The Immune system is the body’s defense system against foreign substances such as micro-organisms -bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites potentially toxic molecules like heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides or abnormal cells that have been changed or damaged and malignant cells.
There is absolutely no doubt that our immune systems are overloaded to previously unimaginable levels due to chemicals, air pollution, polluted and genetically modified food, poor chemically altered water, drugs, chemicals added to processed food and drink, and chemicals in our home and personal care products. Over 80,000 chemicals have been produced since 1900. It falls to our immune system to try to convert these toxins into safe substances or transport them to places in the body where they may do less harm – like in fat tissue and organs. The more exposure you have the more your vitamin and mineral requirements will be increased. If you have also been eating a nutrient poor diet and drinking too many high sugar sodas or too much alcohol your body will soon let you know. Diabetes, Heart disease, Cancer are the common ones that most of us worry about. A healthy diet and some supplements like a good antioxidant, a multivitamin and a multi-mineral could definitely help as baseline prevention. Then when we become ill we often look for supplements that will boost our immune system further – there are a huge amount to choose from when you start reading about them you can convince yourself that you need them all! I will go through some of the more common ones and group them into three categories
1. Strong antioxidants. – These are all good for anti-ageing, and effective immune system support.
Ginkgo Biloba, Quercetin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, Resveratrol, grape seed extract, Pine bark extract, Vitamins E and C (take care if you are on blood thinning drugs), Beta-carotene(some evidence to show that you shouldn’t take this if you are a smoker or have lung cancer) Glutathione, Zinc and Selenium.
2. Immune system modulating supplements – and anti-inflammatory’s –these are good to take if you have an autoimmune disease where the immune system is confused and over-reacting in a way that harms normal tissue as well as foreign tissue.You need to boost the bodies detoxing capabilities rather than stimulate the immune system further.
Vitamin D, Licorice Root, Astragalus, Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng, Boswellia, Devil’s Claw, Aloe Vera,Omega 3 oils like Krill or green-lipped muscle, Maca Root.
3. Immune Stimulating Supplements – best avoided if you have an autoimmune problem as they can make you worse or have a flare up of the condition. Brilliant if you have cancer or are recovering from cancer treatment and have low white blood cells.
Echinacea Purpura, Chlorella and Spirulina (according to WebMD) Cat’s Claw, Panax Ginseng, Willowbark, Beta Glucans, extracts in alcohol of maitake, Reishi and shiitake mushrooms.
Please add comments if you have tried any of these supplements and found them to be helpful or to have had an adverse effect on your condition.
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