The truth about boosting your immune system

I reflect on BBC 1’s documentary ‘The Truth About… Boosting Your Immune System’

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Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
@EmmaThornton
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07 January 2021

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.

Luckily, there are no concerns there with Echinaforce®. Echinaforce® drops and tablets are actually 'PL' registered which means it's a 'licensed medicine'. This means it is a step up from the 'THR' (Traditional Herbal Registration) which most of our other licensed herbal remedies proudly boast. Click here to read Echinaforce Echinacea Drop's product information leaflet.


Relieve colds & flu symptoms by strengthening the immune system


• Made from organically grown, fresh extracts of Echinacea purpurea
• Relieves the symptoms of cold & flu by strengthening the immune system
• Multi-award winning and available in drops and tablets

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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.

References

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17597571/

 

Based on BBC 1's The Truth about Boosting Your Immune System.

Echinaforce® - Echinacea Drops

15ml

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For relieving the symptoms of colds and flu. Also in 50ml & 100ml drops.
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Echinaforce® - Echinacea tablets for cold and flu relief

42 tablets

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For relieving the symptoms of colds and flu. Also in 120 tabs.
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