) and increases the production of antimicrobial proteins. Promotes antigen processing. No one in northern Ohio gets enough of this important nutrient, we all need to supplement 2000-3000 units every day, all year around.
B Vitamins – Vital for maintenance of intestinal immunity. Support immune cell function, particularly NK cells and cytotoxic cells. Regulate inflammation and support antibody production.
Zinc – Supports mucosal barrier, immune cell function, production of antibodies and differentiating “self” from “non-self.”
Magnesium – Supports many of the same functions as these other nutrients AND reduces stress and anxiety. Bonus!
Probiotics – Support the health of the gut flora and intestinal immunity. Shaklee has two products, OptiFlora and OptiFlora DI. These two products differ in the number of strains of bacteria and the number of colonies in each dose.
I want to take a moment to talk about herbal products shown to improve immune function. These products are available only from Shaklee.
NutriFeron – Proprietary blend developed by Dr. Kojima, the Japanese researcher who discovered interferon. This is a whole suite of critical signaling molecules that regulate the immune system. Dr. Kojima’s formula increases production of interferon and has been proven in scientific studies to improve immune function, even to the point of reducing hepatitis C titers. NOTE – It does NOT treat hepatitis C infection. It helps the immune system work better overall.
Defend & Resist – Echinacea is a popular botanical supplement that helps clear up cold symptoms faster. Shaklee’s formula adds black elderberry (like in the syrup) and larch tree which add to the efficacy. When you start to feel that scratchy throat, get going with this product and feel better faster!
Lots of people ask what I take, since I see sick people all day long and rarely get sick. I take Vitalizer (contains ALL the nutrients mentioned above, and then some, including OptiFlora!) plus extra zinc specifically for my immune system. I use the Vitalized Immunity and the Defend & Resist if I need them.
Let’s talk a minute also about cleaning. Fumes from bleach, ammonia and other cleaning products irritate the respiratory passages and can harm the barrier function. Not to mention the toxins can build up in the body! I use nontoxic cleaning products like Basic H2, Get Clean Laundry, and our Basic G germicide (which kills flu, staph, strep AND coronavirus).
There is a lot we can do to provide good immune support and stay healthy when the germs are flying! If you have any questions or need help picking the best products for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out!