Immune System Support
Your immune system is comprised of a sophisticated network of organs and cells that help your body to fight illness. Discover more about how you can support your immune health with lifestyle, herbal and nutritional therapies below.
What are the signs you might need immune system support?
The tissues and cells of your immune system work hard to protect you from infection using mechanisms ranging from simple physical barriers to specialised cells that detect and destroy infective microorganisms. If those mechanisms are weak or functioning poorly, you may be more susceptible than usual to minor infections.1
Chinese medicine and immune system support
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), if your levels of the vital energy called Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) are low, you’re likely to feel tired, weak and run-down, and to be susceptible to common colds.2
From a TCM perspective, a special form of Qi known as defensive Qi is responsible for protecting the body.
Astragalus traditionally used for immune system support
Astragalus: traditionally taken to enhance immune defences in TCM and Western herbal medicine
Astragalus is traditionally considered an immune tonic herb in Chinese medicine, where it has been taken for thousands of years to replenish or strengthen Qi, while supporting defensive Qi.
Astragalus is also traditionally taken to stimulate the body’s immune system responses while at the same time supporting the immune system to fight illness in Western herbal medicine.
In TCM, astragalus is also traditionally taken to reduce the frequency of common colds, to increase vitality, and to help the body cope with stress.
For kids, astragalus can be found in Kids' Astra 8 Immune Shield to stimulate a healthy immune system response, along with zinc to help reduce the frequency with which children catch common colds.
Probiotics support immune system health
The friendly bacteria that inhabit your intestines support healthy immune system function. However, dietary and lifestyle influences can upset the balance of both good and bad bacteria.
GutBiotic SB+, which contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG to support gut bacteria during antibiotic therapy and help restore it afterwards, and Saccharomyces boulardii (SB), a type of probiotic yeast that supports healthy immune system function.
Other immune-supporting probiotics in our range include GutBiotic 60 Billion, which provides 60 billion colony-forming units of probiotics from 14 strains, and Probiotic 8, a fridge-free formula that’s suitable for both adults and kids over 2 years old.
Zinc and vitamin C maintain healthy immune function
Both zinc and vitamin C are important for normal, healthy functioning of the immune cells and also support a healthy immune system. Vitamin C also supports the immune system in fighting illness.
Fusion Vitamin C 1000 Advanced is a buffered vitamin C formula that’s gentler on the stomach. These chewable tablets have a delicious elderberry flavour and are suitable for adults and children over 6 years.
Fusion Zinc Advanced is a high-strength supplement containing 50mg elemental zinc per tablet in the form of zinc glycinate, a highly bioavailable form of zinc with enhanced absorption compared to some other types of zinc. Zinc Advanced also includes vitamin B6 and C, which work alongside zinc to help maintain healthy immune system function.
Diet and lifestyle recommendations for immune system support
- When you’re feeling run down, it’s sometimes hard to find the motivation to shop for and prepare healthy food, but bear in mind that your immune system and your defensive Qi require a broad-spectrum of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in order to thrive. Those nutrients are best obtained from a wholesome diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables and contains healthy sources of protein and fat
- Spicy, warming and pungent foods are good choices, so make liberal use of garlic, onions, radishes, cinnamon, pepper, ginger and chilli
- Your defensive Qi may be weakened by exposure to excessive wind, so try to stay indoors in windy weather, and if you’re venturing out, wear warm, insulating clothes to keep the wind out. (Learn more about what TCM teaches about wind and immune health in this video)
- Take steps to manage your stress levels. Useful options to consider here may include talking to a counsellor, healthcare professional or trusted friend, ensuring you get adequate exercise (from the perspective of TCM, regular activity is absolutely vital, and Qigong or Tai chi are good choices), and learning a stress-coping tool such as meditation or yoga
- Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep by avoiding the consumption of caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and doing something relaxing like reading or meditating before bed
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and mineral supplements can only be of assistance when dietary intake is inadequate.
- Victoria State Government. Last updated December 2017 and accessed February 2021 from betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/immune-system.
- Hou JP, Jin Y. The healing power of Chinese herbs and medicinal recipes. Routledge, 2005.