In the previous post we discussed natural ways to boost your immune system through the foods we do and don’t eat.

In normal circumstances it is always the best idea to get all of your nutrients from the foods we eat.    In reality life gets in the way.  Things come up and maybe you don’t get to the grocery store for a few days, evenings are busy so you have to eat out… There are many reasons why proper nutrition is not always possible J  
When this occurs the elements we need to keep the immune system functioning at peak performance are:
Water – Can not stress this one enough!  Our bodies are 75% water.  Water is required for every function the body performs throughout the day.  A healthy body is a hydrated body.

Vitamin C – is found in high concentrations in immune response cells.  It is believed to regulate the activity of phagocytes and the production of other key immune cells, including cytokines and lymphocytes.  

Quercetin – a plant pigment which has been shown to inhibit the replication of retroviruses.  This action is enhanced when taken with vitamin C.  Other studies have shown quercetin to reduce the release of histamine making it a valuable supplement during allergy season.
Zinc – helps the immune system function at many levels.  It has been shown to speed up the healing process from colds, flu and wounds.

Probiotics – Keep the intestines healthy and waste products moving through the system.  When motility is normal germs are eliminated before they have a chance to bind and reproduce.  Evidence shows the consumption of probiotics increase phagocytosis (the act of one cell consuming another to rid it from the body) and the number of T-lymphocytes present in the body.  
Echinacea – I like to bring this one up as there is large debate throughout the medical community as to the effectiveness of Echinacea on cold and flu.  Broken down chemically Echinacea does contain active components that support the immune system.  Of particular note not all Echinacea is created equal!  Also for the most part supplements do not carry the same effects as the real deal.  Independent studies have varied results ranging from huge success to none at all!  So what to believe?
In almost all of the studies that I have read, account was not taken for the individual overall health of the participants.  Numerous studies have been done on the average person with very general life questions asked before trial start.  Things to take into consideration are a person’s dietary habits.  If you are someone who only eats a balanced organic diet throughout the year your general immune response will be greater than that of the person who only eats McDonald’s and Burger King all year!  Of course you have varying ranges of nutrition between these 2 extremes J

My personal take?  If you believe it will help you fight off illness then take it.  One half of the healing process begins in your brain!  

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