Friday, 1 August 2014

Immune boosting supplements: Do they work?



For one reason or another I seem to be prone to colds and generally feeling unwell especially sore throats, working with children doesn't seem to help matters as I have been picking up all sorts of germs from work too. A couple of months ago I set out to give my immune system a bit of a welcome boost and started testing a couple of supplements that were designed with this is in mind. I am always a little hesitant to talk about supplements as they are quite subjective but having said that so is skincare, I will point out that this is a blog about my personal experience and is not medical advice, for that please go to a professional also known as your Doctor. My philosophy with supplements is to research them first to ensure that they are safe and appropriate, it's worth remembering that just because something is natural doesn't make it automatically safe, belladonna is natural, it is also deadly nightshade... Also it is worth speaking to a pharmacist if you are taking prescription medications also and making sure there are no interactions, they are usually very helpful. Back to supplements I tweeted for advice about a trusted Echinacea supplement brand and A Vogel kindly contacted me and offered me some of their Echinaforce Echinacea drops* (Prices start at £3.95 for 15 mls) and as they are a brand that has been making herbal supplements for many years I decided their remedies were a great place to start. I have been testing the Echinacea drops which are a tincture, it has a very light and subtle flavour that you can't really taste if you add the product to juice or water. The scientific study of the use of Echinacea does seem to give really mixed results you can see an NHS examination of one of the studies carried out here, however in my case I couldn't find any known side effects or contra-indications to put me off and so decided it was worth a try, it is not recommend for use for the under twelve's. I like that this remedy is easy to use, I was also was sent some of the lozenges* (£1.99 a packet) which had a pleasant taste and were easy to take on the go. I like A Vogel's website as it does provide lot's of information. I have been taking the Echinacea as soon as I start to feel the symptoms, in my experience once the cold has developed I didn't find it to be effective but I haven't had a full on cold for some months now so my personal experience is that for me it has been worth taking even though the scientific backing is mixed. 

    The other supplement I have been taking is the Unbeelievable Bee Prepared Daily defence capsules (£9.99) I get mine from Sophia's Choice. This is a blend of several ingredients Bee propolis, Olive leaf extract, Elderberry extract, Acerola Cherry and Beta Glucans. Bee propolis is said to have natural anti-microbial and anti-biotic properties, olive leaf and elderberry are full of anti-oxidants. Those with pollen allergies should avoid taking propolis but otherwise I couldn't find any other known side effect for this supplement. The capsules open if like me you struggle with swallowing tablets, I add them to yoghurt and the taste is very pleasant quite sweet in fact. Just like the Echinacea I have not had any colds since using them, they are not tremendously expensive and can be used everyday if needed. The list of possible beneficial effects from these tablets is very long, I couldn't test for every benefit but my conclusion is that this seems to be a high quality supplement and certainly worth a try if you have hay fever or suffer from frequent colds. I couldn't find any scientific trials evaluating the effects of this particular supplement although there is plenty of positive press and reviews. UnBeelievable is a brand that supports bees too which is always important. 

    I wish I could be overwhelmingly positive about these supplements but I do think there is a lot to take in to consideration when thinking about whether or not you should take them, having said that I have been pleased with my results and will be continuing to use both in the future. Do you take any immune boosting supplements? 

Ana x

*Samples provided
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8 comments

  1. I currently don't take anything other than my pregnancy supplements, I've often wondered about bee propolis though x

    Quite Frankly She Said - UK Lifestyle Blog

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    1. These supplements seem to have a bit of cult following, always best to keep things simple when pregnant but might be worth looking at after you had the baby :) Xx

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  2. I wouldn't be without my Echinaforce now! Echinacea is such a pretty flower with some serious flower power lol :) xxx

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    1. Echinacea is very beautiful you are right, the gorgeous purple petals are stunning :) Xx

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  3. I currently take Bee Prepared Daily Defence Support and I do think there is a benefit of taking this daily. I started using Bee Prepared last year before winter (Max strength) and I made it through winter without any colds, which hasn't happened in years. If I was feeling like I was coming down with something I would just take extra capsules daily and this really worked. I am very pleased with the product and before winter comes this year I plan to start taking Bee prepared Max strength again as it seemed to have worked so well for me last winter.
    You can read a review of this product on my blog as well: http://www.behealthynow.co.uk/healthy-living/unbeelievable-bee-prepared-immune-support-review/
    I currently buy it from bodykind.co.uk but once I found it in TK Maxx slightly cheaper and I stocked up on it.

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    1. Happy to hear they work well for you too, will take a look at your review :) Xx

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  4. Love turmeric and another thing I loved one winter was bee pollen. Both made such a difference, I never had a cold, not even a runny nose! xx

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    1. Turmeric is a wonderful natural anti-inflammatory I use it a lot in cooking, glad to hear the bee pollen makes a difference for you :) Xx

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