Top 3 Vitamins & Top 12 Tonic Herbs for Immunity.

March 13, 2020 0 Comments

Who loves apples!? These delicious little morcels, as it turns out, according to the findings from a study performed by the University of Michigan, don't really keep the Doctor away as the Welsh from 1866 would have you believe. The correlation of Apples and good health was found to be due to those eating apples generally having better all around nutrition. Which is really where an optimised immune system is forged with a few other things like managing stress, moving, getting proper sleep.

Check out our Blog – 6 Habits to Reduce Stress and Boost the Immune System

As our barometer for health and optimum performance, a super immune system is something we should all be striving for. But often times, we take this spectacular bodily system for granted, or are unwittingly steaming ahead, with this thing called life, while it works its magic to keep us safe. I for one, LOVE full steam ahead, with my plate full to the brim I'm focused and get all the things done.

However sometimes, this lifestyle comes at a cost. If at the same time we aren't, exercising, staying nourished and managing any excess stress, we run the risk of compromising the function of the immune system, making us more susceptible to all kinds of bugs, inflammation, pain, degeneration, depression and reduced quality of life – and nobody wants any of that.

We've all been there, I know I have. The thing I've learn't (with years of overdoing it) is the importance of taking a moment for "me", not in a narcissistic way, but just making sure that i put the "symbolic oxygen mask" on myself first. Because without it, i'm potentially no good to myself or anyone else.

The importance of this moment and action always took me back to the nourishment of the whole by keeping a keen eye on the Immune system.

What is the Immune System?

The Immune system is the bodies defence against invaders (external and internal), our own personal army with divisions that work together, supporting each other as they combat unwanted intruders and the bodies waste.

Our first line of defence is called the Innate immune system. This is made up of our external physical defences in the form of our skin, mucous membranes and some internal defences such as inflammation, fever, anti-microbial substances, natural killer cells and phagocytes (they eat microbes and cell debris - pretty cool).

Our second line of defence is our adaptive immune system, which comprises of cells that defend against pathogens by initiating an immune response. Throughout life, as you’re exposed to more invaders (pathogens) the adaptive immune system learns to recognise the features of a pathogen and the next time responds more quickly, and you become more resilient.

Main Systems of the body involved in Immune Function

Throughout the body all systems at some point or another are working to supporting each other to keep the body healthy and maintain homeostasis (balanced). Along with the nervous system (our own internal postal system sending messages / feedback around the body), the immune system is key to maintaining homeostasis by defending the body from being compromised. The following organs and systems are those directly responsible and related to a healthy Immune system:

The Lymphatic System
A network of vessels that transport the lymph fluid (similar to blood) that contains infection fighting white blood cells. The lymphatic system also contains organs and structures that filter toxins, waste and unwanted debris.

White Blood Cells (WBC / Leukocytes)
Leukocytes refer to all WBC involved in Innate and Adaptive Immunity.
A sub group called Lymphocytes (found mainly in the lymphatic system) are those involved only in adaptive immunity, these guys seek and destroy pathogens (antigens) and there are 3 main types:

  • B-Cells, made in the bone marrow, they form antibodies, proteins produced to fight foreign substances known as antigens. Each B cell makes a specific antibody to matches an antigen in the same way that a key matches a lock, marking it for destruction.
  • T-Cells, pre t-cells are made in the bone marrow and sent to the thymus to make different types of T-cells which are sent out to attack invading viruses, cancer cells, transplanted tissue cells, etc.
  • Natural Killer Cells, attack wide variety of infectious microbes and certain spontaneously arising tumor cells.

The Spleen
This little guy stores white blood cells, filters blood, recycles old blood cells and helps fight certain bacteria.

The Respiratory System
Airways of the respiratory system are coated in mucous which captures pathogens and particles that we don’t really want getting in. (As well as the obvious filtering and provision of oxygen for all cells in the body to function).

The Integumentary System (the skin)
The skin is the bodes largest organ, serving as a barrier to the outside and keeping all our insides, inside. It also contains an estimated 20billion T-cells (lymphocytes), which control skin microbes and send feedback to the the immune system.

The Digestive System / Gastrointestinal Tract / Gut
60% of the immune system resides in the GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue) with the intestines lined with mast cells, which are immune cells that activate and coordinate the nerves system and immune systems response. The Gut also contains a multitude of bacteria that supports the regulation of inflammation, helps kill bad bacteria and perpetuate good bacteria, it has a pH balance that creates a barrier against microbes, it fights pathogens and it produces anti-microbial substances - not to mention it makes around 90% of the bodies serotonin (a neurotransmitter that impacts mood).

TOP 3 Vitamins

If you're eating all the right things and want an inexpensive easy way to boost your immune system a little further, then vitamins can be a great option. We recommend the following top 3:

  • Vitamin C is integral to Immune defence by supporting cellular function of both the innate and adaptive immune system, if deficient your more susceptible to infection. (Load up, its easy and risk free, as you pee out any excess).
  • Vitamin D help modulate the innate and adaptive immune system, it plays a role in the optimal function of the immune system, if deficient your more susceptible to infection. (Excess can also be harmful, so don’t overdo it).*
  • Zinc helps keep the immune system strong, helps healing and normal growth. If deficient you are more susceptible to pathogens. (But again don’t overdo it).

*NOTE We recommend that you have regular blood tests, either annually or every 6 months to determine you levels of things like Cholesterol, Vitamin D and Zinc. This will prevent overdoing it or being deficient, and enable you to better understand and manage your health.

TOP 3 Medicinal Plants

These plants have been shown to help modulate and enhance the immune system as well as potentially improve the white blood cells NK (natural killer) cell response to infection and help to reduce inflammation.

  • Olive Leaf Extract
    Made from from the leaves of the olive plant, its active ingredient, oleuropein,has been shown to potentially help; reduce inflammation, oxidation and pain, as well as support the digestive, nervous and immune systems. This 2019 study found that it may help reduce the overall number of days of sickness (Study)
  • Curcumin
    Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric with multiple health benefits (2018 Analysis).
  • Astaxanthin
    Astaxanthin is the reddish coloured carotenoid that you see in salmon, lobster, shrimp and other seafoods, and comes from a specific type of algae that they eat. It has been shown to be a potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory (2018 Analysis).
  • Astragalus
    A root used mostly within Traditional Chinese Medicine and Russian Medicine. Is has been shown to be an Immunomodulator, supporting balance and proper immune function by enhancing WBC production, NK cell activity and weight management. (2019 Study)
  • Spirulina
    Truely Natures Multi-vitamin, supporting our entire system. In 1992 WHO has declared Spirulina as “Best food for future” to redress malnutrition especially in children. (2018 Study)
  • Echinacea
  • Eleuthero  
    Another product used within Traditional Chinese Medicine and Russian Medicine, Eleuthero, also know as Siberian Ginseng, as with most ginsengs it has been shown to help support proper immune function. (2019 Analysis)
  • Schisandra
    Another product used within Traditional Chinese Medicine and Russian Medicine for 1000's of years. Research has found that Schisandra helps promote Immune function through the production of WBC, NK cells and by nourishing the thymus and spleen. (2018 Study) (see products for links to research).
  • Medicinal Mushrooms 
    Used for centuries across multiple cultures, fungi have some extraordinary benefits, each with their own uniquity, such as: Reishi (Immune, Sleep), Chaga (Immune) and Cordyceps (Anti-viral, Immune). (see products for links to research).
  • Amla 
    Among other things, contains one of the highest sources of Vitamin C, which is important for immune function. (see product for more research).
  • Tulsi 
    Also known as holy basil is another wonder herb that not only supports your respiratory system but also nourishes your nervous system and aids in stress reduction by caring for the adrenals. (see product for more research)
  • Ashwagandha
    Also known as Indian Ginseng is an extraordinary root used within Ayurveda for centuries. Shown to help build the system when its compromised and also promote WBC production it makes it a great addition to supporting the immune system. (see product for more research)

Let us know how you go, if you have any questions or need a referral to a fabulous Naturopath, Ayurveda Practitioner, Fitness Guru or Sleep Health expert, we are here to help! As always, Take Care, Stay Safe, Stay Positive and Love Life.

View Organic Tulsi
View Organic Tulsi
View Organic Amla
View Organic Amla
View Organic Eleuthero
View Organic Eleuthero
View Organic Chaga
View Organic Chaga
View Organic Tulsi
View Organic Medicinal Mushrooms
View Organic Astragalus
View Organic Astragalus
View Organic Spirulina
View Organic Spirulina
View Organic Schisandra
View Organic Schisandra

"Let Food be your first Medicine and Kitchen be your first Pharmacy."

Also in Down in the Grove

6 Habits to Reduce Stress & Boost the Immune System
6 Habits to Reduce Stress & Boost the Immune System

March 27, 2020 0 Comments

We have all been stressed at some point or another, from mental stress to physical stress. Here are 6 ways to take control...
Read More
Ayurveda. The Time Is Now.
Ayurveda. The Time Is Now.

March 06, 2020 0 Comments

Our Beautiful friend Phillipa from Ayurveda Joy, explains how during the current state of flux that we are experiencing globally can be supported by Ayurvedic practice,
Read More
Coconut Choc-Mint Tulsi Slices
Coconut Choc-Mint Tulsi Slices

December 18, 2019 0 Comments

Looking for a healthy after dinner mint this festive season, look no further! These delicious little morsels are not only a minty slice of uplifting delight...
Read More