Immune System Boosters

<p>I feel very fortunate to be sailing through middle age with relatively good health in terms of big-ticket red flags but I am constantly sick with colds and other minor ailments. I get over one thing and feel good for a few weeks and then get something else. I would be really interested if anyone has discovered a vitamin supplement or product that made you more resistant to bugs.</p>

<p>Source Naturals makes a product called "Wellness Formula." I just ended my first year without a cold!</p>

<p>I found it at my local health food and supplement store, but here it is on the manufacturers website:</p>

<p>Wellness</a> Formula</p>

<p>Take a look at all the Wellness family products:</p>

<p>Wellness</a> Family</p>

<p>And, you might want to try Boiron's Oscillococcinum. My family has had good luck with this product, also. My local grocery store carries it - you can find it in many drug, grocery and health/nutrition stores. It's the #1 flu remedy in France.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>I wash my hands a lot - it works well against colds.</p>

<p>uscd<em>ucla</em>dad - you make a good point. One should always carry wipes if soap and water are not available. If soap and water are not available and you have no wipes (just like Mr. Monk!) wash your hands as soon as facilities are available.</p>

<p>And what did we tell our kids - keep your hands away from your face! If you wear contacts be careful your hands are clean before you touch the area around your eyes. Same is true when applying lip gloss or lipstick.</p>

<p>Many grocery stories have wipes available to clean store carts and baskets. Use them - studies show there is a high number of germs - be certain to wipe the handles and the edges of the cart. Not all stores have wipes to clean the carts so you may want to carry your own.</p>

<p>I remember I used to think my Mom was strange for having a bottle of Lysol in the car - now, I know why!</p>

<p>One thing that us, middle agers, tend to overlook is Vit D and calcium. A recent story in our local paper stated that almost everyone in the Seattle ares is D-deficient:</p>

<p>Health</a> | Does our lack of sun put your health in danger? | Seattle Times Newspaper</p>

<p>
[quote]
The Northwest's dreary winters are infamous for inducing depression. But being starved for sunlight can do more than kick you into a psychic hole.</p>

<p>A growing body of evidence suggests it can raise your risk of cancer, increase susceptibility to heart attack, diabetes and other disorders, and at least partly account for the region's sky-high rates of multiple sclerosis.</p>

<p>The reason is vitamin D, an essential nutrient produced in abundance by skin exposed to the sun's rays. Long dismissed as being important mainly for strong bones, the so-called sunshine vitamin is now recognized as a key player throughout the body, including the immune system

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Fish oil is another one that I do not dismiss as "snake oil", LOL.</p>

<p>I swear by Airborne. Since I started taking it almost 4 years ago, I have not had a real cold. A couple of almost's where I feel a little bit sniffy for a day. But nothing like the horrible congestion, coughing, and laryngitis I used to get a few times a year. Given that I live with a family doctor who brings home EVERY virus in town, and a couple of teenagers, I think this is a real testament to it. </p>

<p>Also agree about thorough and frequent handwashing, and being careful what you touch (in gyms, waiting rooms, etc., so much is "buggy"--pens, magazines, faucets, etc.) In the worst part of the flu and cold season I try to stay outside and not do a lot in crowded environments. Hillary says she swears by hot peppers. :)</p>

<p>Yes! Vit D is great. I take emulsified liquid vitamin D drops called Bio-D-Mulsion by Biotics Research Corp. See this website (not my naturopath's but has great info about Vit D):</p>

<p>Natural</a> Healthcare Northwest - Naturapathic Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage</p>

<p>It has good information as to why doctors did not suggest Vit D previously.</p>

<p>And, if you travel - the TV remote control is one of the most germy items in the room.</p>

<p>Do you think the remote control ever gets cleaned by the hotel cleaning staff?</p>

<p>And don't forget to change toothbrushes after you have been sick; plus clean your cell phone (alcohol wipes so you don't "short" out your phone) and your own home TV remote control as well as your home phone.</p>

<p>Exercising 6 days a week has been the absolute best immune protector that I've ever had. I haven't had a cold or flu since I started regular exercise (aerobic, anaerobic and weights) two and a half years ago.</p>

<p>mimk6 - I, too, am generally healthy, but seem to get endless colds in the winter - until this year! Someone recommended Zicam Cold Remedy Gel Swabs and they have been a God-send. I carry some in my pocketbook (ah, purse), and the minute I feel a cold coming, I use them for the next 48 hours as directed. I have been completely cold free this entire winter season. Even I cannot believe my great fortune. Acai also seems to be a great immune booster; I get mine from Amazon.</p>

<p>Thanks for the great suggestions. I tried the Zicam but then some research came out that made me nervous - something about how long-term use can affect the sense of smell -- I forget the rest. I feel good when I exercise but then I get sick and I stop because I don't feel up to it which makes me feel defeated in terms of being in shape, etc. Good suggestions on the remote and so forth.</p>

<p>Might I add using clorox on sheets, towels, etc after a bout of illness (I know not all things can take clorox!). I also try opening the windows for a short period of time to air out a bedroom--fresh air! And, lest we forget a dose of sunshine, if it can be found during those winter months. Ultimately however, have to agree that handwashing is probably the best advice.</p>

<p>Yup, be careful about zinc. Zinc is a heavy metal, and there's some pretty hefty research out there that taking Zicam and other zinc-based cold remedies can lead to "permanent anosmia"... complete loss of sense of smell. I was a little horrified (but retrospectively unsurprised) to discover that Zicam isn't regulated by the FDA.</p>

<p>Most of my colds are sinus infections brought about by allergies and pollution. My doctor recommended saline sinus washes and nasal sprays, but I still can't bring myself to sniff things up my nose. Maybe you can, though...! Lemme know how it goes...!</p>

<p>mimk6: I also have a lot of trouble with colds/sinus infections. One illness can last for weeks or even months. I sometimes use Zicam and Airborne. I take a Chinese herbal tea that helps fight off infection, that helps me the most. I get regular acupuncture treatments for allergy/sinus issues. I do sinus irrigation with saltwater/baking soda solution 2-3 times per week. I wash my hands every time I come back in the house. I do not touch any doorknobs, faucets, or pens outside my house. I stopped teaching Sunday School at church, and I try not to sit near children or anyone coughing or sneezing at church or anywhere else. I walk away from anyone coughing in public. </p>

<p>This winter I have not been sick once! I have been very careful to wear my down jacket AND A HAT every time I go outside, even for a few minutes. This is the first winter I've done that, and I think it's helped.</p>

<p>Wash your hands--a lot.
Don't eat anywhere but your house.
Don't eat raw fruits/veggies (eat cooked ones, of course!)
Don't do ANYTHING after washing your hands and before eating.</p>

<p>Personally, here's my prescription:</p>

<p>A multivitamin with all the standard stuff.
An additional vitamin C (I take 1000 mg per day + another 100 mg from the multivitamin)
Vitamin A (comes in the multivitamin for me - don't take too much as it screws with the liver)
Vitamin B complex
Echinacea (jury is out on how well this works, but a lot of people swear by it)</p>

<p>Home</a> - Moducare</p>

<p>vit D
elderberry/sambucol (used alot in Europe)
Sambucol[/url</a>]
<a href="http://www.kcweb.com/herb/elderberry.htm%5B/url%5D">http://www.kcweb.com/herb/elderberry.htm
</a></p>

<p>aibarr: you should try the sinus rinsing. It really does work and it isn't that bad when you get used to it. It really stops a sinus infection from developing further and works better than taking antibiotics.</p>

<p>tobia_e: no fresh fruit/veggies? Apples, grapefruit, bananas, salad, tomatoes, avocadoes? I wash everything carefully with food-wash soap, but I would hate to give all those things up. And not eating out...probably true, but I can't give that up.</p>

<p>When my husband developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (almost 9 years ago), a cancer of the B-cells of the immune system, the chemo aimed at destroying half his immune system. I did a lot of research on how to make sure the immune system he had left worked well.</p>

<p>Regular handwashing. Before meals, after shaking hands, etc. </p>

<p>Get your flu shot and make sure all your vaccines are up to date (pneumonia, pertussis, etc.).</p>

<p>Yogurt protects the digestive tract because the various yogurt bacteria out-compete most infectious bacteria. </p>

<p>Fresh fruit and a high protein diet are also essential.</p>

<p>I developed a morning smoothie recipe that helps a lot: 1/3rd OJ, 1/3rd frozen fruit, 1/3 nonfat yogurt (live cultures), 1 scoop whey protein powder (soy protein is lower in the essential amino acids). Blend until smooth. During the lemon season, I squeeze one lemon in too. That gets us both our daily vitamin D, 3 fruit servings, and about half the recommended protein. Good way to start the day. (We each have 24 ounces.)</p>

<p>My husband still gets the occasional cold (he's functioning with a deficient immune system so that's hardly a surprise--he also finds sinus rinsing handy) but I haven't been sick in years. We eat out all the time, including sushi.</p>

<p>(Oh, and Airborne? Just lost a suit for false advertising. Airborne</a> Lawsuit & Rising Drug Costs | WBTV | Healthalert )</p>

<p>I second bookiemom that fresh produce is important. Cooking everything until it's mushy destroys a lot of nutrients. I wash fresh veggies/fruit very well in hot, then in cold water, and I peel the skin from apples and pears to remove most of pesticide residues since they predominantly accumulate in the skin. In the summer, I buy a lot of local produce.</p>