Immune Boosters to Protect Yourself From the Flu Virus

When the cold and flu season is in full swing, it's essential to take extra precautions. Along with a healthy diet, plenty of rest, staying hydrated and exercise, effective supplements are an extra step necessary to keep viruses at bay. Antioxidants that have been proven to be an effective immune booster are the key to staying healthy.

Taking supplements including herbs, minerals and vitamins can be the difference between getting sick and staying healthy. Proven immunity boosters include Echinacea, garlic, vitamin C and Zinc.

The Immune Booster That You May Not Be Familiar With

An immune booster that is gaining attention from scientists is Elderberry extract. Elderberry is a fruit-bearing shrub found in temperate zones around the world and it has been used for food, drink and medicine for countless centuries. In the early 1900's elderberry elixirs were given to school aged children to prevent illness.

The polyphenolic and phenolic compounds now known to be in elderberry fruit are the antioxidants that help to boost the immune system. Elderberry extract is the best way to get the benefits of the immune boosting abilities. The extract has an unusually rich content of phytochemicals known as flavonoids. Anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that is found among all fruit, but with the highest concentration in elderberries, act as powerful antioxidants that boost the immune system and protect the body's cells from harm. They have a significantly greater antioxidant capacity than the better-known antioxidant, vitamin C. One study demonstrated that the anthocyanins found in elderberry actually modulated the production of cytokines, the proteins that act as messengers within the immune system and thebyy serve to enhance the body's response when a virus enters the body.

Attack The Virus At Its Source

While elderberry extract is an excellent immune booster, it's also an effective flu remedy that attacks the flu virus at a cellular level. When the flu virus enters a cell and starts to multiply, antibodies immediately go to work to destroy the virus. If one's immune system is working optimally, then the virus may not take hold and the person will not even be aware of the fight that's going on at a cellular level. But if one has not been getting enough antioxidants, free radicals are formed which start chain reactions that damage other cells.

The discovery that scientists has so excited is that elderberry extract can work after the flu virus has already multiplied and the person has started having symptoms of the seasonal flu or H1N1 flu.

In a double blind, placebo-controlled study, 93 percent of the people in the group treated with elderberry lozenges were relieved of their flu-like symptoms within 24 hours. Fever and headaches were greatly reduced or eliminated completely, while the placebo group's symptoms became worse.

Another study conducted at the University of Oslo demonstrated that products containing elderberry extract aide in the prevention of the influenza virus by preventing viruses from attaching to host cells, thereby preventing infection. In a 2005 London based study, researchers found that elderberry extract was 99% effective against the Avian Bird flu.

Get The Benefits

Eating elderberries does not pack the same punch as taking concentrated elderberry extract. One excellent way to ingest elderberry extract is in the form of elderberry lozenges. Elderberry lozenges work by inhibiting viral invaders from entering into host cells, thereby halting their spread within its human subjects. Elderberry lozenges can be chewed or allowed to dissolve in the mouth, quickly delivering to the bloodstream a consistent dose of the proprietary elderberry extract.

While the CDC touts vaccination as the best prevention of coming down with the seasonal flu or H1N1 strain, boosting one's immunity can be an outstanding precaution for maintaining respiratory health. Vitamin C, Echinacea and garlic are excellent immune enhancing aides, even though data on their ability to fight influenza A and B is inconclusive. Elderberry extract is an excellent immune booster to have on hand to reduce the symptoms of the flu.

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