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Bolster Your Immune System Naturally
By Jen Palmer, Naturopathic Doctor (ND) & NEEDS Education Director

As the dreaded flu season descends upon us, you may be feeling a lot of pressure to get a flu vaccination. Television commercials, internet articles, and maybe even family and coworkers tell you it's the only way to stay healthy. Vaccines are presented as a cheap and easy way to stay healthy, but as we all know, the flu vaccination has a low success rate for all ages and an even lower effectiveness in seniors.

If you're looking for better odds when it comes to your health, a healthier bet is to boost your immune system naturally to give your body a fighting chance. A strong immune system will not only keep the flu away, but it will also enhance your overall health and longevity. Here are a few suggestions to help you breeze through the cold weather season!

Vitamin D
There's an abundance of research on vitamin D that shows it supports bone strength, immune function, and has a slew of other benefits. One of the many published studies looked at its role in cold and flu prevention. The focus of this 2007 study was actually to evaluate vitamin D's role in bone strength, but they also happened to track incidence of colds and flu in the participants.

For the first two years of the study, participants were given either 400 IU of vitamin D3 per day or a placebo. For the third and final year, the vitamin D dosage was increased to 2,000 IU per day. At the end of the study, 34 out of 208 participants (total) reported cold or flu symptoms; only eight were from the vitamin D group and the remaining 26 were taking the placebo. In those taking the placebo, colds and flu were clustered in the winter months, while those taking vitamin D had less infections, which were scattered throughout the year. And when they took 2,000 IU of vitamin D, only one person reported having a cold or flu.

Thorne's Arabinex
Thorne's Arabinex (Larch arabinogalactan) is a polysaccharide powder derived from the wood of the Larch pine tree (Larix species) and it's comprised of approximately 98 percent arabinogalactan. Arabinogalactans are found in a variety of plants, but they are more abundant in the Larch pine tree. Larch arabinogalactan is a safe and effective immune stimulating phytochemical that has been shown to stimulate natural killer cell activity. It is also FDA approved for use as a dietary fiber and may aid the intestinal immune system. The typical adult dosage is one to three tablespoons per day in divided doses and the powder is usually mixed with water or juice, but it can be added to food if desired.

Oregano
Oregano contains the active chemical rosmarinic acid, which is a potent antioxidant with immune benefits. It also contains phytochemicals that are antimicrobial and anti-viral, which can help prevent respiratory problems related to the flu. You can use oregano in your cooking, but you can get a super dose in supplement form. OregaMax, a wild oregano formula, supports natural mineral intake and more. This wild oregano grows directly on rock in the Mediterranean mountains, making it rich in natural trace minerals. Unlike commercial oregano, OregaMax is undiluted. This is the crude herb of wild, high-mountain oregano in combination with Rhus Coriaria, organic garlic powder, and organic onion powder. It is the most potent wild oregano whole herb available.

Natural Immune Support
It's smart to bolster your ability to stay healthy during the cold and flu season with a little help from immune support supplements. Some of the immune support products should be taken consistently throughout the entire winter season and others are designed to be used just when you start to feel initial symptoms. It's good to have these on hand so you can start them the second you need them, since that ensures a better success rate. Nutrients and herbs can add that extra boost your immune system needs during the challenging winter months.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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