The best offense is a good defense. We know that our immune system fights viruses, bacterial infections and more. But did you know there are two types of immunity—the Innate System and Adaptive System? What approaches enhance these systems of immunity, otherwise referred to as the Immune Alliance? We are going to explore the best ways we can support the many different organs and glands that make up the immune system as well as the specific cells that make up the immune response. Let’s dive into the fundamentals of immunity.
The word immune comes from the Latin word immunus which means protected. This protecting mechanism is constantly scanning the body for foreign invaders. If your body has been “invaded” with a virus or bacterial infection, it means that viral/bacterial cells have already crossed the body’s natural barriers. Some of those barriers include our skin, mucous lining, gut lining and cellular walls. When these barriers have been compromised, our white blood cells are alerted as part of the inflammatory response. The thymus gland (located between the lungs) is a key player in the immune response as it produces these defending white blood cells. White blood cells are fascinating because they store antibodies from every infectious cell we encounter in our lives. A healthy immune system will automatically respond as needed and build resistance to disease when exposed to pathogens.
Let’s discuss how whole foods naturally enhance your immunity. My favorite immune boosters include mushrooms such as turkey tail. This particular mushroom has immense healing capacities and are found in Epimune Complex, from our Standard Process® line. Epimune Complex is a vegan immune system support supplement that also supplies a great source of vitamin C and zinc (also essential for immune health). Another healing herb is Astragalus Complex, from our MediHerb® line. There are over 2,000 species of astragalus, but only two are used for medicinal purposes. These herbs are native to north and eastern regions in China. We use Astragalus Complex as an immune modulator for its strong protective properties. The flavonoids in astragalus show antioxidant qualities that support immune and respiratory tract function.
Our daily diet is also an important factor in boosting immunity. Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, apples, cruciferous vegetables, and other whole foods are very important for immune health. I also recommend healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, butter from grass-fed cows or ghee, and coconut oil. These naturally occurring fats supply essential fatty acids combined with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which are critical for regulating inflammation and keeping the immune alliance at peak performance.
A natural way to help your body fight pathogens that have made their way across the body’s barriers is by increasing your intake of garlic and ginger. Garlic has been used throughout history to support good health and in recent years has been shown to defend against bacteria, yeast, fungus, mold and viruses. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory which prevents and suppresses viral and bacterial infections. Our Standard Process® line offers a Garlic 90 supplement, for those patients that prefer not to include garlic in their dietary intake.
Supplemental support is just as important for immunity for dietary support. For prevention I always recommend Congaplex®, Immuplex® and Echinacea Premium. These are my three go-to immune products that can be taken daily to keep the immune system at full strength.
Congaplex® is specially formulated to support the thymus gland and contains ribonucleic acid, which the body uses to build new cells. We also make Congaplex® Chewable to protect children during cold and flu season. Congaplex® can be taken daily at 1 to 2 capsules per day preventively. Or, if cold or flu like symptoms appear, the dose could be increased up to 8 capsules per day.
Another one of my favorite preventative supplements is Immuplex®. I've found that Immuplex® is the most utilized immune supplement by my patients. This product supports key glands and organs that produce specific immune cells which target bacteria and viruses. I recommend taking 1-2 per day with meals for prevention. You can increase your intake up to 6 per day if you begin to experience cold or flu like symptoms.
My final immune supplement recommendation is Echinacea Premium from our MediHerb® line. Echinacea Premium combines the roots of Echinacea Angustifolia and Echinacea Purpurea to enhance healthy immune system function. Echinacea has been used in traditional medicine throughout history due to its immune modulating effects. Many studies have shown that properly sourced Echinacea (containing alkylamides) can be taken daily at 1 or 2 per day for preventative measures and increased up to 6 per day for acute situations.
We have covered several preventive and restorative factors that contribute to a healthy immune system. Both dietary and supplemental factors are crucial for optimal immunity. If you're looking for a more tailored recommendation or have any questions about our immunity supplements please reach out to us through our Contact page.