Immune support for winter


The immune system us made up of a complex network of cells that work together, secreting chemicals and activating processes to help our bodies fight off pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. 

When we feel under the weather, tired, or if we get sick regularly our bodies could be trying to tell us that our immune systems are weakened.

The average person can have two to three colds a year, with a recovery time of about 10 days. This allows the immune system to make antibodies which in turn strengthen our immune function. If you get sick more often and don’t seem to recover well then you may need some help to support your immune system.

Stress can also compromise our immune system because it decreases the number of white blood cells we produce and so we are more susceptible to viral infections and colds. Stress management is therefore a vital player in keeping our immune systems healthy.

Gut issues also compromise immune function. About 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract and many beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live in the gut protect our bodies from infection. Some of these good bugs produce natural antibiotics and natural anti-inflammatories to keep us well and healthy. If we don’t have enough beneficial bacteria or if we eat foods that compromise the lining of the gut, we can end up with a compromised immune system too.

Lifestyle habits that help to keep our immune systems functioning optimally include:

  • A balanced diet
  • Stress Management
  • Good sleep
  • Enough exercise

These habits seem to form the basis for most health issues, but we can easily forget or push our bodies too hard when we should rather be slowing down or taking more care during the various seasons of the year and of our lives.

Nutrient deficiencies can also compromise our immune health and there are also several herbal remedies or vitamins and nutrients that can be helpful to use when we are not feeling well. These include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Quercitin
  • Medicinal mushrooms – cordyceps, turkey tail, lion’s mane, reishi, maitake, shitake are especially beneficial
  • Astragalus
  • Echinacea
  • Propolis
  • Andrographis

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 18 May 2023 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am