The immune system is our powerful internal army seeking, recognizing, and destroying invaders to keep us free of disease. When the immune system is functioning optimally, few viruses, bacteria, cancer, or parasites are allowed to set up house in the body, and create illness.

Parts of the Immune System

The immune system has two main parts: the innate immune system that you were born with and the adaptive immune system that develops over time as it is exposed to viruses and other invaders. When an infant is born, they acquire some immunity from their mom and through the placenta and from breast milk, but for the most part their immune system develops over time with each cold or illness they have as children.

The Innate Immune System

The innate immune system is your child’s rapid response system and is made up of physical barriers like the skin, and the mucous membranes that line the gut, urinary, and respiratory tracts. Saliva and tears are other protectors full of immune agents that kill invaders while at the same time dilute and wash microbes away.

The cells that make up the innate immune system engulf and destroy invaders. For example, macrophages are part of this immune system, and we call them big-eater cells as they engulf and devour invaders.

Sugars have been found to deactivate these big-eating cells for up to five hours, making us vulnerable to infection, yikes! Reducing sugar consumption helps our immune system do its job more effectively [1].

The Adaptive Immune System

The adaptive immune system develops as it is exposed to viruses or other microbes. Through this process, the adaptive immune system creates memories so that when you are exposed to the same virus again, the immune system recognizes it and can deploy the immune army for quick destruction.

For example, if you got mumps as a child, your immune system created antibodies to mumps which now make you immune from getting mumps again. The reason we can’t make antibodies to the cold virus we had a few months ago is because the cold virus keeps mutating, so it isn’t the identical virus we were exposed too previously and as such every time we get a cold virus infection, new antibodies must be created.

Immune System Imbalance = Disease

We often hear about “boosting” the immune system but that is not the right approach to strengthening our immune system.  An immune system that is not functioning properly can be either underactive or overactive and we do not want to “boost” an overactive immune system. A balanced immune system is a healthy one.

Building a Strong Immune System

There are several ways we can help build a strong immune system in our children:

  • Exposure: Having our children play in the dirt or with animals exposes them to lots of microbes, which are a training ground for the immune system.
  • Nutrition: Providing a variety of nutrient-dense foods and reducing sugar consumption supports a strong immune system.
  • Rest: Ensuring adequate sleep and reducing stress (to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol) also helps strengthen immunity.

Supplements to Strengthen the Immune System

Two key nutritional supplements have also been known to balance the immune system so it is strong enough to fight off invaders but not so overactive that immune responses can’t control allergies, asthma, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamin D3 for Strong Immunity

Vitamin D3 is called the sunshine vitamin because it is created when the skin is exposed to sunshine. Vitamin D works on both the innate and adaptive immune systems. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a large clinical trial with 340 children during flu season. Half the children received 1200 IU of Vitamin D3 per day and the other half received a fake pill. Rates of influenza A were 40% lower in the group receiving vitamin D3 compared to those kids not taking vitamin D3 [3]. Another study in 400 infants, 3 to 12 months old, found that a dose of 1200 IU per day of Vitamin D3 was more effective at rapidly relieving cough, fever and wheezing compared to a lower dose of 400 IU per day [4].

Vitamin D3 has also been found to be effective for allergies and asthma in kids among many other health conditions. For a strong immune system, all infants, toddlers, and children should be taking this super-star immune nutrient daily.

Children need 1000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.

Plant Sterols = Strong Immune Function

Plant sterols and sterolins, in a specific ratio of 100:1 sold only under the brand Moducare®, has been extensively researched for over 20 years for their effects on immune-related disorders from rheumatoid arthritis to infections, including Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and colds & flu, as well as allergies in children. Plant sterols and sterolins balance both arms of the immune system, enhancing a weak immune system while controlling inflammation and an overactive immune system that can promote autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis.

Allergies in Children

Moducare® was recently researched in children with allergic rhinitis and found to be very effective at relieving symptoms. Pollen, dust mites, mold, and animal dander are common causes of allergic rhinitis. After 6 months of treatment with Moducare®, children had an 89% reduction of symptoms of nasal obstruction, sneezing, runny nose, and itching.

Viral Infections (Colds & Flu)

Research in athletes showed Moducare® reduces inflammation and recurring colds and flus when taken daily. Inflammation creates restricted airways and children with asthma battle inflammatory responses requiring immune-suppressing steroid treatments. Moducare® calms inflammation and strengthens the immune system.

Immune System Support

Supporting a strong immune system is the key to the reduction of colds, flu, and other infections. Moducare® and Vitamin D3 are two nutrients that should be part of everyone’s daily immune system nutrient program.

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About Lorna Vanderhaeghe

Lorna Vanderhaeghe is the author of 13 books including her first book, The Immune System Cure, published in 6 countries and 4 languages.