The proven ways to fight illness and boost your immunity

We are continually exposed to micro-organisms and toxins that could lead to illness.  Whether they do or not, depends on the integrity of your immune system.

You have two different immune systems. Your adaptive immune system recognises viral or bacterial threats it has encountered before and mobilises to fight them.

You also have an innate immune system that acts as a generalised, fast-mobilised, defence system and will react to new threats you have not encountered before.

The two systems complement each other, but increasing the strength of your whole immune requires a different approach for each.

Boost your Adaptive Immune System

T cells and B cells

When it is faced with a new pathogen like a toxin, bacteria or a virus, your adaptive or acquired immune system creates specialised immune cells. These are T-cells and B (lymphocyte) cells from bone marrow stem cells – hence the name.

These T and B cells recognise the pathogen intruder as ‘non-self’ through molecules on its surface called antigens. That triggers a response by the immune system to eliminate the threat. After a few days, antibodies are created that are specifically adapted to fight just that one particular viral or bacterial threat.

Antibodies “remember” the threat

These highly specialised antibody cells ‘remember’ the threat and mobilise next time they are faced by the same pathogen. The second time that the adaptive immune system meets the pathogen, the response is far faster.

That’s why someone who has recovered from measles is protected for life from getting measles again.

It’s clear from this description that your Acquired Immune System is very effective. BUT it has a chink – it will not immediately protect you from a new bacterial or viral threat. It requires time to build up immunity, which is why it takes days to get over a cold caused by a new virus.

As most people get older, their immune response gets weaker, which is why they are prone to more infections, more flu, more pneumonia, more inflammatory diseases and, unfortunately, more cancer. And why they have a poorer response to vaccination.

This reduced immunity appears to be associated with a reduction in the production of T cells.

You need optimum levels of micro-nutrients

Most research, according to Harvard Health, points to ‘micronutrient malnutrition’ – depletion in essential vitamins and minerals – as being a key cause.

In particular, deficiencies in vitamins A, B6, C, D, E and folic acid (B9) and in the minerals selenium, zinc and copper are known to lead to lower immunity.

Recent research shows that the level of vitamin D you need for healthy immune function, especially in the winter, is considerably higher than originally thought. See report at

Eating a largely plant-based diet will definitely support your immune system, as such a diet is plentiful in not just vitamins and minerals, but equally important plant protective compounds like beta carotene, lutein, lycopene and a vital range of protective flavonoids and polyphenols.

Top Food Immune Boosters

Dark red berries – including blueberries, blackcurrants and elderberries – are an especially good source of immune-enhancing polyphenols. As is green tea, which contains a polyphenol called epigallocatechingallate – EGCG – which is shown to build immune function.

Garlic is a proven immune booster and studies quoted by the National Cancer Institute indicate that people consuming six cloves a week or more have a 30% lower risk of colorectal cancer and a 50% lower risk of stomach cancer. So add garlic and onions liberally to your cooking.

Mushrooms have been found to increase the level and activity of white blood cells and hence enhance the immune system. Look for oyster mushrooms in the supermarket and especially potent are the less common shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms.

Combine them in chicken soup! An ideal combination would be to add garlic, onions and mushrooms to chicken soup. Nebraska University researchers have found that chicken soup contains a high level of the amino acid cysteine which helps block immunity-lowering inflammatory cells. So it’s not a myth that chicken soup is good for immunity – as well as the soul!

Add a supplement. Not many of us eat enough fruits and vegetables to get the level of nutrients that are needed to keep our immune system at a maximally protective level – especially as we get older and nutrient intake from food is generally not as well absorbed.

The latest research from University College London and the American Cancer Society recommends from 8 to 10 portions of fruits and vegetables – a day!

Since that is a level that few can realistically achieve day after day, a comprehensive supplement like NutriShield will give maximum support to your adaptive immune system.

NutriShield does not just include optimum levels of vitamins and minerals (including vitamin D3), but also Omega 3 and plant polyphenols – compounds like green tea extract, grapeseed extract, curcumin and carotenoids. They all contribute to better immune function.

To a such a daily supplement add regular exercise which supports health generally and improves circulation specifically. This allows immune cells to move effectively through the body to where they are needed.

Stress suppresses lymphocyte T and B cells, making your body vulnerable to illness and lengthening recovery times. So make it a daily habit to carry out a simple, short, stress-reduction exercise like this:

Boost your Innate Immune system

Your innate immune system (or non-specific immune system) is like a permanently patrolling, rapid response guard that looks out for incoming enemies – in this case viral, bacterial and fungal threats. It is your immediate and first line of defence.

Bacteria and viruses have an incredibly fast reproductive time – typically 20 to 30 minutes. Whereas, as we have seen, it takes your adaptive immune system between days and even weeks to create future protective antibodies. The innate immune system protects you during the delay between microbe exposure and your first adaptive response.

The innate immune system includes protective barriers like the skin, respiratory tract, saliva, mucous and also white blood cells.

These include Natural Killer cells, neutrophils and macrophages. They recognise a pathogen as non-self, attack it and, in the case of neutrophils and macrophages, literally engulf and “eat” it (macro phage means big eater.)

Beta glucans prime the innate immune system

Boosting the innate immune system requires a different approach from boosting the adaptive immune system.

A natural compound called 1-3, 1-6 beta glucans can ‘prime’ the innate immune system. This compound is developed from the cell walls of a type of baker’s yeast, but the particles have been purified and cannot trigger a yeast infection.

How beta glucans work

Over millennia, your innate immune system has learned to recognise yeast as a potential pathogen. So, when it senses the microscopic particles in the beta glucans – which are NOT the same beta glucans as those in oats, by the way – it responds by increasing the numbers and activity level of Natural Killer cells, neutrophils and macrophages.

This heightened activity results in more effective innate immunity, which then fights actual threats. These include flu or cold viruses, some respiratory tract infections, TB (tuberculosis), pneumonia, and bacterial infections like chlamydia, E. coli, salmonella or C. difficile.

Wellmune patented 1-3, 1-6 beta glucans

By far the best researched form of 1-3,1-6 beta glucans is Wellmune, a patented beta glucan with over £100 million of clinical trial research behind it.

This natural compound boosts the immune system safely, and has been shown to help reduce stress. When the Canadian Military tested some 100 potential immune boosters (even against radiation), Wellmune came out as number 1 for effectiveness.

It is also being used at the Brown Cancer Center in Kentucky as ‘adjunct therapy’ – therapy given in addition to primary therapy to maximise its effectiveness. See

Wellmune is the main ingredient in the established immune supplement ImmunoShield.

Wellmune and ImmunoShield are safe and cannot over-stimulate the immune system

ImmunoShield containing Wellmune beta glucans is proven safe to use in the face of both an incipient problem – for example the onset of a sore throat – or on a continuous basis.

Safety is an important issue, because the immune system can be over-stimulated. That can lead to what is called a cytokine storm – where the immune system turns on itself.

Whilst Echinacea, for example, has an undoubted immuno-modulatory effect, some health writers have expressed concern that continuous or over-use of echinacea could lead to this situation.

Probiotics to boost your immune system

Some 70% of your immune system is located in the gut. This has encouraged a lot of research into the role of probiotics and probiotic supplements – ‘friendly’ beneficial bacteria.

We now know that adding various strains of probiotics via a supplement not only helps crowd out pathogenic microbes but helps you better digest nutrients that support the immune system.

Live yoghurt can also help boost beneficial probiotic levels – but most brands in supermarkets are pasteurised which can almost eliminate positive probiotic activity.


There is a full report on the benefits of probiotics at

Natural immune-boosting summary

There is a lot you can do to boost your immune system.

  • Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, including red berries, citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, spinach, peppers and garlic
  • Eat at least 2 portions of whole grains a day
  • Eat a small portion of mixed nuts and seeds a day – the vitamin E content supports the immune system
  • Take a daily supplement like NutriShield
  • Take extra vitamin D in the winter
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Try a probiotic supplement – especially after an anti-biotic course which kills both good and bad bacteria
  • Exercise at least 3 times a week
  • Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night
  • Take a safe immune booster like ImmunoShield – especially in the winter.


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