Maintain a healthy immune system. Many forms of supplements will fortify immunity so that an attack by viruses will be less successful. If you tend to get acute illnesses easily, then begin a program of immune strengthening. A good herbal and antioxidant immune enhancing supplement will help build the strength of your system. These formulas are usually built around the herb Astragalus, a potent herb for augmenting the body’s protective defenses and stabilizing the exterior against invasion by pathogens and physical stresses such as cold and wind. Other supplements have similar immune enhancing properties.
Several species of mushrooms have significant immune stimulating effects. Each contains high percentages of polysaccharides, long chain sugar molecules that regulate immunity. They activate white blood cells and stimulate complements and antibodies. These mushrooms include reishi (ganoderma), maitake (grifola), shiitake (lentinus), polyporus, and tremella. Many preparations of mushroom combinations in tablet, powder, or liquid extract form are available at major health food stores.
Bovine colostrum has the ability to provide antibodies directly and stimulate immune function with its potent combination of lactoferrin that prevents bacteria from reproducing, lysozyme that destroys pathogenic organisms, and cytokines that stimulate immunoglobulin production, as well as the polysaccharides. Colostrum is a superfood that should keep your immune system in peak condition. Take two capsules twice a day through the winter months.
Vitamin C at 2-4 grams per day prevents inflammation and maintains the body’s vigilance against infection. Vitamin A is essential to immune function and mucous membrane integrity. Take a supplement of 10,000-25,000 IU of vitamin A derived from fish oil that also includes vitamin D (400 IU). Zinc has potent immune protective effects. Take 25 mg zinc per day, but if you continue zinc for an extended period of time you will also need to take copper to prevent a deficiency (10:1 ratio of copper to zinc). Get a supplement that contains both.
Immune supplements for adults
Mushrooms (reiki, mitake, shiitake)
Colostrum – 4 capsules
Vitamin C – 2-4 grams
Vitamin A – 10,000-25,000 IU with 400 IU vitamin D
Zinc – 25 mg with copper 2 mg
Influenzinum is a specific homeopathic preventive for the flu. You can begin taking Influenzinum (9C, 12C, or 30C) if you are exposed to the flu. Take one dose each week for four weeks at that time, or you can take it once a week for four doses during the flu season.
The flu, like other respiratory viruses is spread through droplet transmission from human to human. You can minimize your exposure by not shaking hands. Frequent hand washing will also prevent you from inadvertently inoculating viruses into your nose and eyes. Simply avoiding touching your nose, mouth, and eyes during flu season will also help reduce your exposure. Of course, as common courtesy everyone should cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze to prevent transmission of viruses.
Get plenty of sleep, eat well. Eat warm foods during the winter. Soups and stews are excellent sources of concentrated nutrients. Exercise regularly despite the cold weather. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for their vitamin and antioxidant content. Stay warm and avoid getting chilled.
Immune System Supplements for Kids
Children can take a few simple, specific supplements to maintain a strong and vital immune system during the fall and winter months when colds and flus predominate
An omega-3 fat supplement in the form of fish oil capsules, DHA from algae (Neuromins), or cod liver oil will establish healthy cell membranes that prevent inflammation and resist toxins and attack by pathogens. 200 mg of DHA or one teaspoon of cod liver oil for each 50 pounds of body weight is an appropriate dose.
Vitamin E will ensure that fatty acids are maintained at optimum efficiency once they are absorbed into cells. In addition, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory effects and increases resistance to infection. Use only natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), not the synthetic form (dl-alpha-tocopherol). A mixed tocopherol form of vitamin E is best because children need the gamma as well as the alpha forms. An appropriate dose is 100 mg for children under two and 200 mg for children aged 2-12.
Vitamin A is needed for proper mucous membrane function. It is essential for the growth and repair of body tissues, and for efficient digestion of protein. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight, strong bones and teeth, and a vital immune system. White blood cells, T-lymphocytes, and every cell in the important mucosal barriers of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts require vitamin A.
A diet containing significant amounts of fat will help ensure adequate vitamin A intake. Whole milk products, butter, and free range eggs will help maintain necessary levels of this important nutrient. Use organic sources. For those who may not be getting enough vitamin A, a supplement is essential.
The recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin A is 1,000-2,000 IU for children, depending on their age (1,000 at one year of age, 2,000 by age nine). Primitive diets probably maintained 10 times that amount. One egg contains 300 IU, one cup of whole milk or whole milk yogurt contains about 225-250 IU of vitamin A. One tablespoon of butter contains 350 IU of A. The amount of vitamin A may vary by the season and the feed of the animals.
Most children would benefit from a vitamin A supplement derived from fish oil. One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains at least 3,000 IU of A. Proper dosage is one teaspoon per 50 pounds of body weight. Several studies have also shown that vitamin A supplements during viral illnesses promote rapid recovery and prevent complications. Children can take 1,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin A derived from fish oil without any problem.
Zinc stimulates immune function, prevents infections, and acts as a cofactor in many enzyme reactions, including the creation of antioxidants. Normal dosage is 10-20 mg. per day. If zinc supplementation is continued over a prolonged period of time, it should be given in conjunction with copper in a ratio of ten to one to prevent copper deficiency.
Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity, and antibiotic qualities. A daily supplement of vitamin C during the winter months will round out the immune system prevention program. Use 500 mg for children under 3 years old and 1,000 mg for older children.
The easiest way to give supplements to children is through powdered sources mixed in a blender with fruit, fruit juice, yogurt or milk (rice milk for younger children and children with milk sensitivities), and honey (for children over 12 months old). Capsules can be opened and dumped into the blender. Children can chew oil-based supplements in soft gels or you can stick a pin into them and squirt out the contents onto something they will eat.