First Line of Defense for a Stronger Immune System
It’s that time of year in South Louisiana again - erratic weather changes, pollen-triggered allergies, crowded carnival parades and even traveling on planes during Mardi Gras break, all in the midst of flu and cold season. There are so many health challenges facing local Louisiana residents this time of year due to a multi-factor environment and culture that surrounds everyone. So what steps can be taken to strengthen the immune system so that a toe-to-toe bout with the flu or a cold will not stop the momentum of life dead in its tracks? The good news is that the power is in your hands. By simply adding the right nutrients and making the right lifestyle changes, the immune system can remain as strong as possible through the irregular conditions of winter season in South Louisiana.
When it comes to fortifying the immune system for the barrage of viruses on the attack this cold and flu season, the best nutritional weapon in “fighting the good fight” is vitamin C. Taking a regular dose of vitamin C 2-3 times per day is a very effective and inexpensive method of enhancing the immune response of the body. Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient so any excess amounts of it are safely excreted through the urine. The side effects of too much vitamin C are minimal, mainly indigestion, nausea and diarrhea. Although many fruits, juices and sports drinks contain amounts of vitamin C, it is highly beneficial to still take a supplement of the vitamin. The recommended dosage of vitamin C on nutritional labels is much lower than the suggested amount that should be taken. In order to build up a plentiful quantity of the vitamin in the body for its immune-boosting benefits, increase the dosage to 1000-2000 mg/day. This reasonable amount will ensure the maximum effect of vitamin C within a safe dosage.
Unleash the power of amino acids with the ultimate immune-strengthening amino acid- glutamine. For years bodybuilders and athletes have utilized this amino acid for its positive benefits in sports and exercise. Although athletes helped make glutamine a mainstream supplement, for many years medical professionals have been using it to help treat cancer patients, as well as other individuals diagnosed with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and certain bowel disorders.
Glutamine is naturally occurring in the body, but anytime there is a stressor placed on the body the supply of the amino acid is depleted. When glutamine is depleted the immune system struggles. By supplementing with glutamine, the body will have more than enough of a supply of the amino acid for when stress is occurring inside or outside the body. These stressors could range from a negative stimulus such as a virus invading the body or even a positive stress such as a very demanding workout.
Before taking a glutamine supplement, please consult with a physician to ensure that your body is eligible to begin a safe nutritional program using the amino acid. It is available in capsule and powder form and can be purchased at most any nutritional supplement store.
In addition to the vast amounts of orthopedic benefits of consistent chiropractic care, the immune-boosting features of routine spinal adjustments are an excellent tactic in the battle for wellness. When the spine is not aligned properly, the body enters a stressful state due to the neural dysfunctions. As a result, the immune response of the body is not as effective because the body is expending valuable energy to keep the spine in alignment the best that it can while the immune system is deprived of valuable energy that it could be using to fight off invading viruses, bacteria, etc. The less energy the human body has to distribute to other vital organs, muscles, etc. to keep everything functioning in harmony, the more energy the body’s immune system has available for performing at its best. Chiropractic care is a great holistic source of benefits for not just increasing immune system efficiency, but also for naturally increasing the overall quality of life.
One of the best healing-agents on the shelves of the local grocery is honey. The immune system benefits of honey are remarkable. It is a healthy replacement for sugar with many anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. While honey is a great healing aid for adults and children, it should never be given to an infant because of the risk of it containing any trace of botulism, which their immune systems are not yet equipped to defend against.
Honey is nature’s vaccine. It helps strengthen the immune system against allergies because it contains small amounts of pollen that allow the body time to develop antibodies leading to an effective immunity during allergy season. This is also why it is so important to buy honey from local distributors. The pollen spores from flowers found in your local area will be contained within the honey, to ensure that your immune system is ready for allergy season in your specific environment. Start including honey in your daily diet to reap the many positive benefits for the immune system as well as other benefits such as increasing energy, boosting memory, suppressing coughs and aiding in sleep.
Reduce Caffeine Consumption
Life seems to happen at light speed during the work week, and many individuals’ daily routine begins with some form of caffeine consumption. Whether it may be coffee, tea or energy drinks the amount of caffeine that the average person ingests each day is very likely inhibiting the immune system. Although caffeine does stimulate the nervous system to help boost energy levels, it also increases the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. When cortisol is released in the body, the immune system is suppressed. Caffeine may boost energy, but in higher amounts it creates a state of chronic stress that raises the risk for infections. A moderate amount of caffeine is 200 mg/day. This amount is equal to about two cups of coffee, five soft drinks, or one/two energy drinks. It is very important to set strict limits on your caffeine consumption to avoid the negative side effects that it may have on the immune system. While low to moderate consumption of caffeine is effective in minimizing the state of stress caused in the body by the substance, avoiding caffeine altogether is the best method to maximizing the immune system’s defense capabilities.
While cold and flu season is still in effect, it is so important to make the right choices in preparing the body for the conditions that the immune system will have to overcome to keep you healthy and strong. Taking the right steps to vitalizing the immune system is easily achieved by supplementing with the right vitamins, amino acids, and more; while also choosing the right whole organic foods that help the body to perform at its best. The immune system is an amazing aspect of the human body. Like a well-oiled machine the immune response in the body will go to work as soon as it is needed, but it requires proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to thrive.
What a relief to know that there are so many ways to boost the immune system without having to spend a lot of money on expensive medicines and doctor visits. The stronger your immune system is the better life will be on every level. Workdays will go by much faster, weekends will be filled with more fun events and activities and quality time with family and friends will be more attainable when the immune system is firing on all cylinders. The old saying is that if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. On a deeper level, it is also true to say that if you take care of your immune system, your immune system will take care of everything else for you so that you are free to live life to the fullest on your own terms!
Sammy Cusimano, BSA and CPT is a personal trainer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 376-9827.