Ask the experts: 5 ways to support your immune system

Ask the experts: 5 ways to support your immune system

Whether we like hearing it or not, keeping our immune system in fighting shape is more important now than ever before. We all know that eating well and trying our best to avoid burnout is a great place to start, but we likely need a little extra help to keep us going strong throughout the winter months – particularly around the festive season. Curious? We were too, so we reached out to several industry-leading health experts to get the lowdown on how best to support our immune system.

1. Prioritise Sleep

Sleep is crucial to our overall health and we’ve all seen how a lack of it can negatively impact our mood, concentration, energy – but it can also impact immunity. “Sleep is incredibly important when it comes to our immune system, and getting a sufficient amount helps to ensure our bodies have a high number of cells that can fight infections,” says Dr Zoe Schaedel, Specialist Sleep Practitioner at The Good Sleep Clinic. “These cells are called natural killer cells and when we’re sleep-deprived, the level of these fall in the short term which directly impacts our ability to ward off common illness. Long-term, a reduction in these cells can increase our risk of more serious illnesses,” she adds.

So how much sleep should we be getting? Dr Zoe recommends adults aim for between 7 and 9 hours a night for optimum health and a well-functioning immune system. “To help you to achieve this, try to be as consistent as possible with sleep timings as this helps to strengthen our internal body clock,” she says. “I’d also suggest looking to cut back on alcohol and limit your caffeine intake to earlier in the day as this will help you to drift off better and ensure you have better quality sleep. Lastly, having a good wind down routine with limited screens and a hot bath or shower can help give your body sleep signals and prepare it for a more restful night.” If you’re still struggling to drift off, our Deep Sleep tincture can help you to switch off and sleep through thanks to its anti-anxiety, sedative and soothing effects.

2. Top up Your Vitamin D Levels

“Vitamin D is a really essential component for a number of reasons,” says NHS Doctor, Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence. “It helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our body and is really important for bone health. It also has a role in the functioning of our immune system,” she adds.

This is because it has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to promote and activate immune system responses. It also helps boost the function of our immune cells so low levels mean we can be more susceptible to infection. “We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight and since we aren’t getting much sunlight at the moment and are unable to get away on holiday as easily due to the pandemic, it’s no surprise that so many of us aren’t getting enough,” says Dr Frankie. “Around 1 in 5 people are deficient and the NHS recommends that most people in the UK take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months from October to March,” advises Dr Frankie. Our Essential D3/K2 supplement harnesses the power of vitamin K2 alongside vitamin D to enhance absorption and maximum efficacy.

3. Take A Good Quality Immune Supplement

A multi-action immune formula can be a great way to support your immune system during cold and flu season. “The literature is telling us that nutritional status (specifically selenium, zinc and vitamin D) plays a major role in immune resilience – particularly when it comes to Covid-19,” says our  Founder, Rhian Stephenson. “This was a big driving force behind the launch of our new Cellular Defence supplement. I wanted to create a potent, synergistic formulation which could support our immune systems with evidence-based vitamins, minerals and botanicals which not only help protect us from illness, but also lessen the severity if we do catch something.” Our Cellular Defence supplement is a blend of a highly therapeutic blend of medicinal mushrooms, vitamins, and phytonutrients that help strengthen and reinforce our immune system through anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activity. Expertly formulated to work for everyone, we’re big advocates of this daily support for optimum immune health – particularly right now. 

4. Consider Meditation

Meditation brings so many benefits to our overall health and wellbeing, but it can be particularly powerful for combatting feelings of stress – which can be one of the most disruptive emotions for our immunity. “High levels of cortisol, our stress hormone, can negatively impact our immune system so it’s crucial we keep an eye on it,” says Wellness Educator, Coach and Founder of Tiwari Yoga, Angie. “One way of doing this is through meditation which can help reduce feelings of stress whilst increasing our serotonin (happy hormone) levels.” Stress can also be detrimental to our sleep pattern so meditating as part of your nightly routine can help you to switch off and move away from high levels of adrenaline and cortisol. “If you’re new to meditation, all it takes is to close your eyes and breathe a little deeper,” says Angie. “Bring the awareness to the sensations in your body. Repeating in your head the word ‘here’ on the inhale and ‘now’ on the exhale can be really useful for remembering to stay in the moment and create a sense of calm,” she adds.

5. Try Eating Functional Foods

“It’s estimated that 70% of our immune system resides in our gut so if we want to look after our overall health, it’s worth paying particular attention to,” says Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Specialist Registered Dietitian. “Increasing the diversity of our diet can help improve our gut health which is why it’s important we eat a variety of different, ideally whole foods, throughout the week.” Adding functional foods can also really help. “Functional foods are an umbrella term for foods which add additional health benefits and help create some form of function within the body,” says Nichola. Examples of these include pre and probiotics. “Prebiotics in the gut help increase the number of healthy bacteria, aid digestion and enhance the production of vitamins,” says Nichola. These can be found in whole grains, vegetables, fruit and seeds. Probiotics on the other hand are often referred to as friendly bacteria and help to prevent bad bacteria from forming. You’ll find these in foods such as fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha.

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