Supporting Immunity Throughout the Year

posted by on February 26th, 2020

Too often we think about our colder months as being the sniffles, stay home in bed and rest months, yet so many people are surprised to hear, even during warmer months, virus or respiratory complaints are still at the top of your immune systems’ worry list.
Staying healthy through all the seasons is as simple as 1-2-3!
Diet and Supplementation
1-Vitamin D3-
You likely already know that a diet rich in color has health promoting benefits, including a robust immune system. Did you know however that certain nutrients found in both diet and supplementation can give you an added boost? Things like Vitamin D, beta glucans, and vitamin C are all ingredients we should be taking during times of immune or stress disturbances.
Vitamin D3, as little as 600 IU can give the immune system a much-needed bump. For many people, colder months mean less sunshine as we stay warm, inside. This doesn’t just mean less sunshine, but potential for lower vitamin D levels. For many that work long hours indoors, this may be a year-round concern. Vitamin D plays an indispensable role in immune health as low levels may weaken our defenses and increase vulnerability to illnesses, like colds and the flu.(1) Adequate amounts of vitamin D vary depending on age, activity level and weight, but studies show keeping your vitamin D levels at an optimal amount during both childhood and adulthood may decrease the risk of, or the exacerbation of, chronic respiratory issues and their symptoms.(2) Interestingly, women that meet optimal serum level in pregnancy can confer immune benefits to their infants.(3)
2- Beta glucans
Beta Glucans are highly branched polysaccharides. β 1,3/1,6 glucans from yeast, like that found in Isotonix Immune or the β 1,3 D-glucans in Ultimate Aloe may increase white blood cell (macrophage and lymphocyte) health and activity. Macrophages, specifically, trigger a host of immune functions that allow the body to produce the most complete, effective, and appropriate immune response achievable.
3- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is considered by everyone to be the immune antioxidant. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. This means your body cannot make it, so you need to take it. You should consider taking more when you know you may be in an immune challenging environment. Your external environment pollution, such as, on the job exposure to chemicals or elements, may increase oxidative stress on your immune system leading to a limited or diminished response when you need your immune system functionally optimally. This is simply where your environmental stresses are building up faster than your body can repair. By-products of oxidative species or stress have a pronounce impact on your cellular health, immune system and tissues.
Vitamin C supports immune defense by directly stimulating both the innate and adaptive immune system, meaning even when its not cold season, Vitamin C may help if stress or lack of exercise and rest contribute to your immune complaints. Because, like Beta Glucans, Vitamin C accumulates inside the white blood cell it is ready for anything. The thought is that antioxidants may prevent damage to immune cells by neutralizing free radicals – agents in the environment that may damage your cells and reduce your immunity.
Self-Care = Self-Love
Keep in mind, both rest and hydration are under appreciated and underutilized!
Studies show lack of sleep goes well beyond just feeling grumpy or not being the best work mate. In fact, sleep deprivation can have a significant effect on your physical well-being.
If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system so you are less able to fend off bugs.
During sleep, your immune system releases chemicals necessary for both staying asleep and repairing from the daily insults to our immune system.(4) These chemicals need to increase when you have an illness or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Loss of sleep, even for a short period of time may decrease production of these protective chemicals. In addition, infection-fighting cells are reduced when you do not rest well.
There is no one trigger for chronic disease. In the end you want your approach to health to be well rounded throughout the year and throughout your life.

1-Wacker M, Holick MF. Nutrients. 2013. 5(1):111-48.
2- Mateussi MV, et al. Sao Paulo Med J. 2017. 135(5): p. 497-507.
3- Wolsk HM, et al. PLoS One. 2017. 12(10): e0186657.
4-Cirelli C. Definition and consequences of sleep deprivation. UpToDate May 27, 2015.