An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure!

Immune Function

Your body’s immune system is an intricate network of cells, structures and processes that protect your body from disease and illness. When it comes to supporting immune function, single nutrients such as vitamin C may not be enough. Read on to find out more.

The complex immune system is responsible for the biodefenses of the body. Cells of the immune system play a direct role in immunity, especially through the production of antibodies and chemical messengers, substances that contribute to the complex cascade of immune events.

 

These events involve intelligent communications within the immune system and
throughout all tissues of the body. Various types of white cells circulate in
the blood or are found together in lymphatic tissues. Lymph nodes, bone marrow,
the spleen and the thymus gland contain clumps of special white blood cells
that are pivotal structures of the immune system.

 

A complex series of chemical messengers is shared among cells in the immune system. Antibody production by specific types of white cells aids in clearing the
tissue fluids of harmful intruders, e.g., antigens or microorganisms (viruses,
bacteria and yeasts). The biodefenses within the immune system are not simple in their structure or function.
Elaborate mechanisms of defense are present at entry sites into the body,
including the nasal passages, throat and entire gastrointestinal tract.

Understanding the complexity of the body structure and functions involved in immunity is a difficult task for even the most knowledgeable health care professional. This complexity makes it highly unlikely that any single drug, nutrient or botanical by itself will have an efficient overall effect on balancing or
promoting immune function. This means that immune function may be best
supported by a healthy lifestyle and the synergistic actions of combined substances (nutrients, herbs and botanicals) that support multiple components of immune function.

 

Alterations in the balance of immune function are responsible for the cause or progression of many common diseases and ailments. People talk about boosting immune function, but most often they really mean balancing or modulating immune function. Independent laboratory studies show that complex combinations of herbs, botanicals and nutrients may help to accomplish this (www.stephenholtmd.com).

The additive benefits and versatile nature of many different natural agents in a dietary supplement may work together to help support many different aspects of immune function (Table 1).

Andrographis paniculata

Acanthopanax senticosus

Green tea

Turmeric

Grape seed extract

Zinc

Vitamin C

Ashwagandha

Oregon grape

Shiitake mushroom

Echinacea purpurea

Goldenseal

Golden thread

Aloe Vera

Garlic

Astragalus

Korean ginseng

Coriolus versicolor

Active Hexose Correlate Compound
(AHCC)

Beta glucan

Table 1: Nutrients, herbs and botanicals with scientific evidence of nutritional benefits for immune function.

Any natural agent that exerts an antioxidant function can be potentially valuable in promoting healthy immune function. This is because oxidative stress or free radical damage to components of the immune system is a common reason for impaired immunity. In particular, the following antioxidants are of value for immune support: Vitamin C, zinc, green tea, turmeric, grape seed extract and
antioxidants found in a variety of herbs and botanicals (Table 1). Botanical
agents with specific immune-enhancing properties include several species of mushrooms, plant sources of beta glucan, Echinacea and the potent and versatile herb Andrographis paniculata (AP).

Nutritional support for immune function must be multifaceted.  Formulations of dietary supplements that contain several different natural ingredients may be an optimal way to provide nutritional support for immune function, but much further research is required on the subject.

 

Be
Healthy!

Dr.
Stephen Holt, M.D.

 

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