Your body’s immune system carries a huge responsibility. It works 24 hours a day, never takes a break and is your most important defensive shield against disease, illness and infection. A lot is asked of our immune system; we expect it to perform as advertised and for the most part, it is very good at what it does. Without a doubt, most people will agree that this little-known sentry within us does an amazing job at protecting us – very quietly.
Despite this commitment, germs occasionally manage to slip through and the result, of course, is that we get sick. There are also the rare occasions where our immune system becomes weak and is less effective in its ability to fight off these unhealthy organisms. But what exactly is an immune system? What can be done to keep it strong and healthy?
The concept of boosting our immune system seems to suggest that we can somehow interrupt the process of illness by strengthening our immune response after a germ has already been introduced. Unfortunately, science has been unable to accomplish this targeted approach nutritionally because our body’s immune mechanisms are comprised of multiple parts.
It’s an entire system rather than a single component or entity. Because of this, a strong and healthy immune system has to be fed with a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements. If one area becomes depleted, it becomes a weak link and could potentially weaken the entire system as a whole. Food sources lacking in vitamins and minerals, a poor overall diet, and probiotic imbalances can all contribute to this problem.
Fruits And Vegetables Are Not Always Enough
For years there has been an ongoing debate over the quality of the soil used to grow our fruits and vegetables. The old adage, “you are what you eat”, is also true when it comes to the soil and fertilizers that feed today’s produce. Modern farming often uses the same soil for decades to grow their crops.
Some studies have shown that the repetitive planting of crops, over time, depletes the soil of nutrients and minerals. This causes a loss of nutrition with whatever fruit or vegetable has been grown. Combine this with the pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals sometimes used in today’s farming… and it becomes much clearer why vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary.
Vitamins And Minerals
Even though all vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy diet, medical studies show that some of these tend to be more beneficial to strengthening our immune system than others. Harvard Medical School recently published a study showing reduced immune antibodies in laboratory animals that had depleted levels of specific micronutrients.
Although the studies are inconclusive when talking about humans, the results were promising nonetheless that certain vitamins and mineral compounds do play a role in the immune system’s abilities to keep us healthy. Here is a list of the more prominent nutrients in this report:
- Selenium: Low levels suggest an increased risk of breast, prostate, bladder, colon, and lung cancer.
- Vitamin A: Plays a huge role in fighting infection and disease.
- Vitamin B2, B6: Some studies have shown the B vitamins help in fighting off bacterial infections, and that low levels can depress the immune response.
- Vitamin C: Research on vitamin C’s role in the immune system is inconclusive; however, its role when combined with other nutrients seems to be beneficial and has merit.
- Vitamin E: Studies show that an increase in daily dosage improved the antibody response against hepatitis B and tetanus in a group of senior citizens over 65.
- Vitamin D: Scientists have known for years that vitamin D is very effective in fighting off tuberculous.
- Zinc: 15-25 milligrams per day is essential for the proper functioning of cells in our immune system. Despite its documented role in the immune response, care must be exercised not to take too much zinc as it can have adverse health effects.
You can’t look at a label on most herbal supplement bottles with seeing some mention of its immune system powers. Wading through these headlines and being able to decipher fact from fiction can be a difficult task at best. The problem with most of these claims is that controlled studies with herbal supplements is very difficult.
This is due to the fact that what may work well for one person, may not have any measurable results with someone else. This research is further complicated by the fact that most herbs have a synergistic effect when combined with other factors. In other words, echinacea may help when specific enzymes are present in someone’s digestive tract when combined with zinc and vitamin B6. Someone else may take the same amount of echinacea, zinc and B6, but their body doesn’t produce the same enzyme… resulting in a different outcome. This example is purely hypothetical, but I think you get the point.
This doesn’t mean we should completely disregard herbal remedies or supplements, though. Your great grandmother’s herbal remedy for a sore throat may have worked quite well. It’s just difficult to quantify in the laboratory. Do your research, only consider reputable manufacturers that specialize in nutritional supplements, and use them in conjunction with quality vitamins and minerals.
Probiotics And Your Digestive System
Any discussion on the use of supplementation to boost your immune system would be incomplete without including bacterial probiotics. Probiotics represent the good bacteria that allows our digestive system to function efficiently. The breakdown of our food, the absorption of nutrients, and proper elimination play a big role in our immune system’s ability to keep us healthy. By supplementing your diet with these live bacterial cultures, you can avoid many of the problems that come from years of poor absorption and toxic build up.
Have an IsaLean Shake
If you want to provide your body with amazing levels of nutrients each and every day, start your day with an IsaLean Shake from Isagenix. This shake contains a quality whey protein and all the essential trace minerals, as well as digestive enzymes and other vitamins/nutrients.
The Isagenix IsaLean Shake is a great way for the entire family to enjoy optimum nutrition.