While we should strive to maintain a robust immune system at all times, it is particularly important to get serious about it BEFORE flu season arrives. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, in the United States flu season occurs in the Fall and Winter. The flu typically infects on average 35 million Americans every year, with anywhere from 280,000 to 810,000 ending up in the hospital.

To build a healthy immune system, start by establishing good foundations of health.

This includes proper hydration, consumption of nutrient-dense food, getting adequate sunlight, regular rest, appropriate exercise for your age and fitness level, and managing your response to stress. These along with making good lifestyle choices all help you find balance and harmony in the body.

Research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances can help improve immune response and potentially protect against illness.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is one of the biggest immune boosters of all. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health because your body doesn’t produce it or store it. Supplementing with vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold.

Zinc fights bacteria and viruses and is essential for immune system function. A deficiency in this nutrient significantly affects your immune system’s ability to function properly, resulting in an increased risk of infection and disease, including pneumonia. Zinc deficiency affects around 2 billion people worldwide and is very common in older adults. In fact, up to 30% of older adults are considered deficient in this nutrient.

In addition to building strong bones and teeth, Vitamin D plays a critical role in immune health and may also protect lungs from respiratory infections. About 42% of the US population is deficient in Vitamin D.

Folate is a B vitamin necessary for proper immune function as well as a host of other benefits. B-vitamins are crucial to overall health and functionality. Age, chronic disease, changes in digestion, use of antiacids all lower your body’s ability to absorb B vitamins through food

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid prized for its targeted benefits for lung health and its ability to suppress viral replication.

Quercetin is a plant flavonoid that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties especially in the sinus area and it functions as a natural anti-histamine.

And let’s not forget herbs like Mullein, Elderberry, Fenugreek, Thyme, and Ivy that can help break up mucous and assist with coughs, ear infections and sore throats.

Start building a strong healthy immune system today so that when you are presented with a pathogen your body can begin fighting it off right away.

We are always available at A to Zinc Health Store to assist you with any natural health questions. Call us at (706) 754-0247 or just stop by. We would love to meet you!

By Tracy Pato, CTN, CNHP