Mo's Medical Moment: boost your immune system yourself

By: Staff Email
By: Staff Email

Right now, your immune system is hard at work trying to protect you from diseases and infections. At the same time, doctors are hard at work trying to figure out how to increase your immune system's fighting power.

But is there anything you can do to boost it yourself?

As of yet, there's no cure for the common cold. But researchers are busy investigating ways to increase our immune systems to better ward off viruses and diseases.

Dr. Jeffrey Actor at the UT Health Science Center in Houston is studying the immune-boosting molecule that's naturally produced in our bodies. It's called Lactoferrin, and he says it has the ability to balance the immune system.

His plan is to one day add it to tuberculosis and flu vaccines to increase the body's natural response to the infections.

But he says that could take years. So what can you do right now to give your body a fighting chance?

We've all heard Vitamin C can help with colds. But Dr. Amitava Dasgupta, Ph.D., a professor of pathology & laboratory medicine at UT Health Science Center in Houston says there are some controversies.

Dr. Dasgupta believes it works. But, a comprehensive analysis of 29 vitamin C studies shows it won't protect most people from catching the common cold. The study does show doses of 200 milligrams or more can slightly reduce how long your cold lasts.

If you don't like orange juice, a little booze might help. But don't overdo it. "Just one glass of red wine a day can give you protection against the common cold," Dasgupta says.

As for food? Garlic, oats, barley and mushrooms can help keep your immune system healthy. But the best medicine of all really could be laughter.

Research shows it increases the production of antibodies and activates protective cells.

So drink up, eat up, and laugh it up! They could be the best things to protect you from coughing it up.

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