How to Maintain Healthy Immune Function

How to Maintain Healthy Immune Function

Taking medical leave from work when you have an important project to complete? Or missing your child’s stage performance in school cause you catch a cold? Does all of these sounds familiar?

Most of us have been through these, and we all know how frustrating it can be to fall sick especially during the days when you should be busy doing something more important.

As we would already know, the immune system works endlessly to keep us strong and healthy; but yet, it can be vulnerable at times. Stress - i.e. physical, mental and emotional, may burden the immune system causing it to work harder, thus making our body more prone to attack by viruses or bacteria. One should be alarmed if they are constantly ill with the common colds and flu or allergies as these are signs of a weak immune system.

Additionally, our immune system is not isolated in its action, it is closely linked to the other systems of the body, i.e. a weak immune health affects our vitality, energy level, sleep, digestion and mental function. Likewise, our mood, emotions, and sleep have a significant effect on our immune system.

So, Is It a Cold or Flu?

Cold and influenza (or generally called flu) are caused by viruses that are caught from tiny droplets in the air, often coming from people who just sneezed, cough or blow their nose. Unlike a common cold which rarely has symptoms of fever above 101°F (38.3°C), a flu can be deadly for individuals with chronic illnesses, new born babies and the elderly.

The table below shows the differences between these two viral infections:

Symptoms Colds Flu
Fever Rare Characteristic, High (above 101°F / 38.3°C) and lasts for 3 to 4 days
Headache Rare Prominent
General Aches & Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Quite Mild Can last up to two weeks
Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomitting Quite Mild Sometimes
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort Mild to Moderate Common, can become severe

Immune challenges can hit us any time, not just during the cold and flu season, hence, it is crucial that our diet includes the right nutrients to keep our immunity on tip-top condition all-year round.

Key Nutrients for Maintaining Healthy Immune Function

Nutrients Importance for Immune Health/Function
Vitamin C and Zinc
  • Vitamins C and Zinc have been shown to keep the immune system strong by helping the body fight against infections.
  • When taken at first sign of immune challenges, Vitamin C and Zinc may help shorten the duration of symptoms.
  • Besides maintaining a healthy digestive system, probiotics have been shown to be useful in supporting a healthy immune system.
  • In fact, 70% of our immune system resides in our gut.
  • Contains active ingredients to help support a healthy inflammatory response when taken at onset.
  • For prevention, consider taking Echinacea on a 2-weeks-on, 2-weeks-off basis.
  • Echinacea is best-used long term for supporting the immune system.
Black Elderberry Extract
  • Being rich in flavonoid, anthocyanidin, Elderberry provides strong antioxidant protection on cells, thus protecting them against free radical damage and airborne elements.
  • Also provides anti-viral properties.
  • Supports a healthy immunity by:
    • Enhancing function of the white blood cells.
    • Presence of the active ingredient (astragalosides).These compounds maintain the integrity of the mucous membranes and epithelial cells in the respiratory tract through an antioxidant mechanism.
  • However, astragalus should not be taken during fever.
  • Astragalus is a good post-recovery tonic.
Oregano & Olive Leaf Extract
  • These herbs have antiviral properties that may inhibit viral infection and growth by inhibiting its budding and assembly at the cell membrane.
  • Helps the immune system by inhibiting the growth of pathogens through its antimicrobial activity, regulating inflammation and activating immune cells.
  • It also acts as an antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress and supporting overall immune function.

VitaKids Recommends

For Adults

  • Oil of Oregano P73
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Black Elderberry / Echinacea
  • Colostrum / Lactoferrin
  • Manuka Honey / Honey (1 year onwards)
  • A good potency of Vitamin C
  • A good strength of multi-strain probiotics
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Omega 3
  • A high potency Multivitamin & Mineral
  • A good hand sanitizer

For Children

  • A good strength immune booster
  • Black Elderberry / Echinacea
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Oil of Oregano P73
  • Colostrum / Lactoferrin
  • Zinc
  • A good potency of Vitamin C
  • A good strength of multi-strain probiotics
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Omega 3
  • A high potency Multivitamin & Mineral
  • A good hand sanitizer

Tips for maintaining a strong immune system:

  • Consume a varied and nutrient-rich diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Prioritize quality sleep, aiming for 7-9 hours per night.
  • Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and avoid smoking.
  • Take immune boosting nutritional supplements.
  • Take care of your personal hygiene.
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