Narrowing down immune support to a top 3 might sound simplistic, but in our clinic we see the fruits of these simple measures all the time. If you are someone who gets sick a lot, or can’t shake things quite as easily as you’d like, don’t just assume it’s the way it has to be forever. Like many aspects of health, there is so much that is in your power to change.
1. Food, Nutrition, Vitamins & Minerals: Getting the Building Blocks Right
This is the absolute foundation of our health. We all know the concept of ‘You Are What You Eat’, but very often there is a disconnect from really absorbing and living this information. Quite simply, if you are deficient in any of our essential immune nutrients, this will have a significant impact on your immune function.
Key nutrients for immunity include:
- Vitamin A: essential for anti-viral action and for the health of all of your mucous membranes (lungs, gut etc)
- Vitamin C: many immune cells need Vitamin C for correct function. Remember scurvy? We need Vitamin C for tissue integrity and immune function
- Vitamin D: essential for immune function, a deficiency in this will increase your chance of infection, especially respiratory infection
- Zinc: used in more enzyme reactions in the body than you can shake a stick at, many people are low in this mineral and benefit from a top up. Zinc is key for good immunity, tissue repair and growth.
- Iron: Low iron will see you not only tired and foggy headed, but more vulnerable to infection of all kinds.
- Selenium: Not only essential for initiating immune responses, but for regulating inflammation too.
- Essential Fatty Acids: Important for regulating inflammation and enhancing immune cell activity.
Investigating, identifying and correcting any imbalances may just have you on the path to a brighter Autumn & Winter season.
2. Botanical Blessings: The Super Power of Herbal Medicine
As a passionate herbalist I am always astonished that some people still don’t know how powerful herbal medicine can be. It seems some people who have only ever used pharmaceutical medicines see herbs a weaker and less effective poor cousin. If only they knew what they were missing out on! The unique ability of herbal medicine to enhance our innate immune response, improving resilience and resistance to infection, is something so many people could benefit from. Choosing the right herbs for each individual, and ensuring the herbs are top quality, high potency remedies, is key to the success of using herbal medicine. Getting the dose right is also of the utmost importance. Some stellar botanicals for immunity include Astragalus, Andrographis and Echinacea Root. Other herbs have excellent antimicrobial activity, or direct anti-viral action. Specific herbs can be used for specific tissues (the lungs, the urinary tract, the sinuses, the gut etc), and for specific conditions. Research on herbal medicine now abounds, backing up and fleshing out hundreds of years of traditional use and understanding.
3. What is Holding You Back?
Some very common factors that can hold people back from being at their robust immune best are as follows- you may recognise more than one as your biggest downfall.
- Lack of Sleep
- Too Much Stress
- Too Much or Too Little Exercise
- Food Reactivities: all too commonly recurrent immune issues signal underlying reactions to foods or food substances.
- Other Health Issues (Gut Problems, Mood Imbalances etc)
So better immunity could be as easy as 1-2-3. If you need support, ask. Prevention is always always always better than cure, and enhancing your own innate immune system is the best protection you can have.