HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT - ASTRAGALUS
Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of shape we’d all be in if our bodies didn’t have the innate ability to protect us against disease? We’d get really sick and tired of being sick and tired all the time – that’s for sure! Having a vibrant, healthy immune system is something that most of us take for granted, especially during our younger years when it’s usually functioning at its best. But as our body grows older, so do our immune systems – a sign that it’s probably time to give it a little extra TLC.
While supporting a healthy immune system is something that everyone should be doing even from a young age, it’s especially important for folks who are getting up there in age. This is usually about the time when things start to get a little glitchy and break down; a common part of the aging process, unfortunately. But the good news is that you can help slow down the damage – or in some cases even reverse it – with proper nutritional and supplemental intervention.
If your current plan to age gracefully includes eating healthy, staying hydrated, de-stressing, and getting plenty of rest, you’re already on the right track. But what if you could take things to a whole new level by incorporating the best of what nature has to offer into your daily regimen for added support for a strong, healthy immune system?
Astragalus Root A prominent member of the legume or bean family, astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus or astragalus mongholicus) has deep roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). For many thousands of years, civilizations both past and present have used this powerful adaptogenic herb to support wellness on a variety of fronts, with perhaps its most well-known benefit being in the area of immune support.
Astragalus contains more than 200 active constituents that lend to its therapeutic efficacy. Three of these – saponins, flavonoids, and polysaccharides – are particularly noteworthy as having received special attention in the scientific literature for their pronounced impact on health and well-being.
Pharmacological studies suggest that saponins, flavonoids, and polysaccharides, as well as the hundreds of other synergistic compounds found in astragalus, work together at the systemic level to help support the body in a variety of ways. One of the most significant ways involves providing active protection against physical damage caused by free radicals, toxins, viruses, and inflammation.
Considered to be the primary chemical constituent class found in astragalus, saponins are naturally-occurring plant phytochemicals that studies suggest can help support healthy cholesterol levels, ward off abnormal cell growth, and provide an extra boost to the immune system. According to research published in 2011, Astragalus just so happens to be the world’s richest known source of cycloartane-type saponins, which have been shown to exhibit strong cardiotonic, hypocholesteremic, antidepressive, antiblastic, and immunomodulatory properties.
These colorful antioxidant plant pigment compounds have been shown to help facilitate proper cell signaling while scavenging inflammation-causing free radicals from the cellular tissue. Their benefits extend beyond this to the immune system as well, as flavonoids are arch enemies to both cancer and heart disease, as demonstrated in numerous scientific studies.
Also known as glycans, polysaccharides are molecularly-bonded simple sugars that serve as energy stores in the body. Because of this special molecular bond, polysaccharides are technically complex carbohydrates that serve as the body’s primary source of energy. Evidence suggests that polysaccharides possess powerful antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties that further lend to their bioactive nature of astragalus.
Prof. Guy Van Elsacker Dr.Sc.