How to improve and have a healthy immune system to fight off colds and illnesses

Colds and flu-keep them out of the door the natural way

The best defense is a good offense-so start with eating healthy!
Every day, every hour, every minute of our lives, there is a struggle within our bodies. It's us or them-the invisible bacteria and viruses, which can cause colds and flu, and various other infections and diseases.

But quietly and  body fight and makes sure that the invading troops do not take over and make us sick. Our  immune system is the defense, which is completely automatic and-mostly-completely without a hitch takes care of this fight.

In some cases it is our white blood cells, which fight the bacteria. at other times, the antibodies, which a group of specialized cells, which destroys the bacteria. We even have special proteins called immunoglobulins, interferon's  which our cells can produce solely and exclusively with the aim to combat viruses, bacteria and other foreign bodies.

Are you impressed? Well, you really have good reason to be, But if just one of these systems fails you can get problems, health-wise.

"If you are missing nutrients, in one way or another, then there can be a imbalance" says Ronald j. Glasser, author of The Body Is the Hero (Random House, 1976). "If a child does not have antibodies, then they will continue to get pnemonia and abscesses. If they lack granulocytes (bacteria eating white blood cells), then they will continue to be plagued by bacterial infections. If they lack lymphocytes (T-and B-cells), then the child will continue to be plagued by fungal infections and severe, recurrent virus diseases. "

Fortunately, it is, however, very few of us that must contend with an immune defense, which works so badly. On the other hand, one should not take his immune system for granted. It needs the same care as the rest of the body, if it is to be able to give you the best protection against disease.

It is here, a good diet comes into the picture. "There is a very close relationship between the body's nutritional condition, immune defense function and extent of infectious diseases", says r. k. Chandra, M.D. research professor of childhood diseases at Memorial University of Newfoundland and co-author of Nutrition, Immunity, and Infection (Plenum Press, 1977). "If one lacks nutrients and at the same time, the infection in the body, will lack the condition often chronic and give very easy risk for infections."

Our guard is down

In other words: When your diet does not give you all the vitamins and minerals you need, soyour immune system cannot work efficiently, and thus bacteria freely multiply and make you sick. And you need to make sure that you are not to be deffecient in a whole lot of nutrients, adds Dr. Chandra. Lack of just one single nutrient can undermine the immune system.

Robert Edelman, M.D., agrees. "Our immune system starts to function poorly, when one vitamins and minerals type is missing" says Dr. Edelman, who is head of the clinical and epidemiology research branch at the National Institute of happen of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, country.

In animal studies it has been shown that the most profound immune deficiency caused by a lack of either vitamin B6, Pantothenic acid or folic acid, argues Dr. Edelman. For example, lack of vitamin B6 alone suppress both the cellular (T-and B-cells) and the humoral (production of antibodies) immune function in animals. Other experiments have shown that T-and B-cells do not reproduce normally, if they tested against a foreign substance (e.g. a bacterium). And what's more, volunteers with a briefly, experimentally induced B6 deficiency has been shown to respond to vaccine with a weakened antibody defense.

In terms of Pantothenic acid, so it seems that the lack of this nutrient can inhibit the stimulation of the antibody-producing cells and their ability to produce special proteins (immunoglo ­ buliner), which can fight foreign substances that invade the body.

Lack of folic acid can also give immune problems, adds Dr. Edelman. In animals, if there is a lack of folic acid, it has been possible to observe that the lymphocyte-producing tissue shrinks, there will be fewer white blood cells, and the cellular and humoral immune system weakens as a result.

"But the good news is that the immune system is very fast to respond when it receives the correct nutrients added," says Dr. Edelman.

But it also means, of course, that the immune system is just as quick to respond in the opposite direction. "Animal studies have shown that just one month's deficiency of certain nutrients have a negative into the effect on the immune system, if the defect occurs during a period when the body grows much," says Kathleen Maan, Ph.d., from the Department of nutrition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cam-bridge.

"In our experiments, we gave the animals a diet that contained very little folic acid, choline and methionen (an Ampere minosyre). These substances all play a role in cell metabolism. In the course of just one month-and in some cases faster-we could observe that the animals ' immune defenses had been suppressed."

When it comes to people, it is both the very young and the elderly who most often has a poorly functioning immune system. Among young people is due to the fact that their rapid growth gives an increased need for nutrients, and in the elderly is the reason that their immune system simply becomes worse with age.

And also older people will often eat inadequate quantities of nutrients, and thus deteriorate. In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Chandra that 41% of a group of people on over 60 years of age suffered from lack of nutrients, which helped to aggravate their problems with a poorly functioning immune system.

Vitamin C and colds

A good diet is generally important to get the proper functioning  immune system, but some nutrients (in addition to those already mentioned) are more important than others.

Vitamin C is without a doubt at the top of the list. How many people do you know, for example, as a rush to take a C-vitamins when they are cold? The method uses Dr. Edelman."when i feel sick and cold  I do, then I take a large dose of vitamin C. It helps and makes my cold go away faster. It works simply. ".

Kenneth Cooper, M.D., agrees. He is a fitness expert and author of The book The Aerobics Program for Total well-being (m. Evans and Company, 1982). "For many years I've been taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day, and in the period I have been almost 100% free of colds and other infections of the upper respiratory tract. Before I began to take this dose, I was ill with a cold two-three times per year. But after I started taking extra vitamin C supplements on a daily basis, I was  rarely catching a cold. In my opinion, there is probably a causal link between vitamin C and my good health, " "It is impossible draw a conclusion based on only one person's experiences though..... "

But other researchers are working to prove that there is exactly such a correlation, and their studies have focused on C-vitamin's effect on the immune system.

"We were interested in vitamin C due to other studies, as we had seen adj. the relationship between the immune system and this nutrient ", says Richard Panush, M.D. head of the Department of Clinical Immunology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. "We decided to implement our own study and see what we could come up with. In the first attempt, we tune the effect of tes vitamin C in test tubes and found out that it affected a wide range of immune-reactions in the positive direction ".

"Our next attempt was carried out on a group of normal, healthy volunteers. We gave half the experimental ­ test subjects vitamin C and the other half a placebo. The group who got the vitamin, demonstrated a measurable increase in immunity, "says Dr. Panush.

"Now we are in the midst of a trial where we will test the effect of vitamin C supplementation on the sick to see if it helps to make them healthy. The results will be available before the end of the year ".

In another study, researchers from Johannes use in South Africa tested antibody reaction of two groups of Guinea Pigs. One group (the control group) received only a minimal amount of vitamin C, while the second group was given a supplement of vitamin C. We then measured the level of antibodies in the blood, after the animals had been injected a foreign substance.

The animals had been given vitamin C supplements had a significantly higher levels of antibodies in the blood compared to the control group. The researchers observed that vitamin C in particular seems to stimulate the production of immunoglobulin M antibodies. And, say the researchers, "IgM is a very effective line of defense against invading organisms".

In the animal studies we achieved the improvement in immune response with a dose of 160 mg of vitamin C per day. For comparison, a stimulation of the humoral immune response in humans require a daily vitamin C intake of 1.5-2 grams, according to the researchers.

For elderly people who often suffer from age-related degenerated immune systems, a supplement of zinc can give them the immune defence boost they need. It has a group of doctors in Brussels testing this out. In this experiment, the researchers gave zinc supplementation (50 mg of zinc twice daily for a month) to 15 volunteers aged 70 years and older. At the same time, another group of 15 people got nothing but a placebo for a period of time. At the end of the test could be with zinc group observe a significant improvement in the number of circulating T cells. "These findings suggest that supplementation with zinc to older human diet can be an effective and simple means to improve their immune systems".

A second, very simple way to give the immune system a much needed spark may be to take a supplement of arginine. It is an amino acid that occurs naturally in meat, Amino Complex whey protein, nuts, seeds, beans and bean sprouts.

Having to combat all the disease pathogens, struggling to get into the body every day. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But if you get the right nutrition, you can ensure that you win far more often than you lose.

Tips to avoid the winter illnesses

Wash your hands. Believe it or not, cold virus spreads more easily if you dont wash your hands. This is due to the fact that most people have a cold virus on their palms. So touching they a healthy person, who then rubs his eyes or his nose can catch a cold.
Keep your House moist. It is recommended that you have about 30-40% humidity in your home. During the winter make sure that your home isnt too dry. As this can dry out the moist mucous membrane of your nose and your respiratory tract-and indeed it is your first line of defense against the virus, which thus gets very easy passage into your body.
Avoid tobacco smoke. The nicotine and tar contained in tobacco smoke dries and irritates the lining of the nose and also the airway in much the same way as the dry indoor air-and with much the same result.


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