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Basic Nutrients for the Immune System

The immune system developes the idea of “self” for the body and eliminates from the body all “oneself” elements such as microbes and toxins. The immune system includes the lymphatic system, the thymus gland, the spleen, the liver, white blood cells, and special blood components. Each attacks different “nonself” materials.

The function of immunity does not rest solely on the immune system. The skin, the digestive system and the respiratory track all play roles in defending the body. Only about 10% of the microorganisms that enter the body actually reach the immune system. With that fact in mind, overall health is a clear priority. Stress, lack of refreshing sleep and poor nutrition can work against the immune system.

As with any aspect of health, supporting a healthy immune system should be one of our top priorities. Eat healthy, get enough sleep and exercise, and you will help your body maintain healthy defenses.

Supplementation can also be helpful. I am particularly interested in mushrooms and the support they provide for healthy resistive functions, of chores, you should not just go out into your yard and start picking mushrooms to eat. Certain species of mushrooms provide specific immune system support, a fact backed by hundreds of years of testing in the Orient.

Two of the most popular mushrooms over the centuries are maitake and reishi. Maitake mushroom is rich in beta-glucans and other phytonutrients that help support the immune system. Reishi mushroom has a 2,000-year history as one of nature’s premier tonic mushrooms for enhancing immune system function. It contains polysaccharides, sterols, triterpenoids and coumarin, which promote resistive functions at the cellular level.

Another standby mushroom through the centuries is shiitake. Valued for thousands of years for its unique immune-boosting properties, shiitake contains polysaccharides that boost the body’s defenses.

Gaining newfound popularity today, Agaricus blazei mushroom contains much higher concentrations of beta-glucans than many other species of mushroom to help shore up the immune system. While Agaricus blazei has been used for centuries in some cultures, it is just now getting its well-deserved “day-in-the-sun” in the United States.

Of course there are other avenues to follow in maintaining a healthy immune system. Colostrum is a great way to fortify your defenses. Designed by nature to help develop the immune systems of newborn mammals, colostrums is rich in immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, insulin-like growth fractor, amino acids, and more.

IP-6, also known as inositol hexaphosphate, is tremendous nutrient found in fiber-rich foods that protects the immune system at the cellular level. Another popular herbal preparation is olive leaf extract, rich in immune-system-supporting oleuropein.

The herbs best known for promoting immune system health, of chores, are Echinacea and goldenseal. Several other herbs are also effective. Astragalus can be used regularly and deglycerrhizinated (DGL) licorice is also very helpful.

A properly functioning immune system is indeed one of the most important keys to maintaining good health. Remember that proper nourishment, less stress, more exercise, a good night’s sleep and supplementation can help you keep your body’s defenses in fighting form.


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