After watching BBC 1's documentary on 'The Truth About... Boosting Your Immune System', with interest last night, I share my thoughts about the programme's contents and their mention of natural supplements, as well as the positive effect that last night's episode could have on how people think about and tackle immune health going forward.
Did any of you catch ‘The Truth About… Boosting Your Immune System’ last night on BBC 1?
With the current global pandemic, for many of us immune health may be top of mind more than ever before.
Luckily, we're here to help, as were Dr Ronx Ikharia and their team last night with their latest BBC documentary. Here, I help summarise some of the contents of the programme:
1. Immune-boosting supplements explored
Herbal remedies were one of the first areas to be explored and, unsurprisingly to us, Echinacea came up trumps. Professor Michael Heinrich from the UCL School of Pharmacy explained that Echinacea, as is used in our Echinaforce® remedy, has some of the best research behind it when it comes to supporting immune health with herbal remedies. He was quoted saying:
'Echinacea is one of the best-studied herbal medical products and the evidence is certainly reasonable. It makes therapeutic sense to help prevent, and in many cases also treat, symptoms of the common cold and mild flu [with echinacea].'
Impressively, research has suggested that Echinacea may help to reduce the duration (by up to a day and a half) and severity of the symptoms of the common cold.1
The team also highlighted the importance of quality when it comes to selecting Echinacea products. This means opting for a brand that uses fresh, organic Echinacea extracts and opting for an end product that is 'THR' certified.
The team then went on to explain how other nutrients, including zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D, may also have some immune-boosting powers - just the very same nutrients that appear in our Immune Support product! Handy.
As we already know, this may be especially useful if you are already deficient in any of these nutrients, so, there may not be much therapeutic benefit of stocking up on countless nutrients unnecessarily, but this is exactly why vitamin D may be of particular benefit – so many of us are at risk of deficiency!
So, the advice still stands that the majority of people should be taking 10ug or 400iu of vitamin D during the winter months, if not, all year long.
2. Diet is key for good immunity
Just as we always advise, the team from the BBC highlighted the importance of a good diet, and how simply stocking up on supplements isn't going to cut it!
The team helped confirm that a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre and lower in refined sugar and 'beige foods' could help to cleverly modulate our immune cells (allowing them to react reasonably but not too forcefully!) to potential invading pathogens.
The medical team visualised this nicely with the help of some examples from some 'hunter-gatherer' type population subsets (basically, groups of people eating a very unrefined, fresh food diet). They showed that this benefit was likely to come, at least partly, from the improvements in gut bacteria diversity that a healthy and varied fresh food diet can provide. Hurray for healthy guts!
3. Other useful lifestyle habits to support immune health
Throughout the duration of the documentary the team also explored some other helpful lifestyle habits that could improve or, on the other hand, hinder your immune responses.
Many of these we discuss regularly, including: excess alcohol being detrimental, prioritising sleep, doing enough exercise but not too much (as this becomes stressful on your system) and reducing stress.
One focus, interestingly, was on the potential benefits of massage. Whilst I've previously appreciated the positive effects of good circulation and relaxation for immune health, the actual act of getting a massage for this very purpose hadn't quite occurred to me before! So, if you need a nice excuse to get booked in for a massage (when the pandemic's better controlled and these can occur again, of course) that could be just it – you're helping boost your immunity! Watch my self-care tip video below, for more info on this.
My Self-Care Tip: How to take Echinaforce tablets and tincture
Here I explain how to take Echinaforce tablets and drops to best support your immune system.