Protect yourself against Viral Infections
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Forget about the germs-- Instead, improve and protect your body from contracting foreign germs and infections. Prevention is KEY!
More recently there has been major concerns about viral infections and the immune system. World wide, we have seen certain precautions being taken. We see the shelves being emptied of cleaning products, we see major shows and events being cancelled, we are even seeing people going into lockdown. But what we AREN'T seeing, is how we can protect our body. We live in a world where there are germs and viruses everywhere. Viral infections are not a new thing. But if you take a moment and think, who are the people who always get sick, who always get the flu. Are they the one's that do take care of themselves? Do they live a healthy lifestyle, get enough sleep, and have limited stress? The answer is ... probably not.
So how do the people stay healthy. I'm sure you know some people who never get sick. No they are not just lucky. They take the proper precautions and have a focus on prevention. Your immune system depends on lifestyle factors. In other words, how you choose to live determines the way your body responds to certain exposures you may encounter. Just one of those factors is the vitamins and herbal supplements you provide your body. Vitamins are necessary for all biochemical processes in the body. With deficiencies in these, your body works at a decreased function, which means your immune system is decreased. Herbal's are just as important for prevention. These substances are backdated hundreds of years as being used for a variety of conditions. Many conditions that are treated with prescription medications can be treated naturally with herbal supplementation.
Supplements to Protect from Viral Infections
Astragalus membranaceus is a therapeutic herb in traditional Chinese Medicine. One of its main uses is to prime the body for an immune response by increasing blood flow and wound healing . When administered, A. membranaceus increases white blood cells, specifically monocytes, lymphocytes, and neutrophils which are all involved in removing pathogens and bacterica from inside of the body . Anti-inflammatory cytokines are also increased, improving the bodies ability to heal [1,3]. The increase of production of all of these white blood cells and proteins increases the bodies immune response , therefore allowing the body to fight off infection when presented to the body.
Sambucus nigra L., also known as Black Elderberry is known for its antimicrobial and antiviral abilities . It is recommended that Elderberry be combined with Vitamin C and Zinc, both antioxidants, for best results on antimicrobial abilities . Several studies have been completed showing the reduction of symptoms of the influenza virus through administration of Elderberry by acting as an antioxidant and an immune-modulator .
Echinacea purprea is another herbal traditionally used to fight off colds, the flu virus, and many other diseases by having anti viral properties . When the body is exposed to a viral infection, many inflammatory proteins, called cytokines, are produced in the body. Studies have shown that pro-inflammatory cytokines, specifically IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF alpha, have been completely reversed in those who were given an echinacea preperation. In addition, echinacea has been shown to help eliminate viral respiratory infections, reduce mucous in airways, and increase positive gene expression .
Vitamin D not only plays a role in bone health, but it also modulates the immune response by attaching its receptor to the bodies immune cells. Low levels of Vitamin D are shown to increase the bodies susceptibility to infection as well as increase cases of autoimmunity . Prior to the use of antibiotics, Vitamin D was used to treat tuberculosis infections through the use of sunlight . Though we can generate Vitamin D from sunlight, many of us become so deficient in the winter months which is when viruses are at their all time high. It is also important to supplement with Vitamin D because intestinal permeability and associated nutrient malabsorption are becoming a growing problem in our society that we are not receiving adequate amounts through our diets and the sunlight.
Zinc is an essential mineral needed in the human body as well as being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory constituent. Zinc is important for the normal functioning of cells by contributing to the processing and production of macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells, all which help capture and eliminate foreign bacteria and materials circulating the body .
Probiotics are taken to enhance the good bacteria in the human intestines. With the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut, the immune system is heightened by helping block pathogenic material from coming in contact with the intestinal cells, acting as a protective barrier for your immune system. Probiotics are also responsible for enhancing the production of dendritic cells, macrophages, and T and B lymphocytes, all of which help engulf and rid the body of harmful bacteria. The supplementation of probiotics has been shown to protect humans from viral infections .
Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano is known for its antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It has been shown that the essential oil of Oregano also acts as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. Numerous studies have been done showing the antiviral and antimicrobial properties of oil of oregano administration. One of the biggest findings was that humans are becoming more and more antibiotic resistant from the frequent exposure to antibiotic treatment. This in turn decreases a persons natural immune system and makes them more susceptible to infection of a new bacteria or virus .
Additional Lifestyle Factors
In addition to vitamins and herbals, lifestyle factors play a big role in how your body responds to infections. Some key factors to think about are
- Getting Adequate Sleep ( approximately 7 hours)
- Reducing Stress
- Consume a well-rounded diet of whole foods, fruits and vegetables
- Decrease processed food and sugar consumption
Prevention is Key!
The quality of supplements you choose is just as important as the types of supplements you chose. Compared therapeutic grade supplements, your average vitamins and herbals found at your local drug store or vitamin store have a significantly lower bioavailability. Bioavailability is the amount of the supplement that is available for absorption. Therapeutic grade supplements have as close to, if not full bioavailability of the vitamin or herb being taken. Whereas drug store quality brands can have as low as 30% bioavailability. This means that the form of the vitamin or herb provided is not the correct form that your body needs to absorb, so a majority of it gets excreted from the body through urine, feces, or sweat. This is why you commonly hear that people don't like taking vitamins because it makes their urine have an odor or causes a vitamin burp taste. With therapeutic grade supplements, because all of the vitamin and herb is available to be absorbed in the body, there leaves none to be excreted, increasing the efficacy of the vitamin. I always say, why take a cheap vitamin if its not even going to work for you!
For access to therapeutic grade quality supplements, send an email to Stephanie.J.Nutrition@gmail.com with your name and cell phone number. Please use "Request for Immune Supplements" as the subject line. You will receive a personal recommendation that includes all of the supplements listed above. Send in your request during the month of March and
Receive 20% off of ALL supplements.
All purchases made for immune supplements will receive 20% off. As per April 1st, discounts will be reduced to 10% off.
**Please include any allergies or additional herbals or medications you may be taking. I want to ensure that there are no contraindications with anything you are consuming**
1. Denzler K, Moore J, Harrington H, et al. Characterization of the Physiological Response following In Vivo Administration of Astragalus membranaceus. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:6861078. doi:10.1155/2016/6861078
2. Boundless Anatomy and Physiology: White Blood Cells. Lumen. Available at: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ap/chapter/white-blood-cells/. Accessed on March 10, 2020
3. Zhang JM, An J. Cytokines, inflammation, and pain. Int Anesthesiol Clin. 2007;45(2):27–37. doi:10.1097/AIA.0b013e318034194e
4. Krawitz C, Mraheil MA, Stein M, et al. Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11:16. Published 2011 Feb 25. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-16
5. Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4):182. Published 2016 Mar 24. doi:10.3390/nu8040182
6. Hudson J, Vimalanathan S. Echinacea—A Source of Potent Antivirals for Respiratory Virus Infections. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2011;4(7):1019–1031. Published 2011 Jul 13. doi:10.3390/ph4071019
7. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881–886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
8. Prasad AS. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Mol Med. 2008;14(5-6):353–357. doi:10.2119/2008-00033.Prasad
9. Yan F, Polk DB. Probiotics and immune health. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2011;27(6):496–501. doi:10.1097/MOG.0b013e32834baa4d
10. Leyva-López N, Gutiérrez-Grijalva EP, Vazquez-Olivo G, Heredia JB. Essential Oils of Oregano: Biological Activity beyond Their Antimicrobial Properties. Molecules. 2017;22(6):989. Published 2017 Jun 14. doi:10.3390/molecules22060989