Give Your Immune System an Extra Boost for Cold and Flu Season

Short Read

  • The flu shot only protects from a couple specific strains of flu virus
  • There are many other viruses and bacteria that cause illness during cold and flu season
  • There are certain nutrients that can boost your immune system and offer an extra layer of protection against illness
  • Don't just rely on the flu shot - also incorporate immune-boosting lifestyles and nutrients

Tell me More!

Every year as cold and flu season approaches there is a flood of advertisements urging you and your family to get your annual flu vaccination sooner than later - but you've had the flu shot before, and you still got sick!

What Steps Can You take to avoid getting sick?

There is a lot you can do in addition to getting vaccinated to help boost your immune system and improve your chances of staying healthy all year long. Some of the best and most effective things involve simple lifestyle modifications.2–4 I'm sure you've heard them before:

  • stay physically activity 
  • eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • drink enough water (at least 64 oz. per day)
  • get adequate sleep
  • follow good hand washing practices

Lifestyle changes are certainly important for improving your immune health, but you can also give your immune system an added boost by incorporating specific nutrients into your routine.

Nutritional Support for Immune Health

Antioxidant Support

Pinnaclife ImmuneBoost™ provides nutrients that help your body rid itself of toxins that can burden and overwhelm your immune system. It provides a potent dose of Olivamine, our patented formula that contains natural antioxidants, B vitamins, and select amino acids.

Olivamine has been shown to increase genetic expression of protective antioxidants and proteins within the cell that can increase the lifespan of cells. This is important to reduce the effects of cellular waste products that can burden the immune system and contribute to illness.5–8

Studies have shown that hydroxytyrosol, one of the primary antioxidants found in olives and Olivamine, has antiviral properties against influenza.8

Liver/Detox Support

Low levels of an important detoxifying compound called glutathione have been associated with viral infection and impaired immune function. Your body cannot absorb glutathione from the diet, but nutrients that increase your body's production  of glutathione, like N-acetyl-l-cysteine, have been shown to protect against viral infections.13

Pinnaclife ImmuneBoost contains N-acetyl-l-cysteine plus sulforaphane (from broccoli) that help both support the immune system and healthy liver metabolism by restoring levels of important detoxifying enzymes and antioxidants including glutathione.9–12

Zinc and Vitamin C

During cold and flu season, you frequently hear people recommending using nutrients like Vitamin C and Zinc to boost your immune system. While they do play an important role in immune health, it is important to remember that Vitamin C and Zinc both rely on a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants working in concert with each other.

You are better off taking zinc and Vitamin C as part of a balanced multivitamin, in combination with a well-balanced diet, and avoiding the supplements that only contain one or a couple of those ingredients in high doses. Your body needs all of those nutrients working together!

Pinnaclife MultiVitamin contains a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including zinc and vitamin C, properly balanced to promote optimal health.14,15

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a hormone that is produced naturally in your skin by sunlight. A large percentage of Americans are becoming deficient in Vitamin D because they are spending more time indoors and also protecting their skin from sunlight using clothing and sunscreens.

People also experience lower Vitamin D levels in winter months when there is less direct sunlight available.18 Vitamin D is a potent stimulator of immune cells and required for proper functioning of the immune system.19–21

Vitamin D Deficiency is thought to contribute to the increased rates of illness, heart attacks, seasonal depression, and weight gain that we see in the winter months.18,22,23

Maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin D is considered by many healthcare professionals to be just as important, if not more important, than getting an annual flu shot.24,25

Fiber to support Immune-Boosting Probiotic Bacteria

The bacteria living in your intestines play an important role in protecting your from infections by supporting and boosting your immune system. Getting plenty of prebiotic fiber in your diet is a great way to support those healthy bacteria.

If you have been prescribed an antibiotic to treat an illness, there is a good chance it impacted the bacteria in your gut, so it is especially important to restore that balance as soon as possible.

Get Adequate Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important to stay healthy and keep your immune system primed and ready. Using nutrients like magnesium, curcumin, and melatonin can naturally support restful sleep. There's a potential added benefit from curcumin and melatonin because they have both been shown to have anti-viral properties.16,17

Should you get a Flu Shot?

It is important for many people to get annual flu vaccinations to reduce the risk of infection, serious complications, and even death.1 Research has routinely confirmed dramatic decreases in illness, sick days, and duration and severity of infection following vaccination.1 Keep in mind, the flu vaccine is not just for keeping you healthy, but also the people around you who are unable to get vaccinated.

The CDC recommends everybody over 6 months of age receive the flu vaccine, but especially those at high risk for flu-related complications or those routinely in contact with people at high risk. People in these groups should also be asking what else they can do to boost their immune system. The high-risk groups are identified as:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2
  • Adults over age 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • Native Americans and Alaskan Natives

The CDC also recommends vaccinations for people with the following health conditions due to increased risk of flu-related complications:

  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Chronic lung diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Blood disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Weakened immune systems
  • People under 19 on long-term aspirin therapy
  • Obese people with BMI over 40

Remember, the flu vaccine is not guaranteed to keep you from getting sick and actually only protects you from 3-4 strains of influenza that are selected by experts a year in advance based on best guesses of the most likely strains for the year. A flu vaccine will not protect you from many other wintertime illnesses including the common cold (rhinovirus).

This is why it is so important to be proactive and incorporate other strategies in addition to the flu shot to stay healthy all year round!

For more information about the flu vaccine, contact your trusted healthcare provider or visit the Center for Disease Control webpage.

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    7. Shapiro TA, Fahey JW, Dinkova-Kostova AT, et al. Safety, tolerance, and metabolism of broccoli sprout glucosinolates and isothiocyanates: a clinical phase I study. Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(1):53-62.
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    9. Fraternale a, Paoletti MF, Casabianca a, et al. Antiviral and immunomodulatory properties of new pro-glutathione (GSH) molecules. Curr Med Chem. 2006;13(15):1749-1755.
    10. Sarsour EH, Kumar MG, Kalen AL, Goswami M, Buettner GR, Goswami PC. MnSOD activity regulates hydroxytyrosol-induced extension of chronological lifespan. Age (Omaha). 2011;34:95-109.
    11. Fabiani R, Rosignoli P, Bartolomeo A De, et al. Oxidative DNA Damage Is Prevented by Extracts of Olive Oil , Hydroxytyrosol , and Other Olive Phenolic Compounds in Human Blood. J Nutr. 2008;Aug; 138(8):1411-1416.
    12. Yamada K, Ogawa H, Hara A, et al. Mechanism of the antiviral effect of hydroxytyrosol on influenza virus appears to involve morphological change of the virus. Antiviral Res. 2009;83(1):35-44.
    13. Wahle KWJ, Caruso D, Ochoa JJ, Quiles JL. Olive oil and modulation of cell signaling in disease prevention. Lipids. 2004;39(12):1223-1231.
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    20. Cantorna MT. Vitamin D and its role in immunology: multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2006;92(1):60-64.
    21. Prietl B, Treiber G, Pieber TR, Amrein K. Vitamin D and immune function. Nutrients. 2013;5(7):2502-2521.
    22. Berry DJ, Hesketh K, Power C, Hyppönen E. Vitamin D status has a linear association with seasonal infections and lung function in British adults. Br J Nutr. 2011;106(9):1433-1440.
    23. Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, et al. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006;134(6):1129-1140.
    24. Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(5):1255-1260.
    25. Lang PO, Samaras D. Aging adults and seasonal influenza: does the vitamin d status (h)arm the body? J Aging Res. 2012;2012(Article ID 806198):1-8.
  • Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD., is the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Affairs at McCord Holdings and licensed by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.  He completed bachelors degrees in biology and biochemistry at Wartburg College before earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he completed a community pharmacy practice residency through the University of Iowa where he focused primarily on nutritional aspects of care including the use of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.  He has taught courses for the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements and given many presentations on the subject as well.  He has a passion for improving patient care specifically with regards to the safety and quality of the nutritional supplements and health information people use.


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