As we prepare for a very different winter and some uncertain months ahead many of us be experiencing these as very anxious times and we may be worried about our own, or our loved ones health going into the winter. If we can do all we can to look after our physical and mental health it will go a great way to supporting our bodies and preparing us for the months ahead.
Every part of your body, including your immune system functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies. Here are some of the ways that you can support your immune system.
The Importance of Sleep
Keeping your regular routine is vital right now, rising at the same time you normally would and hitting the pillow at the end of the day at a reasonable hour to get enough sleep to maintain that routine is important for your mental and physical health.
While we sleep, the body uses this time to rest and repair. The proteins and cells of your immune system detect and fight off any external aggressors that attack the system. It also enables the immune system to be ready to fight them off in future. Sleep is vital to strengthen your body’s immune response, if you are feeling unwell in any way it is vital to get as much rest as possible.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep a hot bath with a cupful of magnesium flakes in it can sometimes help relax your muscles and aids a more restful sleep. Alternatively, you could try using a magnesium oil rub or taking a spoonful of magnesium powder in a hot drink before bed can also aid a restful sleep.Lighting a candle to relax or reading a book can also switch off a busy mind and will also assist with a more restful sleep. When you hit the pillow a sleep mask that helps to block out light and distractions can aid a more restful sleep. The self-heating Spacemaks and the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray are some of our absolute favourites at Meaghers and always guarantee a great night's sleep.
Exercise is key. As little as 20 minutes of exercise daily can provide so many benefits for numerous systems in the body, all our systems are linked and our immunity is dependent on these systems working in harmony.
Exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system, a pathway that increases heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. When this happens, hormones are released that help with immunity. Moderate exercise also has an abundance of other health benefits, like controlling hypertension and diabetes and crucially at this time helping control anxiety and stress.
So, get the runners on and get out in the fresh air for a walk or a jog, roll out the yoga mat and get some stretches in or pop on a workout on YouTube and follow the instructions in your living room. Any sort of exercise right now is important and once you keep your distance from others is safe.
Eating a Healthy and Wholesome Diet
When working from home it can be really tempting to munch on snacks that you might not normally eat but just like your sleeping pattern it is important that you keep to routine as much as possible when it comes to getting three healthy meals a day.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is key to our immune system working effectively. We need enough energy to make immune cells and our protective enzymes need vitamins and minerals to work effectively.
This means we need to make sure we’re eating all of our body’s requirements for macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and D, as well as B6, B12 and folate, zinc, copper, iron and selenium, as well as essential amino and essential fatty acids.
If your diet is lacking a lot of fruit and vegetables for whatever reason then we would always recommend supplementing your diet with a multivitamin and here in Meaghers we love the Revive range of vitamins and minerals as their products have a wide range of vitamins and minerals and are very bioavailable as they are in a sachet form and are easily absorbed in the body.
Zest Active is your everyday nutritional boost to support energy, immune support, brain function & muscle function. Containing no sugar, caffeine, binders, fillers or artificial colours or flavours, this refreshing orange vitamin supplement will provide you with a natural boost every day and allow you to live your life, on your terms.
It contains Taurine, Biotin & Vitamin B12 which work in synergy to improve metabolic function & energy production. These are the powerhouse of Zest & help with energy generation in the heart, muscles & nervous systems. Vitamin B12 also aids in detoxification.
It also contains Wellmune by The Kerry Group which prepares the immune system to fight infection, reducing inflammation & improving recovery. Zest Active also contains L-Glutamine & L-Lysine which work to support the immune system & supply energy for muscle recovery.
Clinical research shows Wellmune helps increase vigor and mental clarity while reducing fatigue, tension, confusion and upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms in marathon runners. Choline aids in mental performance and memory while Vitamin D promotes cognitive function & mental clarity. Zest Active also contains 100mg of L-Theanine which can aid in mood & help reduce stress.
For those over the age of 35 we always recommend Revive Active instead as it contains additional ingredients to support a healthy heart as you get older together with COQ10. It is a premium product with a powerful formulation of 26 active ingredients offering natural energy all day long. Revive Active will bring your immune system back to normal thereby reducing the chance of colds and flus but more importantly it will keep your heart healthy and you will feel your body totally refreshed.
Revive Active contains all your recommended daily allowance RDA of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It contains NO added stimulants, only natural ingredients so you have no highs and lows.
Another popular product to really support your immune system this season is Sambucol Immuno Forte Black Elderberry plus Vitamin C and Zinc. It is a liquid formulation suitable for adults and children.
- Suitable from 3 years+
- Great tasting liquid syrup
- Easy to swallow & non-drowsy
- Natural Black Elderberry packed with flavonoids
- High antioxidant levels
- Contains no artificial colours or sweeteners
- Contains no gluten, yeast or milk derivatives
- Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
Recommended daily dose:
Adults: 10ml (2 teaspoons)
Children (3-12 years): 5ml (1 teaspoon)
Adults: 10ml (2 teaspoons) four times daily
Children (3-12 years): 10ml (2 teaspoons) twice daily
Another firm favourite brand at Meaghers is the Solgar range of Vitamins and Minerals and one in particular we often recommend at this time is Solgar® Beta Glucans & Elderberry Immune Complex. It is a unique blend of immune supportive nutrients. This unique formula combines seven key active ingredients including a pure Elderberry 83:1 extract, equivalent to 4 grams of dried elderberry fruit. It has been created to help keep you healthy during those times when you may need additional immune support, such as winter months or periods of increased exercise or stress.
- Potent dose of Elderberry Extract, equivalent to 4 grams of dried fruit
- Comprehensive formula may help in supporting the immune system
- Contains Immune promoting ingredients, vitamin C, zinc, selenium, copper and vitamin D3
- Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
It contains Vitamin C, Beta Glucans, Zinc , Copper, Vitamin D3and Berry blends.
A healthy gut can help contribute to a strong immune system, the key to which a healthy diet and fibre, which organisms in the colon feed off. The key to a healthy gut is having a healthy microbiome. Your microbiome is a massive ecosystem made of up trillions of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi & viruses that live in your digestive tract. Collectively these weigh up to 2 kg – that’s heavier than the average human brain !
All these bacteria mean your gut is almost as diverse and dense as the Amazon rainforest. Scientists are increasingly treating the gut as its own organ, recognising how vital these bacteria are as they break down food and toxins, make vitamins and interact with our immune system.
Although your microbiome is influenced by factors from birth, your actions today can have a big impact on this ecosystem. We need to look after our microbiome to maintain a balance, ensuring a rich biodiversity of organisms, which can positively impact your health and wellbeing.
Diet, the environment, stress and medicines such as antibiotics can all disrupt this balance, undermining the diversity of your gut microbiome. Good diet, sleep patterns and exercise are thought to have a positive effect on the microbiome and leave us feeling happier and healthier. Modern lifestyles mean we can’t always do everything we’re supposed to restore our balance so often we recommend live bacteria supplements which can help support the gut microbiome.
Your microbiome lives in harmony with you. Take care of it, and it’ll take care of you. Although scientists are only beginning to understand the role of the microbiome, it is believed to assist in many things including the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, producing vitamins and minerals and short-chain fatty acids. It plays a role in defending against pathogens and in training our immune system and supporting with detoxification.
If you are concerned with the balance of bacteria in your gut, my first line recommendation is always the probiotic Symprove. It is a water-based formulation that contains four unique strains of live activated bacteria. This unique formulation Symprove will not trigger digestion, unlike other capsule and tablet forms of probiotics, meaning the bacteria are not killed by the acid in your stomach and they will arrive in your gut where they can thrive and re-balance your microbiome much more quickly than other capsule and tablet formulations.There is evidence to suggest that other nutritional deficiencies can weaken our immune system and make us more vulnerable to infections. So, the first port of call is making sure you are getting as much as you can from your diet, then if needed supplementing with high quality supplements that will have the nutrients to allow our systems work to their potential.
If you feel you are lacking in a particular vitamin or mineral due to your diet we would recommend supplementing these particular vitamins or if you are lacking Omega-3 fish oils perhaps because you don’t eat a lot of oily fish then a supplement is a good way to top up your Omega 3’s also.
Vitamin D - The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is one of many fat-soluble vitamins that the body requires to function correctly. We make this essential vitamin from the skin's unprotected exposure to sunlight, but it can also be found in certain foods such as eggs, cereal and fatty fish.
Despite being vital for healthy bones and a robust immune system, our more sedentary lifestyles particularly now that we are staying at home and possibly cocooning, have meant that exposure to the sun has dropped dramatically and our processed and specialist diets has meant that supplementation is needed to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D.
What does vitamin D do?
Vitamin D is responsible for a number of functions within the body. It helps regulate calcium, ensuring it enters the bone to maintain healthy bones and teeth. It supports a healthy immune system, protecting the body from illnesses such as the common cold and viruses and it plays a fundamental role in ensuring normal muscle function.
It comes in two major forms; D2 and D3. While both forms can be processed by the body, vitamin D3 occurs naturally within humans and is generally considered the preferred form of supplementation.
Sources of Vitamin D
It is naturally found in a number of animal products such as oily fish, eggs, milk, cheeses and beef liver as well as some fortified foods such as cereals and breads.
Did you know? ….. To achieve the minimum recommended daily amount of 400 IU you would need to eat: 8 eggs, 3 kg of cheddar cheese or 2 cans of tuna - everyday!
Signs of vitamin D deficiency can manifest in common health conditions such as frequent coughs and colds, tiredness and fatigue, low mood, achy muscles and poor bone and tooth health. So, it’s easy to see why we all need it.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms regularly, it could be a sign that you’re lacking in vitamin D. You can take a Vitamin D in a capsule form or in a spray to be used under the tongue.
Vitamin D has an array of important functions in the body. For instance, vitamin D is:
- important for normal cell division
- helping to maintain normal bones and teeth
- contributing to a normal absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus
- playing a role in the body's immune system and muscle function
Eskimo Brain 3.6.9 combines the unique stable fish oil, Eskimo-3, with ingredients such as CoQ10 and GLA to optimize brain and energy support. Omega-3 fatty acids have been well studied for their role in the support of many systems in the body including brain function.
- Provides high levels of omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which support heart health, vision, normal blood pressure, skin health and normal triglyceride levels.
- Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are also very important in supporting your brain's ability to perform - 60% of your brain is actually fatty acids.
- Contains omega 6 derived from evening primrose oil. And omega 9 (oleic acid), a monounsaturated fatty acid found in large quantities in the healthy Mediterranean diet.
- CoQ10 is found in virtually every cell of the body and is a crucial part of the process of converting food into energy. Low levels of CoQ10 are common, especially among older adults.
- Vitamin D which contributes to immune health, normal bone, tooth and muscle health and cell division (mitosis). Mitosis regulates cell growth, development and repair in our bodies.
- Vitamin E which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, as well as protecting the Brainsharp formula itself.
- Enriched and protected with Pufanox®, an antioxidant mixture, for incredible freshness and stability, meaning no fishy odour or aftertaste.
Vitamin C: The most powerful antioxidant
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. It has several important functions. It’s antioxidant properties protect cells and keeps them healthy. It is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue, which gives support and structure for other tissue and organs. A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy.
Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, oranges and kiwis. Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.
Several cells of the immune system can indeed accumulate vitamin C and need the vitamin to perform their task, especially certain types of white blood cells. A Vitamin C deficiency may result in a reduced ability to fight off certain pathogens whilst a higher supply can enhance several elements of your immune system. Adding a Vitamin C supplement to your diet is most effective in cases of physical strain or insufficient intake of the vitamin.
YourZooki utilises a patented liposomal encapsulation process to wrap Vitamin C in 'liposomes'. Liposomes are tiny vesicles that can encapsulate Vitamin C and other compounds at the nano level. A dual-layer of phospholipids form a sphere with an aqueous core - where the Vitamin C can be held - shielded from the outside. This outer layer allows the Vitamin C to easily pass through the membranes of our cells, accelerating the uptake of Vitamin C from the blood before it can be excreted by the body. Vitamin C is critical to the human body and it's effects are wide-reaching:
- Boosts the function of the immune system
- Helps reduce tiredness and fatigue - aids metabolism
- Beautifying - Contributes to collagen formation for the normal function of skin, blood vessels, bones, cartilage, gums & teeth
- Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system
- Helps protect your cells against oxidative stress
- Increases iron absorption
- Mental benefits - Assists in a feeling of well being
A great-tasting Liposomal Vitamin C, to be had on the go straight from the sachet or mixed into water, smoothies, shakes, yoghurt, porridge, granola & more. 1000mg of Liposomal Vitamin C per 15ml sachet.
I always recommend looking after your skin from the inside out but one product that has certainly caught my attention this year is the new face mask from Seoulista which is packed with antioxidants. It is designed to shield your skin from the damaging effects of pollution, the Seoulista Wonderberry Skin Defence Instant Facial uses an antioxidant cocktail to defend your complexion from environmental aggressors.
Acting as an effective barrier against blue light as well as other everyday pollutants, the face mask aims to neutralise the negative effects that modern surroundings can have on skin. Boasting a blend of Raspberry, Pomegranate and Blueberry, you’ll reap the powerful benefits of natural Polyphenols, which work tirelessly to protect your skin. Added Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides ensure a smooth, hydrated finish and help to prevent water loss, maintaining elasticity for a more energetic appearance.
Using natural bio-cellulose to transfer this goodness onto your face, the mask seamlessly moulds to the contours of your visage, ensuring that every corner is protected. Seoulista’s first lifestyle-targeted mask, it’s ideal for anyone living in an urban environment or those who spend much of their time in front of a screen. Acting after only 20 minutes, the mask treats you to a glowing, hydrated complexion that’s thoroughly soothed, delivering facial-style results in record time.
Children can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their diet but sometimes this may not always be the case. As parents you can play a large role in helping your kids immunity but as a mother myself I know that this can sometimes be very challenging with some children being fussy eaters or simply refusing to eat particular vegetables or foods.
There are some fundamental guidelines I try to adhere to improve my own children’s immunity. Try to ensure they have a sleep routine and where possible stick to it, try to get them out in the fresh air every day so they can top up their vitamin D, as this is essential for strong, healthy, bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is even more important during childhood as the nutrient plays an important role in supporting normal growth and development of bone tissue. When the weather allows for it, it is important for children to get access to sunlight. A supplement like D-Pearls Junior makes it easier to get sufficient amounts of this nutrient all throughout the year.
Vitamin D supplements (as drops) are recommended for children in the age group 0-2 years. From that point on, a capsule preparation is the best way to supplement. The small gelatin capsules are easy for children to chew or swallow. You can even pierce the capsule and squeeze its content out into food or liquid.
Most importantly make sure they eat a balanced diet as this will provide them with the majority of their vitamins and mineral needs. If you struggle to get them particular vegetables or foods then I would be recommending adding a particular supplement to top up what they might be lacking in, or adding an overall supplement to support their diet.
Revive Junior and Revive Teen are great multivitamin Super Supplements that contain everything your children may possibly need to boost their immune system.
Revive Active Junior Revive is a super supplement specially formulated for children, delivering multiple benefits in one easy sachet. It is suitable for 5 to 12-year-olds and contains Wellmune® (clinically proven to naturally strengthen key immune cells) plus other nutrients for healthy bone development, 18 essential vitamins & minerals, a prebiotic & a probiotic fiber, and supports cognitive function.
Revive Active Teen Revive is a super supplement specially formulated for teenagers, delivering multiple benefits in one easy sachet.
Revive active Teen is suitable for 13 - 19-year-olds and also contains Wellmune® plus other nutrients for healthy bone development, 18 essential vitamins & minerals, a prebiotic & a probiotic fiber, and supports cognitive function.
If like me you struggle to get your children to eat oily fish, a great way to supplement their omega 3 intake is by taking a fish oil.
As with adults it is important that you look after their microbiome and a probiotic is again a great addition to help them break down complex carbohydrates from their diet, release vitamins and minerals from their food and support their immune systems. Symprove is suitable to use in children and you simply adjust the daily dosage depending on their weight, one millilitre per kilogram weight.