341 – Nutrition for Supporting Immune Function

The immune system is dependent on the body’s nutritional status.

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Neil E. Levin

In this interview Neil E. Levin discusses the foundations of healthy immunity. He describes some of the ways the immune system functions. We often portray the immune system simplistically as being one thing. The reality is the immune system is incredibly complex and sophisticated. It is the sublime interaction of many factors that creates healthy immunity.

Neil does a great job of describing this complex immune system. He begins by describing two aspects of the immune system, innate and adaptive. Innate immune function is non-specific. We receive some of our immune function and cells from our mothers at birth. Adaptive immunity is that which we acquire during our lives as a response to specific immune challenges that have been previously encountered and identified by immune cells. This has everything to do with your specific needs. Your body responds to your environment and builds immunity as a protective response.

Nutritional status is important to how well your body can defend itself. Like much of nature, viruses and bacteria seem to seek out a weaker system to attack. When the prey is weak the attackers sense this and mount a more aggressive attack. One of the factors that make you weak is poor nutritional status. If you are well-nourished, your immune cells will be stronger and more able to mount an effective defense.

When you are well-nourished then you are likely to have a good antioxidant supply. The body uses oxidation and inflammation to defeat these micro invaders as part of a healthy immune response, as well as for routine repair of the body on a daily basis. So it comes down to the basics: be well-nourished and make sure your diet is high in a variety of antioxidant-rich foods and supplements. Support the inflammation system by having a proper fatty acid balance high in omega-3s, especially marine based omega-3 from fish or algae oils.

Nutritional Targets

Probiotics – We now understand the importance of gut health for immunity and the critical nature of the microbiome for human health, including the immune system. Neil describes three ways a healthy microbiome supports human health and immune system function.

  • A healthy probiotic environment keeps undesirable bacteria from being able to get established.
  • A healthy probiotic environment provides a physical barrier keeping bacteria from the blood and liver.
  • A healthy probiotic environment includes many different probiotic metabolites which benefit human health. When your probiotic environment is healthy, it reduces the load on your immune system.

Here are the other nutrients Neil discusses:

Each of these nutrients offers different benefits to human health. Being well-nourished requires first a foundation of a variety of natural foods. With a healthy diet you will be better protected right from the start. Then you can begin to build a specific nutrient programs to augment and build on that foundation. Seek additions that most specifically meet your needs. Over time you will discover what works best for you.

My best advice is to stay well-nourished through the year. Bolster your nutrient intake with specific additions to support wellness. The goal is to stay healthy year-round; even during the cold and flu season. Use good practices to improve your odds of staying healthy and avoiding exposure.

Keep a supply of your favorite immune support nutrients on hand for such a time as you feel vulnerable. I have found that if you respond at the FIRST sign right away, you can often stop feeling bad right at the start. If you hesitate to respond or wait 12 to 24 hours, it will take longer to return to normal. Build your natural first response kit and use it at the first sign. If you never need to use your kit consider yourself lucky. Better to have insurance and never need it than to need it and not have it. If you are not prepared, then you are forced to wait until you can go purchase your supply.  Just a word to the wise: time is of the essence when it comes to staying healthy.

AlliBiotic CF™ is the NOW® product that offers broad-based support. NOW® AlliBiotic CF™ is an herbal combination formulated for the support of a healthy immune system.* This botanical formula has a special garlic extract that works differently than aged garlic to promote overall wellness.* Elderberry, olive leaf extract and oregano oil complete this comprehensive formula. ImmunEnhancer™, a non-digestible soluble fiber from larch, has also been included as a prebiotic supplement for the support of healthy intestinal flora – a key component of normal immune function.*

CLICK HERE for a link to all interviews with Neil E. Levin.

About Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA –
Neil E. Levin is the Senior Nutrition Education Manager and a product formulator for NOW®. He is a board-certified clinical nutritionist with a diplomat in advanced nutritional laboratory assessment. The U.S. Natural Products Association (NPA) presented Neil its Industry Champion Award in 2008 for “people who have made notable individual contributions to the natural products industry above and beyond what is expected to achieve commercial success.” Neil’s interviews and articles are published in magazines and newspapers. He has been featured in many radio interviews and television news reports. Neil blogs at www.honestnutrition.com; is on Facebook (Honest Nutrition) and Twitter (neilelevin).


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