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Posts Tagged "immune system"

Supplements for the Party Season

With Christmas and New Year’s celebrations just around the corner, most of us will be enjoying plenty of food and the odd drink. The down side of the festive fun is that our bodies generally take in more calories than normal, and our immunity and detoxification organs are put under extra pressure. The good news is that there are a few natural supplements that can help maintain a healthy immune system to help get through the party season. Milk thistle is commonly used as a liver tonic. This herb is found as an ingredient in many modern detox supplements. This is mainly due to its effect on the liver, as the liver is one of the main organs for natural detoxification. The liver is the main organ for processing food, nutrients and fats. It is also a vital organ for neutralising toxins, from pollution, food, alcohol, drugs and medication. Milk thistle helps the liver to neutralise these toxins. The liver is continuously detoxifying but excessive alcohol intake can slow down the process by depleting levels of glutathione. This herbal remedy works by preventing the breakdown of glutathione. Glutathione is a peptide that acts as an enzyme in the natural detoxification process of the liver. Milk thistle works by supporting the natural detoxifying action of the liver. Studies have shown that Milk thistle can increase glutathione levels by over 30%.   Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the most widely known and used nutritional supplement. This vitamin is known for its immune boosting effects and is also required for healthy adrenal function, which helps the body cope with stress. Vitamin C sales are generally at their highest in the autumn and winter months. This is partly down to the immune boosting effects and the wide spread marketing by vitamin companies. There is no harm in taking extra vitamin C throughout the winter months and studies have shown that a dose of 1000mg vitamin C a day can shorten the duration of colds. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we have at our disposal. This vitamin is our main water soluble antioxidant, and can help to fight damage caused by free radicals (e.g. from fried foods and alcohol)...

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Can homeopathy help with flu prevention?

Homeopathy may be able to play a role in preventing seasonal flu by helping to support the immune system. There are a number of remedies that can be taken to support the immune system at this time of the year, although the most effective form of treatment is to consult a professional homeopath and have constitutional treatment. This is given in the form of a homeopathic remedy that is specific to the individual’s personality and general health. The homeopathic remedy Anas Barb 200c  and Aconite 200c should be taken at the first sign of a cold, as it can act as a preventative. It is important to take this remedy at the earliest possible stage for maximum benefit so therefore it is important to have this remedy on stand-by. This natural remedy is extremely safe and can be taken by the whole family. Several homeopathic pharmacies also make specific remedies to help prevent colds and flu’s. These are normally based on the current strains of flu that are in circulation over the season. For more information on these remedies, please contact the specialist homeopathic pharmacies. Influenzinum is a homeopathic remedy that is added to many flu prevention combinations. This remedy has also recently been included as part the flu prevention vaccination programme in Canada. If you found our article “can homeopathy help with flu prevention” useful, please rate it above.   Homeopathic remedies have not undergone stringent clinical trials, so we cannot make any claims for their effectiveness against flu prevention. The information in this article is only recommended as a guide to various homeopathic remedies that are available. Please consult your GP or pharmacist to discuss further treatment...

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Natural supplements for immune boosting

There are many immune boosting herbs and supplements available, but which ones are the most effective and safe to take? Which ones are a waste of money? Alongside taking natural immune boosting supplements you can also make some simple life-style changes that will have dramatic results. A healthy diet, good quality rest, minimal alcohol and caffiene consumption, regular exercise and cutting out smoking are simple measures that will result in a better functioning immune system. Here are some good quality natural supplements that can be taken to boost the immune system. Echinacea is one of the most commonly used herbs to treat the immune system. It provides a boost to the immune system and seems to have a beneficial action on all infectious conditions. Studies have shown that echinacea reduces the severity of cold symptoms and increases the speed of recovery. Echinacea is best taken at the onset of a respiriatory tract infection such as a cold or cough, and should only be taken for periods of no more than three weeks at a time. If you are taking any prescription medication or have a long standing illness, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking echinacea. Probiotics such as acidophillus provide good bacteria which protect the digestive system from infections. Research has shown that probiotics may boost the immune system by stimulating the immune cells that line the gastro-intestinal tract. Probiotcs should also be taken following a course anti-biotics, as they will replace the good bacteria that has also been destroyed by the anti-biotics. Acidophillus is also very good at treating candida infections such as thrush. Garlic and Ginger both have immune boosting, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Garlic is also known to have anti-funal action, and can be taken to treat thrush. Vitamin C is a strong immune boosting nutrient. It has been shown to reduce the severity and speed up the recovery of a cold. The herb Astragalus is an adaptogen and works very well in stimulating the immune system. This herb can be taken for long periods as well as in speeding up the recovery during a cold or a respiratory tract infection. If you are taking any prescribed medication, or you have a long standing illness, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking...

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Foods to Boost Your Immune System

Foods to Boost Your Immune System

As we are approaching the “flu season” it is time to start eating the right foods for our immune systems.  During the autumn and winter months, there are new strains of viruses and bacteria mutating and this puts a great strain on our immune systems. We are surrounded by all sorts of viruses and bacteria from buses/trains/underground, places of work, coffee shops to our homes. So which are the best foods to boost your immune system naturally? As you can see we are exposed to germs everywhere. The good news is that by eating the correct foods, getting plenty of good quality rest, cutting down on alcohol and by doing regular exercise you can reduce your chances of illness. It is also worth noting that certain foods can put a strain on your immune system and should be avoided or reduced. It also goes without saying that smoking will lower your immune function is best avoided. You should eat plenty of fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, carrots and cauliflower. They will provide you with essential vitamins and minerals that will support and boost your immune system. These vegetables should not be overcooked, as the nutrients are destroyed by the cooking process. They can be steamed for a few minutes and then served. Pumpkin seeds, lentils, sunflower seeds, ginger root, pecans, and brazil nuts are all a good source of zinc and selenium. Several studies have found that daily doses of zinc caused dramatic improvements in the function of the immune system, especially the T-cells (they help to fight off infections). Eat more coloured fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, oranges, papaya, apricots and pomegranates. You should also aim to eat more coloured vegetables such as peppers, beetroot, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. These foods are high in vitamins A and C and they are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals which can damage our immune systems. Use more garlic in your cooking. Garlic contains nutrients that are beneficial to the immune system. Hot chillies are also effective at boosting the immune system, as they contain vitamins A and C. Ginger is another good ingredient to use as it has a warming effect on the...

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Pineapple Coriander Cleansing Detox Smoothie

Pineapple Coriander Cleansing Detox Smoothie

Today’s healthy detox smoothie is geared towards supporting your immune system, reducing inflammation, and help the body in the detox process. 1 Cup of Fresh or Frozen Pineapple 1 Handful of Coriander 1 Celery stalk 1 Cup of Water 1 tbsp Flax / Linseeds 1 tsp. Spirulina (optional) 1. Pineapples contain the digestive enzyme bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory action, and also helps the digestive process. Pineapples also contain high levels of manganese, which is important for breaking down proteins and carbohydrates and building strong bones. 2. Coriander is a heavy metal chelator, meaning it will help to draw heavy metals out of the body. This herb also helps the digestive process by supporting peristalsis and preventing bloating. 3. Celery contains potassium, which is important for the pumping of the heart. 4. Flax seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids, which can help to fight pain and inflammation in the body. 5. Spirulina contains all essential amino acids, and is a complete protein. This immune system boosting, detox smoothie recipe is really good for you and also tastes...

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Wheatgrass for Detox

Wheatgrass for Detox

Wheatgrass is often one of the main ingredients in detox juices and smoothies. It is a rich source of chlorophyll, magnesium, potassium, calcium trace minerals and amino acids. These nutrients make wheatgrass a potential super-food. Other nutrients included in wheatgrass include vitamins B, C, E and K. The downside is that wheatgrass is not very tasty, so it is usually added to other fruit and vegetable juices. Wheatgrass is also available in powder and tablet form. Wheatgrass has been claimed to stimulate metabolism (aide weight loss), reduce blood pressure, remove toxins (detox) and nourish the blood (treat anaemia). These properties can help to manage and treat a number of illnesses and diseases. Wheatgrass may also be helpful in treating digestive complaints such as ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Other properties that have been put foward include improving digestive health and preventing illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and increasing energy levels. Nutritionists have also found that wheatgrass can strengthen bones and teeth. This is possibly due to the high amounts of calcium and magnesium found in this super-food. Wheatgrass is often included in detox juices and smoothies, as anecdotal eveidence suggests that it can remove toxins from the body. This can potentially help during a detox programme which includes plenty of fresh organic fruits, vegetables and water. Wheatgrass is considerably higher in nutrients than other vegetables and fruits of equal weight. One pound of fresh wheatgrass is equivalent in nutritional value to nearly 25 pounds of fresh vegetables. Many health experts have reported the similarity of the chlorophyll (found in wheatgrass) molecule to the haemoglobin molecule that is found in human blood. The key difference between the two is that the metallic atom in the middle of each molecule in haemoglobin is iron and in chlorophyll is magnesium. This similarity has been found to be invaluable in the treatment of...

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Meditate to Boost your Immune System

A recent study has found that meditation can improve mental health and boost your immune system. The research was conducted at Harvard and Justuc Liebig University. The researchers discovered that the ancient religious tradition of meditation has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatment The new study which found that meditation can improve mental health. The research was conducted at Harvard and Justuc Liebig University. The researchers discovered that the ancient religious tradition of meditation has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatment. The practice of meditation is a fundamental part of Buddhist and Indian Yoga traditions, and has become very popular in the western world, as a form of de-stressing and maintaining positive health. The study which was published in Perspectives on Psychological Science revealed that meditation can result in an improvement in immune function, a reduction in blood pressure and improved cognitive function. The research concluded that there are four key components of meditation that could be responsible for the beneficial effects.These include: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation and sense of self. Dr Britta Hazel who led the research said, “Understanding the relationships between these components, and the brain mechanisms that underlie them, will allow clinicians to better tailor mindfulness interventions for their patients”. The research team would now like further work to be undertaken to evaluate the role of meditation as a health tool to psychotherapy. Dr Hazel hopes that further research can enable a broader range of people to use mindful meditation as a versatile tool to make positive changes in both psychotherapy and in everyday...

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Can Vitamin D Reduce Asthma Symptoms?

Can Vitamin D Reduce Asthma Symptoms?

Researchers at King’s College London have claimed that vitamin D has the potential to treat asthma symptoms. Their initial research has found that vitamin D can reduce the production of a chemical that makes asthma symptoms worse. The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Asthma affects more than 5 million people a year, although a few of these cases may be incorrectly diagnosed. This condition costs the NHS around £1 billion per year, and treatment usually involves steroid tables, inhalers and nebulisers. Severe asthma is normally treated with high dose steroids, such as prednisolone or dexamethasone, but this brings a host of side effects. Patients may also be admitted to hospital if their symptoms are difficult to treat. Our bodies release the chemical IL-17A to defend itself in response to allergen such as dust or pollution. This chemical is thought to be associated with the immune response in asthma. The small study at King’ College London was led by Professor Catherine Hawrylowicz, from the Medical Research Council and Asthma UK Centre at the university. The researchers looked at production of IL-17A in cells from 10 health participants and 28 patients with moderate to severe asthma. Out of the 28 asthma patients, 18 were resistant to steroid treatment, and 10 patients responded well to steroids. The people with asthma had much higher levels of IL-17A than the control group, with the steroid resistant group having the highest levels. The researchers found that treating the white blood cells with vitamin D resulted in a reduction of IL-71A. This reduction was found in cells from people both the asthma groups. These findings suggest that vitamin D could be used as a potential additional treatment for asthma and it has the possibility to reduce steroid use. Study leader Professor Catherine Hawrylowicz said, “They show Vitamin D could one day be used not only to treat people with steroid-resistant asthma, but also to reduce steroid doses in others, reducing the risk of side effects. “The results are so positive that we are testing this in a clinical trial to research further the possibilities of Vitamin D as a potential treatment.” “We know that a lot of people are vitamin...

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Homeopathic treatments for cold sores

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex 1 virus, and unfortunately once you have this virus, it always stays with you. This virus does however stay dormant in the body and only reactivates itself when you become run down, stressed, have a fever or are exposed to the sun. Read more to learn about cold sores homeopathy… Eruptions usually occur on or around the mouth and cause a blister which weeps then becomes crusted over. These eruptions normally clear up after 5 to 7 days. There is often a tingling or itchy sensation before the cold sore fully develops. This is the most effective time to start treatment, but homeopathic remedies can still work after the cold sore has erupted. The following homeopathic remedies should be taken in the 30c potency, four times a day for up to 5 days.  If there is no change after two days, you may need to take another homeopathic remedy. These homeopathic remedies can help to speed up recovery from an outbreak, but you should consider consulting a homeopath for constitutional treatment for a more thorough solution. Nat Mur should be taken if the cold sore occurs in the middle of the lower lip. An indication for this remedy is a dry mouth and dry lips. The person may also crave salty foods and the symptoms will be better in the open air. Rhus Tox is for cold sore eruptions that occur at the corners of the mouth or on the chin. The eruption will cause burning and itching and will be red and swollen. The symptoms are better for warm applications and the person may be restless. This remedy is for cold sore’s that are worse in open air and which are caused by overexertion. Capsicum should be taken for cold sore’s that occur on at the corners of the mouth and cause burning.  The person may also have burning blisters on the tongue and their breath may be smelly. Arse Alb can be taken for cold sore’s that cause extreme burning and itching. The person may be very restless and anxious. The symptoms are usually better for warmth and heat, and the person will be thirsty for small sips. Graphites should...

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Health Benefits of Chlorella

This single cell algae has established itself as a “superfood” supplement which has a whole host of health benefits. Chlorella is a tiny plant with a nucleus, which is an excellent source of available chlorophyll. This supplement is very popular in Japan, where is it as popular as vitamin C here. Chlorella is full of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein. This “superfood” supplement is one of the best natural sources of DNA and RNA. Chlorophyll, which is contained in chlorella, helps to detoxify cells in the body. Studies have found that chlorella is an excellent source of protein which is easily digested. Research from Japan has found that chlorella can reduce body-fat percentage, boost the immune system, reduce blood-sugar levels and boost energy levels. This can potentially help people with type-2 diabetes and those with heart disease. Chlorella is a very good source of magnesium, which is also found in green vegetables. Magnesium has numerous health benefits such as treating insomnia, migraines, muscle cramps, hypertension and constipation. There have been a few studies that have suggested that chlorella maybe helpful in the treatment of cancer. Researchers have found reported that chlorella can remove damaged cells from the body.  Various small studies have this algae can prevent the growth of cancer cell. These studies are however too small to offer a definitive role for the use of chlorella in the treatment of cancer. More research and larger clinical trials are required. Chlorella has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension, ulcerative colitis and fibromyalgia. Researchers found that chlorella also lowered levels of cholesterol during the hypertension trials. One possible reason why chlorella was found to significantly lower blood pressure could be due to its high magnesium content. This supplement has also shown very promising results in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. These findings are all in the early stages of development, and more independent research is required before any firm claims can be made as to the effectiveness of this supplement. There does however seem to be very encouraging potential benefits to chlorella. If you found our health article “health benefits of chlorella! useful, please rate it...

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Tips to Avoid Norovirus

The number of cases of the winter vomiting bug has reportedly affected over 800,000 people in the UK this year. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that this represents an increase of 83% from 2011. Because of these outbreaks, many people are looking for ways to avoid norovirus Many hospitals have had outbreaks and have closed off wards to prevent further outbreak. The medical industry has openly said that there are no medicines to treat the condition as it a virus. Washing your hand before eating or using the alcohol gels is a good way of maintaining good hygiene.  The HPA advice that if you fall sick, then you should stay at home and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. There are however ways to stimulate your immune system and help to lower your risk of being affected. Nutritional and natural supplements can help to support your immune system and make your more resistant to viruses. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are beneficial bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. They defend the body against viruses and infections that we are constantly exposed to. Probiotics support the immune system by lining the intestinal wall with beneficial bacteria, which prevents the absorption of harmful bacteria and viruses into the body. These beneficial bacteria “crowd out” the bad bacteria and help to maintain a healthy immune system. As the digestive tract plays a major role in boosting the immune system, it is very important to maintain a healthy balance of probiotics in the gut. Other helpful supplements that can help your immune system are Vitamin D, Vitamin C and B vitamins. These can be taken throughout the winter months to help you fit and active during the busy festive period. Herbal remedies such as Turmeric, Echinacea, Olive Leaf Extract, Oregano Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Goldenseal can help to stimulate and maintain a healthy immune system. Manuka Honey can also boost your immune system and help to prevent viruses spreading. Other ways of having the best chance of staying free of the Norovirus is cutting back on alcohol and junk food, and not getting too stressed out. Stress leads to a release of hormones...

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Curcumin Could Slow Prostate Cancer

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, which is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal properties. Curcumin has been shown to be a potent ant-inflammatory agent, as it blocks the action of enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. A recent study has found that this herb can slow the growth of certain cancers. The research team was led by Dr. Beatrice Bachmeier at LMU Munich. Previous research, conducted on animals, found that curcumin significantly reduced the formation of lung metastases in advanced breast cancer. This study was conducted to investigate the efficacy and mode of action of curcumin on prostate and breast cancer metastases. The investigation found that the tumor cells were found to produce pro-inflammatory immunomodulators including the cytokines CXCL1 und CXCL2. Curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, was found to specifically decrease the action of the cytokines CXCL1 und CXCL2, and in turn reduced the incidence of metastases. Dr Bachmeier said, “Due to the action of curcumin, the tumor cells synthesize smaller amounts of cytokines that promote metastasis”. Dr Bachmeier continued, “This does not mean that the compound should be seen as a replacement for conventional therapies. However, it could play a positive role in primary prevention – before a full-blown tumor arises – or help to avert formation of metastases. In this context the fact that the substance is well tolerated is very important, because one can safely recommend it to individuals who have an increased tumour risk.” Turmeric is the main ingredient in curries and is responsible for distinct yellow colour. This herb has been used for over 5000 years in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.  This herb may also be a valuable supplement in the treatment of certain cancers.  We hope you found this health article “Curcumin could slow prostate cancer” useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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