Vitamin D Is Crucial For Immune Health
The surprising role it plays for your body’s immune system and how it can ward off respiratory infections.
Vitamin D is important for many functions in your body, not just your bone health.
The global coronavirus pandemic definitely left people wondering how to keep themselves well. You know that social distancing, working from home and staying inside in general is one way to protect yourself — but are there other measures you can take?
Boosting your immune system is one of the best things you can do because it is your body’s key defense when it comes to fighting a virus. Even if you are exposed to a virus, the coronavirus or others, if your immune system is strong, you have a better chance of not getting sick. Vitamin C is a popular choice for supporting immunity, but another key nutrient for your immune system is vitamin D. Once thought as the vitamin for strong bones, vitamin D actually does a lot more for your body — including support your immune system.
Studies suggest that vitamin D can help prevent respiratory infections or reduce the severity of them, especially if you have a deficiency. They jury’s out on how exactly it can protect you from the coronavirus, but some medical experts recommend taking a vitamin D supplement to help boost your immune system.
Vitamin D For Respiratory Tract Infections
Literature has demonstrated that vitamin D insufficiency can lead to respiratory tract infection . Therefore, vitamin D has been widely investigated as a therapeutic agent for acute respiratory tract infections . A study conducted by Xu et al. reported the protective effect of calcitriol against acute lung injury by modulating the expression of ACE2 in lung tissue , which is one of the pathogenic factors in COVID-19. Some studies showed significant results with a high dose of 250,000500,000 IU.
Vitamin D is associated with a decreased hospital stay, improved blood oxygen level, and increased hemoglobin levels . Studies reported that persons with a vitamin D level of more than 95 nmol/L have a low risk of acute viral respiratory tract infections as compared with the patients with lower than 95 nmol/L . A recent meta-analysis demonstrated that supplementation of vitamin D decreased the risk of acute respiratory tract infections as compared to those with low levels of vitamin D at baseline .
Riboflavin Boosts The Immune System
A diet rich in vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is needed to avoid riboflavin deficiency. Recommended daily allowances of B2 are 1.3 mg a day for men and 1.1 mg a day for women. Pregnant women need 1.4 mg daily, and breast-feeding mothers should have 1.6 mg each day. You can get this B vitamin from natural sources such as nuts, green vegetables, meat, and dairy products.
Riboflavin helps your body break down and use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in your diet and helps metabolize food into energy. This type of B vitamin also functions to keep your skin, the lining of your gut, and your blood cells healthy. Getting enough riboflavin may be preventive for migraine headaches and cataracts, according to the National Institutes of Health. Riboflavin may also increase energy levels, boost the immune system, and treat acne, muscle cramps, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
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Avoid Anemia With Vitamin B12
Adults need only 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin, each day. Pregnant or breastfeeding teens and women need more: 2.6 to 2.8 mcg daily. Vitamin B12 is not naturally occurring in plant foods, so vegetarians and vegans may not get enough in their diets and may need to take a B supplement. Natural sources rich in vitamin B12 are dairy products, fish, meat, and in particular beef liver and clams. This type of vitamin B can also be found in fortified items like breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast.
Vitamin B12 is essential for building blood cells and maintaining healthy nerve cells in the body. As many as 15 percent of people in the United States have a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include weakness, fatigue, constipation, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Deficiency is also damaging to the nervous system and can cause depression, confusion, and dementia.
Supports A Healthy Immune System
Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining your bodys natural defenses.
This includes the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut and genitals which help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.
Its also involved in the production and function of white blood cells, which help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream.
This means that a deficiency in vitamin A can increase your susceptibility to infections and delay your recovery when you get sick .
In fact, in countries where infections like measles and malaria are common, correcting vitamin A deficiency in children has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from these diseases .
Having enough vitamin A in your diet helps keep your immune system healthy and function at its best.
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Top Supplements For Your Immune System
With cold and flu season upon us now, its vital to keep your immune system healthy by boosting it with a good diet and exercise routine, quality sleep, and supplements. While you could get all your nutrients from diet alone, most people have a hard time doing so because of time and financial constraints. Fresh food is quite expensive and doesnt last nearly as long as supplements do, so if you feel youre lacking in vitamins and minerals, supplements might be the way to go.
Well go over some of the best supplements out there to help protect you from getting sick and provide immune system support.
What Supplements Should I Take For Coronavirus
- The recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak causes a variety of telltale signs and symptoms, ranging from fever and dry cough, to more extreme symptoms requiring immediate medical help such as difficulty breathing and confusion.
- We do not currently have any antiviral medications that specifically cure or treat COVID-19, so treatment will usually involve managing symptoms with supportive treatments.
- COVID-19vaccines are now available in order to help protect you from becoming infected with the virus.
- If you have relatively mild COVID-19 symptoms and dont have any other medical conditions that would put you at high risk for developing complications of COVID-19 , these vitamins and supplements might help strengthen your immune system to fight coronavirus.
- It is important to note that no vitamin or supplement can cure COVID-19, nor is there solid evidence any non-FDA-approved vitamin or supplement has any effect on COVID-19. Immune supporting effects of supplements and vitamins in the context of the coronavirus is theoretical.
- Vitamins and supplements may interact with one another in your system and with prescription or over-the-counter medications. Notify your doctor about all the drugs and supplements you are taking, and do not start a vitamin regimen without consulting your physician.
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Foods That Support Immune Health
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy veggies like spinach and kale have vitamin C which helps support the immune system.
Eat fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel to increase your vitamin D intake.
Oysters, Red Meat and Poultry
Foods like oysters, red meat and poultry are all good sources of zinc.
Oranges and other citrus fruits contain vitamin C for immune support.
Fresh fruits like strawberries and cantaloupe are a great source of vitamin C.
Fortified grains, juices, or dairy
Breakfast cereals, orange juice, and milk products are often fortified with vitamin D and other good-for-you ingredients to help support your immune system.
Safety & Side Effects
Ingesting the right oral immune boosting supplements may be beneficial to your overall health. However, there are a few minor side effects to be aware of. Some common side effects of immune boosting supplements mayinclude:
- Abdominal bloating
Sometimes, when certain vitamins are ingested without food can cause stomach pain. Be sure to read the label to see if you should take an immune supplement with food and to be sure that you do not take more than the recommended amount. Most side effects from vitamin supplements are a result of taking too much at one time.
Certain vitamin and mineral supplements can interact with prescription medications. If you take prescription medicines, or are undergoing prescribed treatment for a condition, consult with your doctor before taking any additional supplements.
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Vitamin D And Immune Health
Research shows that vitamin D plays an important role in immune function, and a deficiency in it is shown to increase your susceptibility to infection. “Some studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is even associated with greater risk of self-reported upper respiratory tract infections,” Tolentino says. Further, “low serum levels of calcidiol are also associated with higher susceptibility to infections like tuberculosis, influenza, and viral infections of the upper respiratory tract,” Tolentino says.
One of the main functions of vitamin D is to help activate T cells, aka the “killer cells” in the body. T cells actually detect and destroy foreign pathogens — like viruses. “That makes vitamin D especially crucial for maintaining a functioning immune system that’s capable of fighting back foreign pathogens,” Tolentino says.
It’s important to know that although the coronavirus does affect the respiratory system, researchers and doctors know little about how vitamin D affects your risk of catching COVID-19 at this time. The best ways to reduce your risk of being infected with the coronavirus is to follow CDC and WHO guidelines, what your local officials say and to take care of your health as much as you can overall. Vitamin D is known to help the immune system, which is promising for protecting you from many different types of illness.
Exposing your skin to the sun is one way to get vitamin D.
Introduction To Vitamin As An Immunity Booster
It is well established that nutritional deficiency can impair and adversely affect ones immune system by infections. Recent evidence has highlighted the role of nutritional supplementation, and if administered in higher than recommended daily doses, it might be beneficial in potentially reducing viral load and hospitalization for COVID-19 patients. Vitamins are essential dietary components because of their antioxidant properties and immunomodulatory effects . Some of them regulate gene expression in immune cells and support the maturation and differentiation of immune cells. The vitamins C and E act as powerful antioxidants in combatting free radical species . It was scientifically documented that body may be deprived of these nutrients, vitamins, and minerals while fighting against infections due to the demand for activation energy for the immune stimulation, by a stressful lifestyle, diseases like viral infection, diabetes, obesity, which directly affects the nutrients status . Clinical trials and associated interventions for vitamins are shown in Table .
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The Science Behind Vitamin A And Immunity
Vitamin A strengthens both the innate and adaptive immune systems of the body. The innate immune response protects the skin, eyes, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and reproductive organs. The adaptive immune system produces antibodies that attack foreign invaders . Carotenoids are also powerful antioxidants that help the body fight inflammation. Like most nutrients for immune health, the best way to get your vitamin A is from food, rather than supplements.
Vitamin A supplementation is especially prone to causing toxicity, and over-supplementation can actually weaken the immune system. The good news? Food sources of vitamin A are safe and effective for meeting your daily needs. Plus, they’re colorful and delicious!
Reap The Health Benefits Of B Vitamins
Good nutrition is tied to good health, as well as to the prevention and treatment of many conditions. Getting the recommended amounts of vitamins each day is an important part of the nutrition equation, and B vitamins are essential for preventive care. Abundant in green vegetables, whole or enriched grains, dairy, and meats, B vitamins help promote a healthy metabolism and are also linked to a reduced risk of stroke, research shows.
Take vitamin B12, for example. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin, plays a significant role in nerve function, the formation of red blood cells, and the production of DNA. While most people get plenty of vitamin B12 benefits in a varied, balanced diet, if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, elderly adults and people with GI disorders lack adequate B12.
- Weakened immune system
Its been known that some people with B vitamin deficiencies experience depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Folate is in the forefront of mood management. Findings show that many people with depression have lower levels of folate in the blood. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, peanuts, and other legumes, and citrus fruits. The Food and Drug Administration began requiring manufacturers to add folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pasta, rice, and other grain products in 1998.
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Role Of Vitamin E In Covid
Vitamin E plays a crucial role in regulating and supporting immune system function as a potent antioxidant . Vitamin E acts as a free radical scavenger, reduces oxidative stress, and prevents free radicals containing unshared electrons and highly energetic and damaged cells. Unshared electrons form reactive oxygen species with rapidly reacting with oxygen. . Other than antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin E also has a function in immunity. Alpha-tocopherol is an inhibitor of protein kinase C, cell proliferation and differentiation in smooth muscle cells, monocytes and platelets. Vitamin E also increases the level of prostacyclin by inhibiting the metabolism of arachidonic acid which results in dilation of blood vessels and inhibition of platelet aggregation . A study reported that increased intake of vitamin E is more beneficial in maintaining immunity function in elderly individuals as compared to younger individuals .
Best Immunity Boosters 2021 Top Immune Enhancing Supplements
- Friday, July 2, 2021 11:52am
The bodys immune system is the most important factor in keeping the body safe. Everyone needs a defense against the pathogens in the world around them, protecting the individual from illness, infections, and diseases.
Anyone that takes care of their immune system will find that they have much better health than if they ignore it. Some people are lucky and find that they have a naturally strong immune system, while others have to work hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle that can improve their immunity with time. Supplements make these improvements rather easy, offering extra vitamin C, zinc, and other necessary nutrients that the body needs to keep up.
While there are many supplement options online today, most of them do not provide users with the nourishment that they need. After plenty of research, this guide will show users the top immunity boosters on the market in 2021.
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Role Of Micro Minerals In Covid
During this pandemic COVID-19, preventive measures suggested by medical practitioners and scientists generally underline the significant role of immunity as a potential weapon against COVID-19. Till now, no WHO-approved treatment is available to cure the disease hence an efficient and healthy immune system is the only defense against this viral infection . Indeed, trace elements are the essential micronutrients having a significant role in immunity. Apart from immunomodulatory action, trace elements such as copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, etc., show antiviral activity by inhibiting virus replication in host cells. The antioxidant properties of trace elements improvise the immune response and make alterations in the viral genome. Trace elements are involved in multiple immunomodulatory pathways and improvise the defense system of the body by a different mechanism .
Best Vitamin C Supplement
One way to get very high doses of vitamin C is through intravenous, or IV, therapy. However, this can be very costly and isnt nearly as convenient or accessible as oral vitamin C.
On the other hand, conventional oral vitamin C supplements, often in the form of vitamin C capsules, lozenges, or gummies, can have some drawbacks. For instance, they might contain highly processed ingredients, artificial fillers, and natural flavorings. Some also contain added sugars. And as well, vitamin C is often derived from corn, which is one of the most common GMO-foods in the United States.
Additionally, digestive issues can accompany large amounts of vitamin C via supplements. Ascorbic acid the supplemental form of vitamin C has a very low pH, meaning that its highly acidic. When a supplement doesnt adequately buffer the ascorbic acid, it can lead to cramping, diarrhea, and other stomach-related issues in some people.
Liposomal Vitamin C
Liposomal vitamin C is another option to consider. This form is encapsulated in liposomes or double-layered, protective fat bubbles that deliver nutrients to cells in your body. Research shows that liposomal vitamin C is more effective and bioavailable than conventional oral vitamin C supplements.
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Strategies To Stay Healthy
So, if you can’t help your immune system by taking an over-the-counter potion or pill, what can you do to cut down on illness this winter? Differences between people who rarely get sick and those who are sick all the time may have more to do with habits than immune function, says Starnbach. Here are some tips that might help.
Clean your hands. While some germs are airborne, more often than not, illness occurs after you touch a contaminated surface, says Starnbach. Most often germs move from your hands into your eyes, nose, or mouth, so also make an effort not to touch your face.
Keep your body in top shape. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help keep your body and your immune system working well.
Manage stress. Research has shown that high stress levels may impair the immune system. So whenever possible, try to be aware of your stress levels and work to lower them when they get too high.
Get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated against the flu and other diseases stimulates the immune system to protect against illness. Vaccines teach the immune system to recognize specific pathogens and prepare them to mount a defense if they are encountered.
The bottom line is that aside from vaccines, there’s really nothing you can take to improve your immune system, so it’s probably best to avoid pills and potions that make those types of claims.