Your “Department of Defence”
Your immune system, that is!
Your immune system is your body’s ‘department of defence’. It protects you from potentially harmful invaders by recognising and responding to them as a threat. When the immune system is functioning well, it acts like a powerful, well-regulated army consisting of several highly specialised types of white blood cells.
Do you have weakened defences?
Factors that can contribute to the weakening of your immune system include:
– Physiological, psychological and emotional stress
– Lack of exercise (or too much exercise if you are overtraining)
– Lack of sleep, rest and relaxation
– Diet low in fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein sources
– Exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke and/or extreme cold weather
Boosting your immune system naturally
The secret to staying well is to build a strong, healthy immune system. Our Naturopath, Caroline can assist you with advice on diet, exercise and natural supplements that are specifically designed to boost immune resistance. Similarly, if you already have an infection, there are naturally derived medicines that Caroline can prescribe to reduce the length of time that you’re sick, and may help to prevent the infection from recurring.
These can include:
Vitamin C increases the activity of infection fighting white blood cells; it also inhibits viral growth and reduces the incidence of the common cold. Vitamin C has been shown to be most effective when given with other nutrients such as zinc.
Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of your white blood cells. It’s also critical for the production of antibodies, which remember previous infections and protect you against them. Therefore, zinc deficiency can dramatically reduce your ability to fight bacteria and viruses and supplementation has also been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds and sore throats. Our Naturopath can test your body’s stores of zinc using a simple taste test. If your levels are low, our Naturopath can give you a zinc supplement in either a powder form, tablet or as a drink to improve your levels quickly and effectively.
Astragalus membranaceus 🌿
Astragalus has been traditionally used for centuries in China to support healthy immune function. It’s very effective for boosting immunity in people who have had chronic, long term infections.
You may have heard of the ‘friendly bacteria’ or probiotics that live in your digestive system. These beneficial bacteria help keep your digestive system healthy, help you digest your food and keep your immune system in tip-top condition.
Andrographis paniculata 🌿
This herb has a long history of use for viral and bacterial infections. Andrographis is effective in treating cold symptoms, for instance, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, hoarseness, chill, headache and fever. An important finding is that Andrographis, at a dose of 6 g daily, works just as well as paracetamol for the treatment of fever and sore throat in upper respiratory tract infections.
Certain medicinal mushroom extracts (e.g. shiitake, reishi, coriolus, AHCC™) have a powerful effect on the immune system by enhancing the activity of protective white blood cells. These mushroom extracts can be used to treat acute infections. They can also be taken daily as a remedy for chronic immune weakness to maintain good health.
Simple ways to keep your army strong!
In addition to naturally derived medicines, you can follow some basic dietary and lifestyle advice to help strengthen and nourish your immune system:
1.Eat a diet high in colourful fruits and vegetables, as these have the best levels of immune protecting nutrients
Fresh is best. Avoid produce that has been stored for long periods.
2. Avoid sugars, white flour (bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, etc.) and excess alcohol as these foods are very low in nutrients and deplete your immune system.
3. Avoid or minimise stress at work and home. Stress hormones inhibit the function of all aspects of immunity.
This could result in worsened infections and slowed wound healing.
Taking time each day for relaxation and leisure is important for healthy immune function.
4. Exercise regularly. Regular, moderate exercise seems to improve immune function.
Find an activity you enjoy – such as dancing or swimming – and make it a regular part of your lifestyle for fun,
fitness and a healthy immune system.
5. Increase water intake to 6-8 glasses per day. Water is essential for all aspects of good health.
6. Get enough sleep. Your immune system does its repair and rebuilding while you’re asleep at night.
7. Supplement your diet with recommended nutrients and herbs to boost your immune function.
8. Regular Osteopath treatments – releasing tension and functional restriction, can help improve fluid circulation, nervous system balance and immune function.
Here at West Perth Osteopathy, we stock a range of immune supporting products.
Get in touch to book a consult with our Naturopath, Caroline to support and strengthen your immunity!
Click here to book online or call 08 9485 2800 to arrange today!