There is no denying the fact that our innate immune function becomes less effective as we age so it’s time to take charge of your health and arm your immune system against the usual winter ailments.
Scientists can’t agree on why we get more colds in the winter, but no one will argue over how debilitating a heavy cold or flu can be. Priming your immune system so it is in tip-top condition will help you to become more resistant to every passing virus, but there are also ways to help your body fight off infection when you do succumb.
Thymus and ageing
Unfortunately our immune system does become less effective as we age. The Thymus, which is responsible for producing the T Cells, shrinks as we age and our body becomes less tolerant of the body’s own cells, making it more vulnerable to an autoimmune disorder. Diabetes suffers should also be on guard as the disease can also lead to decreased immunity.
Exercise, a good diet and supplementation can give your body a helping hand in the fight against coughs, colds and flu and doctors. Regular, moderate exercise is proven to help keep you fighting fit as it has a positive effect on the bodies ‘killer cells’ which destroy the unwanted intruders in our immune system. 30 minutes of brisk walking, swimming or cycling every day is enough to boost immunity so don’t let winter slow you down. Do, however, make sure you’ve got the right kit for exercising in the winter – a waterproof jacket and sturdy footwear are essential for walking in poor weather and do make sure you can be seen in bad light with high-visibility gear.
In an ideal world we’d get all the nutrients we need from our diet but in reality many of us need a helping hand. There are a number of immunity boosters to choose from including Vitamin D3, Echinacea, Beta-Glucans and Probiotics to the gut, helping to bring it back to good health.
“There is some evidence that taking beta-glucans may help prevent common cold infection and this is a very interesting development as I believe that modulation of our immune response is the best way we have to combat these common infections,” says Professor Ron Eccles of the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff. Glucans activate both the macrophages (immune cells) and neutrophils (abundant but innate immune cells) to navigate to and overcome pathogens. Consequently more activated white cells are ready to attack, creating a rapid response to infection. In an independent study by Berlin University, Vitalize Health Glucasan was tested alongside eight other Beta-Glucan supplements and Glucasan was ranked as the most effective in improving immunological functions.
Vitamin D supplements
In the winter, shorter, dark days mean the body’s ability to produce vitamin D is reduced and studies link low levels of Vitamin D3 to a compromised immune system. Laboratory tests show that Vitamin D can help to activate the T Cells that respond to antigens. Try Healthspan Super Strength Vitamin D3.
Probiotics can be particularly helpful to ward off or recover from stomach bugs and if you’ve taken a course of antibiotics, probiotics will reintroduce the good bacteria.
Research carried out by the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff into the traditional herbal remedy Echinacea indicated that it could reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms in adults. It’s probably best to start taking a supplement as soon as you start to feel ill, try Healthspan Echinacea Cold & Flu Relief to help your body recover from the virus.Last modified: June 10, 2021