These 4 vitamins and supplements will strengthen your immune system

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In an ideal world, we’d all have access to a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet rich in healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, enough protein, and fiber — and theoretically, we shouldn’t need to take additional vitamin supplements to boost our immune systems.

However, not only do most of us fail to meet these daily dietary objectives, but we may also encounter conditions — such as physical stress or inflammatory health issues — in which we require more particular nutrients than we are getting through food.

As an immunologist and functional medicine specialist, I constantly advise that you can’t supplement your way out of poor health or replace a poor diet with vitamins, however, you can fill in the missing pieces to give yourself a boost.

The four supplements listed below are ones I take on a daily basis and frequently recommend to my patients. Believe me when I say that your body will reward you.

1. Curcumin

Curcumin - supplements

This compound is the primary active element in turmeric root and has been found to have numerous health advantages.

Curcumin has been shown in over 120 human clinical trials to be useful in treating disorders ranging from autoimmune to Alzheimer’s disease.

Curcumin’s power is in how it reduces inflammation at numerous levels in the body, not just aiding with pain and arthritis symptoms but also blocking inflammatory cytokines that cause autoimmune illness, heart disease, and diabetes.

It also increases the health of our gut bacteria, which helps our immune system overall. Because curcumin is poorly absorbed and one would need to consume large amounts of turmeric root to reap significant advantages, I propose taking 1,000 milligrams each day with food.

2. Zinc

Zinc - Supplement

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), zinc insufficiency affects between 17% and 30% of the world’s population, potentially influencing health consequences.

Zinc is a trace mineral that has a significant impact on the efficacy of our innate and adaptive immune systems’ cells and cytokines. When taken as a supplement, zinc aids in the fight against viruses, protects our cells from free radical damage, and has been demonstrated to lessen the length of a cold.

Zinc concentrations are high in oysters, beef, and crab, but low in legumes, tofu, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and other nuts and seeds. I recommend taking 15 to 30 milligrams of zinc each day, particularly throughout the fall and winter months and at the first signs of a cold or flu.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Because humans cannot produce vitamin C and it is not stored in the body, it must be regularly replaced.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune system booster. It is significantly depleted during illness and when we are under extreme stress. It also promotes wound healing and is beneficial to the skin.

Supplemental vitamin C has been shown in tests to reduce the severity and length of a cold, and in preliminary research, it may reduce the severity of symptoms in hospitalized Covid patients.

For optimal absorption, a good starting dose is 500 mg twice daily.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem, which is unfortunate because this superstar vitamin influences so many elements of our immunological function. It boosts our innate immune system’s ability to destroy bacteria and viruses, potentially lowering the incidence of upper respiratory infections.

A higher prevalence of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis has also been linked to inadequate vitamin D levels. Many people, especially those who don’t spend much time outdoors or who live in colder climates, need to take vitamin D supplements because the vitamin isn’t commonly available in diet (apart from fatty fish, cod liver, and fortified foods).

I recommend beginning with 1,000 to 2,000 international units per day with a meal.

By Dr. Heather Moday  an allergist, immunologist, and functional medicine specialist

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