Natural solutions to help you defend yourself against colds and flus.
Getting sick too often?
Whether you have a simple cold, a flu that makes you ache and sweat, or a long-term infection such as Ross River Fever, it’s a sign that your immune system has failed to defend you. We are exposed to viruses and bacteria daily, however we only get sick sometimes, and some of us more often than others. This is to do with how strong and effective your immune system is. If it’s robust, then even in a crowd of sick people, you
won’t develop symptoms of an infection. However, if your immune system is struggling, you will get sick more often and take longer to recover.
The army within
Your immune system is your body’s ‘department of defence’. It protects you from potentially harmful invaders by recognising and responding to them as a
threat. When the immune system is functioning well, it acts like a powerful, well-regulated army consisting of several highly specialised types of white blood cells.
Do you have weakened defences?
Factors that can contribute to the weakening of your immune system include:
• Physiological, psychological and emotional stress.
• Lack of exercise (or too much exercise if you
• Lack of sleep, rest and relaxation.
• Diet low in fresh fruit, vegetables and lean
• Exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke and/or
extreme cold weather.
Boosting your immune system naturally
The secret to staying well is to build a strong, healthy immune system. Your Practitioner can assist you with advice on diet, exercise and natural supplements that are specifically designed to boost immune resistance. If you already have an infection, there are naturally derived medicines that your Practitioner can prescribe to reduce
the length of time that you’re sick, and may help to prevent the infection from recurring.
Vitamin C increases the activity of infection fighting white blood cells; it also inhibits viral growth and reduces the incidence of the common cold. Vitamin C has been shown
to be most effective when given with other nutrients such as zinc.
Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of your white blood cells. It’s also
critical for the production of antibodies, which remember previous infections and protect you against them. Therefore, zinc deficiency can dramatically reduce your ability to fight bacteria and viruses. Zinc supplementation has also been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds and sore throats. Your Practitioner can test your body’s stores of zinc using a simple taste test. If your zinc test shows you to be low, then your Practitioner can give you a zinc supplement in either a powder
form, tablets or as a special zinc drink to improve your zinc levels quickly and effectively.
Astragalus has been traditionally used for centuries in China to support healthy
immune function. It’s very effective for boosting immunity in people who have had chronic, long term infections.
This herb has a long history of use for viral and bacterial infections. Andrographis is effective in treating cold symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, hoarseness, chill, headache and fever. An important finding is that andrographis, at a dose of 6 g daily, works just as well as paracetamol for the treatment of fever and sore throat in upper respiratory tract infections.
Certain medicinal mushroom extracts (e.g. shiitake, reishi, coriolus, AHCC™) have a powerful effect on the immune system by enhancing the activity of protective white blood cells. These mushroom extracts can be used to treat acute infections. They can also be taken daily as a remedy for chronic immune weakness to maintain good health.
Probiotics - beneficial bacteria for healthy immunity
You may have heard of the ‘friendly bacteria’ or probiotics that live in your digestive system. These beneficial bacteria help keep your digestive system healthy, help you digest your food and keep your immune system in tip-top condition. Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®), Lactobacillus plantarum (HEAL 9), Lactobacillus paracasei (8700:2) are all types of probiotics that have been proven to help support healthy immunity. LGG® is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S.
Simple ways to keep your army strong!
In addition to naturally derived medicines, you can follow some basic dietary and lifestyle advice to help strengthen and nourish your immune system:
Eat a diet high in colourful fruits and vegetables, as these have the best levels
of immune protecting nutrients. Fresh is best. Avoid produce that has been stored for long periods.
Avoid sugars, white flour (bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, etc.) and excess alcohol as these foods are very low in nutrients and deplete your immune system.
Avoid or minimise stress at work and home. Stress hormones inhibit the function of all aspects of immunity. This could result in worsened infections and slowed wound healing. Taking time each day for relaxation and leisure is important for healthy immune function.
Regular, moderate exercise seems to improve immune function. Find an activity you enjoy – such as dancing or swimming – and make it a regular part of your lifestyle for fun, fitness and a healthy immune system.
Increase water intake to six to eight glasses per day. Water is essential for all aspects of good health.
Get enough sleep.
Your immune system does its repair and rebuilding while you’re asleep at night.
Supplement your diet with recommended nutrients and herbs to boost your immune function. See your Practitioner before you get sick to find out what is the best way for
you to support your immune system.
Source: Metagenics - Patient Brochure
For more information, speak to your practitioner about boosting immunity.