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Immune Confusion
Brought to you from the NEEDS Wellness Team

As temperatures continue to dip, Dr. Eric Nissen, Technical Director at NEEDS, has received several questions about how to stay healthy these winter months, and how to best support the immune system. Recently, husband and wife, Dr. Eric and Dr. Jen Nissen, Technical Director of Lane Labs USA, Inc., had an interesting conversation about what they recommend to patients during the winter months.

We want to share this conversation to provide you with tips on how to avoid getting caught in the annual "sick" season.

DR. ERIC:

Questions regarding immune support are becoming pretty sophisticated. A lot of the people I speak with seem to understand that a strong immune system is the foundation of good health, and they want to know how to enhance it.

DR. JEN:

It's true—I find that the average American is highly educated about the basics of how the body works. It is not uncommon for a consumer to be familiar with the different components of the immune system, like T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells— the body's first line of defense.

DR. ERIC:

NK cells are particularly effective against viruses, those wicked antigens responsible for the flu season. Being a naturopathic doctor, many of my patients choose not to receive a flu vaccine, but do want to know about a natural approach to staying healthy. I always suggest they begin with the basics. It's amazing how something as simple as getting eight hours of sleep every night can contribute to health. People don't realize that when their sleep is compromised, so is their immune system.

DR. JEN:

I know! I just read a study that showed getting only four hours of sleep can compromise the immune system by up to 50% the next day. Some people are so busy that they end up getting little sleep on a regular basis. Imagine how they are setting themselves up for developing illness as a consequence of immune suppression. Another basic lifestyle issue is stress reduction. What American isn't dealing with high levels of stress? Unfortunately, it significantly increases cortisol levels which seriously hampers NK cell activity and overall immune function.

DR. ERIC:

That's why I always try to provide my patients with effective coping skills. Studies show the way you deal with the stress determines how it affects your health. I personally like to meditate as a means of minimizing stress, but some people prefer yoga or biofeedback.

DR. JEN:

Thankfully, there are many options available to effectively reduce stress. In this world, unfortunately, complete avoidance of stress is unrealistic.

DR. ERIC:

Unless you live in the woods like a hermit!

DR. JEN:

That's not really an option for most people. But, along with living a healthy lifestyle, eating a whole-foods-based diet, and exercising, there are great supplements available to support the immune system. Choosing the right supplements becomes even more important during the holiday season, when stress from family obligations, travel, and poor food choices can be overwhelming.

DR. ERIC:

Sometimes life gets complicated and we're not able to do what we know we should be doing for our body. Fortunately, there are great immunomodulator products, like mushroom extracts, rice bran extracts, and colostrum. Many of these products have been shown to improve immune function, which ultimately translates to greater overall health.

DR. JEN:

There are some effective products out there, but there are so many different brands! Do you find that your patients are confused about what is right for them, and which products are of the best quality?

DR. ERIC:

It's appropriate that people are concerned about quality, because unfortunately, there is a wide range. My general recommendation is to research the company that makes the product. Make sure there is documentation to prove that the product actually contains the ingredients on the label. Also, a sign of a high quality product is one that has research on it, preferably with humans, to demonstrate that the product does what it claims to do.

DR. JEN:

Right, because why would a company invest tens of thousands of dollars in research on a product that isn't of superior quality? Investing in research is a sure sign of a quality brand. This is one of the impressive points about the company that I work for. Lane Labs invests a significant portion of its revenues into research and educates consumers about the results of those studies. There has been great investment in studying how MGN3 works and because of this, physicians feel confident about recommending it to their patients to enhance immune function.

DR. ERIC:

MGN3 is interesting because it possesses a patented ingredient, which I feel assures the consumer that it maintains high quality standards.

DR. JEN:

Yes—it is one of those rare dietary supplements. It is made from a rice bran extract, which has been fermented for several weeks in a mushroom enzyme extract. The resulting ingredient is called arabinoxylan, which is significantly more absorbable than the original ingredients. Research shows that arabinoxylan triples NK cell activity on average. Since NK cells are the body's first defense, this can significantly enhance a person's health.

DR. ERIC:

I have reviewed research on other immunomodulator products, and although many studies are positive in different ways, I don't think any of them have actually tripled NK cell activity.

DR. JEN: I think that is one of MGN3's greatest strengths. It does also double T and B cell production, which is valuable. Read the clinical studies- they really highlight the fact that MGN3 is a "serious" immune enhancer.


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