Maintain a daily dose of Vitamin C (1000mg).
Take a daily dose of Elderberry capsules (400-800mg daily).
Then for 6 weeks at a time rotate the Oregon Grape, Echinacea and Olive Leaf.
Take alongside a good daily multivitamin.
Use an Echinacea/ Elderberry Throat Spray when travelling or in large crowds; use as a throat spray to recommended dosage and also as a topical hand spray.
Fears over pandemics of Bird flu, Swine fever and Tuberculosis make regular headlines and for the elderly, poorly or very young these are especially serious threats to health. Here nutritionist Alex Kirchin MSc DipION, gives his views on boosting immunity:
“My feeling is that we can’t really provide a blanket treatment protocol as individual requirements vary widely. However these are the Big Five Areas of Immunity to consider:
1/ Stress levels – elevated stress hormones are known to weaken immune function.
2/ Sleep / recovery – recovery and restful sleep is essential for mounting a healthy immune response.
3/ Exercise – a sedentary lifestyle does not lend itself to healthy lymphatic function hence impairing immune function.
4/ Gastrointestinal integrity – the gut is crucial as a key player in mucosal defence and as a protective barrier against pathogens. Probiotic status will boost immune function.
5/ Diet / supplements – lower antioxidant status equals weaker immunity. Supporting the natural strengths of your immune system with some well-chosen nutrients, herbs and fruits is appropriate...
VITAMIN C is known to be a potent immune stimulating nutrient. It has been shown to inhibit viral replication and may reduce the severity of the common cold. A study of one hundred and sixty- eight volunteers were randomized to receive a placebo or a vitamin C supplement, two tablets daily, over a 60-day period. The results showed that vitamin C supplement may prevent the common cold and shorten the duration of symptoms.
Research has shown that supplementation with the Ester–C calcium ascorbate/ threonate complex provides an effective way to build vitamin C reserves in the important immuno–competent cells of the blood; even when modest doses (one gram) are used.
OLIVE LEAF has been for treatment of fevers and for the topical treatment of wounds or infection. Olive leaf may be a true anti-viral compound because it appears to selectively block an entire virus-specific system in the infected host.
OREGON GRAPE is an excellent source of the active, berberine. Berberine has been shown to increase the blood supply to the spleen, promoting optimal activity in filtering the blood and releasing compounds that potentiate immune function. Berberine also activates macrophages the cells that engulf and destroy bacteria, viruses, tumour cells, and other undesirable matter. This effect on the blood supply classes berberine-containing plants as ‘blood purifiers’.
ECHINACEA is regarded as the mother of all immune supporting herbals, Echinacea provides a broad spectrum of effects on the immune system and appears to offer benefit for all infectious conditions. Echinacea has shown to be effective against various viral infections including the common cold, influenza and herpes virus, and uro-genital infections. Research has demonstrated that Echinacea reduces severity of cold symptoms, time between infections, and increased the speed of recovery.
ELDERBERRY is noted for its potent effects on the non specific immune response,gently stimulating sweating during a fever, regulating temperature control, and so resolving infection more quickly and with less severe symptoms.
PROBIOTICS are the healthy bacteria that inhabit our gut. Ensuring a good level of healthy bacteria in the gut will help boost immunity. Acidolin, one of the major antibiotic substances found in acidophilus has potent anti-viral properties and studies have shown effectiveness against herpes simplex lesions and in cases of apthous stomatitis (mouth ulcers).
In summary, keeping your stress levels under check, taking care of yourself with good sleep, exercise and diet, good lifestyle choices such as cutting back on sugary foods and smoking, increasing your hand-washing and general sanitary practices, plus a few well-chosen supplements should help to keep your immunity high and your susceptibility to infection low.