Proactive Immune Tips

October 2, 2017 | Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Proactive Immune Tips
Kids have just returned back to school and daily routines are back on track. The momentary stability of this routine gets derailed when your child comes home with the announcement – “Mom! I’ve got an earache and my throat hurts!” Here are some tips to help keep you and your kids healthy!

Be Proactive

Your body gives you clues when it gets bumped out of normal function. Your immune system is no exception and gives hints of varying degrees. Initial symptoms of an immune system challenge may include a slight drop in energy, a sneeze or two, a rumbling tummy, or a scratchy throat in the morning or at the end of the day. Pay attention to these clues. These signs occur before the full-blown raw throat, clogged sinus, pounding headache, earaches and can’t get out bed illness. Don’t ignore or dismiss these signals. If you can catch the symptoms before they progress, it can save you from days of misery. Here are some favorite nutrients that we have used over the years to help keep households healthy.

1. Lactoferrin is a nutrient obtained from bovine colostrum that is well known for its support of the immune system. Research shows it helps fight viruses including the influenza flu virus. It also helps bacteria and yeast. Lactoferrin works well with other nutrients like olive leaf extract, oregano oil, vitamin D, vitamin A, and caprylic acid.

2. Monolaurin (Lauricidin) is the active compound obtained from coconut oil. It has a long-standing track record for natural powerful immune boosting support. Monolaurin inhibits food pathogens and blocks viral replication. Studies show that monolaurin can reduce the development of bacterial infections like Staph. aureus and Enterococcus faecalis and prevent biofilms. This is of immense importance if you do get hit with a severe infection that just doesn’t seem to go away as these bacteria with biofilms often fail to respond to antibiotics. Monolaurin comes in small pellets which make the product very easy to swallow for all ages. It can be used on an ongoing preventative or as needed basis.

3. Vitamin A and beta carotene provide essential support to the mucous membranes in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. Adequate vitamin A along with other antioxidants helps the immune system make an immune compound called secretory IgA. This compound helps prevent germs from adhering to the mucosal lining. When we breathe, touch our nose or mouth, or consume food with germs, secretory IgA provides the first layer in protection. Without adequate vitamin A, germs can adhere more readily to the sinuses, upper respiratory tract, and gut and create illness.

4. Vitamin D Thousands of gene signals in the body require vitamin D to function and this includes many associated with the immune system and gut. Vitamin D activates cells within the immune system that fight germs. It turns on innate immunity or the front line of our immune system.

We have found that taking vitamin D before bed can help to stave off immune challenges. Adults may want to try 5,000 – 10,000 IU of vitamin D before bed for a few days while fighting a bug. Children may use 1,000 – 5000 IU at bedtime. Get vitamin D lab levels checked at least once per year to evaluate your needs. Ideal lab levels are between 50-80.

5. Colloidal Silver works especially well at the first sign of a sore throat and may be sniffed into the sinus. Use a drop or two for ear infections. Colloidal silver has a colorful history which has been used for centuries. It is best taken for two weeks or less at a time. It can be repeated later on if needed.

6. Grape Seed Extract This is another gem for the immune system. Widely known and used for its antioxidant effects and support for the connective tissue, grape seed extract also helps the immune system. Grape seed extract helps protect the lungs and immune system from inflammation and oxidative stress and it has stunning anti-viral properties and antibacterial properties.

Research shows grape seed extract is helpful for norovirus, protection from germs on food, viruses that cause gastroenteritis. Grape seed extract capsules may be pulled apart and mixed in water, juice, apple sauce, or yogurt for young children.

7. Arabinogalactan is a special immune supporting carbohydrate. We have used it for over 25 years to help sinus and lymph congestion. It helps activate natural killer cells and macrophages which help fight germs and remove immune waste. A clinical trial shows that when individuals took arabinogalactan for the common cold, there were markedly less symptoms. Infections were shorter and over time there was less incidence of coming down with a cold.

We offer arabinogalactan in capsules or powder. The powder may be mixed in water or juice. It works great first thing in the morning when sending kids off to daycare or school, or protecting yourself from the germs going around at work. If you come home and feel something coming on, take a dose or two. It often knocks things down quickly. Arabinogalactan may be used with lactoferrin, or other immune supportive nutrients like olive leaf extract, beta glucan, monolaurin, and grape seed extract for added support.

When it comes to the cries of the announcement, “Mom, I’m sick” or “Honey, I’m sick” - be proactive. Don’t wait until tomorrow to see how bad you feel. Many individuals have found themselves feeling much better the next morning if they load up on their nutritional support at dinner, bedtime, and even in the middle of the night at the first sign of symptoms. An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.

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