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Immune support can come from a variety of sources, however, the most effective way to support the body's natural defenses is through proper nutrition. This may mean augmenting a balanced diet with vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure proper requirements are being met. Other beneficial immune support supplements are probiotics, which can be found in food sources such as yogurt, or in capsule form. To ensure influenza immunity, the most effective immune support can be an annual influenza, or flu, shot. Specific immunity, acquired through exposure to certain pathogens, is crucial for developing a strong and healthy body as well.
The best source of passive immunity for an unborn child is acquired through the mother's own natural antibodies, transmitted in the womb. The placenta acts as a natural transport system from mother to child, in which the fetus receives nourishment as well as essential antibodies to safeguard against disease. Protection in the way of natural immunity is generated through natural means before childbirth occurs.
Specific immunity is a basic source of protection that is needed from early on in all individuals. This is an acquired type of support that is most essential for building the body's natural defenses. When a person encounters a pathogen or microorganism, such as bacteria or viruses, the body will recall the invasion if encountered again. This helps in developing natural or specific immunity.
Recent studies have indicated that daily consumption of probiotics can enhance the immune system. An excellent source of immune support would be some source of probiotic in the diet. Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria that colonizes in the digestive tract.
These bacteria, where they are naturally present in the intestines, can support the immune system by replacing harmful bacteria. It has been said that a large percentage of the body's immune system exists in the intestines. Therefore, consuming food products that contain live and active cultures — the "good" bacteria — can help to enhance immunity. The number of beneficial bacteria tend to diminsih as a person ages and because of this, replenishment is vital to maintain optimal health.
Other supplements such as elderberry extract or olive leaf extract, have been reported to be good sources of immune support. Many of these supplements can be found in health food stores and pharmacies. In addition, zinc supplements may be recommended for individuals who are suffering from a zinc deficiency. Zinc is an essential mineral that has been shown to strengthen immunity and provide immune support protection from colds and flu. Pharmacies and nutritional stores typically have these supplements well stocked.
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