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!
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:
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.
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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:
The CDC also recommends vaccinations for people with the following health conditions due to increased risk of flu-related complications:
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.
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.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. These products are dietary supplements and are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The decision to use these products should be discussed with a trusted healthcare provider. The authors and the publisher of this work have made every effort to use sources believed to be reliable to provide information that is accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The authors and the publisher shall not be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or in part, from the readers’ use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this article. The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.