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Immunity: It’s a Gut Thing

As the latest round of flu has me knocked out (yes, even doctors get sick on occasion), I decided it was worth reposting an abbreviated version of one of my favorite blogs from my med school days about preventively treating my mom for the dreadful flu with one of the best and most powerful supplements around:  ARA 6.  Why does it work?  It supports the gut, where the body’s immune defense begins.  Read on to discover why and how it works.

When I was growing up, my two brothers and I rarely got sick with the flu. Sure, we had the occasional nasty cold and strep throat but we never battled much with the flu that tended to wipe out large swaths of our classmates once the winter months set in. My mom would always credit the strong family immune system so it was with great surprise that I started receiving phone calls from her over the last couple of winters reporting that she’d was sidelined with flu symptoms.

My mom, it should be said, works as an administrator in an all-boys’ high school in Manhattan and among kids, germs fly around like swarms of invisible clouds of disease just waiting to infect unsuspecting, weakened immune systems. This year, I am determined to help Mom head off the bi-monthly battle she wages with the average set of flu complaints: headache, aches, chills, fever, runny nose, cough, and deep fatigue—all of which come on quite quickly.

The strength of the immune system largely depends on the health of the gut. Why is this? The lining of the intestines is called the gut mucosa. It is constantly doing battle with pathogens that enter our system through the food we eat, as well as the billions of normal flora present in our gut at any given time. Because the gut has to constantly respond to this microbial onslaught, two-thirds of the immune system is found there. So if we suffer from any weakness in the lining of the gut—due to malabsorption, improper balance of flora, or chronic gastrointestinal issues—we have subsequently weakened immune systems. That’s why it is so important, particularly in flu season, to keep the gut strengthened and healthy.

ARA 6 is an interesting product, comprised of larch arabinogalactan and quercetin. Larch is important for immune health due to several of its properties. First, it is a prime source fiber and of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s), which are integral to gut health; actually, SCFA’s have been found to improve colon cells’ resistance to disease. Also, larch is an excellent probiotic, meaning that it serves as good food for the healthy bacteria in the gut, allowing them to proliferate. Good bacteria, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacter are essential for gut and immune health. Larch has also been found in studies to bolster the activity of some of the main components of the immune system: macrophages and natural killer cells. Quercetin is included here for its anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities. As a prophylactic, ARA 6 is an excellent adjunct to Polyflora, which Mom also took.

Other items Mom took:

  • Proberry Syrup
  • Genoma Security

To strengthen her GI tract, I advised my mom, who has Type A blood, to increase her beneficial foods and remove her avoids as much as possible, particularly anything with refined sugar.  Because stress also lowers immunity, I pleaded with my mom (who is known to go out every night of the week), to spend a night at home every now and then and allow her body to chill out. Mom is an avid city walker, so I encouraged her to keep up her daily jaunts, as exercise is essential for helping the body fend off sickness. Did my sweet mother win the battle with this year’s fearsome flu virus? Click here to find out.

To get your hands on these products, email me or call at my office in Williamsburg: 718-388-0092.



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