Support your immunity…from A to Z

Cold and Flu | Immune Health


Owen Wiseman
@AVogel_ca


15 March 2021

A –

Vitamin A is concentrated in mucous membranes including those of the respiratory and digestive tract. Without sufficient levels of this nutrient, we mount a feeble response against invaders.

B –

B vitamins are critical to thousands of reactions in the body, including immunity. A deficiency of B1 for instance can impair the immunological response that produces antibodies against invading pathogens. B3 helps to mitigate the effects of chronic inflammation throughout the body. Whole-food supplements such as Bio-Strath have the full spectrum of B vitamins and amino acids in an easy to absorb form.

C –

Vitamin C is always an option to support immunity as it has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of viral infections and help improve flu-like symptoms.

D –

Vitamin D deficiencies make it more difficult for white blood cells to mature, and subsequently produce the antibodies necessary to defend against repeat infections.

E –

Echinacea is a go-to for the immune system, but it's hard to guarantee the same level of potency each time. Standardized and clinically-proven options like Echinaforce have been shown to reduce the risk of secondary infections, defend against cold & flu, is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and can be taken daily for up to 4 months.

F –

Fruits and vegetables provide many of the nutrients discussed through this article. A meta-analysis and systematic review noted that higher intakes of fruits and veggies lead to reductions in proinflammatory agents and enhanced the immune system.

G –

A warm cup of Green tea helps provides immuni-tea. Recent research highlighted the drinks ability to increase the number of regulatory T cells that help switch on or off various functions of the immune system due to the concentration of EGCG in the tea.

H –

Hydration is one of the easiest ways to support the body, especially when you consider that humans are 70% water on average. If we are dehydrated, it becomes more difficult to distribute and collect nutrients and waste products throughout the body. When the body battles an infection, it requires an efficient transport system to manage the byproducts produced.

I –

Iron deficiencies make it difficult for immune cells to mature and divide while too much can cause damage throughout the body, a state often seen in hemochromatosis, meeting the recommended daily allowance by the government should pose no harm.

J –

Java, a.k.a. coffee, might not be the wonder substance many believe it to be, at least when it comes down to immune function. The research is mixed with some evidence showing that the caffeine may block the ability of T and B cells to battle infection.

K –

Kefir is a fermented drink generated from cultures of yeast and Lactobacillus species. There is research supporting its probiotic benefits and robust profile of nutrients including vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and protein.

L –

Limit your exposure to others, especially if they feel under the weather. Many of the common pathogens seen in clinical care are spread by respiratory droplets. The droplets released following a sneeze are thought to linger for upwards of 45 minutes, so keep your distance!

M –

The health of our Microbiome, the collection of bacteria calling our digestive tract home, is crucial to our ability to cope with illness. Certain prebiotics like Molkosan are broken down into butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that helps maintain the health of the beneficial species.

N –

Vitamin N(ature) is your friend all year round. In a pilot study out of Taiwan, researchers demonstrated that spending time in nature increased the activity of participants natural killer cells. These cells are responsible for destroying cells infected with a virus or that have become cancerous. Not to mention a walk through the woods can also benefit vital factors such as heart rate and even cholesterol. This means less stress on the body, and more resources to on keep you as healthy as possible.

O –

Omega 3 fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory benefits through the body and help support the ability of white blood cells to eat pathogens, otherwise known as phagocytosis.

P –

Pick up some Pumpkin and you will find a squash that is packed with almost 245% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. If you recall from above, it is key to supporting the immune defenses of our mucous membranes. It is also high in fibre, helping to support cardiovascular health as well!

Q –

Quercetin is a flavonoid that seems to stabilize mast cells, the ones responsible for releasing histamine, the compound heavily involved in the inflammatory allergy response.

R –

Rest and relaxation is sometimes just what the body needs. A systematic review of mindful meditation showed participants with higher immune cell counts, a stronger antibody response, and reduced levels of c-reactive protein.

S –

It's time to get deep Sleep for your restful nights with its ability to increase the quality and quantity of our time in bed. Without the appropriate amount of sleep, our ability to produce those natural killer cells we mentioned earlier drops by almost 72% compared to those who got a full night sleep.

T –

Turmeric is known throughout the world for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, but less known is its benefits in supporting immune function. It interacts with immunomodulators including dendritic cells, macrophages and those ever-important B and T cell, along with the cytokines produced through many of these processes.

U –

Uva-Ursi is a fantastic diuretic that can help to move out pathogens accumulating in the bladder and elsewhere in the body. If your excretion functions stop, including sweating, bowel movements, and urination, that is when many critical illnesses' develop as the pathogen overwhelms the defense mechanisms of the body.

V –

Vanadium is a mineral that is often overlooked, but helps modulate the immune response. Along with other nutrients on this list, vanadium influences NF-κB pathways, a protein complex responsible for the production of cytokines.

W –

Wine. Yes, you read that right. Red wine contains a compound known as resveratrol that when consumed regularly in moderation, can help support immunity as per data garnered from the MONICA study, especially by reducing inflammatory markers.

X –

Xploration is a way to engage in some light movement and also discover new places around your neighbourhood, or perhaps beyond. Exercise and movement have been shown to provide a much-needed boost to white blood cells by helping them circulate through the body. Some research even supports the changes in body temperature as creating an inhospitable environment for certain species, mitigating their growth.

Y –

Yucca is loaded with antioxidants and is a natural source of vitamin C. While more research in humans is warranted, some early animal studies show significant decreases in oxidative stress and even support against multi-organ degeneration.

Z –

Zinc helps to recruit white blood cells and supports many critical immune functions. The Canadian government recommends between 8 to 11mg daily for adult women and men respectively.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906676/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3173740/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4844775/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4854945/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940234/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5893257/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6834330/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6278270/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7415215/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8402942/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8621064/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15571824/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16749410/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17055544/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21621552/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22609855/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29931038/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33308613/

 

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