by Ward W. Bond, PhD
The immune system is your body’s main defense against infection. This system consists of the tonsils, thymus gland, lymph nodes, B, T and NK cells, antibodies and cytokines. All of these work together to protect you from bad bacteria, viruses and even cancer. Below is a list of nutrients and herbal compounds to help keep you and your immune system healthy.
Compounds found in various plants, such as the Western Larch tree. Arabinogalactans stimulate the activity of NK cells (decreased NK cell activity is associated with several chronic diseases, including chronic fatigue syndrome); appears to enhance response to bacterial infection and has decreased severity and occurrence of ear infections.
This smelly herb activates macrophages, cells that destroy microbes, and appears to activate NK cells; has reduced duration of colds and provided relief in a number of studies. It will help to lower high cholesterol as well.
Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake and others stimulate macrophages and have been used extensively in the fight against cancer. These are also used as pain relievers. Maitake is the better choice as it works in reducing cardiovascular disease. See MushroomWisdom.com for the best in medicinal mushrooms
Stimulates many immune-system components, including macrophages, T cells and antibody production; in Chinese studies, use during cold and flu season has reduced number and duration of upper respiratory infections. This herb is safe for those with autoimmune disorders as it does not over stimulate the immune system.
Raw Thymus Extract
This is one of my favorites. Thymus extracts have been important in fighting viral conditions such as Hepatitis C. Thymus extracts work to improve thymus gland function which is the heart of our immune system. This is vitally important for the elderly, because as we get older the thymus gland gets smaller which decreases our immune function.
A deficiency reduces functioning of T and B cells, and of immune system chemicals; has reduced length of illness when used at the very first sign of a cold. It is best to take Zinc with Vitamin A, as both are needed for each one to work properly in the human body.
Vitamins A, C & E
These antioxidant vitamins play an important role in many bodily functions; vitamin C is water-soluble, while A and E are both fat-soluble. Vitamin A deficiency causes decreased infection resistance; vitamin C usage has reduced cold severity and duration; vitamin E helps to improve immune response in older people.