A better life starts with better health throughout the year. Winter is here, and with it, the swarm of bugs, cold and sniffles that gate-crash our bodies when temperatures dip to the single digit end of the mercury scale. Every day, we are continually bombarded with a stream of (often conflicting) information as to how to strengthen your immune system. From reaching for a satsuma, to skipping your daily shower, to kissing your pet dog.
But what are the most effective ways to boost your low immune system? Minimising days off work and keeping yourself fighting fit.
The immune system is one of the most complex parts of the human body. ‘We are what we eat’ is a given. No one would expect to perform at their prime whilst living off poor nutrition. However, there is emerging evidence to suggest maintaining an optimal immune system can be enhanced by using the best balance of pharmaco-nutrition.
Pharmaco-nutrition is the use of food and foods extracts to rectify the nutritional and metabolic imbalances that cause chronic inflammation, dysnutrition and immune dysfunction; that in turn drive the chronic degenerative diseases. Taking you beyond the ceiling of a healthy, balanced diet.
What exactly is the immune system?
In very simple terms, the immune system is an exceptionally complex network of cells and proteins that protects the body against infection. Although the immune system is one fully integrated system, it’s useful to think of it as having two parts; the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.
What is the difference between the innate and adaptive immune systems?
To say the innate immune system is clever is an understatement. It’s our body’s first line of defence, equipped to keep us healthy, with the ability to quickly recognise, target and destroy infections. Harmful substances, antigens, entering the body, activate the innate immune system, causing cells to take flight through the blood to neutralize pathogens by surrounding and killing them. The innate immune system has no long-term memory which is why it’s able to create new receptors to adapt to the immune response.
The adaptive immune system is slower, unable to respond instantly to infections, requiring time to learn to recognise them. After the first encounter with a pathogen, the adaptive immune system remembers what the pathogen looks like, so when the same pathogen tries to infect the body again; the next response is fast, accurate, and effective. Major cell types of the adaptive immune system include T cells and B cells. The adaptive immune system can go wrong in many interesting ways. It is deeply involved in allergy, critically involved in autoimmune disease, and is an essential component in graft rejection and graft-versus-host disease. The adaptive immune system gets a good deal of attention, because it can be manipulated via immunisation, which at $40 billion per year is a very big business.
What causes your immune system to weaken?
Daily life! We are constantly under attack by all manner of enemies that threaten the level our immune system functions at. Medication, life choices such as smoking or alcohol, or poor nutrition (which today is widespread).
What signs show you have a low immune system?
How prone to infection are you? Are you someone who always seems to catch whatever’s doing the rounds? A weak immune system doesn't only mean you get ill more frequently than others, you might also find recovering from illness a challenge. All clues that whatever you might be doing to support your low immune system isn't actually working.
How important is sleep to the health of your immune system?
Without sleep we couldn’t survive, however skimping on your daily eight hours could also be adversely affecting your immunity. Sleep not only reenergizes our cells, it acts like a hoover for the brain, clearing out the waste, recuperating and resetting. A good night’s sleep releases cytokines (proteins) which not only help to promote sleep, they also target infection and inflammation.
What are the most important nutrients to maintain a strong immune system?
What we eat is half the battle, the quality of what we eat is equally important. Taking a generic A-Z supplement has been proven time over to have little benefit to your body. You're best to ensure your diet is optimised with immune boosting vitamins and minerals to keep you on top form. Nutrients that take you beyond the ceiling of a healthy, balanced diet will give you the edge.
LYMA contains multi-award winning Wellmune®, the highly specialized 1,3 1,6 beta glucan clinically proven to boost the innate, rapid fire immune system priming white blood cells neutrophils and macrophages to engage with foreign pathogens.
Inflammation is also at the crux of a sound immune system where an overly inflamed body is more prone to acute injury and chronic illness. This is where LYMA comes into its own, we provide a myriad of the world’s most potent, technologically enhanced, anti-inflammatory compounds including; 250% more bioavailable HydroCurc™ and microencapsulated, highly bioavailable Lycored Lycopene™.
Vitamins and minerals are key for bodily function and none is more important for immunity than vitamin D, where deficiency is estimated to be at 50% amongst the UK population and approximately 15% exhibiting a severe shortfall. Unlike most, LYMA provides a clinically powerful 2,000i.u./day vitamin D3, enough to ensure a high percentile are protected from deficiency but also to ensure cholecalciferol is optimized for musculoskeletal, bone and cardiovascular health.
How to live your healthiest life
The big freeze: Exposure to cold can boost your metabolism which can lead to increased immune power. A blast of cold water at the end of your morning shower can really help. Cryotherapy can also be useful for recovery and will have an effect on keeping the bugs at bay.
Keeping fit: Training and exercise may also protect you from the flu bug and If you're not already sick, doing some HIIT or a resistance workout is a top choice way to get your defences up. Work on the ethos of working hard, but resting harder, to really decrease the stressors on the nervous system. Overtraining could make you more vulnerable, so make sure you get the right balance while also balancing your yin and yang accordingly through sports such as boxing and yoga.
Stress management: Stress comes in many shapes and sizes. If you're stressing about things, it’s important to remember that most of the things you're worrying about will never happen. Make sure you know that it's ok not to have all of your life together and try to go with the flow. My tips to reduce anxiety and boost your immune system in the process: meditation, yoga, massage, charity work, learning something new. Even after a fight with a loved one, your immune system can be weakened for up to two days so try to avoid conflict with your close ones when feeling poorly or under the weather
The best foods to eat and drink to boost your immune system
Ginger! you can make ginger tea, eat raw ginger, or add ginger to your broth or soup. Red peppers have double the levels of vitamin C as citrus fruits. Al dente broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Garlic also acts as a great immune booster. If you're sick, garlic is a great way to rev up your immune system. If you're feeling brave, suck on a clove of raw garlic for a few minutes to get its benefits (remember to keep your distance!)
Start eating sauerkraut or kimchi. The fermentation processes in which these foods are prepared produce beneficial bacteria (probiotics) which have an important role in your gut health. Most of your immune cells are located in your gut so the healthier your gut, the healthier your immune system will be. Research suggests that just a teaspoon of sugar will inhibit your immune system for up to four hours, so avoid it - this includes hidden sugars in refined carbohydrates and alcohol.
Citrus fruits packed with Vitamin C should be eaten regularly as the body isn't able to store this nutrient. Leafy greens are laden with Vitamin E and wholegrains, packed with folate are all proven to support and strengthen immune function. Selenium in garlic and brazil nuts have the power to slow the body’s overactive responses to illness. Whilst zinc in shellfish and chickpeas helps to control inflammation. Add a splash of colour with Vitamin A packed carrots will help to modulate immune function.
Do natural remedies really act as immune boosters?
The simple answer, probably not. The only way to be assured a ‘remedy’ works is to prove in peer-reviewed clinical evidence. Exchanging organic immunity remedies for proven nutraceuticals that have been tested and proven to provide functional and beneficial attributes.
Are supplements good for a low immune system?
With vitamins and minerals, all we really know is that they alleviate deficiencies of those vitamins and minerals. With nutraceuticals, which are proven ingredients, like those found in LYMA, we can demonstrate that by using appropriate technology, that a particular natural compound is able to enhance resistance to infection. So, the shift from supplements to nutraceuticals is a shift from hope (hype) to scientific proof to demonstrate an ingredient’s ability to actually strengthen your immunity. With the shift from generic supplements, to LYMA, we are stepping out of the dark ages of nutrition and into the age of science.
How can you boost your immune system in winter?
A good, albeit maybe not welcome with open arms start would be reducing inflammation by cutting back on sugar. A challenge over the holiday period! Don’t indulge in the wrong foods at Christmas. Inflammation is a thriving ground for microbes of the flu. Challenge yourself to switch to natural treats like dates and fresh fruit.
- Treat yourself to a massage, not only do they feel pretty fabulous, a massage stimulates the lymphatic system, the defence force of our body.
- If ever there was a season to keep your hands clean, it’s winter, to help prevent the spread of cold, flu and nasty viruses.
- Don’t go through winter alone. Make time to connect with family and friends. Feelings of loneliness has actually proven to link with a low immune system.
- Make your home toxin free. It’s so easy to flood our homes with toxins through cleaning and beauty products. Try and go green with cleaning products that will get the job done, without the nasties.
How can you boost your immune system when you travel?
Walking onto a plane or a train, you’re going to be around 300 or so of your newest friends, some of whom will be sick. The best way to protect yourself is to take the 1-3, 1-6 beta glucans such as LYMA’s Wellmune®. This patented form of beta glucans is a good start to a stronger immunity.
What is Wellmune®?
Wellmune® is a leading natural yeast beta glucan, clinically proven to help strengthen your immune system. Wellmune has over $300 million worth or research behind it, including mechanistic, pre-clinical and clinical data. There are many beta glucans on the market, but NONE come close to Wellmune. It’s the most effective tool you can use to improve the efficacy of your innate immune system, the part that keeps you well most of the time, improves resistance to infection and helps alleviate allergies. The beta glucans instruct the naïve T helper cells, which are part of your adaptogenic immune system to become the TH1 instead of TH2 and this is profound anti-allergy mechanism. So there is a real two for one benefit that spins off from this compound.
How effective is Wellmune®?
There are many different 1-3, 1-6 beta glucans, with varying molecular structures; which means that they each have different affinities for key receptors, such as the CR3 receptor which is so important in enhancing innate immune function. They will therefore, have different degrees of clinical effectiveness, ranging from good to inadequate. Unless you take Wellmune branded beta glucans, you have no way of knowing how effective a particular version of beta glucans is once ingested. You will be likely taking a beta glucans that is borrowing the scientific data of Wellmune when in reality you have no way of knowing how effective it may be.
How LYMA is disrupting the supplement market with a new category of evidence-based nutrition.
Dr. Paul Clayton, PhD “For 40 years I have been working at the cutting edge of supplement design and technology. A lot of good science has been developed in the labs, clinics and universities but very little of this has made it as far as the consumer market, leaving the supplement industry characterised by low quality, poorly formulated and over-hyped products which offer few if any benefits. LYMA have taken a different approach. By combining best-in-breed clinically proven and patented ingredients, it has produced a world class product. Never before has so much validated science and patented technology been combined into one formula, in a combination that no diet or multi-vitamin could ever deliver. LYMA has changed the industry and will transform the lives of its consumers.”
Originally published Aug 29, 2020.