Sniffle season is now in full swing. When a cold hits, you feel terrible. Your body’s immune system is weakened and fighting back to health can take days, especially if complications occur. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how to strengthen your immune system from the ground up and be prepared for any germs coming your way.
The Immune System
The immune system guards your body from germs that it comes into contact with in the environment. When running optimally, the immune system is an unnoticeable network of organs, cells and proteins, but when under attack, illness occurs. 
The main jobs of the immune system are to neutralize and remove pathogens such as bacteria, parasites and viruses that have entered the body, recognize and neutralize environmental substances that can cause harm, and fight against cells in the body that have changed on account of illness, such as cancer. 
The body must recognize the difference between its “self” and “non-self” cells to work optimally, as in health, the body should not work against its own healthy cells. When “non-self” cells, or antigens are present, receptors on the defense cells, which fight against these invaders by binding to them, can store “memories” to enable quicker reactions against pathogens. While your body’s own cells have surface proteins similar to antigens, the immune system differentiates between the two, and works with your own cells. However, in the case of autoimmune disease, your body would fight against its own cells too. 
The immune system is divided into two main parts – the innate and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system handles non-specific defense against invading pathogens. The adaptive immune system targets specific pathogens that the body has already been exposed to. These two systems work together to keep you healthy. 
If you are looking to strengthen your immune system, look no further than nature’s bounty. These 10 foods and herbs are natural immune-system boosters that can help improve your body’s ability to fight illness.
Garlic is one of the world’s first medicines, dating back to the time of the pyramids. Rich in antioxidants, garlic also has strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties. (5) Allicin, the most active ingredient in garlic, is created when the two compounds alliin and alliinase are combined through chopping. For the best retention of garlic’s amazing abilities, chop it and let it rest for 10 minutes before cooking, or simply prepare raw. If you don’t like the pungent bite of garlic, fermented garlic is a milder option that still retains the health benefits of this natural medicine.
Ginger has been used since ancient times to boost the immune system. Its warming nature is thought to help break down the accumulation of toxins in the body and cleanse the lymphatic system. With anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, ginger is used to treat a wide range of disease, including infectious disease. (6)
Berries are a great source of polyphenols and are associated with cardiovascular health. Containing natural antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, as well as folic acid, calcium, selenium, and lutein, berries can be a great benefit to your overall health and body function. Blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, and blackberries all have great nutritional profiles and are great additions to your diet. 
Echinacea purpurea extract has been shown to help prevent the common cold, as well as help minimize recurrent infections.  Threo’s Elderberry Echinacea Cold and Flu Immune Support Vitamin C capsules contain this powerful extract that is beneficial to the body in both sickness and health.
An inbalanced gut can lead to a whole host of problems, including food sensitivities, autoimmune disease and a weakened immune system. Probiotics can help support the immune system and detoxify your colon, which boosts the immune system’s abilities. Threo’s Probiotic Support can help you have better digestion and enhance your overall health.
Elderberries have been used since the time of Hippocrates to boost the immune system. They are a well-known natural remedy against colds, flu, allergy and inflammation. In fact, elderberries have even been shown to have antiviral effects when used within 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.  Threo’s Elderberry Echinacea Cold and Flu Immune Support Vitamin C capsules are loaded with elderberry extract to help you feel better when flu hits.
An adaptogen commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, astragulus, while not widely studied, has shown promising results in its immune-boosting abilities. It is most commonly used to protect and support the immune system and has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. 
It is now known that deficiency in vitamin D is often associated with an increased susceptibility to infection as well as autoimmune disease, making this vitamin all the more important. In addition to its role on calcium and bone homeostasis, vitamin D is a major player in immune health.  Supplementation, as well as food sources such as egg yolks, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and fortified milk are great ways to ensure adequate vitamin D.
Adequate levels of vitamin C can increase the body’s resistance to certain pathogens, and can slightly reduce the duration of an illness.  Acerola cherry is a significant source of vitamin C, providing as much 4500 milligrams per 100 grams of edible fruit.  Threo’s Elderberry Echinacea Cold and Flu Immune Support Vitamin C combines this powerful fruit in its formula to naturally increase your vitamin C levels.
Because supplements, herbs, and oils, can interfere with medications and each individual’s health profile is different, it is important that you speak with a doctor regarding your health before you begin any new supplementation program.