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How it works

Sambucol® has defensive effect on your immune system.

The Immune System

The immune system is designed to defend the body and fight infections. Some people’s immune systems function better due to diet, lifestyle choices, or genetics, and some people will be more susceptible to infections than others. Poor dietary choices such as a diet low in fresh fruit and vegetables (rich sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), and high in sugar and processed foods, can negatively impact the immune system. A lack of exercise and a stressful lifestyle can also play a role in a lowered immune system.

How can Sambucol® help?

• All year round support
Sambucol® can be taken all year round to support your immune system. Increased dose is recommended during winter months. Please, see directions for details.

• At the first sign
Sambucol® gives your immune system additional support when you start feeling under the weather.

• When travelling
During frequent travels, our body is exposed to exhaustion and many viruses that substantially weaken our immune system. Our advice is to use Sambucol® products to strengthen your immunity while traveling.

• During winter
Winter weather puts additional strain on our immune systems. Warm indoors, cold outdoors, dry air and people under the weather, all this requires the increased activity of the immune system. That’s why we recommend increasing the dosage of Sambucol® to winter dose. Please, see dosage instructions for details.

• Before an important event like a wedding
Take Sambucol® to give your immune system additional support before an important occasion like a wedding or a holiday.

Understanding the Immune System

Immune system in the role of defense mechanism

The Immune System is a defense mechanism that protects you from microbes, viruses, poisons, and parasites that attack the body. The Immune System is made up of hundreds of different mechanisms and processes that are all kicked into action when it comes under threat from various ‘insults’ such as viruses, bacteria and pollutants.

An example, the cytokines bring immune cells to the site of infection, to promote healing. Inflammation is one of the first responses of the immune system to infection. The signs of inflammation, redness and swelling, are caused by increased blood flow into tissues. Due to the environment we live in today we are constantly surrounded by these threats and having and maintaining a healthy Immune System becomes really important.

Viruses – Threats to the Immune System

The most common threat to your immune system is from viruses. A virus is a tiny disease causing particle that likes to live in your body’s cells. The virus that most of us know about is the common cold virus. Although more than 200 viruses can cause a common cold, the rhinovirus is the most common culprit, and it is highly contagious.

A cold virus enters your body through your mouth or nose, but it is likely you also had a “hand” in your own illness. The virus can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks. But it also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by using shared objects, such as utensils, towels, toys or telephones. Touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure, and you’re likely to “catch” a cold.

AntiVirin® is a mode of action of Sambucol® products that strengthens the immune system and reduces the duration of all types of colds and flu.

Treating Viruses

Studies have shown that taking a supplement containing black elderberry may be beneficial to help boost the immune system at times when it may be weakened, such as when suffering with a cold, flu or other viruses. A study using an elderberry extract (Zakay-Rones 1995) showed inhibition of several flu viruses in vitro.

Antivirin® mode of action

Viruses replicate themselves by enter cells membrane and spread throughout the body. Several studies suggest the Antivirin® mode of action works by preventing the initial viral infection through 3 potential actions that may occur simultaneously:

  1. Stop the virus “Direct Inhibition”

Flavonoids from elderberries bind to haemaglutinnin (HA) antigens on the surface of glycoprotein projections which cover the capsule head of the influenza virus. This inhibits the ability of the virus to bind to sialic acids on the extracellular membrane surface of healthy cells. The ability of the virus to then enter healthy cells (via endocytosis) is thereby inhibited.

  1. Cell protection “Indirect Inhibition”

Lectins (specifically S. Nigra Agglutinnins SNAs) from elderberries have a high affinity to bind with sialic acids found on the membrane surface of healthy cells, which influenza A also uses to enter the host cell (by triggering endocytosis). Lectins therefore compete with the virus in binding to these sialic acids. Sialic acids are found in large concentration on the cell membranes of cells in the upper respiratory system which are targeted especially by Influenza virus.

  1. Immunity “Immuno-stimulation”

Pectic polysaccharides are the principal candidates of many possible components of elderberries that stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanisms. These polysaccharides are linked to an increase in cytokine production. Cytokines play a key role in the immune response to viral invasion.

What are an antioxidans?

Antioxidants – Defense of the Immune System

One of the best ways our body deals with attacks on the immune system is with its own natural antioxidants. When a virus or pollutant enters the body these antioxidants work by attacking them to stop them damaging the body. As the name suggests they do ‘anti’ or the opposite job to the attackers.

Our bodies contain natural antioxidants in the form of vitamins, minerals and hormones, but due to the increased stress modern society puts on us it can be good to take in more in our diet.
Antioxidants are natural substances that may slow or prevent damage to the body’s cells. They are thought to protect the cells from these unstable molecules by reacting with them.

Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging cells by donating electrons to the free radicals, thereby stabilizing them. When an antioxidant loses an electron, it remains stable and thus does not itself become a free radical. Therefore, a diet rich in antioxidants could be beneficial to health. A study by Abjua et al (1998) conducted in vitro demonstrated antioxidant activity of elderberry juice.

Studies throughout the last 30 years reveal that many of the so-called degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and arthritis arise because of a deficiency in antioxidants.

Free radicals damage and the role of Antioxidants

Free radicals are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons. They are a by-product of a normal bodily process involving the metabolism of oxygen for energy. Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, radiation and ultraviolet light can also cause free radicals to form. Because free radicals lack an electron, they are unstable and highly reactive. As a result of their instability they steal electrons from other cells. This in turn destabilizes those cells, turning them into free radicals. This can cause a chain reaction which can occur indefinitely, causing destruction to the body as cellular damage accumulates.

Free radicals enter our bodies as we breathe in polluted air and cigarette smoke, and are generated during prolonged stress or illness and through every metabolic reaction involving oxygen. When oxygen molecules become unstable they seek to stabilize by reacting with other chemicals. If left unchecked, this leads to inflammation and arterial wall damage. This sort of damage is the number-one cause of ageing and a significant contributor to diseases in those aged 60 or over.

Sources of Antioxidants and ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)

By increasing the daily intake of antioxidants through diet and supplements, free radical activity within the body could be reduced. Our bodies contain natural antioxidants in the form of vitamins, minerals and hormones, but due to the incredible amount of stress modern society puts on us it can be good to take in more in our diet. Sources of antioxidants include vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene. These can all be found in many fruits – such as elderberries and vegetables.

Antioxidative Capability of Elderberries compared to other fruit

In 2007, The United States Department of Agriculture looked at the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) or overall antioxidant capability of various berries. They studied the antioxidant capacity of certain berries in terms of how effective they were at attacking these damaging free radicals. The higher the figure obtained the more antioxidant capacity the berries had. Of the berries studied, the elderberry had one of the highest total antioxidant capacities.

Tabela Antioksidansa

Reminder: Click on the picture to zoom in.

Noted: The above data represents average values and the actual content in any individual sample of fruit may show significant variation from the above quoted values.

The USDA database provides details of the estimated accuracy of the above values. However, despite this variation, the above values can be taken as a reliable indicator of the those fruits which are likely to have the highest ORAC potential.

Flavonoids are natural antioxidants and protectors of your body.

Flavonoids – Natural antioxidants

Flavonoids are powerful, natural antioxidants that work to protect the body’s cells from the potential damage thought to be caused by free radicals. Flavonoids can be found in certain every day foods such as fruit and vegetables.

The importance of one type of Flavonoid – Anthocyanins

Of special interest are a particular group of flavonoids called anthocyanins. These can be found in the pigments of purple, dark blue and red fruits such as the black elderberry (Mateus et al 2004). It is the activity of the anthocyanin pigments that give the black elderberry powerful antioxidant action. Elderberries may contain more than 1% of anthocyanins and other polyphenols. The color of the berries is mainly due to the presence of the anthocyanin cyanidin-3-glucoside which has 3.5 times the antioxidative activity than that of a vitamin E analogue.

The anthocyanins that occur naturally in the black elderberry are some of the most potent in the plant world. Therefore they can be extremely effective at preventing free radicals from causing any damage and have a remarkable ability which may help to stimulate the body’s immune system. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the highest concentration of anthocyanins are found in black elderberries – this is nearly double the amount found in any other fruit and almost 5 times higher than blueberries.

Beauty from within

Protecting cells from free radicals may have cosmetic benefits too. Free radical damage is one of the principal mechanisms of aging. Antioxidants are thought to provide some protection against environmental damage to the skin, such as ultra violet from the sun, and may be somewhat effective in slowing down the skin aging. Taking your recommended daily allowance of products containing antioxidants could also help strengthen hair, nails, eyes, teeth and gums.