From chapter 4.3 of the book: Live Young 4 – Don’t Be a Slave to Your Genetics
In our first article, we explained how the immune system works. Here we will focus on the most important supplements to consider that help immune functions. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to feel their impact, since it is a rather silent blessing; not getting sick would be their effect.
1. Vitamin C
The first supplement that comes to mind is surely vitamin C. An analysis (Cochrane review), considering 29 clinical studies, concluded with an effectiveness in terms of reducing the duration of cold symptoms by 8% in adults and 13% in children when taken in prevention. The evidence seems strong to assume that vitamin C reduces the duration of cold symptoms in prevention, but not necessarily in treatment. The amount needed would be only 200 mg per day and a higher dose would do nothing more.
Therefore, you don’t need to take extra vitamin C. Although it is beneficial for the immune system, we can get it from food sources (citrus fruits, fruits and green vegetables). Vitamin C does not stay in the blood for long, so these foods should be eaten every day. Either way, fruits and vegetables should make up 50% of our diet.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D regulates the calcium/phosphate balance throughout the body, but it is also essential for the proper functioning of muscles, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the immune system. For the immune system, it is used for cell differentiation, which is necessary to maintain the right proportions and effectiveness. Vitamin D is used to cause a change from an innate immune defense to an acquired immune defense to effectively fight infections. Being also responsible for maintaining equilibrium, it could even reduce the surge of attacks of the immune system against our own tissues, in the case of autoimmune diseases.
Since cold and flu season is when there is a drop in sun exposure and vitamin D production, taking a supplement can only help.
Probiotics are, of course, the good bacteria in our gut. We have ten times more bacteria in the gut than cells in the human body. These bacteria are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system for several reasons. Among other things, 70% of the cells of our immune system are situated within our intestinal wall. The immune system is in constant balance between how much of the good bacteria it tolerates in the gut and how much of the bad bacteria it fights to maintain balance. A great diversity of good bacteria guarantees a more efficient immune system, better control of body weight, better stress management, better digestion and longer life.
Some people will tend to have too little diversity because their diet is unbalanced and/or their immune system is not permissive enough. The opposite is also true: some people will have too much diversity because their diet is unbalanced or their immune system is too permissive.
One way or the other, imbalances are bad for your health. Eating a lot of fiber and vegetables is the first approach to consider; but some people will still need to resort to probiotics to stabilize their situation. Be aware that it is not usually necessary to take it every day and that some formulas may work better for some people than others. It may therefore be beneficial to try different products.
It is the herb best known for its effects on the immune system. However, be careful, the vast majority of products on the market are not standardized; this means that the amount of active molecules present in the product has not been tested. It also means that we are not even sure what is in the bottle or how long what is in the bottle can still be effective (the expiration date may not be valid since the company did not know the quantity of active molecules from the very beginning).
Also, in the case of echinacea, three species of plants are widely used and three parts of the plant are those in question. These are other reasons why what is on the label may not be what is actually in the bottle. Recent studies have shown very well that the molecules present are different for each species and for each part of the plant.
In addition, the plant extracts must come from rigorous manufacturing processes. They must comply with the conditions used for the production of products whose clinical studies have served as a benchmark for effectiveness. Unfortunately, it is not possible to identify these criteria on the label. It is therefore necessary to look for standardized products (the quantity of active molecules of which is mentioned) and to trust specialized companies.
Considering the purchase of a quality product, echinacea would have a very safe profile and no serious interactions with medication.
5. Astragalus root
There is another plant extract that is said to be even more effective than echinacea and whose effect could be synergistic or additive to it: astragalus root. It is a plant widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for several applications, including immune health. It is the polysaccharides, present in large quantities in the roots, which are responsible for its beneficial effects on the immune system. Here again, the quality of the products on the market are not the same from one product to another.
For the immune system, zinc is also an essential element that can be consumed in supplements or through food. It is present in appreciable quantities in meat, organ meats, seafood, nuts, certain vegetables and wheat germ. It is essential for over 200 enzymatic reactions throughout the human body.
Some people are more at risk of being deficient: vegetarians and vegans, the elderly, people with intestinal diseases or chronic liver or kidney disease. Bariatric surgeries also increase the risk of deficiency.
In addition to its implication for the proper functioning of the immune system, we should also note that zinc is essential for sight and the functioning of the nervous system.
A complete product
When it comes to the immune system, be aware that Vitoli® Immunity contains standardized extracts of echinacea, astragalus and olives (the exclusive Provitol® Complex). In addition to three extracts from these specific plants, it contains Vitamin D3 and zinc, to improve the response of the immune system. It can be used in prevention or in treatment.
For those who want to prevent infections by improving the health of the immune system, we recommend using one capsule in the morning and one capsule in the evening. It is suggested that you stop using it for a week between each bottle and start over as needed.
In case of infections, in order to strengthen the body’s natural defenses, you can use Vitoli® Immunity until the symptoms resolve.
It is therefore essential to maintain healthy eating habits and to consider certain quality supplements in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!
Other suggested articles:
- Why Is Vitamin D So Important?
- The Immune System and Aging
- Natural Products: We Don’t Need That?
- Food, Your Ally Towards Youth
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