Re: Supplements for Immune Function
Here are some things that I think I have liked. And it's definitely worth noting that I don't like a lot of things that I once did, so that could become true of any of these as I learn more about them or if my experience with them changes.
There are a lot of mineral and metal imbalances that can impair the immune system. If calcium or vitamin D are very low they can depress immune function, but unless they are verified to be low, they are not where I would begin. I did try vitamin D for a week (only 400 IU daily, about 6 months ago) and promptly got an ear infection (the first in my life), so now I only get vitamin D from sunlight, and I feel pretty strongly that vitamin D use should be watched carefully to be sure it's not contributing to fungal infection. Physiologically, it makes sense that it's able to promote fungal infection as ergocalciferol, a form of vitamin D, is a potent fungal growth stimulant. Also if magnesium is too high, it actually impairs immune function. (I was really surprised when I finally learned this.)
Echinacea (purple coneflower) is an herb that has a reputation for increasing immune reactions. I have liked its effect sometimes. It seems to be the most widely known/discussed immune activity booster.
Limonene is a flavonoid from citrus peel. Studies have shown it makes immune cells move much faster making them much more active/effective in screening for pathogens. The gel caps that I have seen it come in have a bunch of omega-6 oil that I would rather avoid, so I pretty much just use citrus zest in food. And if I want a stronger dose, I use a drop of a citrus essential oil on my skin (it's pretty easily absorbed through the skin IIRC). (Grapefruit and tangerine are my favorite citrus essential oils but its in lemon, lime, orange, etc.)
Colloidal silver is not an immune function booster but a bacteriostatic agent. Different forms vary very widely in how effective they are. It seems particle size is extremely important. There are these newer hydrogenated 'monoatomic' colloidal silvers that I have tried that make me feel great again within about 10 min when I have a cold or something. The kind I have liked is called 'Aquasilver' (it is 500 or 600 ppm and "hydrogen-reacted"). Of course the common, inexpensive forms of colloidal silver are just garbage. They don't seem to do anything.
Many other herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, etc. can have effects controlling bacteria and fungi. I've started using more herbs in my cooking since learning this, though I don't take any of these herbs as a supplement. (And I'm basically afraid of any supplement easily causing imbalance now since that has been an experience I've repeated a few times now.)
I'm as curious as you to hear what other folks like.
Last edited by mc7; 11-13-2012 at 06:54 PM.