It’s that time of year where sneezes and coughs become part of the background noise. How do you keep yourself immune from the constant onslaught of germs around you? At Aspire, we have some favourite remedies that help keep bacteria and viruses under control. Consider these top blood tests to give us up to date info on your body’s ability to ward off this season’s offenders.
Flying during the winter season? Prone to bronchitis or other respiratory ailments? Our magic weapon? Xenobioforce. It has a funny name (xeno is pronounced zeno) but it can be your best friend for preventing chest colds and coughs. When you are forced to spend many hours in an enclosed area with little ventilation, you can be exposed to more pathogens. This may be a reality for those of you travelling daily via subway, plane or train. Let’s review the ingredients of our favourite formula:
Astragalus – Chinese medicine herb specific for boosting immune system and targeting respiratory conditions
Vitamin C – Nature’s well-known immune system fighter
Beta carotene – Powerful antioxidant, precursor to Vitamin A, required for proper immune function
Ginger root – Natural anti-inflammatory, increases circulation and assists with healing
Zinc – Often deficient in our diet, this mineral is important for optimal immune system function; assists the body with activating the immune response
Sour cherry– Fights inflammation and is a source of potent antioxidants
And for those of you brave enough to take a remedy that doesn’t taste very good but works incredibly well, we suggest botanical tinctures. At Aspire we can compound various herbal formulas that are specific for your needs. Feeling like an illness is coming? We recommend a tincture of echinacea and goldenseal. Have a sore throat with a headache? We may compound ginger, turmeric and astragalus. The goal? Take these remedies in an ounce of water several times a day and let these herbs work their magic.
As for lab tests to asisst us with knowing immune status, consider the following:
Vitamin D – Studies show that when vitamin D levels are low, one is at an increased susceptibility to infections. Nearing the end of the summer months, your vitamin D levels should be the highest they are all year, thanks to our direct sun exposure. Considering supplementation with vitamin D in the Fall months is generally a good idea to maintain your levels until next summer, but it’s important to know where your starting point is. Through a simple blood test with your ND, you can find out your baseline vitamin D levels so that you know exactly how much to supplement with so you can optimize your levels and your immune system.
Complete Blood Count (CBC) – This is a test that is often run as part of a complete laboratory assessment, however, sometimes it gets overlooked. It includes both your red blood cell count (RBCs) and your white blood cell count (WBC). Our white blood cells are the cells of our immune system and are our first line of defense when we encounter a foreign invader. Therefore, measuring these levels can assess the body’s immune response.
Vitamin B12 – You’ve probably heard us talk many of times about vitamin B12 and that’s because it’s so important when it comes to making sure we have enough energy to perform our daily tasks. Not only is vitamin B12 important for energy production, but it also plays a role in our white blood cell production. Like I mentioned above, these cells are essential for proper immune system functioning. As a lack of vitamin B12 can lower your immunity, we suggest testing your vitamin B12 levels at the beginning of “cold & flu season” to ensure that your levels are optimal.