When we are under a heightened state of stress we are generally running our body with our sympathetic nervous system. This kicks us into our ‘fight flight’ response by releasing adrenalin into our bodies supply via our adrenal glands. These are tiny little glands that sit above the kidneys and without them we will die.
So yes the adrenal glands are rather important.
What’s the “fight flight response”?
The fight flight response is designed to protect us. In the process of this it shuts down all responses of the body that are not immediately vital for survival…and guess what…that includes our immune system.
When we are highly stressed we kick into our adrenal response, which suppresses our immune system. If we are stressed for long periods it leaves us open to invasion from foreign pathogens – and, particularly at this time of year, this means colds and flu.
Vitamins can improve your resistance to colds and flu
- Vitamin D3 has become heavily researched in the past couple of years in relation to our immune system and has been found to have great influence. Read more about Vitamin D and its benefits for your health.
- Vitamin C and bioflavinoid supplementation have also been shown consistently to keep colds and flu at bay. High levels of supplementation boost the immune systems capacity to fight off the dreaded lurgy. Fresh fruits and veges that are brightly coloured contain these.
- Zinc is integral in keeping our immune system in check and our zinc levels are also affected by stress.
- Mushroom extracts assist to build up your immune system.
- Sleep…lots of sleep!
Yes, sleep has a huge impact on our immune system and if you don’ get enough because you are burning the candle at both ends then expect a visit from Mr or Ms Sneezy.
So during this chilly season take the time to consider your immune system. Get good amounts of sleep, keep up your fresh fruits and veges and make sure you have a good supplementation regime.
Hot tip for Keeping Nutrients in Your Vegetables
When you steam vegetables keep the water afterwards!
You can pop the water in the fridge or freezer and use it as stock for a soup.
The water is filled with excellent vegetable nutrients.
- Wintergersta E, et al. Immune-Enhancing Role of Vitamin C and Zinc and Effect on Clinical Conditions, Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 2006 (Karger).
- Hardie L, et al. The effect of dietary vitamin C on the immune response of the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salarL), Uni. Aberdeen, 1990 (Science Direct).
- Vieth R, et al. The urgent need to recommend an intake of vitamin D that is effective, AJCN, 2007; Vol. 85, No. 3, 649-650. (AJCN).
- Urashima M, et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren, ASN, 2010 (AJCN).
- Yaoxue X, Effects of Ganoderma polysaccharides on the activity of DNA polymerase alpha of splenocytes and immune function in aged mice, Beijing Med. Uni.,1993 (NCBI).