In the last few weeks, I’ve fielded more questions on boosting immune strength than any other query. Boosting immunity is clearly a top priority in everyone’s mind. Given the situation, I wanted to share some helpful information on this topic.
A quick primer on the immune system
Your immune system is the invisible army that defends your body against invading pathogens. But that’s not all, it also cleans up debris, unwanted toxins and keeps you functioning well. So long as your immune system functions competently, all is well. However, if your immunity goes down just a bit, you’ll notice the change in the form of infection or illness. Your immune system can hit a brief low for a variety of reasons, but the following factors are the most critical ones,
- Poor nutrition (nutrient deficiency)
- Inadequate sleep
- Lack of exercise
If you want to get your immune system functioning efficiently, you need to be on top of these things. While most do reasonably good with healthy eating and exercise, many of us struggle when it comes to stress and getting enough sleep. Luckily, there are some natural ways to address those issues.
Adaptogenic herbs to the rescue!
Many studies support the role of adaptogenic herbs in enhancing immune health. Adaptogenic herbs are healing plants that help your body to adapt and modulate your response to stress. These herbs are unique because they help the body adapt to environmental changes such as stress and boost immunity. When I feel under the weather, I choose specific herbs to support my immune function, here they are . . .
Elderberry: Elderberries display a range of health benefits such as reducing allergies and inflammation to fighting colds and flu. The flowers and leaves of this plant have long been in use in traditional medicine across cultures. A randomized study found that elderberry was able to reduce the duration of flu when taken within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
Astragalus: Astragalus root is a fantastic immune booster. It mitigates the effects of stress in the body, thereby protects the immune system. A preclinical study found that astragalus decreases inflammation and improves the lymphocyte (a type of immune cell) response in the body.
Reishi Mushrooms: Mushrooms are known for their immune-modulating effects, meaning they increase the immune system’s response to infection. Reishi mushrooms improve the activity of immune cells – lymphocytes, T-cells, macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, and offers a potent defense against pathogens.
Ashwagandha: This herb is a superstar in the Ayurvedic system of medicine due to its effects on stress hormones and the ability to increase the body’s ability to cope with stress. Ashwagandha is explicitly involved in improving cell-mediated immunity. Cell-mediated immunity is responsible for the production of killer cells that act on attacking viruses and other pathogens.
All of these herbs reduce stress, offer stamina to the body, and strengthen the immune system. When I travel frequently or get less sleep, stress takes a toll on me, and I rely on these herbs to support my immune system.
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across all of my favorite adaptogens in a single form as a chewing gum! The gum is aptly named Mighty Gum, for its fantastic combination of the best immune-boosting herbs. It is a chewing gum with herbs and nutrients to support immunity. In addition, the gum is vegan, allergen free, aspartame free, and sugar free. I can’t think of a more innovative way to freshen your breath AND boost up your immune defense at the same time! You can learn more about Mighty Gum here or following them on Instagram at @mightygum.
A quick reminder – as with any drug or supplement, adaptogens do have side effects, interactions, and contraindications. So do your research, especially regarding any current health conditions. It’s also recommended you contact your healthcare provider before beginning an herbal regiment.