Ask Dr Heather Blog

5 Steps to Boost Immune Fighting Power
November 12, 2011
Dr. Heather Boyd Roberts

Fall colds are flu's are definitely here, but don't let them get you down. Take steps now to boost your immune function and prevent the fall winter immune system blues. Take these steps to enhance your immune armor.

1. Wash Your Hands Frequently
Good hygiene has been scientifically proven to raise your body’s levels of Albumin, an important and abundant protein. Albumin is necessary for detoxifying your body and transporting crucial nutrients for optimum cellular function. The higher the albumin, the better it is for your immune system. But watch what kind of soap you use. Anti-bacterial soaps kill all bacteria including the good. And at the AMA annual meeting in 2000, Myron Genel, chair of the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs and a Yale University pediatrician, said, “There’s no evidence that they (anti-bacterial soaps) do any good and there’s reason to suspect that they could contribute to a problem” by helping to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

2. Get a Good Night Sleep
Sleeping 8 hours a night is crucial for optimum immune function. Our fighting immune cells, known as our T cells, go down after just one night of sleep loss. The more nights of sleep loss you have, the more likely you are to decrease your body’s ability to respond to colds or bacterial infections. Also, a single night of sleep loss increases your body’s inflammatory cytokines. That means any chronic conditions you have including atherosclerosis, all vascular diseases, arthritis and other pain conditions as well as any allergic reactions you have will be worse after a night of poor sleep. This all leads to more stress on your immune function and less ability to ward off colds and flus.

3. Eat Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System
A healthy diet is critical for keeping your immune system strong. Add these foods into daily eating plan to maximize your immune function. But remember it’s just as important to limit the immune suppressive foods including sugar and any food sensitivities or allergies that you have.

Colorful Vegetables and Fruits: Red, orange, and purple fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, red peppers, beets, berries, and carrots, are packed with immune-boosting antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamin C.

Garlic: Garlic is a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production. The immune-boosting properties of garlic seem to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides. Garlic also acts as an antioxidant, reducing free radical damage that suppresses immune function. For overall health, I recommend that you consume at least one clove of garlic each day. Studies suggest that you can get similar benefits from cooked garlic—if you first let it sit out a while after peeling. When garlic is peeled allinase begins a series of chemical reactions that create beneficial health effects.

Ginger: Ginger is a wonderful tea to drink when you are not feeling well. It is a potent diaphoretic, which stimulates perspiration and warms the body from the inside. In addition, ginger is rich in zinc, an important mineral for immune function. To make a therapeutic ginger tea, grind a one-inch slice of fresh ginger, or cut into small pieces. Cover with 3 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain, then squeeze the juice of half a lemon, and add to a cup of steaming hot water along with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

4. Take These Immune-Boosting Nutrients for Extra Support

Elderberry Extract: The active ingredients in elderberries help boost immune health. I recommend our elderberry extract to be taken as 2 dropperfuls daily for immune prevention in adults and 1 dropperful daily in children 2 years of age and older.

Zinc: Zinc increases the number of infection-fighting WBC’s called T-cells (specific immunity) that help fight infections more aggressively. It is especially important in elderly people who are often deficient in zinc, and whose immune system often weakened with age. The recommended daily dose for zinc when taken with vitamin C, elderberry, and the Sea Buckthorn combination listed below is 10 to 25 mg/day. More if not better with zinc. Excessive zinc intake can lead to immune suppression.

Sea Buckthorn, Dog Rose, and English Walnut: Imu-gen contains all 3 constituents to truly enhance all aspects of your immunity safely. The combination is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and boosts natural immunity. Take 5 drops of the formula 2x/day if you tend to get sick more often or more severely, and 1x/day if you have a stronger immune system. Be careful with using Echinacea long term. It requires breaks from consumption to prevent immune suppression so using Imu-gen long term is a better solution.

Vitamin C with Bioflavanvoids: Vitamin C increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies and increases levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Most vitamin C is ascorbic acid, which as its name states is highly acidic and not desirable in your body. Choose ascorbyl palmitate instead. I use Biopotent C in addition to CamuCamu 150mg/day to get a complete complex of all the parts of vitamin C. If you start to feel a cold coming on take the CamuCami in addition to Biopotent C 2 caps every 2 hours.

Omega-3 fatty acids: A study found that children taking a half teaspoon of flax oil a day experienced fewer and less severe respiratory infections and fewer days of being absent from school. The omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. Just make sure the fish oil you consume is high quality pure, true triglyerol form that is tested for heavy metals and oxidative damage such as Super EFA Liquid. If you’re choosing flax oil ensure the container is not black plastic. Studies have found concentrations of plastic residue in the oil after just 3 weeks of storage. Premier Research has a low temperature extracted oil stored in plastic that is similar to Nalgene bottles that do not leach into the liquids inside of them.

Human Strain Probiotic (HMF): I often talk about the digestion-supporting benefits of probiotic, but its overall effects on your health are much broader. Using just one capsule / day of the HMF type probiotics have been found to boost the immune function by activating the MALT system, which is a collection of immune cells that stands guard just beneath outer surfaces of the body to defend against invasive pathogens (invading organisms).

5. Soak Your Toothbrush
If you’re under the weather, or if you’re around a people who are sick soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide before using it. It doesn’t do much good to knock out the “bugs,” and then turn around and reintroduce them into your system with a contaminated toothbrush.

Written by Dr. Heather Boyd Roberts of Natural Choice Healthcare Vancouver, Washington