Anti aging guide

Immunity and Old Age



How to maintain a good immune system when aging with nutritional supplements.

There are many ways to stimulate your immune system and keep it in good shape. A lot of books have been written about this subject, so here we are going to summarize the most important things you can do yourself.

Apart from a suitable diet which nourishes the immune system there are also nutritional supplements which may play a part. Some of these immunological boosters may make a difference in cases of cancer, infection or inflammation but have no effect on healthy people. So you would need to choose wisely between those immune boosters thought to be especially effective in prevention and those which are only effective in cure.

One example of the former is a special type of amino acid called dimethylglycine (DMG). It helps tissues use oxygen better and is a general immunity stimulant. DMG is normally produced by the human body, but not in large enough quantities. As it is not usually found in foods, some scientists recommend taking extra supplements of it.

DMG modulates both the immune cells and immune proteins to help prevent diseases such as cancer and viral infections. It can be given by mouth and this is an advantage over some other immune stimulants which need to be given by injection. As a dietary supplement it has been found to be safe and without side effects. The enthusiasm of its supporters isn’t shared by many conventional doctors who think that this supplement is not at all effective.

Another immune stimulant is the plant Aloe vera. This grows in hot climates and it has been used for many centuries to treat a variety of illnesses. Low amounts of aloe extracts are also used in creams for beautifying the skin and in shampoos for healthy hair. For maximum effects it is best to take it by mouth in tablet or liquid form.

Aloe has anti-inflammatory effects, helping wounds heal faster, so it is sometimes used by patients after surgery. In this case, it stimulates the repair cells of the body to replace cells damaged by the operation.

One of the main benefits of aloe is stimulation of the macrophages. These are a particular type of immune cells which circulate round the body picking up foreign material, engulfing it and digesting it. Aloe helps maximize this process by prodding sleepy macrophages into waking up and eating more dead material. It also allegedly prevents the development of allergies and helps in reducing some of the effects of cancer.

Finally, two other plant remedies which are thought to boost immunity are cat’s claw and olive tree extracts. Cat’s claw was originally found in the South American rain forest. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is also an antioxidant. Its extracts are used in cases of infection or inflammation to support several components of the immune system.

Olive tree extract counteracts the effects of several infective diseases. It encourages the immune system to fight infection and kills the bacteria and viruses which cause common infections such as thrush, flu, bronchitis and cystitis.

Other complementary treatments to brighten up sluggish immunity include:

  • massage to stimulate the flow of lymph in order to remove waste material
  • meditation
  • the use of thymic proteins which aim to replace the age-related loss of vital immune chemicals

As usual, many conventional doctors don’t endorse any of these supplements or methods because they are unsure about their effectiveness. Scientific studies on the effects of the above treatments are very few, if any, and sometimes give equivocal results. However, many patients – who are the people that matter – are pleased with the treatments.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - March 24, 2012 at 3:14 am