Rightly so our public health experts both locally and nationally educate us about prevention. A good diet, avoiding excessive sugar, processed drinks, processed foods, and eating a high vegetable and fruit based diet along with lean protein and optimal sleep and regular exercise, are powerful preventative medicine measures we can all incorporate.
We want to offer some other information that can be vitally important as well whether you want to prevent or at least take measures in the early stages of cold and flu symptoms. None of these suggestions are a replacement for checking in with your family physician but can be a very important adjunct and possibly help prevent developing a more serious condition.
Few of us are aware of the important role of ionic calcium (calcium bicarbonate) in the early stages of the immune response. Calcium bicarbonate is important in supporting the initial stimulation of white blood cell activity and the immune response. This form of calcium is part of the first line of defense. Not all calcium is the same and the one form of prime importance is the type that can easily be enzymatically converted to calcium bicarbonate. Good quality spring water has some. The worst form of calcium to take and should be avoided is calcium carbonate (as in Tums) which can not be converted to calcium bicarbonate in the body nor digested or absorbed well. Calcium citrate takes a number of enzymatic reactions to convert to bicarbonate and calcium lactate takes only one enzymatic reaction to become calcium bicarbonate and probably the best form to take. The winner for immune support? Calcium lactate! (However for bone strength Calcium Citrate is a better form.)
Another important thing to remember for those who take Echinacea for immune support is the importance of vitamin C in activating the effects of Echinacea to work optimally. Not any old vitamin C though. The typical vitamin C on commercial shelves is simply ascorbic acid which is just one small part of the whole vitamin C complex and far from the most important part of the vitamin C complex. The strongest form of vitamin C is in foods high in vitamin C and this way you get nature's form of vitamin C along with all the cofactors inherently needed to activate the full power of vitamin C. Yet sometimes we may be in need of higher amounts of what is in food during immune stress. In these cases taking a whole food based vitamin C is the real stuff. Remember, you can't fool Mother Nature!
There are very few true whole food supplement manufacturers and we find Standard Process to be one of the best. Standard Process' whole food vitamin C also has Echinacea in it. They get all their plants and vegetable ingredients from their own organic farms in Wisconsin and take their soil health very seriously to make sure the food ingredients have the highest possible vitamin and nutrient base which is dependent on the health and related mineral content of the soil. The book “Empty Harvest” by Bernard Jensen and Mark Anderson discusses in detail the role of healthy soil in producing healthy and robust plants, vegetables and fruits.
Standard Process' vitamin C is called Cataplex C and for adults the dosage will vary from one to three, 2 to 3 times per day and dosages for kids depends on weight and age. Calcium lactate dose will vary as well depending on age and weight and will vary for acute and chronic use. Another product, ImmunoSelect, from Moss Nutrition, is good to start taking at the first signs of a cold or flu. It is a comprehensive blend of vitamins and standardized herbal extracts to support healthy immune function containing Astragalus, Andrographis, Goldenseal, etc. If you are beginning to feel ill, the adult dose would be 1-2 three times per day. All of these products are available in our office.
When the cold and flu season start and our children are about to begin school and through the autumn and winter, a good diet, optimal sleep and regular exercise are important. Regular use of additional whole food vitamin C, not just ascorbic acid and calcium lactate can be a wonderful additional adjunct to supporting a strong immune response during the long Berkshire winter. Wishing everyone a wonderful and healthy autumn season.
Ionic calcium and immune function research papers: