Our bodies are simply amazing. They take vigil 24/7 ensuring our health and safety are of the highest priority. Our immune system specifically leads our ability to resist disease through the activities of specialized cells and systems in the body. Without this system and many others great health would not be possible.
There are two types of immunity: the innate or non- specific and the humoral or specific. The innate allows our bodies to activate a broad, general response to foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses. The humoral system on the other hand allows our bodies to learn and improve on repeated exposure. If your immune system malfunctions in some way you may experience an auto-immune reaction or disease such as the common cold, asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and many others.
Circumstances that have a negative effect on the immune system include:
- Chronic stress
- A poor diet
- Excessive alcohol
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of exercise
- Poor hygiene (hand washing is key)
At CNF we are of the opinion that Mother Nature is smart and humans should be looking to food first for their nutrients. There are situations however that this is not possible and convenience is important so supplements do play a role in immunity. Listed below are our top suggestions for supplements that optimize the immune systems and maintain great health.
Vitamin D3 - Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system -- T cells -- will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body.
Omega 3 fatty acids - In clinical studies, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids resulted in the reduction of cardiovascular diseases including arrhythmias and hypertension, protection from renal disease, improvement in rheumatoid arthritis, improvement in inflammatory bowel diseases and protection from infection.
Vitamin C - Championed by Linus Pauling as an antiviral and anticancer nutrient, vitamin C is an excellent immune system booster. White blood cells use vitamin C to combat infections, and in the face of inflammation or nasty microbes, levels of vitamin C are depleted. So topping up this nutrient in times of stress is crucial.
Vitamin A - Vitamin A is one of the most widely studied nutrients in relation to immune function. It is well known to enhance white blood cell function, enhance resistance to infection and cancer causing agents, and helps maintain skin and mucus membrane which assist in the defense of infection.
Zinc - The Cochrane Review found that zinc reduced both the duration and severity of symptoms of the common cold. And using zinc preventatively helped prevent colds, leading to fewer school absences and less antibiotic use by children. Zinc is an important molecule for thymic proteins, which are immune molecules made by your thymus gland. Without zinc, you lack this immune defense.
Probiotics - are a very well documented optimizer of the immune system. Seventy percent or more of our immune system is controlled by what happens in the gut, and friendly bacteria are the most important component of that immune system. These bacteria assist the immune system by increasing the numbers of white blood cells (T lymphocytes). Probiotics also help improve digestion and protect the body from harmful pathogens such as Candida.
Echinacea - Preclinical studies lend biological plausibility to the idea that Echinacea works through immune mechanisms. Numerous clinical trials have been carried out on Echinacea preparations: it appears that the extracts shorten the duration and severity of colds and other upper respiratory infections (URIs) when given as soon as symptoms become evident.
Medicinal Mushrooms - Evidence continues to emerge, confirming how mushrooms’ proteins, trace minerals, polysaccharides, amino acids and fiber promote overall heath. These and other compounds found in mushrooms are now believed to help, support immune function, protect against environmental stressors, support healthy gut flora among other things.