There are many factors that are essential to a healthy Immune System. These factors can be analyzed and used to formulate a support plan for individual clients. These include both physiological and psychological factors. Among the most important factors are diet, social support, attitude, stress, exercise and sleep.
Herbs can be an excellent way to help boost the immune system. For thousands of years many cultures have recognized certain herbs for their immune boosting value. Herbs like Elderberry, Elderflower, Echinacea, Ginger, Goldenseal, Oregano and Reishi mushroom are time tested immune system boosters.
Echinacea: Echinacea is one of the most studied herbs in the world. Echinacea has shown that it has direct antiviral activity against several respiratory viruses including Influenza A, Influenza B, and Herpes Simplex Virus.
Goldenseal: A recent study at North Carolina University demonstrated that Goldenseal inhibits H1N1 Influenza A virus. The study showed that the chemical berberine, found in Goldenseal, was responsible for the action. It works by inhibiting virus protein trafficking/maturation which in turn inhibits virus growth. Other herbs that contain berberine include barberry, Oregon grape and goldenthread.
Reishi Mushroom: Studies on Reishi mushroom have shown it to me a medicinal powerhouse with inhibitory effects on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).
A proper balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients is vital to a healthy immune system. Lack of key nutrients can cause chronic inflammation and can lead to disease (Percival, 2011). There is increasing evidence that diet may have a direct effect on the immune system and consequently on disease risk. Malnutrition and specific nutrient deficiencies impair immune function and increase susceptibility to infection. (Sanderson, et al., 2010).
Many of us today eat prepackaged or fast food. These have hidden dangers for our immune system. Processed sugar inhibits immune function. Eating refined sugar causes your cortisol levels to rise. Processed sugar spikes glucose (blood sugar) levels. Insulin, the hormone that tells cells to take in glucose, spikes as well. Increased insulin levels tell the body to form fat and release more cortisol, a stress hormone that damages immunity and increases inflammation.
which is just one more reason why eating to promote healthy microflora is an essential element a properly functioning immune system. There is an emerging consensus that most disease originates in your digestive system. This includes both physical and mental disease. A healthy diet is the ideal way to maintain a healthy gut, and regularly consuming traditionally fermented or cultured foods is the easiest way to ensure optimal gut flora. In addition, avoiding sugar, including fructose in your diet. Sugar nourishes pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi in your gut, which may actually harm you more than its impact on insulin resistance. A robust immune system, supported by your flourishing inner ecosystem, is your number one defense against ALL disease, from the common cold to cancer (Mercola, 2013).
People who do not have frequent interaction with others are 14 per cent more likely to die early. This is due to reduced levels of white blood cells in their body.
Stress is another major roadblock to proper immune function. Stress response is a natural and lifesaving element of our total body system. It is that natural response that helped our ancestors survive and continues to help us today. The problem is that in
contributors to disease in America. One of the best therapeutic approaches to stress, which I use personally is Shinrin-yoku or forest air bathing. The combination of forest serenity, meditation and the forests natural phytochemicals reduce high blood pressure, relieve stress and revives the spirit. Meditation and exercise are also excellent ways to combat stress.
levels and lowers cortisol and catecholamine concentrations (Luciana Besedovsky, 2012). A good rule of thumb is to get a good 8 hours of sleep each night.
Davidson, R. (2003). University of Wisconsin, Madison; Study shows brain activity influences immune function. Biotech Week, 532. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/205568452?accountid=158302
Eliaz, I. (2013, October 10). Dangerously Sweet: The True Impacts of Sugar on Your Health. Retrieved from Rodale Wellness: https://www.rodalewellness.com/health/sugar-and-health
Luciana Besedovsky, T. L. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology, 463(1), 121-137. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
Mercola, J. (2013, January 2). Confirmed – Your Digestive System Dictates Whether You’re Sick or Well. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/02/digestive-system-gut-flora.aspx: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/02/digestive-system-gut-flora.aspx
Parker, F. (2015, November 2). Being lonely increases your chances of dying early as it weakens your immune system; Researchers said their findings were independent of factors such as depression, stress and social support. Daily Mirror. Retrieved from Health Reference Center Academic, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=HRCA&sw=w&u=lirn12711&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA435433154&it=r&asid=c381d9928a31b8ec0b629084e0814fdc.
Percival, S. S. (2011). Nutrition and Immunity: Balancing Diet and Immune Function. Nutrition Today, 46(1), 12. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/857330671?accountid=158302
Sanderson, P., Elsom, R. L., Kirkpatrick, V., Calder, P. C., Woodside, J. V., Williams, E. A., . . . Stone, E. M. (2010, June 14). UK Food Standards Agency Workshop Report: Diet and Immune Function. The British Journal of Nutrition, 1684-1687. doi:10.1017/S0007114509993692
Sapolsky, R. M. (1998). Why zebras don’t get ulcers: An updated guide to stress, stress-related disease, and coping. New York: Freeman.
Suzanne C. Segerstrom, G. E. (2004). Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. Psychological Bulletin, 130(4), 601-630. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/203482134?accountid=158302
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