natural immune support

  1. Boost immune system with vitamin D

    The best immune-boosting nutrient is...

    Your immune system is like your bank account. It's important at every age -- but the older you get, the more essential it is to your overall wellbeing.

    I can't do much about your bank account. But I can help you with your immune system, because I have a long list of ways you can invest in your good health.

    And the one deposit you should make daily is a stash of vitamin D, because new research confirms that the sunshine vitamin just might be the most powerful immune-boosting nutrient of all.

    To put it simply: The more you have as you age, the lower your levels of damaging inflammation. And if your D levels drop, your levels of the inflammation markers IL-6 and C-reactive protein start to rise, according to the study of nearly 1,000 Irish men and women ages 60 and up.

    Low D levels also increase the ratio of IL-6 to IL-10 as well as CRP to lL-10. In plain English, IL-10 is the opposite of an inflammation marker. It's an inflammation fighter.

    You want more IL-10 and less of that other stuff -- but when your D levels sink, the scales get tipped in the wrong direction, as the study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism clearly shows.

    That's not the only way vitamin D can boost your immune system. That's not even the most important way.

    The most critical part of your immune system are your T cells. They're like your soldiers in the fight against disease, because they seek out and destroy viruses and other invaders.

    And they get their marching orders from vitamin D.

    When T cells detect a virus or another invader, they start looking for that D before they can start to fight. If they don't find it, or don't find enough, they shut down.

    And you get sick.

    Of course, D is also essential to everything from bone health to brain function, so you really need to make sure you have enough. But if you're like most people, you're not even getting close to what you need.

    While your body is designed to make D from sunlight, that's not always the best (or even safest) way to get it. For that, I recommend a supplement with a minimum of 2,000 IUs per day.

    Many people will need more, and some people will need double that level or higher. Your doctor can help figure out how much you have now, what you need and the best way to get it.

  2. Vitamin D plus grapes can boost immune system function

    Boost your immune system with this trick

    A little bit of sunshine and a big bowl of fresh red grapes -- that's not just a recipe for a terrific early autumn snack.

    It's also a recipe for good health and proper immune system function.

    The vitamin D you get from sunlight is one of the most powerful nutrients around, while the resveratrol found in red grapes is an antioxidant known to fight the effects of aging.

    Each on its own can give your immune system a lift. But this is a case where 1 + 1 equals more than two -- because new research shows how the two compounds go together like peanut butter and jelly when it comes to immune system support.

    Together, they can actually enhance a critical immune system gene called cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP for short -- and it's a gene you need to fight disease, especially infection caused by bacteria.

    Of the hundreds of compounds tested on the CAMP gene, the two that stood out for having this effect were vitamin D and a class of nutrients known as stilbenoids that includes the resveratrol I just mentioned as well as the pterostilbene found in blueberries.

    You can of course get both by enjoying fresh fruit. But if you need more immune support -- or if berries and grapes aren't in season where you live -- you can get many of the same nutrients from an antioxidant supplement blend or resveratrol capsules.

    And while sunshine is the best natural source of vitamin D, the very real threats of sunburn and skin cancer means you should limit your time outdoors (and use an all-natural sunscreen when you are exposed).

    Supplements are a safe and inexpensive way to get the D you need for good health and immune system function without the risks of excess sunlight. Most people need between 2,000 IUs and 5,000 IUs per day.

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