Happy, Healthy Immunity! We are in the final week of our new Team RLEI Reset Program to Live Amazing and at this point, we’re all either getting healthy or trying to stay healthy. The immune system is where health begins and ends in that sense. A number of factors affect immune system health. Some you can’t control: the very young and the very old are vulnerable. Surgery and wounds give microbes a chance to sneak into the inner sanctum. Other risks include chronic disease, poverty, stress, lack of sleep, living with lots of other people (dormitories, low-income housing), and drinking tap water (with its local microbes) in many foreign countries. And it’s not just the flu virus to worry about “catching”, there are the other viruses that cause respiratory illness: parainfluenza viruses, adenoviruses, coronaviruses, rhinoviruses…not to mention bacteria such as Streptococcus. You can’t “fight” off any of those if your immune system is not in full fighting form. If you can get/keep your immune system as strong as possible, you can deal with infection from bacteria, viruses, and parasites, illness, and injury. Here are our top 10 important tips for Immune Strength: 1. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. In the U.S. the “influenza season” is roughly between October and April. And it spreads all too easily from objects to hand to mouth/nose to hand to objects again and again. All it takes is (non-antibacterial) soap, water, and at least 20 seconds. (Make it a new habit. We all think we wash our hands enough, but mostly we don’t.) Use something like Shaklee’s Hand Wash; it has wheat germ oil and algae extract to moisturize; soy protein to condition; aloe, marshmallow (Althaea officinalis), and linden flower (Tilia cordata) extracts to soothe; and rosemary and arnica extracts to energize. You also don’t want to over-use hand sanitizers – only use if you don’t have the ability to wash your hands. When it comes to that time of year when everyone’s “getting sick”, it’s worth some extra measures to protect the whole family. Regularly wipe off your doorknobs, remote controls, and light switches! Shaklee’s Basic-G Germicide “kills” all kinds of things like salmonella and strep and over 60 pesky microbes but without the harshness of bleach. Or try the convenient Germ Off Disinfecting Wipes and you don’t even need to pull out the reusable, washable rag. An important note here: it’s good to get “dirty” when you’re young. Some experts point to evidence that an over-sanitized environment is bad for your health, increasing the risk of allergic, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. The so-called Hygiene Hypothesis posits that exposure to microbes early in life flexes and shapes the immune system to do what it was designed to do. Growing up in an ultra-clean environment, though, may produce an immune system that attacks innocuous things (animal dander, ragweed pollen, your own cells), leading to chronic inflammation. 2. By increasing white blood cells and stimulating lymph flow, dry skin brushing, which is a type of massage treatment that you can do yourself, supports your immune system. Plus, it has several other amazing benefits as well, such as enhancing muscle tone and reducing cellulite. Your skin, the largest organ in the human body is an organ of elimination. 1/3 of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin and dry brushing helps to unclog pores and excrete toxins that become trapped in the skin. Buy a natural (not synthetic) bristle brush with a long handle so can reach all areas of your body. Doing this 1-2 times a day is another regular habit to get into. 3. Interferon: a naturally occurring substance that interferes with the ability of viruses to reproduce. Discovered first in 1957, all 3 classes are proteins (lymphokines) normally produced by the body in response to infection. The interferons have been synthesized using recombinant DNA technology. Interferon therapy, while successful for some, can be hard to tolerate because of the side effects. And so the Shaklee NutriFeron story was born. It is the only dietary supplement in the U.S. created by the discoverer of interferon, world-renowned immunologist, Dr. Yashuhiko Kojima, designed to naturally increase the production of interferon in the body. It took many years but this revolutionary, exclusive formula with 4 plant extracts now provides daily immune health support for anyone. 4. Probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, miso, pickles, tempeh and kombucha (avoid those sparkling probiotic drinks unless they’re naturally low in sugar, same for most commercial yogurts too) are also a natural way to boost your immune system. There is a strong link between probiotics, the “good” bacteria that live in your digestive tract (e.g., Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) and immunity. They protect our digestive tracts, help us to digest food, assist in toxin clearance, and shield us from invading bacteria and viruses. Or take a probiotic supplement containing lactobacillus and bifidobacteria strains — between 5 and 20 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per day depending on age. They have to get to the right place in the gut to be efficient so delivery matters too. Shaklee’s Optiflora® is a unique two-product digestive health system that provides dietary support for normal, healthy intestinal microflora. Once the probiotics are delivered to the digestive system, prebiotics can deliver important nutrients that healthy intestinal bacteria need to grow and thrive. Optiflora Probiotic Complex utilizes patented triple-layer encapsulation technology, is designed to live delivery of probiotics to the large intestine, where they provide the greatest benefit. 5. Add antioxidant-rich foods (citrus, berries, grapes, kiwi, apples, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes), cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and chard that all support the liver’s ability and immune function, and medicinal mushrooms to the grocery list. Medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake and reishi contain beta-glucans (complex carbohydrates) that enhance immune activity against infections and cancer and reduce allergies (cases of inappropriate immune system activity). While studies have focused on purified mushroom extracts, fresh shiitake and maitake (also called “hen of the woods”) mushrooms are delicious sautéed in a little olive oil. 6. Vitamin C is really just the beginning. The other top antioxidants include vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc. And research studies have shown that vitamin D may play a role in boosting the immune system and preventing certain autoimmune diseases. A good multivitamin/mineral supplement will ensure a sufficient daily dose of all of those but in case of deficiency or a compromised immune system, they can also be found as individual supplements. And Shaklee’s Immunity Formula I contains a blend of 6 immunoactive vitamins – vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, vitamins C, E, B6, B12 and folic acid. It also contains mineral support including: copper, selenium, and zinc. 7. Go cold before flu. Whether annual flu vaccines are valuable or not is up for debate. Either way, you can go natural here too. Natural “flu shots” are mixtures of healthy herbs, greens, fruits, spices and liquids that combine in order to boost your immune system’s function. One of our favorite “cold” remedies we keep fresh in a glass jar or pitcher in the fridge involves pineapple, lemon juice, grated ginger, and cayenne pepper. Sometimes we add Shaklee’s Green Matcha Energizing Tea. And spirulina (blue-green algae super-food) and/or wheatgrass. You can take it to the next level by adding Shaklee’s Defend & Resist Complex when you feel that first tickle or sign of something coming on. Key ingredients in Defend & Resist have been shown in laboratory studies to help to stimulate the body’s natural resistance with Echinacea purpurea, help to maintain a healthy immune response with black elderberry, and enhances immune support with larch tree. Other herbs and spices to keep handy: oregano, which contains carvacrol and thymol, is fantastic at fighting off viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi, black pepper, turmeric, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and fennel. 8. Go hot when it’s cold. When that tickle turns into a cough or sore throat, a hot “concoction” is in order. One of our favorite “hot” recipes includes boiling water with apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, and zinc. Just strain and sip as a sweet and sour style broth/tea. Works every time! 9. If you can’t breathe, open the airways with oils. Certain essential oils, such as ravensara, eucalyptus, and tea tree actually help boost your immunity and disinfect the air. Steam opens up the sinuses as does a drop of peppermint oil on the tongue. When it comes to stuffed up sinuses, congestion often feels worse at night. This can create a vicious cycle because you need lots of rest to get over a cold or the flu, but the difficulty you have breathing at night can make it hard to sleep. The solution is to help your body stay as congestion-free as possible while you sleep. Put an extra pillow or two under your head, as this will help drain your sinuses. Make sure your bedroom climate is humid to further thin the mucus in your nose. And try nasal breathing strips, which lift the sides of the nose to help open nasal passages. (Some people believe in putting Vicks Vaporub generously on the bottom of the feet at bedtime, then covering with socks, to stop coughing through the night also.) Although nasal congestion will generally subside on its own, congestion that lasts for more than 7 to 10 days calls for a visit to the doctor. A viral infection usually goes away on its own within a week or so, but an infection that lasts longer is often bacterial and may require an antibiotic. But just remember, antibiotics ONLY work on bacterial infections, not viruses. Our society has been abusing antibiotics for far too long, creating more and more resistant “super bugs”. 10. Traveling makes you more susceptible, so be prepared. Stay hydrated (avoid dehydrating excess salt, sugar, and alcohol). Some people swear by applying Vaseline to the outer lining of the nostrils to “catch” airborne germs on airplanes. No matter what method of transportation you use, getting sleep and exercise in like normal are key too. And if you want an extra “C” boost, reach for Shaklee’s Vitalized Immunity, naturally sweetened with Monk Fruit, containing as much Vitamin C as 16 oranges! It’s effervescent and you can just drop it in a glass of water when you’re on the go. If you get sick with something mild, like a virus, the basics will always apply: stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a facemask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®. You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings. (Don’t forget, fevers are a good sign that the body is in healing action! You only need attention when they are particularly high, otherwise they are doing their job.) And you may need emergency medical treatment if there are other severe symptoms or signs besides fever, bodyaches and pains, chills, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and fatigue. The best thing you can do is give your body the rest it needs and naturally support all your immunity functions. Now that this Team RLEI Reset Program to Live Amazing 100 Day period is coming to a close, we wish you nothing but health, happiness, and Amazing-ness to come!