It’s that time of year when we become more susceptible to viral infections that cause the common cold and the flu.
Factors affecting the immune system include: a lack of sunlight, causing lower vitamin-D levels; more indoor time with less ventilation and fresh air; and, of course, exposure to infections by shaking hands and touching surfaces (doorknobs, railings, etc.).
All of these can affect the immune system, thus setting the stage for us to get sick.
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Your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms (microscopic bugs). For a multitude of reasons, the immune system can fail in fighting off bacteria, viruses, and cancer.
The best way to keep your immune system strong is to create a healthful lifestyle using supportive behaviors, including:
• Eliminate processed and refined foods, including sugar and dairy
• Eat a diet high in healthful protein, vegetables, fats, and low-sugar fruits
• Exercise with short bursts of intensity followed by periods of rest
• Maintain a healthy body composition, one that is low fat and lean
• Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
• Avoid infection by washing your hands during the day, and getting fresh air so you are not boxed into a room with potentially sick colleagues.
In addition to washing your hands and sneezing into your sleeve to avoid the spread of unwanted microorganisms, consider eating certain foods, and taking supplements that have been shown to improve the immune response.
Foods to add to your daily diet should include:
• Chicken soup
• Green and black tea
• Grass-fed meats
• Acai berries
• Cruciferous vegetables—cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli
Supplements to Boost Immunity
• Mushroom extracts, including maitake, turkey tail, ganaderma, cordyceps
◦ Mushrooms contain beta-glucans (mushroom sugar), which have been shown to increase the function of natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells hunt and destroy virus-infected cells and cancer cells.
◦ Echinacea provides compounds called alkylamides, which have been found to modulate the immune system and regulate its function.
◦ Astragalus was shown to modulate the immune system through the control of inflammatory compounds called cytokines. These cytokines (chemical messengers) are important immune mediators and regulators of the immune response.
• Vitamin D
◦ Besides its importance for your bones, vitamin D is also a powerful manipulator of the immune system. Vitamin D (calcitriol) was shown to improve functions of white blood cells called macrophages. Macrophages hunt, eat, and destroy unwanted microorganisms, and they are responsible for recruiting other white blood cells to join in the fight.
• Vitamin C
◦ Vitamin C was also shown to improve the immune response by turning on a white blood cell called a T-lymphocyte. T-lymphocytes can activate other immune cells, and they kill cells infected by viruses as well as tumor cells.
While the sunlight is weaker during colder months, and we are stuck inside with dirty door knobs and coughing folks, there are ways you can control and rebuild your immune system to prevent getting sick.
Eating a diet rich in immune-supportive foods, and taking specific supplements, you can hopefully skate through this season without the need for toxic pharmaceuticals.
If you were to take one product, one nutritional support for immune enhancement, Mycotaki is the one to have.
Mycotaki® features a concentrated water extract of 7 nourishing mushrooms with an extensive history of use in enhancing human health.
This powerful formula helps to support cellular defenses and a healthy immune system, which are critical for maintaining vitality and overall well-being. Ideal for those concerned about how physical or emotional stress can influence their immunity.*
Call for more information, and to order your bottle of Mycotaki, today. 203-655-4494
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Matthias A et al. Fitoterapia 2008;79: 53-58
Denzler K, Waters R, Jacobs B et. al.,Regulation of inflammatory gene expression in pbm’s by immunostimulatory botanicals
Aranow C, Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2011 August ; 59(6): 881;886