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Immunity Boost—For Seniors

It’s not necessarily best to wait until you’re feeling under the weather to give your body a healthy immunity boost. Your immune system is always at the ready, and like every system in the body it thrives with a little added support.

Immunity as we Age
The immune system is not immune to aging. A process called immunosenescence describes what we’d expect during the natural aging process: the immune system slows down. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how this happens, but we do know that various parts of the immune system are affected for a few different reasons:

  1. Oxidative Stress. The body’s cells naturally generate unstable molecules known as free radicals that damage proteins and other cells through oxidation, which robs healthy cells of their electrons and damages them. The antidote to free radical damage is that our body also generate enzymes that “scavenge” these free radicals to prevent oxidative stress from happening. As we age, however, cells slow down their enzyme production and free radicals build up, causing more rapid cellular decline.
  2. Bifidobacteria Decline. Bifidobacteria are beneficial bacteria that live in the large intestine (colon). Bifidobacteria support healthy bowel movements by promoting an optimal pH balance and they support healthy immunity.‡ Bifidobacteria levels decline with age and can be replenished with immunity boost Bifidobacteria probiotic supplements and probiotic-rich foods.Bifidobacteria declines with age chart
  3. Intestinal Lining Breakdown. 70% of the body’s immune cells originate in the intestinal lining, your body’s immunity hub. Over time and with a poor diet, certain medications, and stress, the intestinal lining can begin to break down and cause a condition known as “leaky gut” that allows inflammatory particles to leak into the bloodstream. The intestinal lining is one of your body’s primary immune defenses and can be supported with select advanced immunity boost nutrients that help repair and restore intestinal lining integrity.‡

Immunity Boost at Home

Boosting your immunity is not as challenging or time consuming as you might think. You probably have many of the nutrients you need in your refrigerator or pantry:

  • Vitamin D3 is also called the sunshine vitamin because the skin produces this vitamin with direct sunlight exposure. Experts are now estimating that the majority of Americans are vitamin D3, however. Vitamin D3 is a primary immune support vitamin as it positively affects up to 2,000 of the body’s genes that impact immunity and inflammation. Vitamin D3 is also essential in supporting the body’s absorption of calcium for strong bones. A simple 25 (OH) Vitamin D level test can help you determine whether you are deficient in vitamin D3, which can be easily added to the diet in supplement form.
  • Probiotics are first thought of as a digestive health aid, though they possess powerful immune benefits as well. Probiotics support a healthy balance of microflora along the intestinal lining, your body’s hub for immunity.* When the gut is balanced in favor of beneficial bacteria, it can better crowd out any incoming harmful bacteria and support the stores of immune cells that originate along your intestinal wall. A gut bacterial imbalance (dysbiosis) can be a warning sign of a compromised immune system. Probiotics can be taken in supplement form and are recommended in doses of 30 billion probiotic cultures per capsule for senior health support, or more depending on your condition. You can also increase your probiotic intake through probiotic-rich cultured and fermented foods: yogurt, kefir, kimchee, and non-pasteurized sauerkraut.  
  • Antioxidants in foods and in supplements are potent immunity boost and a direct way to help offset the free radical damage that accelerates the aging process. Antioxidant foods contain vitamin A (broccoli, carrots, mangoes, peaches, spinach), vitamin C (berries, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruits), and vitamin E (nuts, chard, pumpkin, sunflower seeds), plus immune supporting minerals such as zinc (lean red meat, seafood, whole grains) and selenium (tuna, poultry, Brazil nuts). Add green drinks to your daily diet and make sure each meal contains antioxidant foods. Antioxidant supplements feature ingredients such as gut-supporting probiotics, EpiCor® respiratory health antioxidant compound, and arabinogalactan, the active immune supporting substance found in Echinacea for multi-level immune support.* 
  • Hydration is an important factor in immunity because it helps flush the body of unwanted toxins. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of filtered water daily in plain form and in herbal teas. Add lemon to your water to help keep the body in an alkalized state. Lemon is converted to alkaline (not acid) when ingested, and an alkaline environment helps discourage harmful bacteria and pathogen growth. Regular massage is also an immune supporting practice as it stimulates the flow of immune lymph fluid in the body, as does a gentle yoga practice and exercise.