With millions of people sitting in harm’s way for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, people who fall prey often find themselves asking, “Why me?”
One reason is a weak immune system. The immune system declines with age, and many of us hurry things along with bad habits. But fortunately, a wide range of foods and supplements are proven in research to bring your immunity roaring back. Here are ten of the best we’ve come across. . .
10. Chicken Soup
At the bottom of our list of ten – but worthy or your consideration – is Mom’s favorite, chicken soup.
Studies show chicken soup indeed relieves cold and flu symptoms. It helps break up congestion and inhibits inflammatory response to sore throat.
Chicken soup is rich in cysteine, an amino acid that’s been proven more effective than hot water vapors for congestion.
To reap the maximum benefit, make your own soup and start with bone-in chicken – check out Google for some easy options. Use a bit of apple cider vinegar or wine to help leach the minerals out of the bones and enrich your soup with these nutrients.
Don’t wait till someone’s sick. Make it part of your preventive program. Sore, inflamed, or swollen nostrils and sinus passages are fertile ground for infections, so eating this food is a good preventative measure.
One of the most respected immune boosters is bovine colostrum, the first breast secretion a newborn calf receives from its mother within the first 24 to 48 hours after birth.
Colostrum is found in the breast milk of ALL mammals in the hours after giving birth, but most of the research has been conducted on cow’s milk. The colostrum from cow’s milk is higher in immune factors than a human mother’s colostrum.
The same properties in colostrum that build a newborn’s immune system and promote growth also make it an important cancer fighting weapon.
According to Dr. Daniel G. Clark, author of the book Colostrum, Life’s First Food, “Bovine colostrum rebuilds the immune system, destroys viruses, bacteria, and fungi, accelerates healing of all body tissue, helps lose weight, burn fat, increase bone and lean muscle mass and slows down and even reverses aging.”
Human colostrum contains a rich supply of the protein called lactoferrin, which is often extracted and taken separately as an immune booster.
Lactoferrin is found abundantly in the first breast milk from a mother who has just given birth. It immediately strengthens a baby’s immune system. But, unlike colostrum, it continues to be present in the milk throughout the nursing period.
A review of lactoferrin clinical studies published in the journal Biochemistry and Cell Biology showed that bovine lactoferrin significantly inhibited colon, esophagus, lung, and bladder cancers in laboratory rats.
In one study, Japanese researchers found that lactoferrin stopped tumor growth in laboratory mice. It also prevented cancer from spreading in these animals.
Both colostrum and lactoferrin are readily available from supplement vendors.
8. Japanese Mushrooms
“Medicinal” mushrooms are considered some of the most potent immune boosters and disease fighters. Here are the best ones:
Agaricus Blazei Murill (ABM) – known in Brazil as “The Mushroom of God.” A Japanese study compared ABM to several other well-known cancer-fighting and immune-boosting mushrooms – and ABM came out at the top of the list.
In fact, the studies show ABM is 80 percent more effective than the cancer-fighting mushroom extract used frequently in Japan called PSK. And though most mushrooms were effective against solid cancers, ABM helped wipe out six non-solid cancers, too.
Human subjects given ABM showed a 3,000 percent increase of NK cells (designed to hunt and kill cancer cells) within two to four days.
Coriolus Versicolor (Asian “Turkey Tail”) – contains agents effective against leukemia, and stomach, esophagus, colorectal and lung cancers.
Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi – stimulate the immune system to fight cancer, block tumor formation, build resistance to viruses, lower blood pressure, and more.
Many people opt for mushroom blends and extracts such as AHCC or MGN-3, available on the Internet. Hundreds of studies show that extracts from the roots of certain shiitake mushrooms called “active hexose correlated compound” (AHCC) have tremendous medicinal properties.
They fight many kinds of cancer in multiple ways. For example, AHCC is hailed as a leading alternative cancer therapy in Japan, where it’s used in hundreds of clinics, advocates of the treatment say.
The extract MGN-3 is also backed by impressive scientific evidence, with proven immune boosting properties. Reportedly, thousands of patients became cancer-free thanks to this popular treatment. But the FDA shut down the leading American distributor of MGN-3, and since then the name of the product and the channels of distribution have become somewhat muddled. A number of companies sell or claim to sell MGN-3 (and it’s very expensive), but we don’t have the means to verify the purity or potency of their products.
The products of a company called Mushroom Science come very strongly recommended by one of the most knowledgeable doctors I’ve met. It seems like top nutritionists and herbalists are lining up behind this company. Mushroom Wisdom is another company I have confidence in.
We’ve written frequently about turmeric. This golden spice has the ability to destroy cancer cells and promote healthy cells. One of the world’s leading natural medicine doctors, Dr. William LaValley, notes that turmeric (or its extract curcumin) is the nutrient with the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer. And it appears to work for nearly every type of cancer.
It’s not enough to add turmeric liberally to your food. You need a high-quality turmeric extract that contains 100 percent certified organic ingredients, with a minimum of 95 percent curcuminoids.
For those battling cancer, Dr. LaValley suggests doses of up to three grams, three to four times a day. Take care if using it in powder form, as it easily stains everything yellow. It’s a fat-loving molecule, so take it with healthy fatty foods for better absorption. Perhaps ideal is to take it at the same time you take fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids.
6. Vitamin D
Scientists now believe vitamin D may reduce the risk of at least 17 different kinds of cancer. One research review estimates that 50 to 70 thousand Americans die prematurely each year from cancer because their vitamin D levels are inadequate!
Compelling research also suggests that your likelihood of catching a cold or flu goes up as your vitamin D levels go down. Vitamin D helps kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Vitamin D is well tolerated at doses up to 2,000 IU daily for adults. Many studies suggest 35 IU per pound of body weight. That would put the daily requirement at more than 5,000 IU for a person who weighs 150 pounds. Sunshine on exposed skin is the best source when weather and time of year permit.
A blood test is the only way to ensure your vitamin D levels are adequate and to adjust your supplement intake to make sure you’re getting what you need. You may be in for a surprise.
Despite taking 4,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day and getting quite a bit of sun as well, my own blood levels were still too low according to my latest blood test.
Fresh garlic is a potent triple antimicrobial — it fights bacteria, viruses, and fungi – as shown by an impressive list of studies demonstrating its 150 health benefits.
Garlic may be effective against drug-resistant bacteria, and it reduces risk for heart disease, stroke, many kinds of cancer and more. Its therapeutic effect may come largely from its sulfur-containing compounds like allicin. Crush or chop fresh garlic to stimulate allicin. Fresh garlic is far more potent than jarred, powdered, or dried.
Zinc improves immunity and is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Oxidative stress and inflammation have been implicated in cancer formation. One study showed that 65 percent of head and neck cancer patients were zinc deficient.
Another study showed zinc status was a better indicator of tumor burden and stage of cancer, hospital admissions and infections than overall nutritional status.
Zinc helps keep your immune system healthy, trigger enzymes, build proteins and create DNA.
If you’re deficient, animal foods are better than plants. Think in terms of seafood, beef, and lamb (organic and grass-fed), lean pork shoulder, and chicken.
Selenium may be less well known, but it’s almost a “miracle mineral.” One study showed it was able to cut the number of cancer deaths in half.
Selenium’s answer to cancer-triggering free radicals is to prevent cellular damage and stimulate the immune system.
Selenium significantly reduces risk of prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. Also, AIDS patients with low selenium were 20 times more likely to die. Women with low levels of selenium are more likely to miscarry; men with low selenium have poor sperm quality. Low selenium is also linked to dementia, senility, and low thyroid function.
Best food sources of selenium are Brazil nuts and kidneys. But if you want to ensure adequate intake, you should consider supplements.
We’ve also written repeatedly about the importance of sleep. Among the many studies that show how critical regular, restful sleep is to your immune health is a study that revealed how mice with disrupted sleep developed tumors twice as large and more aggressive compared to those developed by well-rested mice.
According to the study director, it’s not the tumor, it’s the immune system. Fragmented sleep changes how the immune system deals with cancer.
These differences appear to be driven by immune cells called tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) – which can work in one of two ways. The researchers found that well-rested mice’s TAMs worked at the core of the tumors to get rid of cancer cells. But the sleep-disrupted TAMs merely worked around the edges, promoting blood vessel growth and thereby providing blood supplies for new tumor growth.
Another study found that getting less than seven hours of sleep tripled your risk for colds compared to getting more than eight hours. Other bonuses of sleep: you’ll look more attractive, make better decisions, remember things more clearly, concentrate better and live longer in general.
So, turn off the TV or device, shut down your smartphone, and relax with a book (not a thriller), calming music or warm bath.
Then hit the hay nine hours before you must get up. That sets the stage for a great night’s sleep. Keeping your room pitch black and scenting the room with herbal lavender also support your quest for quality sleep. Shop online or at your local big-box store for a simple diffuser and some essential oil of lavender.
1. Vitamin C
F.R. Klenner, M.D., once famously stated, “Some physicians would stand by and see their patient die rather than use ascorbic acid…”
To date, virtually no virus has ever demonstrated itself resistant to proper dosing of vitamin C. Dr. Klenner showed this decades ago, using this therapy in the 1940s to successfully treat every polio case he saw.
Viruses are linked not only to colds, flu, pneumonia, and more, but also to 20 percent of cancer cases worldwide. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Hepatitis and HPV infections cause a vast number of cancers. Low vitamin C levels are linked to heart and autoimmune diseases, too.
Dr. Klenner’s view was, “The sicker the patient, the higher the dose.” He gave doses of up to 35,000 mg or more per day, saying, “Don’t expect to control a virus with 100 to 400 mg of C.
“We’ve used massive doses of vitamins on over 10,000 people over a period of 30 years,” he said, “and we’ve never seen any ill effects from them. The only effects we’ve seen have been beneficial.”
Doses of this size are not practical by mouth. They must be administered by IV, and that’s exactly what is done at many alternative cancer clinics. Most people will develop diarrhea at some dose higher than about ten grams.
The U.S. RDA for vitamin C is based on preventing scurvy. Natural doctors consider it far too low for optimal health, especially for severe challenges like cancer.
Short of injections and intravenous C, some scientists believe liposomal C is better absorbed than water-based C, because it penetrates the cell’s lipid barrier for up to 90 percent absorption.
While this is certainly not a complete list and there are other immune boosters that can dramatically help cancer patients, it’s a start. So, whether you’re amid a cancer battle or you’re trying to prevent cancer from taking hold in your body to begin with, take a look at your daily routine from sleep to supplements and see if you’re missing out on anything.