Jenny Crissman MS L. Ac.
The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so is multi-fold. Our immune system requires balance and harmony to function well, it is not a single entity and it has many functioning parts. There is still much that research does not know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. We can only look at the effects of our lifestyle have on a broad spectrum. But the connections between supplement use are also intriguing and convincing enough to consider!
The primary effects currently agreed upon are: diet, exercise, psychological stress, herbal supplements, and how age effect all of our immune functioning.
So let's start with the basics of general healthy- living strategies and then examine some strategic supplemental alliances to create lifelong wellness and help prevent the onset of “flu season”!
Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fiber and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
Maintain a healthy weight.
If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. A maximum of two alcoholic beverages at any given time.
Get adequate sleep.
Keep stress and blood pressure in check.
Eat regularly to avoid blood sugar fluctuations and taxing your adrenals.
Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
I believe the most depleting or consistent factor effecting current immunity and disease fighting abilities is stress. It systemically causes irregular sleep patterns, weight gain, inflammation, fatigue and pain. It is almost impossible to avoid it with the pace of our lives and that of the degradation of our environment. The “Basics” help, but the rate at which we are stimulated and simultaneously depleted leaves us little time to try and adapt and keep our defenses up!
The following are my list of “strategic supplemental alliances” that focus on decreasing inflammation and increasing our stress response so we can boost our ability to fight disease.
Zinc is essential for a wide range of physiological functions, including support of the body’s defense system and tissue development and repair.
Zinc is involved in digestion and metabolism, including healthy storage and metabolism of carbohydrates. It is also related to the normal absorption and actions of the B vitamins.
It plays an important role in supporting the body’s defense system, promoting healthy neutrophil, natural killer cell, and T-lymphocyte function.
Zinc plays a fundamental role in promoting collagen formation and tissue repair.
Vitamin D's role in immune health has long been established; vitamin D receptors are found on a number of immune cells, including lymphocytes and macrophages, supporting healthy immune cell activation. Most blood test reveal a consistent deficiency for adults.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It was often combined with other herbs to strengthen the body against disease. Astragalus is called an adaptogen, meaning it helps protect the body against various stresses, including physical, mental, or emotional stress.
It contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage. Astragalus is used to protect and support the immune system, preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, lowering blood pressure and aids the body in protecting against diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Top quality Echinacea root assists the body’s immune response in a number of ways. One of the most important is the nonspecific immune response, particularly white blood cells helping with phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is a process involving certain white blood cells that engulf and digest foreign particles or cells that might challenge the body. A practical effect is that top quality Echinacea root helps the immune response following stress or sudden changes in weather!
Boswellia serrata, also known as the Indian version of frankincense, used for thousands of years for its ability to manage inflammatory disorders. It is procured from the sap of the Bowsellia tree, a native Indian plant.
It is most known as a potent anti-inflammatory nutrient that can prevent the destruction of your joints while improving mobility. However, it is a multi- talented nutrient. In clinical trails it has been noted for modulating the immune system and inhibiting inflammatory activity with a number of auto immune conditions and inflammatory health conditions: asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis, and colitis.
While Curcumin is best known for its anti-inflammatory and cancer prevention properties, the fact that it is also a natural immune booster reinforces the reasons you will want to include it in your supplemental program!
Many current research projects are showing for the first time that Curcumin is able to increase innate immunity. It combats germs, bacterial, viral and fungal infection. Curcumin helps your body fight invaders by aiding in increasing immune epithelial cells that line your digestive tract and sinuses.
Most people, do not realize that a large percentage of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health.
It is often believed that one can obtain a sufficient amount of probiotic from food sources: yogurt sauerkraut, fermented foods and kombucha. I do not believe you can get sufficient amounts to correct existing intestinal imbalances. The optimal balance is about 85 percent “good” to 15 percent “bad” bacteria. Because many illnesses already stem from poor food choices and compromised nutrient absorption using a probiotic can only help create the robust immune system that is the key to defense against all disease.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea), sometimes called Arctic root or golden root, is considered an adaptogenic herb. This means that it act in non-specific ways to increase resistance to stress, without disturbing normal biological functions.
Numerous studies of Rhodiola have reported that it helps prevent fatigue, stress, and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation. Evidence also suggests that it acts as an antioxidant and enhances immune system function.
In Europe and Asia traditional medicine has long employed it routinely to treat stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment. It is becoming increasingly more familiar in the United States and around the globe.
My philosophy is that prevention truly is the best medicine- So let's give our bodies the best shot at wellness!