Your health is one of your most valuable assets, so it’s important to take extra precautions, as well as the steps needed to boost your health and immune system. Today and every day, we want our patients, staff, and community members to stay safe and healthy, that’s why this month’s blog will dive into the different vitamins and supplements that you can take to ensure a healthy and lively immune system.
Primary Vitamins and Supplements
1) Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays an important role in supporting immune health, in which it is one of the key vitamins in protecting against viruses and infections. As vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies, along with the production, function, and movement of white blood cells, it helps reduce the occurrence of colds, fights colds more quickly, as well as ease any cold symptoms if taken prior to getting sick.
Daily doses of vitamin C are typically between 250mg and 1000mg with the upper limit being 2,000mg. Food sources for vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and strawberries, along with sweet potato, peppers, kale, and broccoli.
2) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that is essential for the proper functioning of your body and immune system. It helps maintain optimal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, as well as regulate antimicrobial proteins that can directly kill pathogens. Studies show that taking Vitamin D supplements also decreases inflammation and protects against respiratory tract infections.
Depending on your blood levels, Vitamin D supplements can be taken anywhere between 1000IU to 4000IU per day. However, vitamin D is best absorbed through sun exposure, in which 20 minutes of sunlight per day is ideal for the average person. Other sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, egg yolks, and fortified dairy.
Zinc is an important mineral that is required for proper body and immune system function. It is needed for bone growth, wound healing, eyesight, and brain development. Due to zinc’s ionophore activity which has antiviral effects against rhinoviruses, zinc also helps shorten the duration of common colds if taken within the first 24 hours of symptom onset. It reduces symptoms such as nasal congestion, nasal drainage, sore throats, and coughs.
The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8mg for women and 11 mg for men. As the upper limit for elemental zinc is 40mg, be cautious of the amount you are taking as excessive doses can cause zinc toxicity and have negative effects on your immune system. Food sources of zinc include red meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, milk, seeds, and nuts.
4) Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is essential for normal brain development, as well as for keeping the nervous system and immune system healthy. A healthy and varied diet should be sufficient in providing you with enough vitamin B6, in which food sources include poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas, bananas, and fortified cereals.
Iron is a mineral that is essential for the growth and development of your body. Your body uses iron to make proteins that carry oxygen from your lungs throughout your body and to your muscles. People who have low iron levels should take supplements to prevent iron deficiency. The recommended dietary allowance which includes the iron you get from both the food you eat and the supplements you take is 8mg, with the upper limit being 45mg per day. Food sources of iron include shellfish, red meat, spinach, beans, and nuts.
6) Additional Supplements
- Elderberry: Full of anti-viral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, elderberry works to treat infections and improve immune function. It usually comes in the form of syrup and in dried fruits, or it can be taken as a supplement in liquid or capsule form.
- Astragalus: An herb used to strengthen the immune system, as well as treat the common cold, upper respiratory infections, and seasonal allergies. It fights bacteria and viruses, and the typical dose is 9 to 30 grams per day.
- Selenium: An antioxidant that helps lower oxidative stress in the body, which reduces inflammation and boosts immunity. The recommended dose is 55 mcg per day.
- Garlic: Garlic has powerful anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, which enhances immune health and reduces the severity and duration of colds, flus, and infections. While garlic can be eaten fresh and cooked with meals, it can also be taken in the form of a supplement.
- Andrographis: An herb that has anti-viral effects against respiratory disease-causing viruses. It is often used as a painkiller, fever-reducer, and treatment for the common cold and flu.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is the main active compound in turmeric, in which turmeric is used to lower inflammation, fight colds and flus, enhance heart health, manage weight, enhance brain function, support liver health, and improve digestion. The recommended dosage of turmeric is between 500 to 2000mg per day, which contains between 150 and 250mg of curcumin.
- Echinacea: Echinacea is used as a dietary supplement that reduces the chances of catching a cold by 45% to 58%. It promotes respiratory health and contains anti-viral properties that prevent respiratory tract infections.
Products Available at LiveWell
Vitamin supplementation can be extremely beneficial to your overall health to help boost key nutrients you may be experiencing a deficiency in. As many Canadians tend to lack in the key nutrient vitamin D, as well as experience more colds throughout the winter, vitamin supplementation can help boost your immunity to defend against the common cold. Our Waterloo clinic has a vitamin supplement immunity bundle available to help boost your immunity. This bundle includes two supplements from Metagenics: Immune Active and D3 Liquid. These supplements complement one another to help support your immune system. The Immune Active is an all-in-one formula that contains vitamin C and zinc for immune support. The D3 Liquid contains 1000IU of vitamin D to help you maintain your optimal daily intake of vitamin D. We have an information sheet available at the front desk for more information on these two products. Our Chiropractor, Dr. Allensen, knows all about the supplements as well, so feel free to ask him for more information.
As you can see, there are several vitamins and supplements that you can take to support you in enhancing your health and immune system. Not to mention, several of these supplements also help in preventing colds, flus, and infections, in which taking the proper doses on a daily basis can have a significant impact on your body’s immune response. We hope this blog provided you with valuable insight on the vitamins, supplements, and foods that you should take to bring your health and immune system to the next level. If you need extra support in enhancing your health and wellness, our team of professionals can help bring your physical and mental health to its full potential. Contact us today to book an appointment at our Lancaster, Waterloo, Driftwood, or Baden locations.
Want more lifestyle advice on how to improve your health and wellness? Contact our LiveWell Health and Physiotherapy Kitchener (Lancaster and Driftwood), Baden, or Waterloo teams for more information and to book your next appointment. You can also reach out to us by email or social media, and one of our team members will be more than happy to answer any of your questions! All of our practitioners have tips and expert guidance to help improve your health and overall quality of your life.