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Winter Wellness with IMUNI

By Camila Griffin July 01, 2022

Winter Wellness with IMUNI
*Article supplied by IMUNI

As we enter the winter months and the days grow shorter, the winter season can become a time of ill health. The good news? There are some simple preventative measures you can take to boost your immune health and stay healthy—even through the coldest months of the year. IMUNI is an 100% Australian Made and Owned nutraceutical company with a goal of helping you improve your immune health. We create specialised formulations sourced from high quality ingredients at the right doses. Here are our tips for staying healthy this winter:

Boost your Immunity with antioxidant intake

berry smoothie and sliced lemon

Free radicals are unstable atoms in the body which can damage cells, contributing to illness and compromising immune system health. Antioxidants have a vital relationship with free radicals, as they stabilise them and reduce their capacity to cause damage. When the balance between free radical formation is outweighed by the number of antioxidants to counteract them, oxidative stress occurs. During oxidative stress, these excessive free radicals can damage proteins, DNA and other body cells. Lifestyle and environmental factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and diets high in sugar can promote excessive free radical production. However the good news is, there are many things we can do to reduce or prevent oxidative stress in our lives. Important dietary sources of antioxidants include berries, citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables and onions and supplements which may provide additional antioxidant support. Lifestyle choices such as prioritising adequate sleep, avoiding alcohol and smoking and getting regular exercise can also help to reduce or prevent oxidative stress.

IMUNI Immune Defence contains Quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties which can help reduce free radical damage to body cells, as well as helping to maintain immune system health and function. It also contains Vitamin C, an antioxidant which has been recognised for its important role supporting healthy immune system function.  It is likely that all of the biochemical and molecular functions of vitamin C relate to its antioxidant properties. Interestingly, research also suggests that co-administration of vitamin C with Quercetin exerts a synergistic action due to the capacity of vitamin C to recycle Quercetin into its active form, potentially increasing its bioavailability and antioxidant activity.

Support your Vitamin D levels

open arms woman taking in sun

Vitamin D deficiency is relatively common with nearly a third of Australians over the age of 25 shown to have low levels of vitamin D. This finding was demonstrated in a large population-based study conducted in 2012 which assessed vitamin D levels in more than 11,000 Australians. Maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D may assist in supporting general health and wellbeing, including immune system health. So how can we support our Vitamin D levels during winter? Here are three simple steps that you can take today!

Eat Vitamin D rich foods

Sunlight remains the most important natural source of vitamin D, but smaller amounts can be obtained from select food sources. Animal foods are higher in vitamin D content compared to plants with oily fish like salmon and trout containing around 600 IU of vitamin D per serve. Foods other than fish and mushrooms are generally scarce in vitamin D content, containing less than 200 IU per serve.

Choose to spend time outside with sun on your skin where possible

It’s common knowledge that sunlight plays an important role in vitamin D synthesis. It does this by facilitating the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. However, apart from being an important source of vitamin D, UV radiation from the sun also causes skin cancer so it is important not to expose yourself to excessive sunlight.

The Cancer Council of Australia recommends people limit their sun exposure to reduce skin cancer risk. As the skin can only absorb a limited amount of sunlight, excessive exposure to sunlight does not help boost vitamin D levels and only increases skin cancer risk. In some parts of Australia, sunburn can occur in as little as eight minutes. Regular sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer. Sun exposure guidelines exist for various parts of Australia, and generally recommend limiting exposure of the upper limbs and face to no more than 2 to 10 minutes per day for most areas of Australia over summer while taking extreme care to avoid reddening of the skin. For some parts of Australia, exposure to the sun for more than 5 minutes per day might be putting people at higher risk. For this reason, dietary supplementation might be considered a better option if taken at appropriate doses.

Supplement where you need

Vitamin D3 IMUNI

Maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D may assist in supporting general health and wellbeing, including immune system health, neuromuscular function, nervous system health, as well as absorption of dietary calcium to maintain healthy teeth and bones.

The safest way to optimise your vitamin D level is to consider seeing your GP for a blood test and to supplement accordingly to attain levels of 100 nmol/L (this is the suggested general target for optimal beneficial effects of vitamin D). In general, the total daily requirement of vitamin D (from sunlight and diet combined) is around 4000 IU to maintain levels above 100 nmol/L. Evidence suggests that excessive exposure to the sun to obtain these levels may increase skin cancer risk, and therefore dietary supplementation may be beneficial. In Australia, the maximum daily dose of vitamin D recommended for general use is 1000IU per day unless advised otherwise by your doctor. IMUNI VITAL D3 contains the specialised ingredient Vitamin D3V® a high quality 100% vegan-friendly, plant-sourced vitamin D3 that is biologically identical to vitamin D3 obtained from animal sources. Unlike most forms of vitamin D3 commonly obtained from lanolin, vitamin D3V® is sourced from an eco-sustainable, non-GMO form of algae.

Consider a probiotic

IMUNI Specialised Probiotics

The beneficial effects of probiotics have been demonstrated in many diseases. Specific microorganisms that comprise the gut microbiome (colony of bacteria) may have multiple health benefits. Modifying the bacteria which live in your gut is a potential alternative approach for maintaining health and preventing and/or treating diseases. Probiotics were defined as ‘live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts as part of food, confer a health benefit on the host’. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces are three extensively studied and commonly used probiotics in humans and animals.

It is important to note that not all probiotics are considered equal and specific probiotic strains may exhibit different beneficial effects. A growing body of scientific evidence continues to favour certain probiotic strains over others in terms of their ability to promote beneficial health outcomes. IMUNI Specialised Probiotics+ is a premium, high quality blend of probiotics designed to support the immune system to fight illness; reduce occurrence of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections in healthy individuals; and relieve symptoms of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome. It includes the following probiotic strains:

  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ibSium®)
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04

Of particular concern to improving your immune system for winter, IMUNI Immune Defence contains Bifidobacterium lactis (BI-04), a probiotic strain supported by scientific evidence showing it may help to reduce occurrence of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections in healthy adults. Additionally, it contains Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, which is one of the probiotic strains that is capable of adhering to the colonic mucosa (the membrane lining the colon) forming a ‘colonisation barrier’ which serves an important role in gastrointestinal immune defence.

Reduce chronic stress

Studies over the last three to four decades have shown that  psychological stress affects the immune system through modifying the inflammatory processes, wound healing, and responses to infectious agents and other immune challenges. Chronic stress, which is constant and persists over an extended period of time, can be debilitating and overwhelming. Chronic stress can affect both our physical and psychological well-being by causing a variety of problems including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. So how can we reduce stress in our life?

Set limits

two white women embracing wearing a blue top

List all of the projects and commitments that are making you feel overwhelmed. Identify those tasks you feel you absolutely must do in order to survive, and cut back on anything non-essential. For projects that are work-related, discuss a list of your responsibilities with your supervisor and get his or her input on priorities and how best to tackle the projects at hand. For commitments that are social or non-work related, such as community or volunteer activities, consider contacting the people you’ve made these commitments to and letting them know that you cannot meet those obligations at this time. You also may ask for assistance in getting these tasks accomplished. Refrain from accepting any more commitments until you feel your stress is under control. Setting limits on non-essential obligations is important to mitigating chronic stress.

Tap into your support system

Reach out to a friend and/or relative with whom you’ve enjoyed a close relationship over the years. Let them know you are having a tough time and welcome their support and guidance; a shared burden is always lighter. Your friend or relative may have tackled similar challenges and have useful ideas and perspectives. There is no need to face challenging life circumstances alone. In fact, support from family or friends may help you start and sustain taking better care of yourself.

Make one health-related commitment

Do what is possible to bolster your health so that you can have the energy and strength to tackle the challenges you are facing. One small step, like cutting back on your caffeine consumption, can have a positive effect. Studies show that without caffeine, people reported feeling more relaxed, less jittery or nervous, slept better, had more energy and experienced less heartburn and fewer muscle aches. Similarly, a brisk walk or other aerobic activity can increase your energy and concentration levels and lessen feelings of anxiety. Physical activity increases your body’s production of ‘good-feeling’ endorphins, a type of neurotransmitter in the brain, and decreases the production of stress hormones. Taking positive steps for your health will help you manage your stress.

Enhance your sleep quality

Woman holding blue book looking straight-ahead

People who are chronically stressed often suffer from lack of adequate sleep and, in some cases, stress-induced insomnia. Experts recommend going to bed at a regular time each night, striving for at least 7-8 hours of sleep, and if possible, eliminating distractions, such as television and computers from your bedroom. Begin winding down an hour or two before you go to sleep and engage in calming activities such as listening to relaxing music, reading an enjoyable book, taking a soothing bath or practising relaxation techniques like meditation. Avoid eating a heavy meal or engaging in intense exercise immediately before bedtime. If you tend to lie in bed and worry, write down your concerns well in advance of bedtime and then work on quieting your thoughts before lights-out. You can figure out how to address stressful issues in the morning, after a good night’s sleep. In addition to implementing a good sleep routine, a supplement may help to relieve stress and help you fall asleep faster.

IMUNI Sleep + Mind Balance is specifically formulated to help maintain emotional wellbeing and support healthy mood balance. Each capsule contains:

  • Ashwagandha (KSM-66®) 300mg
  • Saffron (safr'inside™) 15mg
  • Lemon balm 187.5mg
  • Passionflower 100mg
  • Lavender oil 40mg

Lemon balm, Lavender oil and passionflower are traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to relieve symptoms of mild anxiety and stress, support healthy sleeping patterns; relieve sleeplessness and reduce time to fall asleep.

Seek additional help

If you continue to feel overwhelmed, are feeling hopeless or are having trouble getting through your daily routine, seek consultation with a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist. Psychologists are trained to help you develop strategies to manage stress effectively and make behavioural changes to help improve your overall health.

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