The immune system plays a vital role in keeping the body healthy by providing a balance between eliminating invading bacteria and viruses, while avoiding damaging the surrounding healthy tissue in the process. However, in the case of people with autoimmune disorders or immune dysfunction, the mechanism to maintain protection of healthy tissue fails and the result is that the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy cells1-2. For some infections, for example lung infection from Covid-19, overactive immune response causing host tissue damage actually causes more life-threatening problems than the virus itself3. Furthermore, overactive immune function can lead to auto-immune flare ups and ongoing chronic health problems4 leaving people more susceptible to infections.
To optimise immune function and prevent complications during infection or times of chronic inflammation it is important to offer protection to the body with a focus on liver, gut and brain health5-7. The ultimate 3 step immune booster plan involves:
Building up natural defences to protect your own cells and tissue at the site of the immune battle
Improving regulation of immune function so that the systems don’t over-fire when eliminating invaders
Repairing and balancing the immune and inflammatory centre of the body – the gut and the microbiome
Below are our top 5 ways to supercharge your natural immunity and information on some ‘must have’ immune boosters to try.
Glutathione is made in our liver and offers protection to our body during infections and inflammation.
GPx Cell Protect as an all-in-one glutathione and GPx booster. It contains the right building blocks in the right ratios to build glutathione in the liver.
1. Boost your glutathione levels through supplementation
Glutathione (GSH) is an essential co-factor and super antioxidant that is made in our liver and plays the important role of recycling up to 22 immune-related enzymes that help protect host cells during infection and inflammation. During times of prolonged stress glutathione levels rapidly reduce as do our natural defences towards inflammation, invaders, bacteria and viruses. The problem is that glutathione needs to be built by the liver as this is where it mainly functions. Be aware of encapsulated glutathione (lipospheric) or whole glutathione as they are claimed to increase absorption of glutathione into the blood stream however glutathione is not a blood specific antioxidant but liver specific, so it needs to be built in the liver to be most effective. Research has shown that supplementation of the building blocks of glutathione is still the most effective way to recharge your glutathione levels, fire-up your natural defences and give your body a significant immune boost8. In clinical studies supplementing glutathione was shown to reduce the frequency and severity of viral infections9. The ideal building block formula would include N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), L-glutamine, lipoic acid and a liver detox with milk thistle. We have formulated the ultimate all-in-one glutathione booster to build natural immunity called GPx Cell Protect.
2. Increase your Selenium intake
Selenium is our most powerful antioxidant and sits in the active site of our most protective enzyme called Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx). GPx is actually a series of 8 different types of antioxidant enzymes, each being specific to a different part of the body (GPx 1-8)10. Its specificity towards oxidants and rate with which it reacts makes it the body’s most protective antioxidant, offering 20x more protection than vitamin C. High levels of GPx result in more energy, better immunity, enhanced vitality and a reduction of chronic oxidative stress. The levels of GPx in your body are reliant on adequate intake of Selenium11-12, which can often be lacking in a normal diet, especially in countries like New Zealand where most soil is Selenium deficient. Ideally for someone experiencing chronic inflammation or requiring immune boosting they should be taking 100-150 mcg of organic Selenium per day. Brazil nuts are the best source of dietary Selenium with levels much higher than other foods. However, too much Selenium (>400mcg per day) can be toxic so finding the balance is important which is why supplementation can be beneficial as the dose can be easily monitored. Taking standardised dose of Selenomethionine daily can act as a powerful immune booster.
Selenium is incorporated in our most protective enzyme – Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx). Brazil nuts contain high levels of organic Selenium.
GPx Cell Protect as an all-in-one glutathione and Selenium supplement with optimum levels of Selenomethionine for immune boosting
Maca can bring balance and resilience back to your natural immune function
Specialised maca for men and maca for women formulas offer superior immune boosting ability
3. Balance your immune function with maca root
The ancient Incan superfood maca has been used for centuries in Peru to bring balance back to the body’s endocrine function and build strength and resilience to stress. Maca works in the body’s endocannabinoid system to regulate the body’s natural immune response. Studies have shown that maca reduces production of inflammatory cytokines as well as recruiting immune cells that are known to suppress the immune response during times of over activity13-16. As such maca can not only reduce the frequency of over or under active immune incidents but also the severity with which they occur. The long-term benefit means the immune system can operate at its optimum without compromising surrounding tissue. As an adaptogen (body balancer) it can also provide strong resilience for immunity during times of stress and act as a powerful natural immune booster. It is important to note however not all maca is equal and to ensure that it is consumed correctly in the right way for the right condition. Before beginning any treatment with maca it is important to firstly follow this checklist, and ensure it is NOT consumed raw. Finally check which maca is right for your condition here.
4. Bring balance back to your gut and biome with whole food probiotics
Over 80% of our immune system is in our gut so it is imperative to maintain a healthy balance of good gut bacteria. Without balance in our gut the body can easily become inflamed and the immune system can dysfunction over time. This process of dysbiosis, gut inflammation, leaky gut and eventually immune dysfunction can make it incredibly hard to fight off incoming invaders and infections as the immune system is consumed with its own internal battle. Supplementing with living probiotics can help support healthy immune function by providing essential enzymes, nutrients & friendly bacteria to balance the body and eliminate toxins. Once the gut is balanced, the immune system can begin to fire without the risk of overactivity. Ideally a probiotic whole food supplement should be incorporated into the daily routine of someone looking for an immune boost.
Balancing the gut biome can regulate the immune response and improve natural immunity towards bacteria and viruses
Immunity fuel is a New Zealand made specialised probiotic whole food supplement
Bone broths are an excellent way to improve immunity through healing the gut
New Zealand made Best Bones Broth has 43% higher collagen levels than other brands
5. Heal the gut with healing proteins, collagen and peptides
Gut integrity is vital to healthy immune function; gut inflammation can lead to the breakdown of the gut lining and increased permeability (leaky gut) leading to ongoing immune dysfunction. During leaky gut bacteria and pathogens easily permeate through the gut and put unwanted strain on our immune system. As the immune system continually fights against this leaky gut issue it slowly weakens over time and becomes more dysfunctional. This process is part of the inflammatory cascade and a big issue with people suffering with auto-immune or chronic fatigue related conditions. So in combination with pre- and pro-biotics it is important to be increasing intake of micronutrients and gut healing proteins and amino-acids. Including a high-collagen bone broth into your daily routine can rapidly increase gut healing rates and as such take stress off the immune system. A good bone broth therefore is a powerful immune booster. Combine it with apple cider vinegar, ginger and turmeric to further boost your natural immunity.
Get an immune booster pack today to build your natural immunity
Immunity pack for women
Immunity pack for men
To help guide on on your health journey we have created a health guide and food planner to ensure you are making the right health decisions for you and your body. To download you copy visit our homepage or click on the pictures below.
- Goodnow CC, Sprent J, Fazekas de St Groth B, Vinuesa CG. Cellular and genetic mechanisms of self tolerance and autoimmunity. Nature. 2005;435:590–7. doi: 10.1038/nature03724.
- Westerberg LS, Klein C, Snapper SB. Breakdown of T cell tolerance and autoimmunity in primary immunodeficiency-lessons learned from monogenic disorders in mice and men. Curr Opin Immunol. 2008;20:646–54. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2008.10.004.
- Zhe Xu, Lei Shi, Yijin Wang, Jiyuan Zhang, Lei Huang, Chao Zhang, et al. Pathological findings of COVID-19 associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Lancet Respir Med. 2020 Feb 18. pii: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30076-X/fulltext
- Noel Rose, Ian Mackay. The Autoimmune Diseases 6th Edition – Published Date: 11th November 2019. Hardcover ISBN: 9780128121023 – eBook ISBN: 9780128122426.
- Li, Bo & Selmi, Carlo & Tang, Ruqi & Gershwin, M & Ma, Xiong. (2018). The microbiome and autoimmunity: a paradigm from the gut–liver axis. Cellular and Molecular Immunology. 15. 10.1038/cmi.2018.7.
- F. De Luca Y. Shoenfeld. The microbiome in autoimmune diseases (2018). Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 195: 74–85.
- De Oliveira G, Leite A, Higuchi B, Gonzaga M, Mariano V. Intestinal dysbiosis and probiotic applications in autoimmune diseases. Immunology. 2017 Sep;152(1):1-12. doi: 10.1111/imm.12765. Epub 2017 Jun 29.
- 59. Rushworth G.F., Megson I.L. Existing and potential therapeutic uses for N-acetylcysteine: the need for conversion to intracellular glutathione for antioxidant benefits. Pharmacol. Ther. 2014;141:150–159. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2013.09.006.
- De Flora S, Grassi C, Carati L. Attenuation of influenza-like symptomatology and improvement of cell-mediated immunity with long-term N-acetylcysteine treatment. Eur Respir J. 1997;10:1535-1541.
- Brigelius-Flohe R., Maiorino M. Glutathione peroxidases. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 2013;1830:3289–3303.
- Allan C.B., Lacourciere G.M., Stadtman T.C. Responsiveness of selenoproteins to dietary selenium. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 1999;19:1–16.
- Sun Y., Ha P.C., Butler J.A., Ou B.R., Yeh J.Y., Whanger P. Effect of dietary selenium on selenoprotein W and glutathione peroxidase in 28 tissues of the rat. J. Nutr. Biochem. 1998;9:23–27.
- Zheng, W., et al., Lepidium meyenii Walp Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Activity against ConA-Induced Acute Hepatitis. Mediators Inflamm, 2018. 2018: p. 8982756.
- Moon, S.M., et al., Oleamide suppresses inflammatory responses in LPS-induced RAW264.7 murine macrophages and alleviates paw edema in a carrageenan-induced inflammatory rat model. Int Immunopharmacol, 2018. 56: p. 179-185.
- Oh, Y.T., et al., Oleamide suppresses lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of iNOS and COX-2 through inhibition of NF-kappaB activation in BV2 murine microglial cells. Neurosci Lett, 2010. 474(3): p. 148-153.
- Zou, Z., et al., Cx43 Inhibition Attenuates Sepsis-Induced Intestinal Injury via Downregulating ROS Transfer and the Activation of the JNK1/Sirt1/FoxO3a Signaling Pathway. Mediators of inflammation, 2019. 2019: p. 7854389-7854389. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30948926
Written by Dr Corin Storkey Founder and Director of Seleno Health. www.selenohealth.com
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