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Garlic: Immune Health and Bad Breath

I mean, who doesn’t love garlic breath?!  

Not only is it fantastic for you, but garlic supports immune and gut health. I think that if more peops knew how awesome garlic is, we would all be breathing garlic at each other.

Through masks, six feet away, that is.

 Come to think of it – this may be the BEST TIME EVER to eat more garlic!  The silver lining of having to wear masks!  

Not only does physical distancing make for garlic-breath safety, having a solid immune system is more important during a pandemic.  

Garlic's health benefits include immune health!

One clove of garlic contains over 100 sulfuric compounds, which are anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal.  

Not only is garlic toxin-fighting, but it also has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.  

Raw garlic is the most powerful for immune support since cooking destroys some of the sulfur compounds.  

As a supplement, look for “allicin,” which is the most bioavailable form of the garlic compound alliin.

To boost your immune system, add more garlic to your diet or look for it in an immune support supplement.

Why supplement for immune health?

While your food should be your primary source of nutrients, supplements help restore balance in the body.  Supplements stimulate under-functioning organs and provide necessary nutrient support for the organs that are struggling. 

Supplementation supports optimal health to supply the nutrients that you might not get from your food. Since depleted soil has caused our food to be less nutrient-dense it can still affect you even if you’re eating a healthy diet. You may not regularly consume all of the micro-nutrients and trace minerals that your body needs for optimal performance.

Supplementation can be helpful for healing, restoring balance to a system that is struggling, and supporting immune health.

Nutrients to look for in an immune-boosting supplement:

Garlic.  One clove of garlic contains over 100 sulfuric compounds, which are anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal.  Not only is garlic toxin-fighting, but it also has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.  Raw garlic is the most powerful for immune support since cooking destroys some of the sulfur compounds.  As a supplement, look for “allicin,” which is the most bioavailable form of the garlic compound allicin.

Antioxidants.  As their name suggests, antioxidants fight the damaging effects of free-radical-induced oxidative stress. 

A free radical is the toxic byproduct of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues.  Free radicals cause increased inflammation, damage to cell membranes, DNA damage, early aging, and intestinal villi damage. Intestinal villi damage is problematic since that is where our food and nutrients are absorbed. Free radicals put the body into a stress state and make us vulnerable to pathogens, opportunistic bacteria, dis-ease states, and disease.

Antioxidants to look for in an immune-boosting supplement include Alpha Lipoic Acid, lycopene, lutein, selenium, and Vitamins A, C, and E.

Coenzyme Q10.  Also known as Coq10, this nutrient helps generate energy in your cells, which is important because your immune system requires cellular energy.  Coq10 also is a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from free radical damage.  

Grape seed extract. Grape seed extract does many great things in your body, including lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, reducing oxidative cell damage, and supporting brain health.  It also inhibits the growth of infections in the body, making it a helpful immune-boosting supplement.  

Vitamin D3.  If you can get some natural sunlight exposure every day, you’re getting a least some D3.  But this time of year, and depending on where you live, you are likely not getting enough.  Vitamin D3 improves your resistance to certain types of infection and facilitates innate and adaptive normal immune system functions.  Vitamin D3 deficiency links to increased susceptibility to infections as well as increased autoimmunity.

Magnesium.  Over 300 biochemical reactions in the body require magnesium. Magnesium supports the body’s immune response to nonspecific threats, innate threats, specific threats, or adaptive threats.

Zinc.  Zinc helps the immune system fight off invading pathogens, infections, and viruses.  It is critical for cells that mediate innate immunity.  Zinc deficiency also impacts cytokine production; cytokines are small immune proteins. If you are sick or injured, the cytokines help your body fight inflammation, infection, and trauma. Your body produces cytokines while you are sleeping, which is one of the many reasons that getting sufficient sleep also supports your immune health. Read more about the health benefits of healthy sleep on the Health Detective Blog.

Rutin.  Rutin is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory bioflavonoid with strong protective effects.  Rutin showed to increase the production of immunoglobulins, which are antibodies found in the serum and cells of the immune system.  

Olive leaf.  Olive leaf contains anti-inflammatory acids that activate different pathways of immune cells. Olive leaf has powerful antimicrobial properties that fight infection.  

Adaptogens.  Adaptogens are herbs, roots, and fungi that mitigate and reduce the stress response, increase or adapt the body’s ability to resist stressors, and restore the body to its normal physiological function. Adaptogens like holy basil, Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and Schisandra help lower the stress response. When the body’s physiological stress response suppresses the immune system, adaptogens can indirectly support the immune system.

Since immune health and gut health are intimately connected, one of the best ways to boost your immune system is by supporting your gut!  Learn more about the connection between gut health and your immune system on the Health Detective Blog.

While food should be your primary source of healthy nutrients, supplementation can help boost your immune!  

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