White paper examines role of nutrients and herbs in immune function
Blackmores Institute has released a white paper investigating the evidence-based use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines to support immune function. Designed for health professionals, the paper also examines the role of nutrients and herbs for the prevention, management and treatment of viral respiratory tract infections.
“As the world gets used to the ‘new normal’ conditions and living through a pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in interest about how natural medicine can be utilised to support optimal immune system health,” Blackmores Institute Director Dr Lesley Braun said.
“With winter approaching in Australia, there has been strong demand for evidence-backed recommendations on the role that herbs and nutrients can play in treating common respiratory viruses such as influenza and the common cold.”
The white paper explores how nutritional status can have a significant impact on immune system competence and play a role in determining the risk and severity of infections. The pharmacological activities of common herbal medicines and their role in practice are also discussed.
The nutrients investigated include vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as the mineral zinc and probiotics. The herbs andrographis, echinacea, pelargonium, garlic and elderberry are also examined.
The review includes a summary of the evidence for each ingredient and links these findings to dosage recommendations based on the trials reviewed, and practice guidelines to support clinicians.
“As with all treatments, it’s important to consider individual patient risk factors, comorbidities, other medications being used and special requirements,” Dr Braun said.
“It’s also important to clearly communicate appropriate use and expectations of supplements and whether they are best suited to short-term use, such as in symptom relief, or bolstering nutritional status longer term.”
The report is available to download here.
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