Flu Season is knocking on your door and will knock it down. Fight back with a mighty immune system. These nine supplements will make your body’s defenses strong.
DON’T MEAN to brag, but I rarely get sick. In fact, I don’t even remember the last time. And this is not because I live under a rainbow drawn by god, but because I use powerful nutrients that strengthen my immune system.
And so can you.
Just think of all those listless days each year you spend on the couch staring vacantly at the TV waiting for your compromised immune system to finally gather enough force – perhaps added by some pharmaceutical – to overwhelm what ails you.
Not to mention that being sick feels pretty bad. And lonely.
So, getting sick is not something we want to experience, but at the same time, few of us actively do anything to reduce the changes of such unpleasantness.
Which brings me to my Grandma who used to say, as Grandma’s all over the world do, that:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Each year the “Flu Season” comes knocking at our doors, but we need not let it in. We need not be vulnerable to it, or assume that it’s just natural to get sick once, twice or a few times a year.
Instead of laying down in defenseless submission, slap on some amour… strengthen your immune system.
Take some of these supplements!
OK, that said, let’s dig into nine different “ounces” of prevention, two recommended by ProHealth’s founder, Rich Carson (about whom I’ve written about here), four recommended by the Life Extension Foundation, and three submitted by me.
Except for EpiCor, I’ve used all the supplements cited in this post and vouch for them all.
(And I believe what Rich says about EpicCor; after all, the dude’s my supplement mentor.)
One other point to mention is that you can get most of these supplements from a well-stocked health food store, or from the (affiliate) links provided.
Nine Immune Empowering, Flu-Busting Supplements
1. EpiCor Immune Complex,The Accidentally Discovered High-metabolite Immunogen
For years, the workers at an animal nutrition products manufacturer, Diamond V Mills, were experiencing unusual health. They had unused sick time and drew upon their health insurance claims far less than the norm, which lead their health insurer to do a little sniffing around.
What the investigators found was that the precursor product to EpiCor was keeping their immune system robust enough to ward off illness. Seeing a golden opportunity, “Mills” established a human nutrition division, which developed a concentrated product for human consumption, and EpiCor was born.
From the product description::
“EpiCor is an all-natural, high-metabolite immunogen that supports the body’s immune system to strengthen and maintain wellness. EpiCor delivers more antioxidant power than black raspberries, blueberries, or cranberries. Research to date shows that EpiCor activates natural killer (NK) cells, human B cells and increases the levels of salivary secretory IgA.”
2. Sambucol, the Tasty Flavonoid Syrup
Sambucol is another Rich Carson favorite. It’s a unique extract of black elderberry, a centuries-old herbal remedy now recognized as nature’s richest source of anthocyanins, which are a class of flavonoids that are thought to help stimulate the body’s immune response.
Sambucol is particularly good for kids, simply because they’re generally more amenable to taking a tablespoon of good-tasting syrup than a mouthful of pills.
Like most immune system enhancers, it’s most ideal to use Sambucol prior to getting sick, and given that the “sick season” comes with the advent of Fall and Winter, it would be a good idea to give your immune system a boost now with Sambucol.
Amazon.com carries many varieties of Sambucol at this link.
3. Vitamin D, The “Everything” Vitamin
If you read newsy stuff about health matters, running into an article salivating about the powers of Vitamin D is pretty much unavoidable. It’s been cited as the cure for everything from the common cold to cancer.
I’m uncomfortable with cure-alls, but do not hesitate to say that Vitamin D needs to be included in your supplement arsenal, particularly as the days get short, particularly if you live above the sun-deprived latitudes 37 degrees north, and particularly if your skin is not of the Caucasian variety.
[For an entertaining and informative Vitamin D tutorial, watch expert Dr. Michael Holick in 30 Reasons to Take Vitamin D.]
Vitamin D boosts our innate defenses. It combines with Vitamin D receptors to trigger an immune response that may be effective against an assortment of infections, including influenza.
According to the Life Extension Foundation, several studies have shown that people with low vitamin D levels are more likely to get colds. In one study, children given 300 IU of vitamin D daily were less likely to become infected.
4. Take Zinc Before Cold Symptoms Arrive
Taking zinc is usually advised upon the onset of a cold, or preferably, months before “cold season”. It may not be sexy, but Zinc is a basic supplement that should be in every household.
Zinc may prevent the attachment of cold-causing viruses to your nasal wall. It also activates your T-cells (immune fighting cells) – the stronger your T-cells, the better your body can fight infection.
5. Echinacea, It Does Work
Surely you’ve heard about Echinacea. It comes in different species, but the one most common to us is the pretty purple plant, Echinacea purpurea ‘Maxima’.
I wrote above, “It Does Work”, but I should add that there are several competent studies that assert the opposite. One reason for the conflicting outcomes is that it’s very difficult to measure the identical thing, this Echinacea, because of the inconsistencies endemic in growing the plant and extracting its active, health-promoting substances.
My experimentation with Echinacea indicates that it works for me. This is hardly a scientifically tested assertion, but just as there are studies that say it’s not helpful, the Life Extension Foundation (“LEF”) reports a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that four months of Echinacea supplementation prevented people from catching a cold, and a review of another study showed that Echinacea was effective in preventing colds in five out of six trials.
As with all supplements, quality counts, so find an Echinacea extract that has a good reputation. Health stores carry it, and so does one of my favorite sources, LEF, which has an Echinacea product called, simply,
6. Ginseng, A Traditional Immune Booster
Many indigenous peoples who have a long tradition of using Ginseng.
It’s been used for ages to treat a variety of ailments, such as fevers, headaches and colds, not to mention for energy, stamina and as a testosterone stimulant in men.
Part of Ginseng’s benefits stem from polysaccharides and oligosaccharides, which are chains of carbohydrate molecules. In lab cultures, they stimulate the production of immunoglobulins, which are immune-fighting proteins.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study, reports LEF, showed that four months of supplementation with Ginseng reduced the number of colds and sick days experienced by participants.
Note that I say, “Righteous Mushrooms”, so don’t go wandering off in the psychedelic lily fields on this one.
New Chapter is among the best supplement-making companies on the planet for four reasons:
- They use whole foods that the body easily recognizes and absorbs, as opposed to synthetic chemical isolates;
- The ingredients are organic;
- Whenever possible, they validate their products’ effectiveness via science; and
- They’re devoted to sustainability.
Several years ago, I saw a bottle of New Chapter Lifeshield Immunity sitting on my sister’s kitchen counter. I was intrigued because my sister typically doesn’t take supplements, especially something as exotic as a capsulated tonic of 11 mushrooms.
“What’s with the mushrooms, Kerr?”, said Joe.
“My pediatrician told me that they’re great for building my immune system, so that I’m not susceptible to all the bad stuff Isa [her kid] brings home from school”, said Kerr.
Now, since I’m the health guru, I couldn’t let my sister get out in front of me on the immune system enhancing envelope, so I read about it, and one fine day when a couple of my friends with whom I have frequent contact started getting the sniffles, I bought a bottle of LifeShield Immunity, and –as they say – never looked back. It’s great!
8. Olive Leaf Extract
Along with #7 above, the nearly magic mushrooms, ProHealth’s Olive Leaf Extract is one of my “go-to” supplements when I get that vague feeling that my immune system’s been compromised, or when people around me are sick.
The most important element in Olive Leaf Extract is a compound called oleuropein. When enzymes in the body metabolize oleuropein it provides substantial health promoting benefits, such as helping the body battle viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
Within Oleuropein is a chemical agent called elenolic acid, which has been shown to assist the body’s immune defense. Research studies have found that elenolic acid helps the body to balance levels of friendly bacteria and support the immune system.
For more information about Olive Leaf Extract, read the product description here.
9. Dr. Schulze’s Super Tonic, Will Kick Your Ass
UPDATE: Ahem, it seems the ole Super Tonic has gone the way of the DoDo Bird, as the links no longer work and the product’s not on Dr. Schultze’s web site. Check around the Interwebs, if interested, and if you find it, get it. I leave the rest of the description below intact…
Yeah, that’s kinda profane language, but you’ll concur that it fits the bill the first time you sip some of this Super Tonic concoction.
First, you’ll curse anything around you as your mouth, throat and body heat up after your first sip.
Second, in about 30 seconds you’ll kinda figure that not only is your ass getting kicked, but also anything inside your body that tries to put up a fight with the Super Tonic.
Sure, I’m being silly, but the essence of what I’m trying to communicate is that Dr. Schultze’s Super Tonic is not for the faint of heart. Only the bold should tread here.
This is a high-potency remedy for inflammations, fevers, flu, colds and infections. The juice of Horseradish Root drives this formula to your head, sinus, throat and lungs. The Garlic Juice and its compatriot, Onion Juice, are the two best herbs to flush micro-organisms from your body. The Yellow Ginger Root Juice and Habanero Pepper Juice stimulate your blood and lymphatic flow to get your immune cells to the interlopers, as fast as possible. The raw Apple Cider Vinegar preserves all of these plant juices and cleanses your body as well.
By the way, another great use of Super Tonic is to mix it with olive oil and use it as a salad dressing. Really, it’s great if you like a strong tasting salad dressing.
Other than as a salad dressing, I do not use Super Tonic regularly because I like to be happy. Just kidding… I’ve become used to the ass-kick taste, but nonetheless, it’s true that I don’t use it unless I feel I might be poised to catch some nasty stuff. It’s truly super.
So, there you have it, nine strong supplements to boost your immune system and save you from succumbing to the flu in all its various guises.
If you have a favorite flu-fighter, let us know in the Comments below. And if you intend to get any of the nine listed in this post, tell us which one.
May you join me in beating back the flu this season!
Published on November 13, 2012