Do Immune Boosters Really Work?
By David Martin,
President and CEO of VeinInnovations
The New Year is off to a very chilly start. Last week, parts of the United States were colder than Mars. It’s frigid across the country and this year’s flu season is harsher than usual. So far this season, almost 5,500 people suffering from flu have been hospitalized.
So as we walk down drugstore aisles, remedies in bright boxes that promise to boost your immune system start to look appealing. If you’ve ever had the flu before, it’s understandable.
The flu is nasty. It can knock you out for days. Our beds become a sickbay and pajamas a uniform as Kleenex piles up by the pillow. So, do those “natural immune boosters” really work? Short answer: not really. (Longer answer: found here) Save your money and do these immune boosting things instead:
Vaccines are the best way to “boost” your immune system. They provide a cheat sheet for your acquired immune system – the immune system you build via colds and viruses you’ve had and built antibodies for, and those for which you’ve had vaccinations. Your acquired immune system produces the antibodies that attack and destroy invading germs.
This season’s most common strain of flu is a mutated variety of H3N2. Unfortunately, it was not a strain included in this season’s flu vaccine. Remember, there are a lot of different flu strains and the vaccine can’t contain every one. But don’t let t his deter you from getting a flu vaccine in the future! You still get protection from the other common strains included in the vaccine.
Go to Bed.
Sleep is vitally important. Without the shut eye you need each night (about 7 to 9 hours for adults) your body struggles. We’re not yet sure exactly why, but we do know that running on fumes lowers the effectiveness of our immune system. It gets dark early this time of year. Take advantage of the darkness, pile up the blankets on your bed and get plenty of rest. Your immune system will thank you.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables.
Products like Emergen-C promise to load your system with vitamin C and keep you healthy. but the 1000 milligram dose is impossible for your body to absorb. You’ll keep less than a tenth of that in your system and the rest will be flushed out quickly. You’re better off loading up on vitamins through healthier dinners. Skip sugar while you’re at it. (You probably overindulged last month, anyway.) Ingesting too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. After drinking a couple sodas, the effect lasts for a few hours.
Exercise is medicine. But it’s medicine many of us avoid like we once did acrid tasting cough syrup as kids. Regular, moderate exercise, such as a brief walk around the park, helps your immune system. It also helps you sleep, which helps your immune system even more. Bundle up and get outside or to the gym. You’ll be glad you did.
If you do get the flu, stay home. Limit your contact with others, especially young children and people over 65. And while you’re stuck in the house, you can try these home remedies for a little relief.