Wie kann ich mein Immunsystem zur Erkältungs- und Grippesaison stärken?

How can I boost my immune system during cold and flu season?

Naturally strengthen the immune system

It's important to take care of your immune system all year round, but often it's only when we're feeling unwell that we realize how much being sick affects us. Our immune system is constantly exposed to a variety of infections, bacteria and viruses and acts as a protective barrier to keep these "invaders" from attacking our cells. Fever, while unpleasant, is a sign that your body is working hard to defend and protect you.

How nutrition can help

In order for your immune system to function properly, it must be supported by good nutrition [1] . A healthy, balanced diet with fresh berries and some vegetables (preferably seasonal, locally grown and organic) that are rich in vitamins and nutrients is a good start. However, our current diet does not always contain enough of the important vitamins, nutrients and minerals that we need to naturally strengthen and build our immune system.

The benefits of vitamins and minerals

Vitamin C often comes to mind when we think about supporting the immune system. Vitamin C is important for fighting off infections and can help stimulate the proteins that protect us and inhibit virus replication in the body. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also play a role in protecting and strengthening our immune system. Consuming vitamin C helps absorb other important immune-boosting nutrients such as iron and zinc. Vitamin C is found in berries, peppers and dark leafy vegetables. However, since vitamin C can be destroyed during cooking and storage, it makes more sense to take it as a dietary supplement.

Zinc is an important mineral to strengthen the immune system in winter. Zinc is important for immune health because it activates immune cells, can inhibit the reproduction of viruses and helps fight microbial infections. Zinc is found in every cell in the body and acts as a precursor to white blood cells. It maximizes the bioavailability of a range of minerals and ensures that our body can function optimally.

Vitamin D3 strengthens the immune response to bacterial and viral pathogens. Vitamin D3 activates immune cells and has the unique ability to tune cells to the correct immune response. The vitamin D3 level is formed through sufficient exposure to sunlight. This process requires that the angle of solar radiation is optimal. Since this is practically only the case at the equator, it makes sense to supply yourself with a good vitamin D3 product (always in combination with vitamin K2) all year round in other latitudes. The use of sunscreen in summer and the reduced hours of sunshine in winter further reduce vitamin D3 levels. In people with a weak immune system, vitamin D3 levels are often low, which shows how important vitamin D3 is for a well-functioning immune system.

Strengthen your immune system with a healthy gut

Did you know that 80% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract, called the gut microbiome ? The intestinal flora are the bacteria that live in our digestive tract. The intestinal flora influences the white blood cells through cell communication and therefore plays a major role in strengthening and defending our immune system.

Colostrum is an incredible natural ingredient that is packed with nutrients and immune-boosting factors [2] . Colostrum reduces inflammatory cytokines and pathogenic species in the gut, creating a healthy environment in which the immune system is naturally strengthened [3] .

Our favorite plant-based remedies to boost the immune system in winter

Olibanum is a very useful remedy used to treat a number of health problems. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties [4] and is very effective in treating arthritic and rheumatic pain. It can also be used as a tonic for flu symptoms such as fever, cough and cold and as a digestive tonic for stomach problems.

Curcumin or turmeric can be helpful for cold and flu-like symptoms [5] . Curcumin has the potential to reduce inflammation in the body associated with excessive coughing and sneezing while increasing antioxidant capacity to boost your immunity.

Elderberry has traditionally been used to treat a number of winter-related infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis and flu. Elderberry has the ability to suppress virus replication, which helps our immune system protect us and also reduces the duration and severity of colds and chills when we become sick.

Nature has provided us with these amazingly powerful vitamins, minerals and herbs that help build and maintain a strong and healthy immune system. Boosting your immune system now by fueling your body with these important immune-boosting nutrients will help prepare and protect your body for the coming winter season.

Scientific evidence:

  1. RK Chandra: Influence of nutrition on immunocompetence in the elderly, S Cunningham-Rundles (Ed.), Nutrient modulation of immune response, Marcel Dekker, Inc, New York (1993), p. 455.
  2. Playford R., Weiser M. Bovine Colostrum: Its Constituents and Uses. Nutrients. 2021;13:265.
  3. Jensen GS, Patel D., Benson KF A novel extract from bovine colostrum whey supports innate immune functions. II. Rapid changes in cellular immune function in humans. Prev. Med. 2012;54:S124–S129.
  4. Narges Marefati, Farimah Beheshti, Amin Mokhtari-Zaer, Mohammad Naser Shafei, Hossein Salmani, Hamid Reza Sadeghnia & Mahmoud Hosseini (2022): The effects of Olibanum on oxidative stress indicators, cytokines, brain derived neurotrophic factor and memory in lipopolysaccharide challenged rats, Toxin Reviews, 41:1, 129-142.
  5. Praditya D., Kirchhoff L., Brüning J., Rachmawati H., Steinmann J., Steinmann E.: Anti-infective properties of the Golden Spice Curcumin. Front. Microbiol. 2019;10:912.

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