It’s fall, and you know what that means: back-to-school, the waning of hiking season and the common cold. If you’ve got autumn ambitions of crisp paddles and crunchy hikes, you don’t have time for a runny nose.
While autumn is traditionally a time of year when many of us tend to get sick, did you know that falling ill isn’t inevitable? We spoke with registered holistic nutritionist and PURICA® director of education Tawnya Ritco to chat immunity and the surprising way mushrooms might keep you healthy as the leaves change.
This conversation was edited for clarity and length.
In terms of immunity, why do our systems become vulnerable in fall?
A lot of people are just so much healthier when the sun is out and they are active. Then all of a sudden, the temperature drops and we seem to get sick. It’s a combination of not getting as much Vitamin D, spending more time indoors in enclosed environments and spreading germs.
I hear a lot of people say, "I get sick once a year." Is falling ill an inevitability?
We all go through periods when we’re stressed, lacking sleep and not exercising. So, chances are, you’re going to be more susceptible to getting sick.
I believe that if we listen to our bodies we can often avoid getting sick. I know that if I push myself and I’m not listening, I’m certainly more susceptible. So, for example, if you're feeling tired, take that nap.
Immunity-boosting habits 101
- Wash your hands
- Avoid touching your mouth and eyes
- Move your body/exercise
- Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night
- Eat a whole, well-balanced diet rich in antioxidant foods
- Go easy on the stimulants
Can you tell readers a bit more about how we can boost immunity with supplements?
As far as supplements, medicinal mushrooms shine in the way they work to “balance“ the immune system.
A optimal immune system is one that is in balance; you don’t want it overactive or underactive. If it’s underactive you could be more susceptible to getting sick and can take longer to recover. With a overactive system you are more prone to allergies and autoimmune responses where your body can mistakenly attack and damage its own tissue.
Medicinal mushrooms work like immune system modulators—they keep it in balance.
What makes mushrooms these immune system superheroes?
Two things. First, medicinal mushrooms are adaptogens, so they help your body adapt to stress, both physical and mental. Stress is a big factor in our society. If you’re stressed, often you’re not sleeping or eating well, and that plays into our overall immune system being compromised.
Second, medicinal mushrooms are immune modulators. They modulate your immune system so it’s not overactive or underactive.
Tell us about PURICA’s medicinal mushroom supplements.
PURICA Immune 7® is our flagship product which has six medicinal mushrooms plus the proprietary blend of green tea and grape seed extract Nutricol. They include sun mushroom, maitake, shiitake, turkey tail, red reishi and cordyceps. For serious immune conditions, Immune 7® can work alongside mainstream treatments or it can be taken daily to keep your immune system strong.
The other mushroom immunity product we have is PURICA Complete 360 which has eight medicinal mushrooms and Ashwagandha. It’s called 360 because it offers total stress relief and immune support.
Our immunity suite also includes PURICA Prevent immunity optimizer and PURICA Prevail for cold and fever. They’re backed by 2,000 clinical trials and they’ve also generated great feedback on positive results. Prevail is also available in a Purikidz version for children aged three and over. There’s so much to all of these immunity products but the details can be found on our PURICA.com website.
Does the average person need daily immune boosters year-round?
Many people take PURICA Complete 360 daily to promote optimal health. It’s available in powder or capsules. You can take PURICA Immune 7® daily, although many people start taking it as they enter the fall season or when travelling. It can be taken proactively to keep yourself strong and now is the ideal time.
Where are PURICA mushrooms sourced?
PURICA mushrooms are cultivated in a lab. The reason they are grown in a lab is to avoid cross-contamination and to grow them to optimal potency. Additionally, some mushrooms are otherwise inaccessible. For example, cordyceps naturally grow at high altitude. The lab process ensures optimal potency and full spectrum use of the mushroom. We also micronize the mushrooms so they are more absorbable and bioavailable.
Are preventative immunity boosters effective if the people in your household aren’t taking them?
I like the analogy of our body as a castle. With daily attacks from bacteria, viruses and parasites, imagine how taxing it is for the protectors of our castle to keep our immune system strong. We can strengthen our defenses through adopting positive lifestyle solutions to help manage stress, diet supplementation, including the use of medicinal mushrooms. That said, if the walls are breached, those fortified barriers help your immune system recover faster.
How can we inspire people to get in front of their health? To be proactive before we’re calling in sick?
More awareness. Nobody likes getting sick. People want to feel energetic. It’s just education—knowing that you can do something about it. We can help navigate ourselves through the season with good hygiene habits and supplementing.
Eastern cultures have been using medicinal mushrooms for thousands of years. In Western culture, there is more research and information on the numerous health benefits so mushrooms are becoming more mainstream. And they sure are at PURICA, where so many of our formulations are based on medicinal mushrooms.
Note: This article was updated May 4th, 2020
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