How to Support Immunity During Winter

22nd May 2012

A friend of mine has just had her first cold in 9 years, which is a very good run. It was over for her in just a couple of days as she bounced back to normal really quickly. David Wolfe, the raw food guru has said he never gets sick. What makes some individuals almost impervious to winter infections while others are predisposed to catching every cold or flu doing the rounds? 

The secret to maintaining good health is having an effective immune system optimally supported by diet and lifestyle. Stressors to healthy immunity are poor dietary choices, too much work, too much play, lack of sleep and emotional discord. Working long hours in a stressful job, grabbing fast food on the run, too many late nights drinking and smoking is a lifestyle that is not conducive to good immunity. 

On the other hand if you eat fresh, organically grown fruit and vegetables, have an adequate water intake and sleep well your immune system is likely to be stronger and you will have greater resistance to colds and flu. If you know how to manage your stress levels and your relationships with others are balanced, relaxed and cordial you will also be living in such a way to keep stress levels low. High stress levels impact the immune system so finding ways to keep emotionally happy and balanced support optimal immune function. 

Easier said than done you say, and we do understand what it's like to live under pressure. Pharmacy work entails long hours, intense concentration while dispensing and there are plenty of distractions plus we are exposed to every winter ailment as our customers come to us seeking relief. 

For severe bacterial infections an antibiotic prescription may be required. Viral infections don't respond to antibacterials so treatment is usually confined to treating the symptoms, which is helpful. There is some relief with this strategy but the underlying problem is your body's ability or lack of in resisting the infection. 

Let's take a look at what supplements assist in boosting immunity. Vitamin C helps as does supplementing with zinc tablets and there are many studies to support this. There are also a number of herbs that boost the immune system. Olive leaf extract, andrographis, pau darco and echinacea are just some of the better known ones. Good Health Viralex Attack makes good use of these herbs and is indicated during times when winter ills are prevalent. Another great immune booster is a product made from the fragmented cell walls of a special strain of lactobacillus bacteria. It is marketed under the brand name Del-Immune

Immunity is also supported when the body's intestinal tract is well colonised with friendly intestinal bacteria. Unfortunately antibiotics destroy these friendly bacteria and part of the immune defence is lost until the body is recolonised. We recommend supplementing with probiotic bacteria to assist immunity especially after antibiotics. One excellent supplement is Dr. Ohhira's OM-X formulation.