Category: Immunity

5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System

Things You Can Do To Boost Your Immune System 

If you’ve ever made healthy changes to your diet in the past, one thing you would have probably noticed is the fact that you you’ve developed a stronger immune system, and you’re not getting sick as often. It’s not uncommon for adults to develop between two to four colds each year, which can cost people time off work and just make you feel quite miserable for days to weeks. If you talk to people doing long term calorie restriction, you’ll hear many of them say that they’ve not been sick in years, maybe a decade or more.

Over the years I’ve been doing this diet, there’s been times when I seemed completely immune to developing a cold or the flu, and other times I would seem to just catch anything that was going around. Now that I’ve had enough time (14 years) to experiment, I’ve learned ways to either minimise the symptoms or to try and speed up recovery time.

I’ve also learned from mistakes that I’ve made, which seemed to have resulted in poor immunity at times. One major issue I ran into was developing a Zinc deficiency, which was mostly likely caused by the high intakes of copper I get from my plant-based diet. I had to supplement 50 mg Zinc Picolinate to correct it. My main symptoms were frequent infection (one after another), dry / painful skin on my toes and hands. I also developed acne again! Something I hadn’t experienced to this degree since before I stared doing CRON.

Almost immediately upon supplement the Zinc, my symptoms started to disappear and have not come back. I think Zinc deficiencies might be more common among vegetarians and vegans. There’s no great way to test for it, but you can get a liquid solution to taste and that can give an indication of you’re deficient.

If you feed your body all the essential nutrients, and you have good sleeping habits (lack of sleep can significantly increase the chance of getting sick) then you’re already going to do a lot better than would’ve in fending off these bugs. The first priority should always be to make sure that you analyse your diet and you’re getting over 100% of everything, and in the right amounts. And then on top of that, you can work on using other things either as a preventative at certain times of the year or even to nip it in the bud before it develops beyond the early stages of infection.

5 THINGS TO IMPROVE AND SUPPORT A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM

1. GARLIC

Garlic is great ingredient that can be added to many different foods and has many health benefits, not just immune system boosting effects. Garlic’s man active component is called allicin, which is created when the cloves are crushed and ailliinase reacts with alliin.

When using garlic, I recommend that you crush the garlic and leave it for a few minutes, and then consume it with something. From my experience, when I felt I was developing a scratchy throat (sign of a cold), I crushed at least 4 gloves of garlic and spread it on some bread with some olive oil. It can be strong, so be careful not to burn your mouth! But it’s very effective.

If you don’t fancy smelling of garlic by eating then all day, you can additionally take one capsules of Allicin per day which is equivalent getting the same amount of allicin as you’d get by eating 25 cloves of garlic, but now without the smell. One study showed that these capsules reduced the incidence of colds and significantly improved recovery time.

Garlic is one of the best natural remedies to boost your immune system and cure early stage infections, buy not effective for colds if the infection has gone too far. There are many studies published on the antimicrobial effects of garlic and allicin on pubmed for the prevention and treatments of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections either alone or in combination with antibiotics.

If there is one food or supplement I’d recommend everyone take, or have close at hand, it’d be garlic.

Other benefits: garlic lowers blood pressure, reduces AGE’s, lowers glucose, improves the gut by altering gut bacteria (which is also part of our immune system).

2. GINSENG

Ginseng has been touted to have many medicinal properties. It’s a treatment that has been used for many years for colds and flu in countries like Korea and China. North American Ginseng appears to be the most powerful in the treatment of acute respiratory infection.

Studies have found that this common herb can significantly shorten the length of colds by 6.2 days, and the best effect is when it’s taken preventatively for two to for months.  You can find it here if you want to give it a go this autumn / winter. Ginseng reduced the number of colds by around 25% in five trials examining the effects of North American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).

Tips: Ginseng can be added to hot water to make ginseng tea, add to smoothies. It’s available in many different forms.

Other benefits: Helps boost metabolism to lose weight, increases stamina, and lower blood sugar.

3. GREEN TEA

Green tea is one of my favourite drinks. There’s an old Chinese proverb which says: “Rather three days without food than a day without tea”. I think drinking tea has almost become a ritual for me. First thing I do in the morning is make a cup of green tea.

Green Tea contains many different compounds or polyphenols which promote health. Two of the main components in helping boost the immune system are EGCG and L-Theanine. Studies suggest that the compound EGCG directly inhibits entry and replication of viruses like the common cold, influenza, and others. Tea primes the immune system so it can more quickly fight off infections before they have a chance to take hold.

Tips: Add some ginger and lemon to your tea to make even better. Citrus fruits may boost the benefits of driniking green tea and ginger contains gingerols which help block inflammation, and  also decrease nausea, which some people get from the tannins in green tea. Adding Manuka Honey to the tea is also a great idea if you have a bad throat and want to prevent bacterial throat infections. Gargling the tea might be more effective in preventing infections.

Other benefits: Boosts metabolism for weight loss, protects against diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. In a study from Japan, researchers found that drinking 5 cups of green tea or more reduced all cause mortality for women by 23% for Women and 12% for Men.

4. SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

There are many different types of mushrooms, but Shiitake mushrooms proven to be one of the most powerful in boosting immune function. Mushrooms contain Beta Glucans which stimulate parts of the immune system as well as decrease the level of inflammation in the body.

They help us to better fight of viral and bacterial infection. Shiitake mushrooms boost natural killer cells which destroy abnormal cells, whether they are cancerous or been infected and viruses.

In a randomised study looking at human immunity with the consumption of mushrooms, researchers noted significant and beneficial changes in the immune system after just consuming 5 to 10 g of mushrooms daily. If you don’t like Mushrooms, you can alternatively take a Beta Glucan Supplement.

Beta Glucans have been studied for years looking at its immune system modulating effects, and to date there’s been over 6000 studies published looking at prophylaxis and treatment of infectious disease (read about some of them here). A trial involving 162 people, researchers gave participants of the study beta glucan and found that people in the treatment group experienced 25% fewer colds.

Tips: Don’t continually take the supplement. I recommend that you take a beta glucan supplement or consume mushrooms intermittently. So consider taking the supplement during times when you’re stressed, lack sleep, or surrounding by sick people. There is some evidence that some of the immune system benefits / changes decrease with continued use.

Other benefits: May lower cholesterol, lower risk of cancer, and well being in general. Mushrooms also provide vitamin D.

5. ELDERBERRY

Elderberry can be used to help support a healthy immune system and protect you from developing colds. Elderberries contain anthocyanins which are strong antioxidants that help block free radical damage in the body. Studies have shown that elderberries are anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory.

In 2016 a study was published looking at the development of colds and cold duration in Air-Travellers. The study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial and it confirmed previous findings that this fruit protects against colds and reduces cold symptoms. The placebo group had a much longer duration of symptoms compared to the treatment group (117 vs 57, p = 0.02). Symptom score was also significantly higher in the placebo group vs treatment (583 vs 247, p = 0.05).

Tips: Use Elderberries in jams, sweets, pies and other foods. Do not eat them Raw! You can alternatively get some Gummies, which also contain vitamin A, C, D, E and Zinc for improved immune system.

These are just some of the things you can do to boost your immune system, but of course there are many more. Below I’ve listed a few posts so you can learn more about how to enhance your immune system to protect yourself from becoming sick whether it be from viruses, bacteria, fungal infection. Or even cancer and autoimmune diseases. Without our immune system, we wouldn’t last long at all. If you want to live to a very old age, your immune system is something that you have to keep healthy. You have to slow down the immune system from aging or else you would die of illnesses such as pneumonia and other common infections.

See related posts on The Immune System

  1. Enhancing Your Immune System
  2. Fasting Rejuvenates The Immune System
  3. Intermittent Fasting With Valter Longo, Ph.D Interview 
  4. Probiotics and Immunity

Enhancing Your Immune System

The immune system and CR. Methods to enhance resistance to infection.

We all die of something, whether it is heart attack, stroke or cancer which are the major killers… and ranking up there is also death from infections. Usually viral or bacterial infections can be fatal to many of the elderly because their immune systems are weak. So recently there has been discussion about what if people eating a very healthy calorie restricted diet do not die of the common killers, what would be likely to deliver that final blow. Many conclude, infection related death. Based on some of the evidence in animal models where infections such as influenza and bacterial infections are given to mice and looking at survival between ad libitum and calorie restricted groups, it seems that moderate to severe calorie restriction might increase the risk of death. It seems that in the CR group they do not have enough reserves before to keep them above a critically low weight to sustain life before their adaptive immune system has a chance to take control of the infection. Usually during the time symptoms come on there is a marked decrease in appetite and the bodies resources go into fighting the infection. Fever, increasing metabolic rate, you expend more energy. As you can see below there is a decrease in body weight amongst the both groups but the control animals maintain enough of their body weight to stay alive, whereas the CR group there is a downward trend and the mortality rate reaches 100%

“Weight loss occurs in mice with influenza infection due to a decrease in energy intake and an increase in energy demands. Young and aged mice can lose up to 35% of their body weight and recover from infection, which suggests a critical weight indicative of sufficient energy reserves to recover from infection. Lifelong ER results in a 30% decrease in starting weight that may be only marginally above this critical threshold. In the case of aged ER mice, 100% mortality was observed by d 7 (X), before an adaptive T cell response, suggesting a primary influence of underweight on innate immunity. Adapted from”[1].

In humans the critical body weight in which there is a critical threat to life is a BMI of 13 in males and 11 in Females. In the study by Dr Luigi Fontana at Washing University in St Louis he has shown that the average BMI for people practicing long term calorie restriction is 19.6 which is above the recommended normal bmi between 18.5-25. This might give more than enough reverses to survive an infection if such a weight is maintained. However, under more severe CR low body weights among humans have been reported as low as a BMI of 15, which could pose a risk to premature death if a severe infection were to occur. Antibiotics would be a very useful in helping ensure that CR does work in humans and is not prevented by excess mortality due to infectious disease. If CR does retard the aging process in humans but the risk of death from infectious remains higher, then this might negate any potential lifespan extension that could be gained from lifelong calorie restriction. During previous times before antibiotics, periods of semi starvation that would have extended the lives of those lived under such conditions if there were better hygiene and treatments for common bacterial infections that are usually easily treated today. Although antibiotics are currently becoming less effective because of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, newer generations of antibiotics are expected to become available within the next 10 years. Recently, there have been calls for 10 new antibiotics by 2020, and these are to be completely new classes of antibiotics which will work in more novel ways than how the current antibiotics work.

Calorie Restriction improved immunity, theoretically and anecdotally… but what is the actual evidence?

In contrast to the animal evidence which suggests that CR might predispose humans to infections, there is little human evidence to back this up. So far the work on CR effect on immunity in humans hasn’t been looked at. Recently there was a study that showed those who have done short term calorie restriction have improved T cell function, which is crucial against viral infections. Actually this is in-line with the animal evidence also. Also in Rhesus monkeys which are closer to humans biologically and genetically, also have reported to have slowed aging of their immune systems. However, unfortunately the human study was actually not the level of calorie restriction that is used in animal experiments or in the study by DR Fontana at WUSTL. These subjects were overweight, and normalizing their weight by decreasing their calories by 30%, improved immunity. This is not a big surprise. Excess weight puts the body into a state of chronic low grade inflammation, the immune system is chronically activated leading to immune system dysfunction other problems such as asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.

Anecdotal reports from those that are practicing calorie restriction seem to be reporting less infections or absence of infections since starting calorie restriction. However this might not be purely because of the calorie restriction itself, but might be an effect of the foods that are consumed. Plant foods typically contain many compounds that have found to be beneficial in killing bacteria, viruses and fungi. Flavanoids, polyphenols, catechins from green tea, lactoferrin, fatty acids like omega 3, beta glucans which are all generally consumed in far greater amounts in a typical calorie restriction diet. The combination of these compounds might have a synergistic effect in not only attenuating the decrease in immune systems capability to deal with the infection, but also directly inhibit infections. I will look at a few compounds that have shown to be promising in fighting infections.

Beta glucans – Beta glucans are derived from yeast and also oats. Oat beta glucans is mildly effective at increasing immunity, as shown in one study where they showed that in humans, oat beta glucan was able to offset the negative effects of exercise stress [2].

“Exercise stress was associated with a 28% increase in morbidity (P = 0.036) and 18% increase in mortality (P = 0.15). Ingestion of ObetaG before infection prevented this increase in morbidity (P = 0.048) and mortality (P = 0.05)”

The immune system modulating effects of beta glucans has been known for a couple of decades. When you ingest the beta glucan from yeast the glucan molecules are unaffected by the acid of your stomach and pass through unchanged, once they are absorbed into the blood they are taken up my phagocytes which digest them, and then over a period of days slowly release the glucan molecules and they attach to beta glucan receptors on the cell surface of macrophages. This causes a cascade of effects which basically makes the immune system on alert, ready to attack any foreign invaders. Increased NK cytotoxicity, an increase in the number of macrophages which basically eat bacteria and dead cells and digest them within the lysosomes. Beta glucans increase a number of cytokines which attract immune cells to the site of infection, but without increasing IL-1 which is responsible for pyrexia.

One particular blend of alpha and beta glucans has a powerful effect on the immmune system

* Increasing the production of cytokines

* Increasing the activity of NK cells by as much as 300-800%

* Increasing populations of macrophages, in some cases doubling them

* Increasing the number of dendritic cells

* Increasing the number of T cells by as much as 200%

I believe that a beta glucan supplement, even if periodically taken during times where infection risk is higher at times of influenza outbreaks, norovirus outbreaks etc… Then it can be taken at these times since the effect on immunity is quite rapid.

Direct inhibitors or of pathogens

Tea polyphenols – Catechins that are found in green tea and white tea have anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal properties, EGCG is able to work in many different ways. Again viruses it not only alters the protein coating around the virus, but also blocks neuraminidase activity so that the virus is not able to be released from the host’s cell. A popular drug named drug oseltamivir which was widely used in the recent swine flu breakout also uses the same target to reduce symptoms of viral infections. One study in a Japanese care home they reported that influenza was reduced by over 90% if green tea was gargled every day. But the sample size was small. Green tea is a very safe beverage and with plenty of other benefits even if it doesn’t offer complete protection against influenza infections. Which are a big cause morbidity and death in the elderly. Secondary bacterial infections, lung infections primarily are the cause of death. EGCG can kill many times of bacteria, inhibit biofilm formation, and also enhance the effects of antibiotics so that they that they work better. In some cases reverse antibiotic resistance. Green tea also actually boosts the immune system.

“Among subjects taking CSF there were 32.1% fewer subjects with symptoms (P = 0.035), 22.9% fewer overall illnesses of at least 2 days duration (P = 0.092), and 35.6% fewer symptom days (P < p =” 0.017)” p =” 0.046)” style=”font-weight: bold;”>Vitamin D –

Vitamin D – This is one has had a lot of attention recently in the media. Researchers are beginning to understand its effects on immunity, and how it’s an immune system modulator. In that it basically makes the immune system smarter so that it can identify foreign pathogens and the innate immune system deals with it before it can take hold. Vitamin D3 when above a certain level in the blood is stored. Recent reports show that patients that take vitamin D3 report less colds and flu and it’s believed because vitamin D3 is a powerful inducer of LL37 peptides that punch holes in viruses, bacteria and fungi [11]. It’s recommended that optimal levels of 25 (OH) D are above 32ng. 1000IU of vitamin D3 tends to raise blood levels but approx 10ng.

Lactoferrin – Lactoferrin protects the body by binding to iron so that that the bacteria cannot use it. In breast milk there is a lot of lactoferrin and this is one of the reasons why babies who are breast fed have better immune systems. Lactoferrin coats anywhere where germs can gain entry into the body. Such as, the nose, eyes, sex organs. Consuming lactoferrin supplements is thought to be beneficial in protecting against infections. Lactoferrin is part of the innate immune system and is one of the first barriers to infection.

Ginger – It is a well known anti emetic. Meaning, it prevents sickness and nausea. Some doctors instruct women to use it while pregnant and have got morning sickness; other uses are travel sickness, general nausea and indigestion, acid reflux disease. The only one it doesn’t seem to be effective for is when use post operatively (after operation with G.A). It can be also used to help unblock the noise and is a weak antiviral so could help with cold symptoms.

D Mannose – 90% of UTI infections are caused by E coli bacteria. Usually D mannose is completely effective at being able to remove E coli from the bladder. Along the bladder surface there are D mannose receptors which the E coli bacteria attach to. When you consume D mannose (which is found in small amounts in cranberry juice, also known for its ability to prevent infections by making the bladder wall slippery so that bacteria cannot attach) the D mannose is not absorbed by the body and majority of it ends up in the urine. Once you flush out your bladder the E coli detaches from the bladder wall and has a higher affinity for the D mannose within the urine. The best thing about this cure is that there is no chance for resistance and it will clear any antibiotic resistant bacteria. Unfortunately for those unlucky 10% of infections, D mannose might not work and antibiotics are usually required. I highly recommend D mannose, especially for women as they are much more prone to infections than men. Please read this site; http://www.d-mannoseworks.com/ D mannose is a lot more effective than cranberry juice.

Manuka Honey – at least 10UMF, which is the strength of the honey, is able to kill even the most resistant pathogens against antibiotics. In fact, the university hospital in Cardiff, Wales, have been testing on wounds [12]. Not only is it a great anti inflammatory but it also helps kills MRSA infections, and other pathogens. Consuming Manuka honey is good for the throat and could prevent any throat infections like strept throat, and it could also prevent stomach infections like H pylori and food poison.

Garlic – It has been known for a very long time that garlic was a good anti bacterial, and anti viral. The compound responsible for this is the one that gives off that funny smell when you eat too much… but wouldn’t you rather just smell a bit of garlic than be sick? I know I would. There was a report a few years back saying that ‘garlic is the common cold cure’. Well not quite, however it does seem to do a remarkable job at reducing the number of colds, and reducing the number of days being ill. From BBC news website that reported on the garlic study

“Over a 90-day period during the winter when most colds occur, just 24 colds were recorded among those taking the supplement, compared to 65 amongst those taking the placebo. The study also found that those taking the supplement that did catch a cold were more likely to make a speedier recovery than those taking the placebo and the chances of re-infection following a cold were significantly reduced”

 

Probiotics – Antibiotics that are taken so often destroy both good and bad bacteria. I recommend consuming probiotic yogurts or to get a probiotic supplement. This will improve immunity, calm the immune system to help allergies, and also protect from overgrowth of organisms that can can disease.

If there was one supplement that I would take to increase resistance against pathogens it would be Beta glucans, specifically AHCC because of the science behind it is quite strong. Please do read the references below for more detailed information on this compound, and visit the website http://www.ahccresearch.com/how-ahcc-works.html to look at other studies listed and how the ahcc works

The combination of a good diet, calorie restriction, the knowledge of medicinal foods and modern medicine, I believe it’s possible to live a very long time. Be well. Free of disease, and live a long healthy life.

References

[1] Barry W. Ritz and Elizabeth M. Gardner. Malnutrition and Energy Restriction Differentially Affect Viral Immunity http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/136/5/1141

[2] Davis JM, Murphy EA, Brown AS, Carmichael MD, Ghaffar A, Mayer EP. Effects of oat beta-glucan on innate immunity and infection after exercise stress. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15292739

[3] Messaoudi, J. Warner, M. Fischer, B. Park, B. Hill, J. Mattison, M. A. Lane, G. S. Roth, D. K. Ingram, L. J. Picker, D. C. Douek, M. Mori, and J. Nikolich-Zugich. Delay of T cell senescence by caloric restriction in aged long-lived nonhuman primates. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103 (51):19448-19453, 2006.

[4] Ahmed T, Das SK, Golden JK, Saltzman E, Roberts SB, Meydani SN. Calorie restriction enhances T-cell-mediated immune response in adult overweight men and women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2009 Nov;64(11):1107-13. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

[5] Synergistic effect of nonspecific immunostimulation and antibiotics in experimental peritonitis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3303398[

[6]Supplementation with active hexose correlated compound increases survival following infectious challenge in mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18752476?

[7] Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) enhances resistance to infection in a mouse model of surgical wound infection. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17233570

[8] Prophylactic efficacy of a basidiomycetes preparation AHCC against lethal opportunistic infections in mice http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10946621

[9] Antiviral Res. 2005 Nov;68(2):66-74. Epub 2005 Aug 9 Antiviral effect of catechins in green tea on influenza virus http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16137775

[10] Rowe CA, Nantz MP, Bukowski JF, Percival SS.

Specific formulation of Camellia sinensis prevents cold and flu symptoms and enhances gamma,delta T cell function: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17914132

[11] Ziv OREN, Jeffrey C. LERMAN*, Gudmundur H. GUDMUNDSSON†, Birgitta AGERBERTH‡ and Yechiel SHAI Structure and organization of the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37 in phospholipid membranes: relevance to the molecular basis for its non-cell-selective activity http://www.biochemj.org/bj/341/0501/bj3410501.htm

[12] Is honey the answer to the MRSA crisis http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health-news/tm_objectid=16320886&method=full&siteid=50082&page=1&headline=is-honey-the-answer-to-the-mrsa-crisis–name_page.html

How to prevent infections

Over the years you kind of get to know what helps and what doesn’t when it comes to either stopping yourself from becoming sick, or just helping to relieve symptoms and hasten up the process of recovery. So in this post I will focus on what you can do to avoid becoming ill with viral infections. September is coming and when all the kids start going back to school there tends to be an outbreak of colds, and then shortly after the flu, and right now there seems to be a spike in the number of gastroenteritis illness which is mostly likely caused by the norovirus.

Green Tea – Green tea contains a polyphenol compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This is usually the most active component against many virses, bacteria and fungi. Green Tea seems to alter the protein around the virus and stop it infecting the cells in the first place [1], but if this fails then green tea actually boosts the immune system. [2].

“Among subjects taking CSF there were 32.1% fewer subjects with symptoms (P = 0.035), 22.9% fewer overall illnesses of at least 2 days duration (P = 0.092), and 35.6% fewer symptom days (P < 0.002), compared to subjects taking placebo. gammadelta T cells from subjects taking CSF proliferated 28% more (P = 0.017) and secreted 26% more IFN-gamma (P = 0.046) in response to gammadelta T cell antigens, as compared to gammadelta T cells from subjects taking placebo. CSF was well-tolerated.”

And another mechanisms from another study [3]

The compounds strongly inhibited adsorption of the viruses on red blood cell (RBC). They also restricted the growth of avian influenza virus in ovo with minimum inhibition concentration (MIC) of 5-10 microM far exceeding the neuraminidase (NA) inhibitor oseltamivir or M2 proton channel inhibitor amantadine. The antiviral activity appears to be mediated by interaction with hemagglutinin (HA)/viral membrane rendering HA less fusogenic at the initial stage of infection.

My advice is to replace whatever you drink with green tea. Make sure you get a good quality one however, something like Sencha or Matcha green tea, and from Japan if possible rather than China. The decaf products do comtain less EGCG than the caffeinated also. I believe 3 cups of decaf is equivalent to 1 cup of caffeinated green tea.


Garlic
– It has been known for a very long time that garlic was a good anti bacterial, and anti viral. The compound responsible for this is the one that gives off that funny smell when you eat too much… but wouldn’t you rather just smell a bit of garlic than be sick? I know I would. There was a report a few years back saying that ‘garlic is the common cold cure’. Well not quite, however it does seem to do a remarkable job at reducing the number of colds, and reducing the number of days ill with symptoms. What you do is get 2 cloves of garlic and consume them immediately when you feel a cold coming on, then I eat 2 every 3-4 hours for a couple days… I then just stick to me normal intake of 2-4 per day as a preventative measure. So crush the garlic well and then you could possibly put it on a bit of bread, or if you’re really brave try chewing it and swallowing. Be careful you don’t burn your mouth because believe me, it is pretty strong and can burn right through the tissue in your mouth easily. From BBC news website that reported on the garlic study

Over a 90-day period during the winter when most colds occur, just 24 colds were recorded among those taking the supplement, compared to 65 amongst those taking the placebo.

The study also found that those taking the supplement who did catch a cold were more likely to make a speedier recovery than those taking the placebo and the chances of re-infection following a cold were significantly reduced

If you actually take a look at the full paper you will see that the people who were taking garlic only had significant symptoms for 1.5 days compared to 5 days in the placebo group!

More studies are definitely needed on garlic and common colds/flu. I have tried it out on a few friends and family members and their colds completely went away within 1 day if caught early enough. It has also worked for me and over the last 14 months since I been trying it I have only felt like I had a cold for about 1/2 a day. The results will vary because it also depends on the hosts immunity to virses as well. Garlic might simply just restore you to normal (average) if you are under stress, sleep deprived, already ill or have some other condition that affects your immunity.

Nasal Irrigation – Sounds disgusting right? Well a recent study was published showing that kids who used products that spray water up the nose such as sterimar help ward of infection. Sterimar contains water and sea salt at the right concentrations similar to that of the human body. Because of the osmotic effect of salt you want to have the right concentration so that it doesn’t cause irritation to the nasal lining and even bleeding. But interestingly sea salt (or any salt) actually helps kill bacteria by this method, as well as increasing the action of cilia which is tiny hairs in your nose that remove particles and keep mucous moving. When these stop working or are paralyzed by things like cigarette smoke you can be more susceptible to colds and sinusitis (bacterial infection). You can also buy something called a neti pot which are quite cheap and make up your own using 1/4 of a tea spoon of salt for 500ml water. This seems to work fine for me. Make sure it’s cooking salt and not table salt. I personally do not recommend doing this neti wash if you have an active infection because it can easily spread the cold to your ears and block those up, simply because of where the eustachian tubes are located.

Vitamin D3 – Have you been looking at the news lately on this vitamin? It seems like everyday there is positive results coming from studies. A double blind placebo controlled study that was held in new york showed that giving subjects vitamin D3 resulted in 70% less colds and flu. There was another study that took place in a hosptial where a doctor gave his patients over 1000IU of vitamin D3 per day and when there was an outbreak of flu, none of those recieving the vitamin D caught it. I predict that in the UK there will be a big cold and flu season again simply because we’ve had such a poor summer. The best thing you can possibly do for yourself right now is to make sure that you have high normal level of 1,25(OH)D3. You can order this test from your doctor, but 1000IU capsules should get you within a good range, and 2000IU is almost certainly safe too. If you go down to my previous posts a bit you can view a couple videos on vitamin D that might interest you. Here are some extracts from the medicalnews website.

guess our hospital was under luckier stars as only about 12% of our patients were infected and no one died. However, as the epidemic progressed, I noticed something unusual. First, the ward below mine was infected, and then the ward on my right, left, and across the hall – but no patients on my ward became ill. My patients had intermingled with patients from infected wards before the quarantines. The nurses on my unit cross-covered on infected wards. Surely, my patients were exposed to the influenza A virus. How did my patients escape infection from what some think is the most infectious of all the respiratory viruses?

My patients were no younger, no healthier, and in no obvious way different from patients on other wards. Like other wards, my patients are mostly African Americans who came from the same prisons and jails as patients on the infected wards. They were prescribed a similar assortment of powerful psychotropic medications we use throughout the hospital to reduce the symptoms of psychosis, depression, and violent mood swings and to try to prevent patients from killing themselves or attacking other patients and the nursing staff. If my patients were similar to the patients on all the adjoining wards, why didn’t even one of my patients catch the flu?

A short while later, a group of scientists from UCLA published a remarkable paper in the prestigious journal, Nature. The UCLA group confirmed two other recent studies, showing that a naturally occurring steroid hormone – a hormone most of us take for granted – was, in effect, a potent antibiotic. Instead of directly killing bacteria and viruses, the steroid hormone under question increases the body’s production of a remarkable class of proteins, called antimicrobial peptides. The 200 known antimicrobial peptides directly and rapidly destroy the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the influenza virus, and play a key role in keeping the lungs free of infection. The steroid hormone that showed these remarkable antibiotic properties was plain old vitamin D.

Steam Inhalation – This is simple but can be quite dangerous so be careful if you decide to do this. Just boil kettle water and put it into a bowl. Then get a towel and put your head under it and breath in the steam. Simple but only seems effective for a short while. I still use the method however.

Ginger – Ginger is a well known anti emetic. Meaning, it prevents sickness and nausea. Some doctors instruct women to use it while pregnant and has morning sickness, other uses are travel sickness, general nausea and indigestion, acid reflux disease. The only one it doesn’t seem to be effective for is when use post operatively (after operation with G.A). It can be also used to help unblock the noise and is an weak antiviral so could help with cold symptoms. The best use for this herb is simply when you have a bad stomach and don’t like being sick. I have managed not to be sick for almost 6 years because of gingers anti emetic effect.

Red Wine – There was a study on the BBC news website a few years back showing that red wine stops common colds. This is probably due to the resveratrol found in red wine. [5]

“Rather than directly attacking the flu virus itself, resveratrol seems to block host-cell functions that are essential for viral replication, says the report by Anna T. Palamara and colleagues at the University of Rome. They write that the substance holds promise as a possible weapon against flu.”

Resveratrol also has been succesful at blocking bird flu too. Might be worth keeping this one handy in case of a future outbreak.

Broccoli – Broccoli can restore supressed immune function and also transiently stimulate immune function. The effect is quite dramatic and in-vivo studies show that it stimulates various immune system components to augment the hosts defence against cancer, viruses, bacterial infections and fungi infections.

Diindolylmethane (DIM) Immune Modulating Properties Include:
Stimulation of Interferon-γ Sensitivity by Increasing IFN-γ Receptors
Stimulation of Interferon-γ, G-CSF, IL-6 and IL-12 Production
Synergy with Interferon-γ in Expression of the MHC-I Complex

From DIM activation centre website

I recommend you look at reference [8] and read the results for yourself.

Lactoferrin – Lactoferrin can be found in breast milk, cows milk, whey protein. Your body uses lactoferrin in various places such as saliva, tears, urinary tract to prevent infections. It can also be useful in preventing food poison too. Theres a good article over at LEF that you can take a look at, see HERE

Beta Glucan – The one derived from yeast is best, but oats also have an impact on immune system too. I recommend you view this WIKI article here. Beta Glucan clearly has a massive impact on immunity.

Wash hands How simple is this? Just wash your hands frequently and do it with soap for at least 25 seconds under running water. Do not eat before washing your hands


UTI Infections
– This is mostly for the girls as they tend to get these much more than men, but the advice can apply to both. Cranberry juice has severeal mechanisms by which is can stop things like bladder infections. Both because it is acidic and it makes the wall of the bladder slipper so the bacteria can’t attach. E coli is most often the culprit in these infections. Another very effective method is to use something called D-Mannose. D mannose is basically a sugar and doesn’t get digested, passes into the urine and coats the bladder wall, and the bacteria (only works mostly for E coli) attach to the sugar molecules and flush out… without killing a bacterium too! 😀


Dental Infections
– There is some evidence that green tea is effective against the bacteria that involved in tooth decay. Abscesses are painful, from experience, and from hearing other peoples cry of pain lol. So apart from your daily routine of brushing, flossing, mouth wash etc… drinking green tea is good for this too!

OK that is all from me today… I hope that some of this information will be of use to you. I hope everyone is able to stay well and free from infection. The above wont always work, but it can help as the evidence shows.

[1] Song JM, Lee KH, Seong BL.
Antiviral effect of catechins in green tea on influenza virus.
Link to study

[2] Rowe CA, Nantz MP, Bukowski JF, Percival SS.
Specific formulation of Camellia sinensis prevents cold and flu symptoms and enhances gamma,delta T cell function: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Link to study

[3] Garlic ‘prevents common cold’

[4] Epidemic Influenza And Vitamin D

[5] Red wine ‘protects from colds’

[6] Chemical in grapes inhibits flu virus

[7] Compound in broccoli has immune-boosting properties, finds new study

[8] DIM

‘Feed a cold’ is good advice

No I’m not unfortunate to become sick just yet with a cold. But my niece, nephew, older brother, cousin became ill with it now. I had a fairly good sleep last night and slept 10 hours with just waking up once after about 4 hours. Sleeping is an excellent idea if you are run down with something. Otherwise I’ve been throwing down garlic to see if that helps. If it doesn’t work to kill the virus or boost immune system, maybe it will keep people away for a short while because of the odor coming from my body haha 🙂

Here is another interesting article I found a while back. The advice that one should feed a cold seems quite valid according to this study.

Dutch scientists have conducted small-scale experiments which suggest that both approaches are the best way of priming the immune system to cope with different infections. The research, reported on the New Scientist website, found that the different approaches may activate different types of immune cell.

Viral Infections
After the liquid meal, levels of a body chemical called Gamma interferon had multiplied by four. This chemical indicates that the body is using a type of immune response designed to kill cells which have become infected, and tends to be directed at viral infections.

Bacterial Infections
The water-only diet, however, produced almost a fourfold increase in levels of a different chemical, called interleukin-4. This is a sign of an immune response which launches attacks on invaders lurking outside the cells. Most bacterial infections require this kind of response.

However one of the things you might get from this advice is more cold symptoms, if you think about it, increasing levels of interferon while fighting a viral infection might cause an increase in temperature, fatigue, tiredness etc… but you might get over it quicker? I don’t know :p