Several components of a healthy lifestyle have been shown to play a key role in supporting the immune system. Evidence suggests that regular moderate activity is particularly beneficial for immune enhancement and reducing the risk of infection.
Getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and managing stress are all components of a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding nutritional deficiencies seems the most pragmatic nutritional strategy. This can be achieved with a balanced diet which includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Further benefit may be gained from some supplements which support a healthy diet, helping to prepare the body’s immune system to fight off unwanted infections.
The FLUGON® range contains the following vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system:
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin C
Even though our bodies need strong immune systems all year round, they may be more compromised or at risk at certain times of the year. Winter for instance is the time of year when cold or flu viruses are more prevalent.
Viruses pose a considerable challenge to the body’s immune system because they hide inside cells. This makes it difficult for antibodies to reach them. Viruses attach themselves to different host cells in the body and inject their genetic material into it. The viral DNA or RNA incorporates itself into the host cell’s genetic material where the virus replicates. During release, the newly created viruses are released from the host cell, which causes the host cell to break apart. It is important to realise that a viral infection does not always lead to illness. The viral infection occurs when the virus begins to replicate and multiply. The illness or disease only occurs when many body cells are damaged by the infection, which is also when the symptoms appear. That is why a strong immune system plays such a vital role – if the immune system manages to fight off the virus that entered the cells and replicated (before the host cells are damaged), the patient will not get sick (develop symptoms). The body will, however, respond in different ways to fight these foreign bodies.
The lifecycle of a virus can be divided into several major stages: attachment, entry, uncoating, replication, maturation, and release.
FLUGON®’s herbal ingredients interfere with this viral life cycle. The herbal antivirals in FLUGON® help lessen the severity of symptoms and help shorten the duration of cold or flu while reducing the speed of viral replication. The 4 key herbal ingredients contained in FLUGON® are:
Many herbal medicines used in ethnomedicine are beneficial in the treatment of infectious conditions such as respiratory ailments, cold and flu.
Locally, many such medicines are derived from the plant Pelargonium sidoides, also known as the African geranium. Interest in P. sidoides and its extract EPs 7630 has been heightened by reports of therapeutic benefits in infectious conditions of the respiratory tract such as TB and related diseases.
Pelargonium sidoides has strong immunomodulatory effects that increase the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines which are responsible for supporting an immune response. It has also been demonstrated to have an indirect antibacterial effect through inhibition of bacterial adhesion to human epithelial cells. It interferes with the virus so it cannot attach to the surface of epithelial cells, thereby lowering the potential replication of the virus.
In numerous randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews such as those published by the Cochrane Collaboration, Pelargonium sidoides extract EPs 7630 was shown to be effective in acute respiratory tract infections (aRTI) in all investigated age-groups. Following the therapeutic use of EPs 7630 in modern phytomedicine for the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections, the demonstrated antiviral effects of this extract against a panel of viruses including seasonal influenza A virus strains (H1N1, H3N2), respiratory syncytial virus, human coronavirus, parainfluenza virus and coxsackie virus provided evidence of feasible beneficial effects in patients suffering from acute bronchitis and related infectious diseases.
In a study of EPs 7630’s effectiveness versus acute bronchitis, as measured by reductions in Bronchitis Severity Score (BSS), it was found that, between day 0 and day 7, the mean BSS score decreased by 2.7±2.3 (mean±standard deviation) for placebo, 4.3±1.9 for a group treated with 30 mg EPs 7630, 6.1±2.1 for the 60 mg group and 6.3±2.0 points for the 90mg group. In the same study, an evaluation of patients’ satisfaction with treatment showed that patients were more often satisfied or very satisfied with EPs 7630 (55.9% for EPs 7630 30 mg, 86.2% for EPs 7630 60 mg, 84.0% for EPs 7630 90 mg) than with placebo (23.5%). In a study examining the effect of Eps 7630 on symptoms of the common cold, the treatment outcome was assessed as better in the EPs 7630 group than in the placebo group by both the investigator and the patients on day five. From baseline to day five, common cold symptoms, assessed as symptom intensity differences (SSID) of the cold intensity score (CIS), improved by 14.6 points in EPs 7630 treated group compared with 7.6 points in the placebo group.
Furthermore, after 10 days, 63.5% versus 11.8% in the EPs 7630 versus placebo group were clinically cured (CIS=0). In multiple studies, adverse events associated with P. sidoides were assessed as being non-serious, minor, or transitory, with the most frequent adverse events being mild gastrointestinal complaints.
Quercetin is the aglycone (noncarbohydrate portion) of rutin, quercetrin and other glycoside flavonoids. It is widely found in the plant kingdom, including in oak trees (Quercus spp.), onions (Allium cepa) and tea (Camellia sinensis). Quercetin is also found in red wine, grapefruit, onions, apples, black tea, and, in lesser amounts, in leafy green vegetables and beans. It has effects on many different enzymatic systems in the body, most of them via its interaction with the calcium-regulating enzyme calmodulin.
A bioflavonoid, quercetin has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Quercetin is known for its antioxidant activity in radical scavenging and antiallergic properties characterised by stimulation of the immune system, antiviral activity, inhibition of histamine release, decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines, leukotrienes creation, and suppression of interleukin IL-4 production. Its potent antioxidant effect is directly due to its ability to be converted into substances that protect against oxidative stress.
It is also effective in the inhibition of enzymes such as lipoxygenase, eosinophil and peroxidase and the suppression of inflammatory mediators. All mentioned mechanisms of action contribute to the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties of quercetin that can be effectively utilised in treatment of late-phase, and late-late-phase bronchial asthma responses, allergic rhinitis and restricted peanut-induced anaphylactic reactions. Plant extract of quercetin is the main ingredient of many potential anti-allergic drugs, supplements and enriched products.
Quercetin is an effective eosinophilic inflammation suppressor for diseases like allergic rhinitis and asthma. A study found that quercetin-loaded microemulsion had a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and inhibited, in a dose-dependent way, eosinophil recruitment to the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, as well as reducing mucous production in the lungs.
Echinacea is a flowering plant that grows in the U.S. and Canada, also called coneflower.
As a herbal medicine, it has been used for centuries, customarily as a treatment for the common cold, coughs, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, and some inflammatory conditions.
Echinacea has important immune support and anti-inflammatory properties, especially for the alleviation of cold symptoms. It interferes with the ability of the flu virus to attach to and enter epithelial cells and may prevent the replication of the virus within infected cells. This immune support and maintenance effects are caused by three mechanisms:
Phagocytosis activation: Studies show that the plant and its active components affect the phagocytic immune system, but not the specifically acquired immune system.
Enhancement of respiratory activity: Evidence from published trials suggests that echinacea may be beneficial for the early treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections.
Increased white blood cell mobility: Echinacea may invoke an immune response through altered expression of leukocyte hsp70 and increased white cell counts.
Echinacea may also reverse inflammation caused by bacteria by reducing inflammatory cytokines. Rhinovirus, HSV-1, influenza A virus, adenovirus type 3 and 11, and respiratory syncytial virus stimulate the secretion of more than 30 different cytokines, including the pro-inflammatory cytokines. These are collectively involved in many of the symptoms common to colds and flu, such as sneezing, fever, sore throat, nasal discharges and inflammation in various respiratory tissues. Echinacea was able to completely or partly reverse this stimulation.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) has a long history of being used in treating colds and influenza. This folk belief has been partly validated by the results of some studies, which show that elderberries do indeed have significant benefits against cold and influenza symptoms. Elderberry’s antiviral properties are a function of its proven ability to prevent viral replication by neutralising hemagglutinin spikes on the surface of viruses. This prevents viral replication by neutralising viral surface proteins.
In a study of elderberry extract’s effects using Real-Time Mass Spectrometry and a Direct Binding Assay, it was found that elderberry inhibited human influenza A (H1N1) infection in vitro. The Direct Binding Assay established that flavonoids from the elderberry extract bind to H1N1 virions and, when bound, block the ability of the viruses to infect host cells, and that this inhibition compares favourably to the known antiinfluenza activities of Oseltamivir and Amantadine. Elderberry is rich in phytonutrients (chemical compounds produced by plants) and natural nutrients, including anthocyanins, vitamins A, C, B6 and calcium. They are effective against cold and flu viruses thanks to anthocyanins that enhance immune function and have an anti-inflammatory action that may reduce aches, pain and fever. Anthocyanins have received attention as important dietary constituents that may provide health benefits and contribute antioxidant capacity beyond that provided by essential micronutrients such as ascorbate, tocopherols, and selenium.
Nature’s cycle will run its course and viruses will continue to be with us, especially during winter. A strong immune system plays a vital role in fighting infections. FLUGON® supports immunity and helps to shorten the duration of cold or flu symptoms. Furthermore, FLUGON® is non-drowsy and can be taken daily for immune support.
REFERENCES: Available on request.