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Seasonal Immune Defense
by Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA

Seasonal changes can be stressful on the body. The stress uses more energy to maintain normal body temperature, so many frequently feel "under the weather." Interestingly, this can also occur when bad weather breaks. Perhaps the body relaxes in response to the improved conditions, allowing our immune systems to take a break and leaving us more susceptible to seasonal ills. Then there are those instances of grand-scale germ exposure and exchange opportunities of crowded spaces like schools, airports, mass transportation, and entertainment venues, at any season, which create extra work for the immune system. At these times, the immune system can concurrently seem both overactive and ineffective, and in the process, make us feel miserable.

In the battle to maintain healthy respiratory function and properly modulate immune response, there are natural nutritional substances that can be helpful. Various vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids support optimal immune function and respiratory health.
  • Paractin® is a patented extract of Andrographis paniculata shown in studies to support a healthy and balanced immune response by modulating the production of immune cells (specifically Interferon gamma [IFNg], Interleukin-2 [IL-2], and T-cells). Clinical studies have demonstrated ParactinÕs ability to significantly increase immune response to stresses, such as those encountered during seasonal changes.
  • Astragalus is well known for supporting the immune system. This Oriental herb has been shown in non-clinical studies to support numerous aspects of healthy immune function, including the enhancement of T-cell and Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. NK cells can destroy unhealthy cells in the body virtually on contact.
  • Black elderberry standardized extract may provide protection against oxidative stress and modulate inflammatory cytokines to protect respiratory function. Elderberry provides vitamins A and C, as well as anthocyanins, which are potent free radical scavengers. Clinical and non-clinical studies have demonstrated elderberry's immune-supporting properties.
  • Echinacea is also recognized for its immune modulating effects.
  • The probiotic, ImmunoEnhancer™, a non-digestible soluble fiber from the Larch tree, helps support healthy intestinal flora, aiding the immune system function of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Chelated zinc is recommended for immunity at a dose of up to 30 mg per day; higher doses could increase the need for copper.
  • Selenium is also recommended, however, avoid the selenite form. Take 100-200 mcg/day of chelated selenium (selenomethionine).
  • Pre-formed vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) could be taken in daily doses; however, no more than 5,000 IU; beta-carotene could be substituted or added, but is not as sure a means of making vitamin A, which is essential for immunity. Adding 5,000 to 10,000 IU beta-carotene should be fine.
  • Vitamin C taken in divided doses supports immunity. Taking about 500 mg at a time enhances absorption and avoids a laxative effect possible at higher doses.
  • L-arginine is the main amino used for certain body repairs.
  • NOW® Air Defense™ formula contains these ingredients and was named one of the 10 Best New Products at Natural Products Expo East 2006. (This event is the East CoastÕs largest annual natural and organic products trade show.)
OPTIMIZING IMMUNITY DURING ALLERGY SEASON
Seasonal allergy sufferers may find relief with nutrients known for their ability to support a healthy histamine response and to optimize overall immune function, in turn enhancing the immune system's inflammatory response.
  • Vitamins B5 and B6, as well as vitamin C, support immune function and the inflammatory response system.
  • Quercetin is a non-citrus flavonoid known for its antioxidant benefits.
  • Bromelain is an enzyme from pineapple that supports a healthy inflammatory response.
  • Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) supports a healthy stress response.
These supplements can help support a healthy histamine response, as well as support other critical immune functions. Moreover, it can be used throughout all seasons.

FUNGUS AS IMMUNE SUPPORT
Oriental mushrooms (medicinal mushrooms) are a basic everyday immune-supporting food. Scientific studies have demonstrated that the 1,3 form of beta-glucan found in mushrooms possesses remarkable abilities to support both innate and adaptive immunity. As dietary supplements, look for blends of organically grown mushrooms.

NOW® Immune Renew™ is a potent immune system support formulation combining standardized astragalus extract with a high beta-glucan proprietary 8-mushroom blend.

Change of seasons and large crowds are just a few of the factors that can assault the immune system, but including the proper nutrients to any preventive care regime can reduce the stress of these factors and improve health throughout the year.


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