First, we’ll look at what not to do. There are sure-fire ways to damage the effectiveness of the immune system. If you see any of your habits on this list, consider changing your ways for the health of your family.
- Smoke near them.
- Demonstrate how you can drink liberal quantities of alcohol, and let your kids drink plenty of soda pop until they are old enough for beer and booze.
- Eat all the junk foods advertised on TV, especially lots of meat and sugar, and foods with chemical colors, flavors, and preservatives.
- Never exercise.
- Worry constantly. Just turn on TV news programs to help you accomplish this.
- Take powerful antibiotics preventively.
- Count on your daily diet for all the vitamins and minerals that your body really needs.
- Make excuses to not read How to Live Longer and Feel Better by Linus Pauling.
- Stay up late, and let the kids do so as well.
- Regularly use a wide variety of over-the-counter drugs.
Immune system boosters
A healthy immune system is built every day by your lifestyle choices, especially your nutritional choices.
Immune Booster #1 Vitamin C
Take lots of vitamin C to help defend yourself against viruses and bacteria. For children, age-appropriate forms include vitamin C powder in juice (1,000mg is a quarter-teaspoonful) or a couple of citrus-flavored 500-mg chewtabs (very tasty).
Immune Booster #2 Sleep
Conquer chronic tiredness. Get to bed earlier. Set the video recorder and watch that TV show tomorrow. You can get a more satisfying night’s sleep by darkening your room: the darker your sleeping environment, the more melatonin (the sleep hormone) you make. Having a regular sleep pattern is very helpful. Homework and recreation times may need adjustment. Deep sleep is associated with the normal release of growth hormone in children.
Immune Booster #3: Research Natural Therapies
Strengthen your resolve reading scientific studies on the antitoxic, antibiotic, and antiviral properties of megadoses of vitamin C.
Immune Booster #4: Multivitamin
Take a good multivitamin every day. The placebo-controlled research has shown people who take supplements have “higher numbers of certain T-cell subsets and natural killer cells, increased interleukin-2 production, and higher antibody response and natural killer cell activity”. The result? Vitamin-takers were sick only half as many days per year as those who did not take supplements or vitamins. Yet most Americas do not meet even the minimum standards for dietary adequacy.
Immune Booster #5: Vitamin E
Take supplemental vitamin E. Placebo-controlled, double-blind trials have shown that 800 IU of vitamin E per day can improve immune responsiveness and immunocompetence. Plus, the response was seen in only thirty days. A dose of 400 IU is probably enough for children up to adolescent age. For the little ones, open up the ends of a capsule and squeeze the contents into a bit of their favorite fruit juice. Be sure the preparation is naturla or d-alpha tocopherol, which is much more effective than the synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol. Better yet, if it’s not too expensive, look for natural mixed tocopherols at your health food store.
Immune Booster # 6: Carotenes
Drink lots of vegetable juices, and here are some reasons why. Carotenes, the pigments that give fruits and vegetables orange colors, have been specifically shown in high doses to strengthen the immune system by helping the body to build more helper T cells. The amount used in one well-controlled study was 180 mg of beta-carotene per day. This is, theoretically at least, the equivalent of 300,000 IU of vitamin A per day (6 mg of beta-carotene can be converted into 10,000 IU of vitamin A in the body). That amount, consumed as the oil or retinol form of vitamin A, would likely be toxic, but as carotene it is not. There is indeed a big difference betwene forms. Also, the study produced positive results in a mere two weeks. Even people with the weakest of immune systems, such as AIDS patients, can benefit from huge carotene dosages.
Some have claimed that excess carotene consumption is dangerous. Excess carotene causes the skin to turn slightly orange (hyper-carotenosis), once succinctly described as resembling an artificial suntan. Hypercarotenemia refers to elevated blood levels of carotene. Both hypercarotenosis and hypercarotenemia are harmless. Excess intake of carotene does not cause hypervitaminosis A.
Immune Booster # 7: Stop Smoking
What is the greatest preventable danger to the greatest number of people? The answer is, smoking. In the U.S. alone, tobacco kills fifty-one people an hour. Of course, the tobacco industry spends over $11 million every day on advertising to encourage this. Don’t fall for it: research suggests that less smoking around children means fewer ear infections.
A naturally strong immune system effectively resists disease. If it didn’t, we would be extinct. Take the steps above to heart and we have a special advantage in addition to our opposable thumbs: we can substantially strengthen our immune systems, right now, and without prescription.