Boost Your Immune System (and Your Oral Health) with Natural Supplements
|By Dr. Harold Katz - Bad Breath Expert|
Immune Supplements Designed to Strengthen and Boost
the Immune System Are Good For Oral Health!
When I first started testing bad breath back in 1993, I realized that it was absolutely necessary to physically smell the odor exhaled by patients at my clinics. This was in addition to all of the other tests I performed. An unfortunate side effect of that procedure was an increase in rate of getting sick. You see, I was picking up a lot of bugs from every heavy exhale.
I realized that if I wanted to continue I needed something to help me boost my immune system and fight off these viruses and bacteria. Some of you may remember the liquid product I introduced in the 1990's known as Immune Therapy. You needed to mix a few drops of this immune supplement (a blend of compounds I knew would work, based on experience working with bacteria and viruses back at UCLA) with water. It was a bit of a hassle, but it worked very well to strengthen the immune system. One problem with that formula was that we couldn't add any flavor, because of the method used in preparation.
The Zinc Gluconate in found in many TheraBreath products including our PLUS Oral Rinse, Gum and mints is the only form proven to be effective.
Dr. Katz Talks About Zinc
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants and vital for the immune system.
Dr. Katz Talks About Vitamin C
Echinacea has been used for over 400 years as a general "cure-all".
Dr. Katz Talks About Echinacea
Since 1984, twelve controlled studies (referred to as double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials) were conducted to evaluate the usefulness of zinc in treating the common cold. During a double-blind, randomized trial (which is considered by scientists as the most objective and reliable study method) neither the physician nor the patient knows whether the patient is being treated with zinc or a placebo. Which patients receive the zinc or the placebo is assigned in a random order (like the flip of a coin). The placebo in these studies is an inactive, non-zinc lozenge that is made to look like, and in some instances, taste like the zinc lozenge.
Five of the randomized clinical trials, which were done in adults, determined that zinc was effective in treating the common cold if the lozenges were started within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms.
In one study, the lozenges reduced the severity of symptoms (assessed by using a scoring system). In the other four studies, the duration of symptoms was decreased by 3 to 4 days.
In another study, the treatments with zinc or the placebo were begun before the volunteer subjects were purposely injected with a cold virus. The severity of cold symptoms was significantly less in the group taking the zinc than in those taking the placebo.
Vitamin C is vital for the function of the immune system and contributes to the formation of collagen, which is critical
for essential bodily functions.
Functions of Vitamin C
Vitamin C participates in two reactions that are necessary for collagen formation. Collagen is found wherever tissues require strengthening, especially in those tissues with a protective, connective, or structural function. Collagen is critical to the maintenance of bone and blood vessels and is essential in wound healing.
Ascorbic acid can act as an antioxidant by donating electrons and hydrogen ions, and reacting with reactive oxygen species or free radicals.
Vitamin C is important for the effective absorption of iron, especially non-haem iron. Ascorbic acid reduces ferric iron (Fe3+) to ferrous iron (Fe2+).
Synthesis of vital cell compounds
Vitamin C plays a role in stress, as it is important for the synthesis of epinephrine and norepinephrine. During times of physical and emotional stress, as well as during infection, there is increased production of oxygen radicals. Therefore there is also a reliance on Vitamin C's activity as an antioxidant. Those under heavy acute physical stress may benefit from taking large doses of Vitamin C.
Immune system function
Vitamin C is vital for the function of the immune system, especially for the function of lymphocytes.
- Humans are one of the few mammals that are unable to synthesize Vitamin C.
- Absorption occurs primarily by active transport in the small intestine. Prior to absorption, ascorbic acid (reduced form) may be oxidized to form dehydroascorbic acid. Dehydroascorbic acid is absorbed more readily than ascorbic acid and the efficiency of absorption decreases at high intakes. The two forms are inter-changeable and are both biologically active.
- As Vitamin C is water soluble, the body excretes any excess.
- Fruits and vegetables can easily provide a nice dose of Vitamin C. We recommend grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, honeydew melon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and broccoli.
Echinacea is one of several herbs that act as immunostimulants - botanical medicines that help your body fight off illness by bolstering its natural defenses.
Echinacea is one of several herbs that act as immunostimulants, which are botanical medicines that help your body fight off illness by bolstering its natural defenses. Echinacea is the best-known of these herbs. The herb is named for the prickly scales in its large conical seed head, which resemble the spines of an angry hedgehog (echinos is Greek for hedgehog).
This North American plant kicks your immune system into high gear. Echinacea can help cut down the effects of a cold, influenza, or bacterial infection before it can spread in the body. It can also shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms of the infection, says Alison Lee, M.D., a pain-management specialist and medical director of an alternative medicine practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
When you take echinacea, your immune system responds immediately. It can't sit still. Echinacea speeds up the process of phagocytosis and increases the number of white blood cells (natural killer cells) hunting down foreign particles such as viruses and bacteria in your body.
Today, echinacea is primarily used to reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu and to alleviate the symptoms associated with them, such as sore throat (pharyngitis), cough, and fever. Many herbalists also recommend echinacea to help boost the activity of the immune system and to help the body fight infections.
The constituents of echinacea include essential oil, polysaccharides, polyacetylenes, betain, glycoside, sesquiterpenes and caryophylene. It also contains copper, iron, tannins, protein, fatty acids and vitamins A, C and E. The most important immune-stimulating components are the large polysaccharides, such as inulin, that increase the production of T-cells and increase other natural killer cell activity. Fat-soluble alkylamides and a caffeic acid glucoside called echinacoside also contribute to the herb's immune empowering effects.
It has been shown in animal and human studies to improve the migration of white blood cells to attack foreign micro-organisms and toxins in the bloodstream. Echinacea's properties may offer benefit for nearly all infectious conditions. Studies show echinacea prevents the formation of an enzyme which destroys a natural barrier between healthy tissue and damaging organisms.
Echinacea is considered an effective, therapeutic agent in many infectious conditions including upper respiratory infections, the common cold and sinusitis. The herb is a mild antibiotic that is effective against staph and strep infections. Echinacea aids in the production of interferon, which increases antiviral activity against influenza (the flu), and herpes (an inflammation of the skin and mouth). It may reduce the severity of symptoms such as runny nose and sore throat and reduce the duration of illness.
Steven Dentali, Ph.D., a natural products chemist with Dentali Associates in Troutdale, Oregon, and a member of the advisory board of the American Botanical Council says that Echinacea works on another level of the immune system as well. It seems to prevent the action of an enzyme called hyaluronidase. When you're sick, this enzyme breaks down the walls of healthy cells, allowing the invaders to get inside.
By interfering with this enzyme, echinacea helps the body maintain its lines of defense in the deadly game of germ warfare, says Dr. Dentali. "There's still some debate over the actual mechanism. Maybe it inhibits the enzyme, or perhaps it supports the cell wall so it's a more formidable barrier and harder to penetrate. No one really knows," he says, "but the result is that it seems to slow down the spread of infection in the body."
The revved-up effect, however, is short-lived. Consequently, for best results, at the very onset of any symptoms (or before entering a crowded environment, such as airplane, stadium, etc) we recommend that once you start taking echinacea, you continue to do so until after symptoms of your illness have subsided.
Two groups of researchers recently conducted a review of the scientific literature to determine whether echinacea is safe and effective in preventing or treating the common cold. Both groups of researchers identified 13 high-quality European studies including a variety of different echinacea preparations. Nine looked at the effectiveness of echinacea to treat the common cold and four examined whether echinacea helps prevent this familiar health problem.
Most studies found that echinacea (when taken at the first sign of a cold for 8 to 10 days) reduced cold symptoms or shortened their duration. For example, in a study of 95 people with early symptoms of cold and flu (such as runny nose, scratchy throat, and fever), those who drank 5 to 6 cups of echinacea tea every day for 5 days felt better sooner than those who drank tea without echinacea. Other studies have found that echinacea reduces cold symptoms by roughly 34 percent.
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