Your immune system is critical for keeping you healthy and strong. It fights off things that want to destroy you and never takes a break. Feeding your body what it needs to keep your immune system strong can give you an edge when bacteria and viruses want to knock you down.
Let's look at the top vitamin, an amazing berry, and a little root that works wonders.
High In Vitamin C – This Might Be The Most Important Vitamin
Everyone knows vitamin C fights the common cold. It's the most widely used vitamin in your whole body. It's used in just about every type of reaction to help provide energy and antioxidant potential.
Because it's so widespread and you need so much of it daily, when it comes to fighting off illnesses, vitamin C helps support your immune system by destroying free radicals. These free radicals attack your immune cells, rendering them ineffective or damaged, not letting them do their job.
When your body's fighting off an illness, there's a lot of waste products from this battle. We've heard about the inflammatory cytokines because of COVID, and vitamin C is one of the antioxidants that can help neutralize the cytokines.
The RDA for vitamin C is 60 mg for most people. However, many naturopaths and holistic practitioners feel 1,000 mg is closer to our optimal daily intake. Some research has used 2,000, 5,000, and even 10,000 mg on a short-term basis to help the body fight off things like cancer, pneumonia, and long-term illnesses.
You can get vitamin C from almost all of your food, particularly citrus and herbs. Fortunately, vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an easily obtained supplement that can give you a boost.
The Super Immune Berry – Elderberry
The humble elderberry finds excellent use in herbal medicine around the world. Particularly in Europe, the juice was made into wine, syrup, and vinegar and used to help people recover from illnesses. Elder was considered a magical tree with incredible healing properties.
In recent years, researchers took a look at this berry and found it does some pretty exciting things in the body.
Elderberry naturally has vitamin C, phenolic acids, flavonols, and anthocyanins. These different antioxidants help destroy the free radicals we talked about earlier.
An excellent study done recently was of elderberry's effect on a group of airline passengers. They pitted elderberry versus nothing at all (a placebo). The study showed there was no 'significant' difference among those who caught a cold. What they noted was the people who took elderberry did not have as severe of a cold.
Another 2018 review showed that elderberry supplements helped relieve upper respiratory problems associated with colds such as runny noses, nasal congestion, and coughs.
Keeping Things Calm – Astragalus
The root of the astragalus plant can help enhance your immune system and fight both bacterial and viral infections. It helps keep your body ready to fight off bacteria and germs by helping increase your body's production of white blood cells.
Some studies show it helps fight off viruses.
The nice thing about astragalus is it's also an immunomodulating herb. While it does help increase the production of white blood cells, it does not cause the immune system to overreact or become excessive on an everyday basis. In fact, some research shows people with a hyperactive immune system taking astragalus finds a reduction in the number of symptoms.
Boosting Your Immune System Relies On Strong Walls, Not A Super Attacker
Talking about building up your natural immunity, we talked about building a solid defense, not a powerful offense. The most potent immune-boosting herb, echinacea, works great if you take it right when you start feeling sick. That's because it helps drive your immune system into overdrive, giving you a massive boost for a short period.
That's great when you get sick. But, if you can prevent yourself from getting sick, you'll be better off in the long run (plus long-term echinacea use can cause your immune system to start attacking your own body). Giving your body a lot of antioxidants and the nutrients it needs for a robust immune system is the best way to fight off bacteria and viruses without ever getting sick.