It is widely accepted that regular, moderate intensity exercise has a positive long-term effect on the body’s immune system. A balanced training programme of exercise and rest leads to better performance and overall better health.

Did you know, however, that there are some instances where training can actually leave your immune system weakened? Especially during the cold, winter months when we are already more susceptible to coughs, colds and flu, make sure you’re clued up on how to boost your immune system and get rid of any nasties!

How does working out affect your immune system?

It may come as a surprise, but after long or intense exercise sessions, the immune system is actually temporarily suppressed, and this dip in immune function typically lasts around a few hours! This interruption of your body’s otherwise vigilant surveillance can leave a risky ‘open window’ for a variety of illnesses to take hold – especially viruses.

While you shouldn’t consider giving up healthy exercise habits, ensure that you aren’t over training, and start taking extra precautions to keep your body fighting fit through the winter.

Here are some products that should be staples in your medicine cabinet for the next few months:

Immune boosting supplement

There are a number of supplements specially formulated to enhance your immune system’s effectiveness. Quest Vitamins Immune Biotix is a powerful combination of seven ingredients that have been scientifically proven to support the immune system.image

A unique complex of beta glucans (beta 1- 3, 1-6 glucan), aged garlic extract, lactobacilli bacteria, vitamin D, selenium, zinc and copper contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.

This product has been encapsulated in acid-resistant DRcaps™ designed to delay the response of the active ingredients and reducing the exposure of the sensitive probiotic bacteria to the acidic environment in the stomach. The ingredients are instead released directly into the intestine.

A month’s supply of ImmuneBiotix is £19.75, available from all independent good health stores, revital.co.uk and www.questexcellence.com.

Cold sore cure

Core sores are one of the viruses referred to above. The cold sore virus, HSV1, is the second most common virus worldwide, trailing only behind the common cold.

A few things can trigger a cold sore outbreak:

• Compromised immune system

• Colds and flus

• Emotional stress

• Fatigue

• Poor nutritional intake

Zzip® is a film-forming liquid for local treatment of cold sores. Zzip® is special in that, as well as soothing burning and itching, it has ‘an extraordinarily high binding capacity for wound secretions’. This means the blister is dried out, virus spread is reduced, and healing is accelerated. And, with super sleek looking packaging, there’s no excuse not to have a tube on hand!

Zzip Cold Sore Treatment - barrier gel, healing, health

Zzip costs £12.95 for 3ml and is available nationwide from Boots and at www.boots.com. For more information please visit: zzip.co.uk

Mouth ulcer gel

Mouth ulcers are very common; most people will have one or two a year. However, some people have mouth ulcers that come back regularly. Recurrent mouth ulcers are estimated to affect about one in every five people in the UK.

Most minor, single mouth ulcers are caused by damage to the mouth, for example by accidentally biting the inside of your cheek while you are eating. However, recurrent mouth ulcers especially can be caused by stress, anxiety and an impaired immune system, meaning that they can be more common during the colder months.image

BYE Mouth Ulcer! Works to combat mouth ulcers in two ways:

1. The protective film layer with Dimethicone, seals and isolates the mouth ulcer from contact with bacteria, food and teeth. No other mouth ulcer treatment protects and keeps you pain-free for hours

2. The ingredients of Bye Mouth Ulcer! and the natural healing process of the mouth is stimulated, causing the mouth ulcer to heal more quickly

BYE Mouth Ulcer! (£7.95 for 15ml) is available from www.revital.co.uk, www.ocado.com and independent health stores.

Wart treatment

Warts are caused by a viral infection, specifically by one of the many types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus causes the cells of the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) to reproduce rapidly, creating a wart.

It is down to the body’s immune system to eliminate warts, so it’s easy to understand why we are more prone to them during winter, when our immune systems are busy elsewhere. However, as this immune system functions primarily in the dermis, the layer of skin just beneath the epidermis where the wart grows, it may take some time before it discovers the infection and mounts a response that will shed the wart virus and the wart.

Some treatments such as freezing or burning warts work by destroying the virus-infected cells. However, if your body hasn’t built up immunity to the virus, any leftover infected cells remaining will trigger a recurrent outbreak. This is why a single treatment may not work, where several consistent treatments might – it aggravates the virus further to get the attention of your immune system!image

BYE Wart! is a natural, pain-free treatment for warts and verrucas, and is a welcome alternative to regular methods of treatment which can often be painful and ineffective. BYE Wart! has been proven to be effective and painless without damaging healthy tissue and can be used on the face of children as young as three, as well as diabetics.

The ingredients work to soften the skin, allowing a blend of natural, therapeutic oils to penetrate deep into the different layers of the skin, which then kills the wart virus and promotes healing of the skin.

BYE Wart! (£9.95 for 15ml) is available from Holland & Barrett, Lloyds Pharmacy, www.ocado.com, www.revital.co.uk and independent health stores.

We all know that winter is a time where your immune system is working extra hard. Give it a little helping hand with a specially formulated immune support supplement blend, while using targeted treatments on any problem areas to help kill viruses in a more targeted way and kick-starting the immune system into action.