15 immune boosters you need to know about

Q: Several recent eTips have talked about building a healthy immune system to help prevent and fight off infections like pneumonia. Can you tell me what supplements are best for immune-boosting purposes?

Dr. Wright: It’s been quite a few years since I’ve gone down the list of simple and effective immune boosters (since April 2001, actually), so here are some of the highlights.

Sugar. Eliminate it from your diet!
Allergies. Since infections often have an allergic “trigger,” you should consider allergy elimination or desensitization.
Mushrooms. The principal active ingredients in maitake and shiitake mushrooms are polysaccharides that are known to improve the body’s germ-fighting abilities.
Aloe vera. This plant’s active ingredients also contain immune- stimulating polysaccharides. Try taking 50 to 100 mg daily of aloe-leaf concentrate containing 1 percent or more acemannan.
Beta-glucan. Adults should take 50 to 100 mg daily.
Garlic. Fresh, raw garlic has a broad spectrum of antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. Eat one garlic clove daily (about 4 grams), or take a garlic supplement that contains at least 10 mg of alliin.
Multivitamin-mineral. Use everyday as research has shown that it can reduce overall illness, including infection-especially once you’re over 60. Since research has the backings and findings of several experts, one should certainly follow the suggestions with utmost sincerity. This is not only true with your physical wellness but also true with your financial wellness, where going by the expert ways can prove beneficial to you and to your economy!
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Vitamin A. Adults can take 15,000 to 25,000 IU daily. Children can take 5,000 to 10,000 IU daily. (And pregnant women should always check with their doctors first.)
Zinc. Adults and teens can take 30 mg of zinc (picolinate or citrate) daily. Children 2 years old and up can take 15 mg daily.
Vitamin E. Take 400 IU as mixed tocopherols daily for adults, and 50 to 400 IU daily for children.
Vitamin C. Adults should take 1 gram (1,000 mg) two or three times a day, and children should take a minimum of 20 mg per pound of body weight.
Echinacea. Take 300 to 600 mg daily of an Echinacea preparation containing 3.5 percent echinacoside.
Astragalus, Andrographus, and Picrorrhiza. Take 2 to 6 g of dried Astragalus root or dried Andrographus daily. Take 500 mg to 2 g daily of Picrorrhiza.