From Dr. Bowman: Here are two recent articles which confirm what we have told our patients to protect themselves. This is good information but it is still generic, the BEST information is what pertains to your individual, unique needs.
To determine that we provide a consultation and evaluations, but then we know your unique markers and what is most precise for your needs. You can visit our website www.youcangetyourlifeback.com where there is abundant helpful information. You can also call us at 715.341.4949 or email us at: NEMEDICINECENTER@GMAIL.COM.
Your health is a priceless, precious gift but with that gift comes the responsibility to understand it so you can take the best care of it. You can’t fix what you don’t understand, but we can help you know absolutely what your particular needs are and then help you properly address them for success in healing and restoring optimal health for you and your family … — Dr. James R. Bowman
Certain dietary supplements can help boost your immunity during cold, flu season
By Kristen N. Smith, Ph.D., R.D.N.
Note: Always discuss the use of supplements with your care provider before adding it to your regimen.
The antioxidant effect of the polyphenols in elderberry has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood pressure, glycemia (blood sugar) reduction, and immune system stimulation.
With cold and flu viruses seemingly stronger than ever, the thought may have crossed your mind more than once: How to boost your immune system?
Studies have proven that these three dietary supplements are among the most effective at enhancing your immunity to these infectious diseases.
There are nine different species of Echinacea, although three are used for medicinal purposes: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida and Echinacea purpura.
Echinacea purpura extract is widely used to help deal with various infectious diseases, especially in children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.
Echinacea has various medicinal properties. First, it is antimicrobial against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that cause colds, flu, sore throats, and other respiratory illnesses. However, it has been shown to enhance the growth of gut flora (healthy bacteria in the gut), specifically increasing the healthy Bifidobacterium species. Therefore, echinacea may enhance the effects of priobiotics containing Bifidobacterium.
Echinacea also has anti-inflammatory properties, supports wound healing, and has been shown to improve the immune system’s resistance against infection.
Vitamin C and Zinc
Several cells of the immune system accumulate vitamin C and need the vitamin to perform their tasks, especially phagocytes and T-cells. And, zinc has been demonstrated to fight infections and help heal wounds.
Despite these therapeutic properties, for quite some time there has been a controversy on whether vitamin C and zinc can contribute to the prevention and therapy of the common cold.
However, a large number of randomized controlled intervention trials have settled this debate. These trials document that adequate intakes of vitamin C (up to 1 g) and zinc (up to 30 mg) ameliorate symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold.
Furthermore, vitamin C and zinc reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea infections.
The elderberry plant, Sambucus nigra, is a good source of protein, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals. In addition, elderberry contains antioxidants called polyphenols, mostly in the form of anthocyanins, flavonols, phenolic acids and proanthocyanidins, as well as terpenes and lectins.
The antioxidant effect of the polyphenols in elderberry has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood pressure, glycemia (blood sugar) reduction, and immune system stimulation with anti-viral and even anti-tumor potential. In commercially made elderberry syrups, the dosage is often two teaspoons per day. As always, discuss the use of supplements with your care provider before adding it to your regimen.
Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition.
Supplements to Support Immune Health
With so many supplements claiming to boost your immune system, it can be hard to know what’s going to actually work for you. Don’t settle for just any supplement—make what you opt for ones that have evidence to back up the claims. Here are supplements with science to support their role in immune health.
1. VITAMIN C
Vitamin C tops the list in terms of supporting your immune health. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, working to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. (You can read more about antioxidants here.) Plus, vitamin C helps the body make collagen and helps improve the absorption of iron from plant-based foods. It also helps the immune system so it can do its job.
Fruits and vegetables like green peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli and leafy greens are all great sources of vitamin C. But if you’re worried that you’re not getting enough from your diet, a supplement can also cover the bases for you. They even come in tasty, chewable tablets, so they’re not a total chore to take.
Along with immune support, zinc is involved in the majority of metabolic processes in the human body. It plays a key role in carbohydrate metabolism, glucose utilization and insulin production. It’s also involved in collagen synthesis and is an essential nutrient for the formation of bone matrix. In addition, zinc supports the body’s natural resistance.
Zinc is found in many foods, such as red meat, poultry and seafood. Some plant-based foods, such as beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy, have some zinc, too. Fortified breakfast cereals also have zinc. Plus, zinc is present in almost all multivitamin/mineral dietary supplements and is available alone as a dietary supplement.
3. VITAMIN A
Vitamin A is most often associated with vision, but its role goes way beyond eyesight. When it comes to your body, it does a little bit of everything. It does a big part in gene expression, meaning it has influence on the body through its regulation of genes. Plus, vitamin A plays a role in the maintenance of body linings and skin, immune defenses and reproduction. There is considerable research supporting the need for vitamin A in the regulation of the genes involved in immune health.
To make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A, eat plenty of vegetables like broccoli, green, leafy veggies, carrots and squash. Fortified breakfast cereals, dairy products and some types of fish—like salmon—can also help you meet your daily needs. Of course, you can also get vitamin A as a dietary supplement, usually in the form of retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate, beta-carotene, or a combination. Most multivitamin supplements are formulated to include vitamin A, too.
4. VITAMIN D
Vitamin D might be referred to as a vitamin, but it also acts as a hormone, participating in many roles in the body. Vitamin D helps to maintain strong bones, helps muscles move and—you guessed it—supports your immune system as well. Keeping your body supplied with adequate amounts of it can help boost your overall immune health.
Very few foods have vitamin D naturally. Fortified foods, such as milk, as well as some fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, are among the best food sources. Due to the limited food sources, vitamin D supplements are pretty popular. It can be found in two different forms, D2 and D3—and both have been shown to increase vitamin D levels in the blood.
5. VITAMIN B6
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is a critically important nutrient with a wide range of functions in the body. In fact, the body needs Vitamin B6 for more than a hundred enzyme reactions involved in metabolism. It plays a big role in protein metabolism and is involved in multiple roles related to immune function.
Vitamin B6 comes from a variety of foods in your diet, such as poultry, fish, potatoes, starchy vegetables and non-citrus fruits. Vitamin B6 is also found in most multivitamin and mineral supplements, as part of a B-complex vitamin, or alone, as pyridoxine hydrochloride.
6. VITAMIN E
Looking for yet another powerful antioxidant? You’ll want to check out Vitamin E. It works in the body to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and to carry out important functions. The body also uses Vitamin E to help boost its immune system.
Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and green, leafy vegetables are all good sources of Vitamin E. Some breakfast cereals, margarines and other foods have vitamin E added to them during manufacturing—just another reason to read your labels! Most multivitamin supplements include vitamin E as part of the formula. You can also get vitamin E alone in a dietary supplement.
If you want to do even more to support your immune health — be sure to go with your gut! The digestive track serves as an immune organ by protecting the body from potentially harmful microbes that have been consumed.
Probiotics are known for their positive role in supporting digestive health, but research suggests that some strains of probiotics support immune health as well. You can find probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut or kombucha. Probiotics are also available as a dietary supplement.
For even more support, you can find probiotics that are formulated with vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. GNC probiotics have been clinically studied, are guaranteed live and active until the end of shelf life and do not require refrigeration.
8. GNC EARTH GENIUS™ IMMUNE MUSHROOM COMPLEX
You might not think about mushrooms when you’re looking for immune health supplements, but this blend of seven mushrooms and other ingredients provides powerful immune support.
Immune Mushroom Complex includes Wellmune, a beta-glucan from a proprietary strain of non-GMO baker’s yeast (Sacchromyces cerevisiae) and is clinically studied to support immune function.
Beta-glucans can also be obtained from many types of mushrooms. Immune Mushroom Complex contains mushroom powders including Maitake, Reishi, Lion’s Mane and Codyceps. This formula also includes Elderberry Fruit Extract and vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps support your immune system.
9. SLEEP SUPPORT
Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep are more likely to get sick. Sleep and the circadian system exert a regulatory influence on immune function. In addition, a lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
Adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you need help supporting restful sleep, try a melatonin sleep supplement or GNC Preventive Nutrition® Tri-Sleep®, a triple-layer sleep supplement that supports relaxation, going to sleep and calm sleep.
OTHER RECOMMENDED HEALTHY HABITS
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these everyday healthy habits:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.