Posted by Dr. Rob Silverman on Dec 10, 2020 12:03:02 PM
When winter arrives, so do immune health challenges. A robust immune system can help you protect your body and stay healthier this winter.
Your gut microbiome may be vital in keeping your immune system strong. We know that elderly and immune-compromised people often have dysbiosis (an unhealthy balance of good and bad gut bacteria) and less overall diversity in their microbiome. These people show lower immunity and have a more susceptible immune system.
Improving the gut microbiome's diversity and fixing gut dysbiosis can improve overall immune response. We’re learning more about the links between gut bacteria and immune response all the time. About 80 percent of your immune cells are housed in the gut. While we know that overall good gut health helps improve overall immunity, we’re still learning about which gut bacteria are the most beneficial. What is clear is that, supplements with prebiotics and probiotics may help restore a better balance of gut bacteria and speed recovery, particularly in immune-compromised people and older adults.[i]
A simple but often overlooked way to improve your overall immunity is boosting your vitamin D levels. Over the years, many studies have looked at the value of vitamin D for maintaining optimal respiratory health. * Observational studies, which follow participants over time, have consistently associated low vitamin D levels with a greater risk of acute respiratory issues. Studies that looked at the protective effect of taking vitamin D supplements were less clear. In 2017, a sophisticated meta-analysis (study of studies) looked at trials in more than a dozen countries, including the US and Canada. The conclusion, published in the prestigious journal BMJ, showed that vitamin D supplements help keep the respiratory system healthy. * The benefits were most striking in people who started with the lowest vitamin D levels—their risk of developing respiratory issues were cut in half.[ii]
Experts disagree about a healthy blood level of vitamin D. In 2010, experts from the Institute of Medicine, the organization that sets RDAs, said a vitamin D level of 20 ng/mL or higher is adequate for good health; a level below 20 ng/mL is considered a vitamin D deficiency.[iii] However, the experts at the highly respected Endocrine Society think the number should be much higher. In 2011, they recommended blood vitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/mL and preferably between 40 and 60 ng/mL for adults.[iv] With the research into the link between low vitamin D status and respiratory health challenges in mind, I believe that supplementing with vitamin D is extremely important. * I suggest taking vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol, the form your body absorbs most efficiently.
Besides making sure your gut microbiome is healthy and raising your vitamin D to the appropriate level, optimum lifestyle choices, such as getting enough sleep and washing your hands often, are critical for supporting your immune system. Beyond those basics, some other holistic approaches can help make a difference.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your pineal gland. In the late evening, your melatonin production naturally rises and prepares your body for sleep; production drops off in the morning as you wake up. Because melatonin is so strongly associated with the sleep/wake cycle, supplements help with challenging sleep schedules from shift work and jet lag. * Most importantly, melatonin turns out to have positive immune system effects as well, particularly for respiratory infections.[v]*
Melatonin is best absorbed when used in a liposomal delivery system. This form delivers the melatonin encapsulated in very tiny, fat-like particles. The melatonin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and bypasses the digestive tract.
Numerous studies have shown that drinking green tea regularly helps support overall immunity and increase resiliency. Green tea is so beneficial because it is a dietary source of polyphenols (bioflavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties). The most active polyphenol is epigallocatechin-3- gallate (EGCG). Tea catechins such as EGCG help protect your body[vi]
Green Tea-70 is an excellent choice for a supplement. The unique formula contains the highest percentage of EGCG currently on the market. Each capsule is standardized to contain 70 percent ECGC or 350 mg per capsule.
Acute Immune Benefits™ Liquid combines two well-researched nutrients for powerful general immune support: maitake extract and gluconic DMG. * Maitake is a mushroom that has been traditionally used in Japan for hundreds of years. Maitake is high in beta-glucans, polysaccharides (long chains of sugar molecules) that support immune system activation. * Acute Immune Benefits™ Liquid uses a trademarked brand of highly purified extract of maitake mushroom that is a highly concentrated source of beta-glucans. Gluconic® DMG is a metabolic enhancer that promotes a robust immune system. * It contains dimethylglycine, an amino acid found naturally in plant and animal cells and many foods. Studies suggest that DMG enhances oxygenation at the cellular level and helps improve the immune response.[vii]*
Immuno-DMG™ chewable tablets contain powerful immune-boosting nutrients, including maitake and DMG, along with black elderberry, zinc, and vitamins C, D, and E. The formula contains astragalus, used in to support the immune system. * Also, in the formula is arabinogalactan from larch tree. This high-fiber complex carbohydrate helps stimulate the immune system by its probiotic effect and stimulating immune cell production in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) surrounding the intestinal tract.[viii]*
Probiotics—supplements of beneficial bacteria—help restore a good balance in the gut microbiome and support its important role in your immunity. * The Mega Probiotic™ ND 50 formula uses nine bacterial strains, including L. salivarius, a strain of beneficial bacterial that has been shown to support immune system function.[ix]*
An optimized lifestyle, combined with the right targeted supplements, helps build your immunity from the inside out to help keep your immune system function at its best as we near the winter season.
[i] Dhar D, Mohanty A. Gut microbiota. . .. Virus Res. 2020;285:198018. doi:10.1016/j.virusres.2020.198018] Mega Probiotics are a good starting point for boosting immunity by boosting gut health.
[ii] Martineau AR et al. Vitamin D supplementation. . .systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017 Feb 15;356:i6583. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i6583. PMID: 28202713; PMCID: PMC5310969.
[iii] Bouillon R, Van Schoor NM, Gielen E, Boonen S, Mathieu C, Vanderschueren D, Lips P. Optimal vitamin D status: a critical analysis based on evidence-based medicine. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Aug;98(8): E1283-304. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1195. PMID: 23922354.
[iv] Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Gordon CM, Hanley DA, Heaney RP, Murad MH, Weaver CM; Endocrine Society. Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jul;96(7):1911-30. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-0385. Epub 2011 Jun 6. Erratum in: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Dec;96(12):3908. PMID: 21646368.
[v] Habtemariam, Solomon; Daglia, Maria; Sureda, Antoni; Selamoglu, Zeliha; Fuat Gulhan, Mehmet; Mohammad Nabavi, Seyed. Melatonin . . .: A Review. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 17, Number 4, 2017, pp. 467-488(22).
[vi] Furushima D, Ide K, Yamada H. Effect of Tea Catechins . . .. Molecules. 2018;23(7):1795. Published 2018 Jul 20. doi:10.3390/molecules23071795
[vii] Reap EA, Lawson, JW. Stimulation of the immune response by dimethylglycine, a nontoxic metabolite. J Lab Clin Med. 1990;115(4):481-6.
[viii] Dion C, Chappuis E, Ripoll C. Does larch arabinogalactan enhance immune function? A review of mechanistic and clinical trials. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2016;13:28. Published 2016 Apr 12. doi:10.1186/s12986-016-0086-x.
[ix] Kemgang TS, Kapila S, Shanmugam VP, Kapila R. Cross-talk between probiotic lactobacilli and host immune system. J Appl Microbiol. 2014 Aug;117(2):303-19. doi: 10.1111/jam.12521. Epub 2014 May 14. PMID: 24738909.
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