Keeping Your Immune System at Its Best!
The winter season is upon us – and with that, the one thing many of us are usually concerned about is the flu season. However, that seems to be in our rear-view mirror giving the current situation of our country.
We all know what I am referring to, the novel coronavirus aka Covid-19. Regardless of what we are all doing to stay safe during this time, when it comes to this virus or any viruses our bodies encounter, the biggest difference on how it effects each person is how strong one’s immune system is – the Host!
Think about it this way – when someone gets a common cold, how long does that cold last? Well, some recover in 3 days, some in 7 days, while others can be sick for weeks. Is it because they got a stronger infecting virus? No – it is the immune response and job of your body to help fight it off as quickly as possible.
That is the simple truth of it. The one common denominator when it comes to each person encountering any virus is how strong is your immune system? This will determine the severity of the onset of symptoms.
As a Healthcare provider, I am often asked by my patients on what they can do to stay as healthy as possible; what more can they do other than following guidelines of wearing a mask or social distancing. Other than the obvious, have a good healthy and
balanced diet and exercise, we should also be supplementing. Taking vitamins and
minerals are great ways to put the good stuff into our bodies that we do not normally get enough of through our diets. I am going to
address and answer a few of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to supplements:
To start, as a good base, I would recommend a multivitamin and Omega-3 fish oil for everyone. There are plenty of benefits of just taking those 2 alone. Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory in nature, which helps to reduce inflammation in your body, along with promoting better heart function.
Next, we need to take a few other supplements to help boost our immune system. The first being Vitamin D3. There are so many benefits Vitamin D3 gives us. It is the KEY nutrient to innate immunity. This means, Vitamin D3 not only arms your body’s defense for immediate response, but it also helps to protect your cells and prevents viruses from entering them. Vitamin D3 is an Ace2 Inhibitor, which works by blocking the sites where viruses can attach on your cells.
Research shows adequate amounts of Vitamin D3 in serum levels can reduce the risk of contracting viruses by up to 77%.
Additionally, Zinc is a very important mineral that has over 300 different functions in our body. Zinc is a natural antioxidant and is used to make White Blood Cells (WBC), which is extremely vital for our immune system. One of the great benefits with Zinc is, it helps to reduce oxidative stress levels. This is important to understand because viruses will attack your cells if it senses high oxidative stress levels
in your body. In other words, Zinc is helpful in reducing the reproduction or proliferation of infected viruses.
Let’s review what I just mentioned – Vitamin D3 blocks viruses from attaching to your cells and Zinc reduces the spread of infected cells! I cannot stress enough the importance of taking these two supplements together in helping to boost your immune system.
This is a really tough thing to distinguish, as there are hundreds of different brands to choose from. If you are like many, you don’t want to take any drugs and are looking for a more natural way to help. When asked, typically your doctor will just broadly tell you to take this vitamin and that vitamin and you can easily get them at any local store. Our challenge is, what is available to us on those shelves (not all, but most) are usually very low-quality products that will bear minimal benefits when taken.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to vitamins and minerals is, you get what you pay for. There is a bit of a higher cost for buying healthier products, which in turn, will yield better efficacy. If you are currently taking any supplements and have questions on whether it is good or not, I encourage you to bring them in the office and the doctor will be glad to take a look at the list of ingredients for you.
Growing up, most of us have been told, at one point or another, by our parents that we should always take our vitamins. Well guess what, vitamins are supplements and are completely safe to take for children. These days, vitamins for kids come in all shapes and forms. This is even more important to be careful on the quality of products. For example, gummy vitamins will typically have corn syrup or other offensive ingredients that our children should not be consuming regularly.
Additionally, I would also encourage children to take probiotics with the multivitamins. We have about 80% of our immune function in our gut. A probiotic with 10 billion CFU, which is good for ages 2 and up, would be a good basic one to take. Moreover, there is a specific probiotic that focuses on E.N.T. – Ears, Nose, Throat. E.N.T. Biotics are extremely helpful in preventing or helping children who frequently gets ear infections, sinus issues, or even sore throats.
In summary, I would encourage everyone to get a set of blood lab test done with their doctor. It would be good to see if one is indeed deficient in Vitamin D and Zinc. Also, if you are on other medications, please consult with your doctor as well prior to adding supplements.
In our office, we support a company called, Protocol for Life Balance. They are based in the U.S. and have consistently created products that are of higher quality than most. I can always rely on them not putting offensive ingredients in the production of their supplements. At the end of the day, supplementing with high quality Vitamins and Minerals to boost your immune system will help in keeping your body as protected as it can be, not just during the winter season, but all year long.
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