Are you prepared for winter? Avoiding viral infections – is the best option!

Are you prepared for winter? Well, firstly our clinically proven supplement NuCell IM, will provide you on a daily basis with a range of nutrients that help support immunity and energy levels in the body, while reducing oxidative stress. Additionally, there are many other ways to shore up your own defences, so you don’t succumb to the dreaded lurgy this winter. This article gathers tips and suggestions from experts, like the Common Colds Centre, Cardiff University, as well as our own nutritionists and immunologists.


If you are in contact with other people you are likely to get a cold as the viruses are so common.


HOWEVER…….Infection does not always mean a cold

Most human viral infections produce no disease at all. They are ‘subclinical’ (i.e. no symptoms), despite extensive viral replication. The concept that the majority of viral infections pass unnoticed without any signs of disease is known as the ‘iceberg concept of infection’, as the classical and severe disease cases only represent the tip of the iceberg of infection.




• Information from the Common Cold Centre, Cardiff University.


Colds are like an iceberg

The ‘iceberg’ concept of viral infection describes the general consensus by virologists that most infections in the community do not cause symptoms and pass without notice. At the very bottom of the iceberg we have the vast majority of encounters with common cold viruses in which the virus does not infect the nose or causes only minor symptoms such as short lived throat irritation and a couple of sneezes which are not recognised as a cold.


Try out these tips

Hand washing may help

Since cold viruses can be passed from person to person by hand contact or by touching contaminated surfaces such as door handles, you can help prevent infection by washing your hands. Studies have shown that hand washing can reduce the spread of common colds within the family.


Avoid contact with someone at the onset of their cold (not always possible!) 

In order for the infection to spread, you need to have close and prolonged contact with the infected other people and to cough or sneeze on them or pass on secretions from your nose via your hands.


You are most infectious when you have the early symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and cough.


Keep your nose warm!

A new theory that has been put forward to explain the seasonality of colds and flu. This suggests that our noses are colder in winter than summer and that cooling of the nose lowers resistance to infection. If this theory is correct then covering our nose with a scarf in cold weather could help prevent colds.


Kissing is OK

Close personal contact is necessary for the virus to spread and the home and school are the places where spread most often occurs. The common cold viruses are not spread by contact such as kissing, but appear to be spread by large particles expelled at close range by coughs and sneezes, and by contaminated fingers that pass the virus to the nose and eye. Your fingers can easily become contaminated with viruses by touching door handles etc. in public places. You may then touch your nose or eye and infect yourself. Tears from the eye drain via a duct into the nasal cavity and when we touch our eyes with contaminated fingers we pass viruses into the nose!


Get less stressed! 

There is much evidence that indicates that the stress of everyday life can influence the susceptibility to infection. It is still not clear how psychological stress affects the immune system but the most likely link appears to be the increase in the release of corticosteroid hormones associated with stress, as corticosteroid hormones are known to decrease resistance to infection.


The increased stress of modern life, particularly in cities, may be one of the factors predisposing us to the very high incidence of common cold infections in crowded environments.


Keep Fit

‘Healthy body, healthy mind’. Exercise has been proven to be one of the best ways to de-stress. Regular physical activity sharpens reflexes, stimulates your hormones, improves gut function, promotes refreshing sleep, and helps keep us trim and in a buoyant mood.


We are what we eat!

Eating well is an important part of maintaining good health.

Key aspects to a healthy diet include; eating the right number of calories, avoiding high sugar foods, eating a wide range of foods, reducing reliance on processed foods, staying hydrated, and using food supplements to supply essential nutrients if you are unable to ‘Eat well’. Food supplements NuCell IM contains vitamins and nucleotides to support your immune system and ability to deal with the stressful lifestyles. Put through its ‘research paces’, you can check out our other articles to see how this exceptional product helps people overcome modern stresses which compromise a healthy immune system:


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Our experts have produced a handy fact sheet, ‘Keeping Healthy’ with tips for general fitness and how to eat healthily to build a strong immune system to help fight off these winter infections.


Click here ‘Keeping Healthy’ to download this fact sheet.


Physical & mental stress can compromise immune response

Stress is a worldwide challenge to health and can come from both physical and emotional sources.


Sometimes it comes from extreme conditions like poverty, starvation, persecution, or war. It can also be the result of caring for a sick family member, the loss of a loved one, troubled relationships or being in an occupation that involves a high level of responsibility or danger. Heavy workloads and the challenges of balancing professional and family life are increasingly common factors.


Stress affects the hormone cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. In small quantities cortisol is helpful. It is anti-inflammatory, speeds tissue repair and controls excess immune cell production. However, continued stress raises cortisol levels beyond healthy levels and slows the production of “good” prostaglandins. “Good” prostaglandins support immune function, dilate blood vessels, inhibit “thick” blood and are anti-inflammatory. The slowed prostaglandin production allows for the opposite – inflammation, immune suppression, etc.



Even healthy people with a balanced immune system can go through phases of suboptimal immune function due to situations of overexertion, stress and exhaustion, which make them more vulnerable to infections. In Switzerland e.g. a new survey revealed that 50% of young people suffer stress.


Excessive stress, either physical or mental, has a detrimental effect on the optimal functioning of the immune system. During a period of stress induced raised cortisol, the immune cells nearly disappear from the blood. The part of the immune system most sensitive to increased cortisol levels are the Natural Killer Cells. A non-scientific analogy to this is that playing card that finally tips the balance on the house of cards, bringing everything crashing down.


The diagram below shows how lifestyle stresses influence immune status and the risk of infection.


It shows that moderate stress and exercise generally leads to a high immune status, and consequent low risk of infection. Conversely, very intensive stress and exercise impacts adversely on the immune status, increasing greatly the risk of infection.


Influence of stress on the immune status and the risk of infection



The effect of stress on the immune system is comparable to the effect of exercise on the muscle. An unused muscle will degenerate, a moderately or intense used muscle will strengthen, but very intensive muscle efforts can lead to severe damage of the muscle.


Pioneering research using nucleotides to overcome the effects of stress

Nucleotides are key components in major processes within the body and play key roles in many biological processes. The requirements for nucleotides increase during times of elevated stress, as indicated previously or additionally when recovering from major tissue injury, systemic infection or when liver function is suppressed.


It has been found that the application of a nucleotide free diet significantly suppresses the cellular immunity. In several studies nucleotide supplementation has been shown to reverse the immunosuppression caused by malnutrition and starvation. A trial with race horses revealed that the level of cortisol after an anaerobic test was significantly lower in horses fed on diet supplemented with nucleotides compared to horses fed the non-supplemented diet, with immunity parameters simultaneously improved. In the same trial a significant increase of the liver enzymes was found in the horses supplemented with nucleotides.


Until recently, there has been limited data available on nucleotide supplementation on the immunologic effects and on stress parameters in humans.  This is an area of research that Pro Bio Ltd, Switzerland, along with Nucleotide Nutrition Ltd, have been pioneering. Pro Bio’s exclusive formulation of purified nucleotides has been shown to lower the formation of cortisol and therefore to prevent the decline of the immune system in endurance athletes.


Effects of a nucleotide supplement in trained male subjects on IgA, Cortisol and Lactate after endurance exercise



The aim of this research was to examine the effect of a nucleotide supplement on IgA and Cortisol levels after endurance exercise of young healthy males.


Endurance exercise trials

Prior to the supplementation period, each subject undertook an incremental exercise test to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer to determine VO2max.


On a separate day the subjects completed a prolonged endurance exercise trial. This comprised 90 minutes at a power output (W) representing 60% VO2max.


Analysis of IgA and cortisol

Prior to the to the endurance trial and immediately upon cessation another saliva and a blood sample was obtained. The saliva was analysed for both Cortisol and IgA and the blood for lactate.



After supplementation of nucleotides IgA was significantly (p<0.01) higher after exercise in test persons compared with placebo subjects. The pre-exercise level of cortisol were not significantly different (p>0.11). However, after supplementation of nucleotides cortisol was significantly (p<0.0001) lower after exercise in test persons compared with placebo subjects.


After the exercise the level of lactate was also significantly lower in athletes receiving a nucleotide supplement.



Nucleotides can help reduce cortisol accumulation and therefore reduce stress.



[list type=”3″]

  • Seyle, H. (1975), The stress of life New York, McGraw-Hill
  • Biondi, M. (2001), Effects of stress on Immune function: an overview. In Ader R,
    Felten DL, Cohen N, editors, Psychoneuroimmunology. San Diego (CA):
    Academic press
  • Avitsur R, Stark JL, Sheridan JF. (2001), Social stress induces glucocorticoid
    resistance in subordinate animals. Horm Behav; 39
  • Avitsur R, Powell N, Padgett D Sheridan JF. (2009), Social Interactions, Stress,
    and Immunity. Immunol Allergy Clin N Am; 29
  • Miller GE, Cohen S, Ritchey AK. (2002) Chronic psychological stress and the
    regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines: A glucocorticoid resistance model.
    Health Psychology; 21
  • Dantzer R, Kelley KW. (1989) Stress and immunity: an integrated view of
    relationships between the brain and the immune system. Life Sci; 44
  • Schedloswki M, Schmidt RE. (1994) Stress and the immune system.
    Naturwissenschaften; 83
  • Avitsur R. (2006) Social Interactions, Stress and Immunity.
    Neurologic Clinics; 24
  • Art T, Votion D, McEntee K, Amory H, Kinden A, Close R, Lekeux P. (1994)
    Cardio-respiratory, haematological and biochemical parameter adjustments
    to exercise: effect of a probiotic in horses during training. Vet Res; 25
  • Vasquez-Garibay E, Mendez-Estrada C, Romero-Velarde E, Garcia-Iglesias T,
    Campollo-Rivas O. (2004) Nutritional support with nucleotides addition favors
    Immune response in severely malnourished infants. Arch Med Res, 35
  • Van Buren C, Rudolph F. (1994) Dietary nucleotides:
    A conditional requirement. Nutrition, 13
  • McNaughton L, et al (2006). The effect of a nucleotide supplement on
    salivary IgA and cortisol after moderate endurance exercise. J Sports Med &
    Phys Fit
    46, 84-8
  • McNaughton L, et al (2007). The effects of a nucleotide supplement on the
    immune response to short term, high intensity exercise performance in trained
    male subjects. J Sports Med & Phys Fit 47:1, 112-119


Recipes for Health – Immune support

This recipe features in our Keeping Healthy Fact sheet 2. The section ‘Eating to be healthy’, shows the different foods that deliver the nutrients that are known to be great for supporting the immune system.



The recipe below is simple; you can even cheat and buy the pastry. Here are the nutrients* that the main ingredients supply your body with:


Tuna: B vitamins, Nucleotides*
Peppers: Vitamin C, Vitamin E
Parsley and Eggs: Vitamin A


*These foods are good sources of these nutrients, but if you lifestyle is particularly demanding, or your diet is restricted, or maybe you have difficulties with your digestion, it may be worth you considering taking a supplement like NuCell IM. NuCell IM contains pure sources of nucleotides, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, and a range of B vitamins.


Tuna and Sweet corn Flan


For the pastry

5oz (150g) wholemeal or plain flour
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons margarine
5-6 teaspoons ice-cold water
Or cheat and buy the readymade pastry


For the filling

1 teaspoon margarine or butter
1 leek finely sliced
1 chopped green or red pepper
3 oz (90g) tinned sweet corn (drained)
6oz (180g) tinned tuna (drained)
2 eggs
¼ pint milk
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and pepper



Make the pastry (or cheat and buy readymade)


Dust the rolling pin and a sheet of non-stick baking parchment with 1 tbsp flour. Roll out the pastry a little larger than the 7 ½ inch (19cm) flan ring. Carefully line the flan ring with the pastry, gently pressing it down the sides.


Trim the top edge. Lay a piece of baking parchment in the flan, weigh down with a few dried beans or rice and bake at Gas mark 6, 200 ° C, 400 ° F for 10 minutes, then remove the baking parchment and beans and bake for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven.


Prepare the filling. Melt the margarine in a pan, add the leek and chopped pepper and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes.


Mix the leek, pepper, sweet corn and tuna together. Lightly beat the eggs and milk together, pour into the tuna mixture, and add the parsley and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.


Spoon the filling into the baked flan case and return to a preheated oven, Gas mark 4, 180 °C, 350 ° F. for 25-30 minutes..


Breast is best and beyond…the nutrients essential thereafter

Breakthroughs in the understanding of breast milk are fundamentally altering and adding to our understanding of human health.  Indeed, research is showing that nutrients, such as nucleotides, established as essential for babies, can also be essential for us as we go through childhood and beyond.



Human breast milk is nature’s perfect food; it is even a ‘fast’ food.  It contains everything that a baby needs to grow and keep well.  A baby will grow faster during the first two years than at any other time of life. Generally, by the end of the first 12 months, a baby should triple his or her birth weight and increase birth length by 50%! Brain weight triples during this time. It is because infancy is a period of such rapid growth that there are key nutrients that are so important.


If breast milk has a label it would have a list of ingredients like this:  4% fat, 1% protein, Vitamins A, C, E and K, sugars, essential minerals, enzymes and antibodies.  These are approximate quantities since breast milk is constantly changing due to stage of lactation, time of day, and also between different mothers.


Of great importance are the proteins and nucleic acids. The main proteins are: casein, serum albumin, a-lactalbumin, B-lactalbumin, immunoglobulins, and other glycoproteins. 40% of breast milk protein is casein, which contains equalized amino acids and provides calcium and phosphate; 60% is whey, which contains water, electrolytes and protein. Whey is made up of 5 factors: a-lactalbumin, serum albumin, lactoferrin, immunoglobulins and lysozyme.


Some amino acids and nucleic acids found in mother’s milk are ‘essential’, since they not found in significant levels (or at all in some cases) in cow’s milk :


[list type=”3″]

  • Taurine is the second most common amino acid found in breast milk, and it does not
    exist in cow’s milk. It is vital for the workings of the brain and retina. In addition,
    it supports conjugation of bile acids. Many companies are adding this amino
    acid to formula now.
  • Nucleotides are significant in protein synthesis and they promote growth and
    differentiation of organs and tissues. They also improve the metabolism of lipids,
    and are important in the development of the gut and immune function of babies.
    It is widely researched# and accepted that nucleotides benefit infants when
    provided naturally in breast milk or supplemented in milk formulas leading
    to better development of the immune system and improved gut health.
    There are 10 times more nucleotides in breast milk than in cow’s milk.
  • Carnitine is vital for catabolism of long chain fatty acids.



Research and reviews of clinical trials with infants and children by Dr Azam Mohd Nor, consultant paediatric cardiologist, led to this specialist publishing 1 his nutritional recommendations for children of all ages.  He advises on the specific nutrients that are needed by children to achieve learning milestones.  Dr Nor’s nutritional recommendations for toddlers and children include the supplementation of nucleotides, as his review of the research indicates that these nutrients are important for the strength of children’s immunity, and their ability to reach in due time their ‘play’ learning milestones.


Note to mums, nursing mums and mothers

Breast milk is best, but be reassured for those unable to do so, Infant formula to 6 months contains supplemented nucleotides. Here’s some references for research behind the use of nucleotides in infant formula  2, 3


Additional nucleotides for you can be found in the supplement NuCell IM.  Check out the website for information on NuCell IM and advice on good nucleotide food sources.



1. Ref. Article contributed by Dr Azam Mohd Nor, consultant paediatric cardiologist. 6th June 2012. “Learning Boost for Kids. Specific nutrients are needed by your child to achieve learning milestones”.


2. Hawkes JS, Gibson RA, Roberton D, Makrides M. – Effect of dietary nucleotide supplementation on growth and immune function in term infants: a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;60(2):254-64.


3. Schaller JP, Kuchan MJ, Thomas DL, Cordle CT, Winship TR, Buck RH, Baggs GE, Wheeler JG. – Effect of dietary ribonucleotides on infant immune status. Part 1: Humoral responses. Pediatr Res. 2004 Dec;56(6):883-90. Epub 2004 Oct 20. Erratum in: Pediatr Res. 2005 Mar;57(3):452.