More and more people are taking health supplements worldwide. A recent survey in Canada reported that some of the most commonly used are immune system supplements. Making an effort to maintain a healthy immune system is always a good idea, but is particularly important as the cold and flu season approaches.
The nightly news seems to constantly be reporting about new and more resistant strains of viruses; bird flu, pandemic flu and West Nile are just a few of the names we hear. Those people who feel that they have a healthy immune system are not overly worried about these viruses. People who have a healthy immune system are less likely to become infected with these viruses and are less likely to suffer complications if they do catch a bug.
Natural products that support healthy immune system function are popular and with good reason. Many of these immune system supplements have been the subject of scientific studies. Herbal and botanical products may pose less risk of side effects than vaccinations and anti-viral medications. In one controlled study, people who were given immune system supplements missed less work and developed infections less frequently than those who were given a placebo. The same study concluded that those who used immune system supplements and became infected with the flu developed fewer complications and were less likely to be hospitalized.
The basis for the study of modern immune system supplements is traditional medicine and native or folk remedies. Plants used historically to treat influenza, the common cold and other viral infections have been studied for their action on a healthy immune system. Scientists investigating immune system supplements have found that some are safer than others, some are more effective than others and some are less likely to interact with prescription or over the counter medications that a person may be taking.
Andrographis Paniculata (AP) is an ancient medicinal herb and is an ingredient in some immune system supplements. Scientific studies have shown that AP not only supports a healthy immune system, but may help those with a “not so” healthy immune system, by interfering with a virus’ ability to reproduce itself. AP has also been evaluated for side effects and safety and was found that even when very large doses were given to animals there were no toxic effects on the liver, kidneys or other organs of the body. Some commonly recommended immune system supplements are believed to be toxic to the liver if taken for extended periods of time. Studies of AP for extended use to support a healthy immune system have revealed no unwanted side effects, but herbalists warn that it should not be used by pregnant women or those who wish to become pregnant.
Extract of the olive leaf is another ingredient in some immune system supplements and has also been shown in scientific studies to have anti-viral properties. Numerous studies of the health benefits of green tea indicate that it may help support a healthy immune system. It is important to remember that nutrition plays a big role in the function of a healthy immune system, as well as the healthy function of all the systems of the body. Because nutrition is so important, some immune system supplements contain basic vitamins, like C, and essential minerals like magnesium, manganese and zinc. Even a daily multi-vitamin is important, particularly when the typical diet may not contain enough plant foods.
Most research concerning natural immune system supplements indicate that plant foods contain elements essential to the cells that fight viruses. Beta-glucan, found in the cell walls of algae, oats, barley, yeast, is one plant element that appears to be essential to the function of a healthy immune system. One of the better immune system supplements contains beta-glucan, all of the herbs, vitamins, minerals and botanicals mentioned above and a number of other extracts that all have clinical evidence and scientific studies supporting their use as immune system supplements. For more information about this product, visit www.immune-system-booster-guide.com
Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience in health care and currently writes informational articles for the Immune System Booster Guide. Learn more about how to naturally boost your immune system at [http://www.immune-system-booster-guide.com]