- Immune System Support
Fiery Ginger, Farma-C+
+ Immunity-Boosting: Potent compounds that can help to create a balanced immune response.
+ Antioxidant-Rich: Free-radical fighting to reduce cellular damage and help restore equilibrium.
+ Anti-Inflammatory: Antioxidants and polyphenols that help reduce inflammatory responses.
+ Vitamin C-Rich: A powerful antioxidant that stimulates activity in the body’s immune system.
With Google searches, advertisements, and hashtags all focused on the idea of “immune boosting”, we thought we should start at square one to explain what the immune system is and how you can help to support its function.
The immune system explained: The immune system is a network made up of different systems working together -- your organs, cells, and proteins -- to protect you against bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that could cause infection or illness (1). When your immune system is at its best, it knows which cells are yours, and which are foreign invaders worth confronting, and activates to destroy or limit the harm done (1). When your immune system isn’t in its most fighting form, these invaders can cause their damage, or your immune system can even attack itself, creating autoimmune diseases or allergic reactions (1). When the immune system is responding to a threat, this response is in essence inflammatory (5). This is caused by the immune system’s cascade of infection-fighting cells and molecules (5).
What sorts of things trigger the immune system: The immune system is triggered to respond when it notices something is present that the body doesn’t recognize as its own (2). These invaders are known as antigens. When these antigens attach to receptors on immune system cells, a cascade of events begins. There are two systems working within your immune system: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system (2). The innate immune system provides non-specific defense against troubling antigens by way of immune system cells called phagocytes, or “eating cells” (2). These phagocytes are a type of white blood cell within your immune system that engulf bacteria or other unwelcome invaders and destroy them. The adaptive immune system provides specific defence by making antibodies -- proteins that the body created previously when it last came into contact with this specific threat to remember and mark these pathogens for destruction.
Infection and disease aren’t the only things that can trigger an immune response -- your state of mind can impact your immune system as well (3). Links between stress and immunity function have been studied for years. Those experiencing times of stress were found to have fewer “natural killer cells” -- the cell-eating antigens your body uses to fight off illness and viral infections -- and weak infection-fighting T-cells (3). These weakened immune responses have been found in both day-to-day stress and long-term or chronic stress (3) and can put you at risk for illness (4). With a constant barrage of hard to swallow news and endless to-do’s, our body’s release of stress hormones can even cause our immune systems to retreat, leaving you vulnerable (5).
Red flags that your immune system isn’t at its most balanced: Often the first thing you notice when their immune system isn’t at its strongest is that feeling that something just isn’t quite right. You may feel more fatigued than usual, a sniffle, or a tickle in your throat -- nothing more. This is just the immune system doing its thing -- the inflammation that is caused by a normal immune system response to illness (5). It’s normal to have a few colds each year. A strong immune system will help you fight this off, while also creating antibodies to prepare for the next cold and flu season (4). If you seem to have a Kleenex constantly by your side, or your colds are lasting for longer, this may be a sign of an immune system under pressure (4). The same can be said for other illnesses or viruses like pneumonia or sinusitis (4). Nearly 70% of your immune system is found in your digestive system, so tummy issues can also be a sign of a compromised immune system (4). An imbalance of the good bacteria living in your gut’s ecosystem can cause gastrointestinal issues, and leave you at risk for those pesky invaders (4).
How can we support our immune system: While the answer may not be as satisfying as the wave of a magic wand or cure-all pill, the key to a strong immune system is balance (5) -- not only in what is happening within the immune response, but also in how we live our lives to support our immune system’s function.
- Enjoying a regular, good night’s rest is incredibly important for the immune system (5). Lack of sleep can cause your adrenal hormones to continue to be active, which dampens the immune system’s function (5).
- Unsurprisingly, exercise, food, and meditation can also help create a healthy system (5). A balanced diet of natural foods will supply your body and its immune system with the micronutrients that it recognizes and benefits from (5).
- Ingredients that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants have been shown to assist the immune response (6). For example, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant -- supporting various cell functions within the immune system (7). Antioxidants like vitamin C are immune-boosting in that they help to protect the epithelial barrier from pathogens, but it also helps phagocytosis -- aka. cell-eating of these pathogens (7). Antioxidants also fight against unstable, free radicals and the resulting oxidative stress and cell damage, resulting in a decrease in inflammation (8). Compounds like polyphenols and phytochemicals that are found in plant-based foods can also act as antioxidants, serving to reduce inflammation (9). Ingredients like ginger, citrus, and turmeric are rich sources of antioxidants, that with regular intake have been known to bolster your immune system, reduce inflammation, and are preventative against illness and infection (7).
- Immune System
- How Does the Immune System Work
- Stress Weakens the Immune System
- 6 Signs You Have a Weakened Immune System
- How to Get the Best From Your Immune System
- Foods To Boost the Immune System
- Vitamin C and Immune Function
- Food Antioxidants and Their Anti-Inflammatory Properties: A Potential Role in Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer Prevention