The immune system plays a vital role in keeping the body healthy by providing a balance between eliminating invading bacteria and viruses, while avoiding damaging the surrounding healthy tissue in the process. However, in the case of people with autoimmune disorders or immune dysfunction, the mechanism to maintain protection of healthy tissue fails and the result is that the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy cells (1,2). For some infections, for example lung infection from Covid-19, overactive immune response causing host tissue damage actually causes more life-threatening problems than the virus itself (3). Furthermore, overactive immune function can lead to auto-immune flare ups and ongoing chronic health problems (4) leaving people more susceptible to infections.
To optimise immune function and prevent complications during infection or times of chronic inflammation it is important to offer protection to the body with a focus on liver, gut, and brain health (5,7). The ultimate 3 step - immune booster plan involves:
- Building up natural defences to protect your own cells and tissue at the site of the immune battle - this means the immune system can fire for longer and be more efficient
- Improving regulation of immune function so that the systems don’t over-fire when eliminating invaders - the immune system is more effective at turning on and off
- Repairing and balancing the immune and inflammatory centre of the body, namely the gut and the microbiome - this will reduce inflammation and the side-effects of poor immunity, such as fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, fogginess, lethargy and more.
Below are our top 5 ways to supercharge your natural immunity and information on some ‘must have’ immune boosters to try.
Glutathione is made in our liver and offers protection to our body during infections and inflammation.
GPx Cell Protect as an all-in-one glutathione and GPx booster. It contains the right building blocks in the right ratios to build glutathione in the liver.
1. Boost your glutathione levels through supplementation
Glutathione (GSH) is an essential co-factor and super antioxidant that is made in our liver and plays the important role of recycling up to 22 immune-related enzymes that help protect host cells during infection and inflammation. During times of prolonged stress glutathione levels rapidly reduce as do our natural defences towards inflammation, invaders, bacteria, and viruses. The problem is that glutathione needs to be built by the liver as this is where it mainly functions.
Research has shown that supplementation of the building blocks of glutathione is still the most effective way to recharge your glutathione levels, fire up your natural defences and give your body a significant immune boost (8). In clinical studies supplementing glutathione was shown to reduce the frequency and severity of viral infections (9). The ideal building block formula for GSH is N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), L-glutamine, lipoic acid, and a liver detox with milk thistle. We have formulated the ultimate all-in-one glutathione booster to build natural immunity called GPx Cell Protect. It is 5 liver enhancing supplements all in one and a must have for those dealing with immune issues, struggling through season changes, allergies or just wanting to stay strong and protect from infections.
2. Increase your Selenium intake.
Selenium is our most powerful antioxidant and sits in the active site of our most protective enzyme called Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx). GPx is actually a series of 8 different types of antioxidant enzymes, each being specific to a different part of the body (GPx 1-8) (10). Its specificity towards oxidants and rate with which it reacts makes it the body’s most protective antioxidant, offering 20x more protection than vitamin C. High levels of GPx result in more energy, better immunity, enhanced vitality and a reduction of chronic oxidative stress. The levels of GPx in your body are reliant on adequate intake of Selenium (11,12), which can often be lacking in a normal diet, especially in countries like New Zealand where most soil is Selenium deficient.
Ideally for someone experiencing chronic inflammation or requiring immune boosting they should be taking 100-150 mcg of organic Selenium per day. Brazil nuts are the best source of dietary Selenium with levels much higher than other foods. However, too much Selenium (>400mcg per day) can be toxic so finding the balance is important which is why supplementation can be beneficial as the dose can be easily monitored. Taking standardised dose of Selenomethionine daily can act as a powerful immune booster. Our GPx Cell Protect contains the perfectly formulated dose of Selenium your body needs per day.
Selenium is incorporated in our most protective enzyme – Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx). Brazil nuts contain high levels of organic Selenium.
GPx Cell Protect as an all-in-one glutathione and Selenium supplement with optimum levels of Selenomethionine for immune boosting
Maca can bring balance and resilience back to your natural immune function
Specialized maca for men and maca for women formulas offer the superior immune-boosting ability
3. Balance your immune function with maca root
The ancient Incan superfood maca has been used for centuries in Peru to bring balance back to the body’s endocrine function and build strength and resilience to stress. Maca works in the body’s endocannabinoid system to regulate the body’s natural immune response. Studies have shown that maca reduces production of inflammatory cytokines as well as recruiting immune cells that are known to suppress the immune response during times of over activity (13, 16).
As such maca can not only reduce the frequency of over or under active immune incidents but also the severity with which they occur. The long-term benefit means the immune system can operate at its optimum without compromising surrounding tissue. As an adaptogen (body balancer) it can also provide strong resilience for immunity during times of stress and act as a powerful natural immune booster. It is important to note however not all maca is equal and to ensure that it is consumed correctly in the right way for the right condition. Before beginning any treatment with maca it is important to firstly follow this checklist, and ensure it is NOT consumed raw. Finally check which maca is right for your condition here.
4. Bring balance back to your gut and biome with whole food probiotics.
Over 80% of our immune system is in our gut so it is imperative to maintain a healthy balance of good gut bacteria. Without balance in our gut, the body can easily become inflamed and the immune system can dysfunctional over time. This process of dysbiosis, gut inflammation, leaky gut, and eventually immune dysfunction can make it incredibly hard to fight off incoming invaders and infections as the immune system is consumed with its internal battle.
Supplementing with living probiotics can help support healthy immune function by providing essential enzymes, nutrients & friendly bacteria to balance the body and eliminate toxins. Once the gut is balanced, the immune system can begin to fire without the risk of overactivity. Ideally, a probiotic whole-food supplement should be incorporated into the daily routine of someone looking for an immune boost.
Balancing the gut biome can regulate the immune response and improve natural immunity towards bacteria and viruses
Immunity Fuel is a New Zealand made specialised probiotic whole food supplement
Bone broths are an excellent way to improve immunity through healing the gut
New Zealand made Best Bones Broth has 43% higher collagen levels than other brands
5. Heal the gut with healing proteins, collagen and peptides.
Gut integrity is vital to healthy immune function; gut inflammation can lead to the breakdown of the gut lining and increased permeability (leaky gut) leading to ongoing immune dysfunction. During leaky gut bacteria and pathogens easily permeate through the gut and put unwanted strain on our immune system. As the immune system continually fights against this leaky gut issue it slowly weakens over time and becomes more dysfunctional. This process is part of the inflammatory cascade and a big issue with people suffering from auto-immune or chronic fatigue-related conditions.
So in combination with pre-and pro-biotics, it is important to be increasing the intake of micronutrients and gut-healing proteins, and amino acids. Including a high-collagen bone broth into your daily routine can rapidly increase gut-healing rates and as such take the stress off the immune system. A good bone broth, therefore, is a powerful immune booster. Combine it with apple cider vinegar, ginger, and turmeric to further boost your natural immunity.
Want and all-in-one potent immune boosting pack to supercharge your natural immune system? Grab our discounted immunity pack:
To help guide on on your health journey we have created a short health guide and food planner to ensure you are making the right health decisions for you and your body. To download your copy click on the picture below.
Written by Dr Corin Storkey Founder and Director of Seleno Health.