3 keys to a stronger immune system in time for flu season

3 keys to a stronger immune system in time for flu season

Good health begins with a good night’s sleep.

Damaging toxins are disposed of while you sleep, and broken cells are repaired, processes that require at least eight solid hours of high-quality sleep in a dark room.

When that’s not happening, if you’re tossing and turning every night instead, your immune system suffers.

And that leaves you exposed to everything from common bacteria and viruses to cancer.

Lack of Sleep Puts You at Risk for Disease

The sleep-immunity connection is very real. Here’s just one example from a large body of research supporting the link.

Skin cancer tumors transplanted to lab animals were rejected by those with healthy immune systems, but grew out of control in animals with weak immunity.

Inflammation—believed to be at the root of all illness—is another by-product of insomnia and sleep difficulties. So are weight issues, including obesity.

Studies have repeatedly shown that even healthy individuals whose sleep is cut short experience small changes in inflammatory markers, setting the stage for long-term health problems.

Still not convinced sleep is that important?  

In a major study of nearly 25,000 adults, researchers found individuals who slept the fewest hours were at risk for “almost all” chronic diseases.

So if you find yourself staring at the clock when you should be sleeping, you’re putting yourself at risk for heart disease and diabetes, chronic ailments that can be avoided.

3 Powerful Ingredients for Better Sleep and Stronger Immunity

Maintaining a powerful immune system starts with a good night’s sleep. If that’s a problem for you, we’ve got a trio of solutions to help you get the rest your body needs to build up your immunity.

1) Melatonin

This hormone is our number one recommendation for improving sleep. This hardworking antioxidant is a supplement super star, helping you sleep while fighting off damaging free radicals at the same time. We recommend 3 mg about 30 minutes before bedtime.

Melatonin does much more than help you get a good night’s sleep. It also supports a healthy immune system, fights inflammation, and decreases aging markers. That’s quite a resume for just one supplement!

And beyond melatonin, there’s more you can do.

2) Probiotics

These good bacteria are “must haves” for a strong immune system and are another one of our top recommendations.

Much of your immune system is located in your intestines, so what you eat and drink is important. Forget about processed, prepared, and sugary foods—those unhealthy choices are strictly off limits.

Instead, build your diet around live, whole foods—vegetables and fruits, grains, lean protein, nuts, and seeds. Ditch sodas or other sweet beverages, and replace them with pure, fresh water.

Getting probiotics from food sources is limited to fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kefir, and plain yogurt.

That’s why the best way to ensure you're introducing the right amount of probiotics to boost your immune system is through high quality supplements containing at least 10 billion live organisms per dose.

Newport Natural Health, for example, offers a probiotic formula made up of six unique strains of beneficial bacteria, each conferring its own benefit to the gut, the immune system and the body as a whole. Plus, it’s microencapsulated to ensure all 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) can survive your powerful stomach acids and arrive safely in the intestines, where they do their most important work. You can learn more about this top-notch probiotic here.

3) Vitamin D3

With flu season just around the corner, don’t forget about vitamin D3, another outstanding immune system supporter.

Vitamin D3 is known as the “sunshine” vitamin because your body produces it when bare skin, free of sunblock, is exposed to bright sunlight for about 20 minutes daily.

Unfortunately, middle-aged and older people lose the ability to convert sunshine into D3 over time. And low levels of D3 puts them at risk for immune system failures.

If you're concerned about how much vitamin D3 you produce, a simple blood test can reveal your vitamin D3 status. Ideally, your levels of D3 should be in the 50 to 60 ng/mL range.

And while it’s not possible to get therapeutic levels of D3 from food, vitamin D3 supplements are inexpensive and widely available. We recommend 1,500 to 5,000 IUs of D3 daily.

Protect Your Immunity—Especially Now

As we head into the colder months of the year and the threat of seasonal illness increases, we strongly encourage our readers to strengthen their immune systems now.

It starts by minimizing sleep problems to get the restorative rest your body needs. 

An upgraded diet will help strengthen your gut, where your immune system is headquartered.

And adding in one or more of the key supplements mentioned above will help you stay healthy as you enjoy the seasonal changes, instead of dreading them.

Take good care.

Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Last Updated: September 25, 2020
Originally Published: October 23, 2014