Many people get colds and flu every winter, so why is it that some ‘lucky’ people don’t seem to ever get sick? Is it good luck or good management? Pharmacist Martin Harris, from Unichem Massey Pharmacy, believes it’s the latter and discusses why in this article from Living Well magazine.
The immune system is complex so the list of nutrients that can benefit it is very long. For this reason, Martin recommends his patients take a high-quality multivitamin/mineral targeted at the nutrients the immune system requires, plus a quality herbal immune booster.
Vitamin A plays a vital role in the immune system. White blood cells are the core of the immune system, and vitamin A has been shown to enhance the activity of many white blood cells. It also strengthens the walls of the respiratory tract, reducing the risk of infection.
When you get an infection, your body makes less vitamin A in the liver. It also increases the amount of vitamin A that is excreted in the urine. Ironically, you often end up with less just when you need more.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it can become toxic if taken in high doses for long periods of time. The maximum dose during pregnancy is 10,000 IU/day. If you’re not pregnant, then much higher doses can be used for short periods to prevent or treat colds and flu.
When you get an infection, your levels of vitamin C drop. Once again, this seems to be a design fault because vitamin C plays a vital role in the immune system, and can increase a person’s capacity to fight infection. Vitamin C has direct antiviral and antibacterial actions and can increase the body’s production of interferon (a natural antiviral compound produced in the body). Boost your vitamin A and C levels throughout autumn and winter and at the first sign of illness.
Echinacea helps to prevent and support bacterial and viral infections. It does this by boosting
the effectiveness of many white blood cells, including Natural Killer Lymphocytes. Who wouldn’t want their ‘Natural Killers’ on the loose fighting the bad guys?
Elderberry has been shown to prevent the influenza virus from replicating. It may also stop viruses from entering your cells. This gives your immune system a huge head start in the fight against viral colds and flu. Olive Leaf has been shown to have benefits in suppressing the replication of viruses, such as those that cause colds and flu.
Ask your Pharmacist
This list of nutrients and herbs is by no means exhaustive. Ask your Unichem Pharmacist for advice on what would be the best immunity-boosting support products for you.