Boost Patient Immunity with These 4 Supplements
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season often leaves people stressed, drained, and prone to coming down with colds and flu. This is because immunity is taxed, leaving the body vulnerable to pathogens that would love a warm host for the winter. To counter this effect, preventative supplementation can help your patients bolster their immunity and be better able to fight off or lessen the effects of colds and flu. In addition to the standard winter-time supplementation regimen of vitamin C and echinacea, here are four immune-boosting supplements to consider recommending for your patients.
Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years to heal the immune system. In particular, Astragalus membranaceus has been used therapeutically in Chinese medicine,1 where it is considered to warm and tone the wei qi (protective energy circulating in the body). This suggests that astragalus may help the body adapt to temperature fluctuations and other external factors. Considered a “botanical medicine,” astragalus is utilized to support and enhance the immune system, as well as treat various conditions, including viral infection and fatigue.1
Known as Phoenix dactylifera, date fruit has been a staple food in the Arabian Peninsula for thousands of years. With studies showing that the constituents of dates as demonstrating potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, date fruit is often used as an adjunctive therapeutic alongside other forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The palm date has been shown to have a potent ability to suppress free radicals and is a good source of antioxidant due to the amount of carotenoids and phenolics it is comprised of.5 According to a study from Shinshu University, polyphenols and polysaccharides present in date fruits could help stimulate the cellular immune system.*
Olive Leaf Branch Extract
Olive leaf branch extract has demonstrated antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, and is rich in flavonoids, tocopherols, anthocyanins, sterols, and polyphenols.2 These components help boost the immune system as well as protect cells. In particular, the main component of olive leaf branch extract, Oleuropein, has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant,2 and was shown in a study of high school athletes to significantly reduce the amount of sick days when used as a supplement.3
Eleuthero Root (Ginseng)
Also known as Siberian Ginseng, Eleuthero Root has been used medicinally for over 3,000 years by Chinese medicine practitioners.4 Considered an adaptogen thought to enhance the body’s ability to resist physical and mental stress, Eleuthero helps to support adrenal gland function as well as the maintenance of normal immune function.*
Together with traditional cold and flu season recommendations like frequent hand washing and avoiding people who are sick, these immune-boosting supplements can help round-out your winter patient wellness regimen.
Denzler K, Moore J, Harrington H, Morrill K, et al. Characterization of the Physiological Response following In Vivo Administration of Astragalus membranaceus. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 6861078.
Sabri O. Review: Beneficial Health Effects of Olive Leaves Extracts. Journal of Natural Sciences Research www.iiste.org ISSN 2224-3186 (Paper) ISSN 2225-0921 (Online) Vol.4, No.19, 2014
Somerville V, Moore R, Braakhuis A. The effect of olive leaf extract on upper respiratory illness in high school athletes: A randomised control trial. Nutrients. 2019, 11(2):358.
Block K, Mead M. Immune System Effects of Echinacea, Ginseng, and Astragalus: A Review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2003 Sep;2(3):247-67.
Rahmani A, Aly S, Habeeb A, Babiker A, et al. Therapeutic effects of date fruits (Phoenix dactylifera) in the prevention of diseases via modulation of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-tumour activity. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014; 7(3): 483–491.