Researchers have done thousands of studies about building a strong immune system and it is a relative surety that they will continue to do studies for quite some time. The immune system is very complicated. Its normal functions seem to, in certain diseases, make conditions worse. But, opinions on that subject vary.
There are many things that we know about the immune system. It functions constantly without our knowledge. Whenever an invader of any kind enters the body, specialized cells identify the invaders and communicate with other cells, planning a basic attack. Injury causes the immune system to shift into overdrive.
Fever, inflammation or swelling, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, even diarrhea are all efforts made by the body to rid itself of invaders. Some may think that if they have a strong immune system, they will never have an infection or never get sick, but in actuality, having a healthy, strong immune system means that we can fight infection more easily, more effectively and that the risk of serious complications from a mild disease, such as a cold or flu, are relatively small.
Debate about building a strong immune system includes which vitamins, minerals, herbs, plants and other natural products may help. It is important to remember that good nutrition is of utmost importance. If, like most people, you do not always eat the right foods in the right combination every day, then a good daily multi-vitamin is a necessity. Experts do not always agree on the value of mega-doses of vitamins, but if you are willing to experiment a little, then you may be able to find the right quantity of a specific vitamin for your own personal needs. For example, if you are beginning a high dose vitamin C regimen and you develop diarrhea, then you need to reduce the dosage. When the body gets more vitamin C than it needs it responds with diarrhea.
Those people who are very active need more vitamins than those who are sedentary. For example, studies have shown that marathon runners benefit from large doses of vitamin C. Measurements of vitamin C presence in the blood indicate that during infection (even a common cold) levels of vitamin C are depleted almost immediately. So, increasing vitamin C intake during an infection is a good idea. Vitamin C works best when taken with calcium and magnesium, which help the body absorb vitamins and other essential nutrients more efficiently.
Plant components believed to be helpful for building a strong immune system include Beta Glucans, the subject of numerous scientific and clinical studies. In one clinical study, patients who were given Beta Glucans had an increased number of helper T-cells (specialized white blood cells that help other blood cells identify invaders) circulating in the blood stream. The are currently being studied for their potential use in fighting diseases which affect the immune system, cancer treatment and cholesterol control.