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What Vitamins Should I Take To Build My Immune System

Vitamin B6 For Immunity

Should I take supplements to boost my immune system? Coronavirus Answers | COVID-19 in Context

Vitamin B6 is in charge of keeping the immune system strong, making new red blood cells, and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin B has also been shown to improve migraines. Foods rich in pyridoxine are chicken, salmon, tuna, leafy greens, and chickpeas. Vitamin B6 deficiencies can cause mood changes and reduce antibodies needed to avoid infections. Vitamin B6 is responsible for producing white blood cells and T cells, which regulate immune responses. Vitamin B6 also helps the body make the protein interleukin-2 to direct white blood cell activity.

The 4 Best Vitamins To Boost Your Immune System

12 December, 2019

If you have been having the flu and other virus-related health problems, its possible your body needs vitamins to boost the immune system. Although the best way to up your vitamin intake is by having a healthy and balanced diet, sometimes our bodies need an extra boost.

On the other hand, the daily recommended values arent always possible every day or for every budget. To solve this, vitamins come in a variety of presentations that make it easier to reach those daily milestones.

In order to strengthen your defenses, you should be vigilant of reaching your daily intake for these five vitamins. If your diet isnt cutting it, then it might be time to search for vitamin supplements. Theyre relatively inexpensive and in the long term can save you a ton on medical bills! Keep reading to know what vitamins you should be taking to boost your immune system.

Exercise: Good Or Bad For Immunity

Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.

Recommended Reading: What Are The Best Vitamins For Fibromyalgia

What About Empty Calories

Steer Clear of Them

Processed foods including candy, soda, fast food, and snack foods contain empty calories that do not provide your body with vitamins, nutrients, or fiber. They often also contain chemicals and preservatives that are not good for your body. If you eat processed foods and instead of foods in their natural, unprocessed form, your body will be deprived of vitamins and nutrients that it needs to thrive. Ditch processed foods in favor of fruit, vegetables, lean meat, healthy fats, and whole grains to give your body and immune system everything they need to function at their best. Optimize your dietary habits to support your health.

Herb And Supplement Immune Boosters

COVID

Healing Plants

Some research has suggested that compounds in herbs and supplements can enhance immunity. Garlic, astragalus, milk thistle, ginseng, green tea, black cumin, and licorice are just a few herbs that have been reported to have immune boosting benefits. Talk to your doctor of pharmacist before including herbs and supplements into your regimen. They may produce side effects, especially when combined with other herbs, supplements, or medications. Probiotics are beneficial strains of bacteria that have also been described as immune boosters. Look for probiotic supplements with lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Probiotics can also help improve digestive health.

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Get The Nutrients Your Immune System Needs

Certain nutrients are essential to the good running of your immune system. These are found in fresh produce you shouldn’t rely on supplements to get them.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. This vital nutrient is found in many foods, not just citrus fruits. Its also in leafy green vegetables, bell peppers, strawberries, carrots and many more fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight infection. Find it in spinach, broccoli, almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts.

Vitamin B6 is essential to your immune system. Bananas, lean poultry, tuna and chickpeas are all high in this nutrient.

A daily dose of vitamin D is one of the few things you may need a supplement for, though eating fatty fish and being exposed to sunlight do help.

Vitamin D helps the body regulate immune responses, so check these guidelines on who needs a vitamin D supplement.

Brightly coloured foods often contain vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash are all high in this nutrient.

Folate also known as folic acid helps our body create cells, meaning a deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system. Get yours from beans and peas or leafy green vegetables. Youll also find it in certain fortified foods.

Iron helps your body carry oxygen to cells, including the white blood cells that are central to the immune system. Find it in lean poultry or in dark, leafy greens.

How Can Vitamin C Help Boost Your Immune System

While Dr. Adalja says that theres more data for vitamin D, there is some research to support taking vitamin C supplements, too. In case youre not familiar with it, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin thats naturally present in some foods, like oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes, per the NIH. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, its an antioxidant that plays an important role in immune function, the NIH says.

One review and meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Cochrane found that people who took vitamin C supplements when they had a cold had the infection reduced by 8% in adults and 14% in children. People who took vitamin D supplements also had less severe colds than those who didnt.

Vitamin C supplements may also help if you tend to exercise a lot. One Cochrane review looked at data on 642 marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers who took vitamin C supplements and found that taking anywhere from 250 milligrams to 1 gram a day of the vitamin reduced the risk of developing a cold by 50%.

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Reduce Stress For Increased Immune Function

Daily stress can overwork your immune system and drain your ability to stay healthy. Big and little daily stressors can constantly push your immune system. Thats why its important to take time for self-care. Make time eachday to dothings to “refill your tank.” Self-care varies from person to person. It can include setting aside time to read, meditate, talk a walk, do a hobby or get a massage.

What Foods Support The Immune System

How To Boost Your Immune System Against Coronavirus | TODAY

Fruits and vegetables can help to support the normal functioning of the immune system, thanks to their vitamin content.

Citrus fruits such as grapefruits and oranges are high in vitamin C, and broccoli is packed full of vitamins and minerals, as well as containing vitamins A, C and E, fibre and antioxidants.

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Water Is Essential For Immune Health

Water is still the best thing you can drink. Each person varies, but aim to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. That can be hard to do. Your body get dehydrated after hours of sleep, so drink a glass of water right away when you wake up. If you struggle with drinking enough water, set reminders throughout the day or drink a glass of water before each meal. Caffeine-free hot tea can count as part of your daily water tally.

Can Vitamin Supplements Boost The Immune System

âThe evidence in the scientific literature to support vitamin supplements is pretty dreadful,â says Tim. âI would say there’s absolutely no data to support most of them, with only two or three possible exceptions.â

âOne exception would be zinc,” he explains, “but that data which allows any supplement with a trace of zinc to make health claims is about 20 or 30 years old and hasn’t been updated so it could be flawed.â

Indeed, recent studies have failed to prove that taking zinc supplements can decrease your risk of catching respiratory infections.

âThere was also one report about vitamin D with a summary of a few bad studies to show it could help the immune system,â adds Tim. âBut these are mostly observational studies and rigorous vitamin D supplementation trials for various conditions have proven that itâs not helpful.â

Whatâs more, several studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation does not reduce rates of colds and flu. It also did not lower the risk of catching swine flu during the 2009-10 epidemic. In fact, looking at it the other way around, low vitamin D may just be a marker of being less healthy.

Read Also: How To Test For Vitamin D Deficiency At Home

Vitamin D & Immune Function

Vitamin D is slightly different to other vitamins because it is a hormone made by your body in a chemical reaction which occurs when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

For this reason, it is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. However, it is only created by your body if youre exposed to adequate levels of sunlight. Supplementing with vitamin D during the months with less sun could help you boost your immune system.

Vitamin D and your immune system play crucial roles in many functions within your body. Your immune system is your bodys first line of defense against infection and disease so its important to ensure that youre not experiencing low levels of nutrients like vitamin D. Low levels could lead to deficiencies which can cause detrimental side effects.

Vitamin D plays a role in the proper functioning of t cells, b cells and dendritic cells which are all key to immune function and protecting your body from disease.

In addition, Vitamin D helps your body to effectively absorb calcium which helps your body to maintain healthy bones.

Vitamin Supplements To Boost Your Immune System

COVID

No supplement will cure or prevent the disease. No research has confirmed the use of any supplements to protect against COVID-19 specifically, however research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances can improve immune response and give you a better chance if you do catch the virus.

Please note that some supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. Some may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions. If in doubt, you may check with the community pharmacist before purchasing.

At BHWC we are recommending our patients to take the following supplements:

  • Vitamin C 1,000 mg od
  • Vitamin D 2000-4000IU daily or 50-100mg daily
  • Multivitamin this should contain B12, B6 and Magnesium
  • Zinc 9.5mg elemental zinc for men & 7mg elemental zinc for womenThese can be purchased from health stores / grocery stores or pharmacies.

Examples of brands which contain these vitamins are Redoxon, Vitabiotics Ultra, Haliborange.

Vitamin A: Playing an important role in supporting T Cells, which are a type of white blood cell that help identify pathogens , vitamin A in can be found in all kinds of foods such as: liver, whole milk, cheese which contain retinol preformed vitamin A, and dark green leafy vegetables and orange-coloured fruits and vegetables, which contain beta carotenes that the body converts to vitamin A.

Read Also: How Much Vitamin C Powder Should I Take Daily

Three Vitamins Minerals To Boost Your Immune System And Fight Covid

Associate Professor of dietetics and nutrition shares which supplements and food groups can help keep you healthy

By Gisela Valencia

As we continue to keep an eye on COVID-19 and its new strains, now is a great time to strengthen our immune systems to combat the virus.

According to Associate Professor of dietetics and nutrition Cristina Palacios, supplements and foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals are crucial.

Those of us that have a better nutritional status can fight the disease better than others, says Palacios, a faculty member at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. We constantly have pathogens, such as virus and bacteria, coming into our bodies. If our immune system is working really well, we dont get infected.

She adds, In general, nutrition affects our entire body. All body processes require enzymes, and many vitamins and minerals help enzymes work better. Theres the saying, We are what we eat. Its true. If you want to be healthy, you have to consume certain nutrients.

So, how do we keep our immune systems healthy during this time?

To shed light on the matter, Palacios recently hosted a free virtual webinar for the community. The webinar was part of an ongoing series organized by Palacios and a team of graduate students to share information with folks who are trying to keep their families healthy.

Here are the top three supplements adults should consider taking.

Nutrients through food

Can Sex Boost Your Immune System

Regular Sexual Activity Is Helpful

In a study of college students, those who had sex once or twice per week had the highest levels of immunoglobulin A in their saliva. IgA is an immune molecule that helps protect us against illnesses like the common cold. Students who had sex once or twice per week had more salivary IgA than students who were not sexually active, infrequently sexually active , or who were very sexually active . Enjoying sex up to a couple of times per week seems to be the sweet spot for promoting optimal IgA levels.

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What Is Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin your body needs. This fat-soluble vitamin plays a role in immune cell function which helps to protect your body from disease. Replenishing your levels of vitamin D helps you see the benefits for your natural immunity. The key functions requiring Vitamin D include immune system function, and the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus.

Ensuring your body is provided with adequate levels of Vitamin D can aid your bodys immune system response and help to improve your bodys ability to fight off illness and disease. Making sure youre getting enough vitamin D to aid your immune system is vital to help your body work the way it should. Vitamin D supplements may be taken to help encourage this intake.

Vitamin D is made up of a family of nutrients which all share a similar chemical structure. The most common forms of Vitamin D are Vitamin D3 and D2 and are usually found in your diet. However, there are very few foods that contain Vitamin D naturally.

Boosting Your Immune System To Stay Healthy During The Pandemic

Can my Immune System Fight Coronavirus?

With COVID-19 cases still on the upswing in many areas of the worldincluding most of the USnow is an ideal time to take steps to build a routine that will keep you healthy. As always, an exercise regimen and eating a healthy diet rich in the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to ward off disease are critical. However, theres one piece of maintaining your bodys health you might be missingthe addition of a thoughtful supplements routine to help boost your immune system.

Why take supplements? While you should ideally get the full breadth of your nutrients from a healthy diet, many people struggle to do soespecially during a pandemic when trekking to the market for fresh produce a few times a week may not be feasible. Also, some nutrients are just plain difficult to access even if you do eat a varied, nutritious diet some arent readily available when consumed in produce, meats, and fish, and others do best when paired with other vitamins and minerals.

Read Also: What Vitamins To Take For Joint Health

Can You Boost Your Immune System

Certain vitamins, minerals and supplements can support the normal functioning of your immune system, but they wont.

Boost implies that by upping your intake of supplements that contain certain vitamins and minerals, or eating certain foods, you can improve the effectiveness of your immune system above its normal threshold, which is simply not true. You will never be able to surpass its natural capability or go beyond normal expected levels.

How Much Vitamin D To Take To Help Boost The Immune System

When taking a Vitamin D supplement, knowing the dosage you should be taking can help you to understand whether youre taking too much or too little for your immune system.

The NIH recommends babies from birth to 12 months obtain 400IU daily, while those 1 years and above take at least 600IU . Those over 70 require at least 800IU daily.

People who are unable to obtain adequate exposure to sunshine regularly and ethnic minority groups with dark skin are advised to take some form of supplement regularly all year round.

Vitamin D immune system requirements can vary widely depending on where you live and your lifestyle. Its important to remember that 4000 IUs is advised as the daily upper limit for Vitamin D intake.

Taking too much Vitamin D for your immune system can cause a calcium build-up and lead to weak bones, kidneys and heart damage.

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Choose The Right Supplements For You

You should always consult your doctor before starting any new diet plan or deciding which supplements you need. Everyone is different and we all have different dietary needs. What works for someone else might not work for you.

Here is a shortlist of things you should consider when selecting your supplements:

  • Consider Your Age Vitamins and supplements vary depending on who they are made for. For example, a senior might need a diet and supplements with more calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, potassium and fiber. Whereas all a child might need is a balanced diet and a gummy vitamin.
  • Consider Your Gender Like age, gender can also help you determine what vitamins might be right for you. Pregnant women, for example, take prenatal vitamins which are full of the minerals required for the development of their baby. These same vitamins wont be as useful for men.
  • Consider Your Diet Do you keep track of what your eating on a day to day basis? Often times we dont eat enough fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods that contain the vitamins we need for proper nutrition. You can start tracking your food and drink intake on an average day to get an idea of what youre likely not getting enough of.

If you feel nutrition is part of your issue and would like help, I am not only a Doctor of Pharmacy , but I am also a Certified Online Nutritionist.

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