Vitamins, Prevent cold and fluIt’s that time of year again, cold and flu season.  There’s nothing worse than the feeling you get when you begin to feel sick and know that there is not much you can do about it; hoping that your symptoms don’t get in the way of the work that needs to be done. 

Usually Vitamin C and probiotics steal the spotlight when it comes to talking about immune system health.  However, there is much more to keeping your immune system healthy.  

Here are four basic nutrients that are not only vital to staying healthy through the fall and winter months, but also act to help prevent being sick to begin with.  They are part of my personal supplements that I rely on to stay healthy through cold and flu season.    

  1. Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps to boost the immunity of your mucous membranes.  Mucous membranes are what covers the inside of your mouth, nose, and throat, to name a few, and are the primary way that you become exposed to illness.  Vitamin A also increases the function of a cell found in your immune system called a natural killer cell.  Natural killer cells respond rapidly to a cell infected by a virus assisting the rest of the immune system in riding the virus from your body. 

Tips: Most effective in liquid form or in a gel capsule and best absorbed when taken with food.

  1. Vitamin D3: Researchers have found that Vitamin D3 increases your immune function by up to 5 times more than normal.  It also helps your body to produce up to 200 antimicrobial and viral proteins that help fight whatever you may be exposed to.

Tips:  Best absorbed when it is in liquid form or in a gel capsule. Since the body utilizes it as a hormone, you should take it at night if possible.    

  1. Zinc: Zinc is vital to immune function and helps several of your immune system cells to function properly.  Natural killer cells are one of the many immune cells that zinc has an incredible effect on.

Tip: Make sure you take Zinc with food. 

  1. Selenium: The main way this nutrient affects your immune system is through selenoproteins (selenium-containing proteins).  Selenoproteins are known to be vital in regulating your immune system and allowing it to function properly and quickly. 

Tips: Be careful not to take too much Selenium.  For adequate immune support, you don’t need any more than 200 mcg per day. 

All of these nutrients should be taken together and daily for them to be most effective.  Although it is safe for children to take these nutrients they should not be taken in the same dosage as an adult. 

Remember, the quality of the supplement and dosage matters!  Your Naturopathic doctor has access to the most effective and highest quality supplements available. If you are not seeing a Naturopathic doctor there are still some acceptable supplements available to you.  One brand is Carlson Labs, ACES plus Zn.  This can be obtained over the counter and contains safe therapeutic dosages of A, C, E, Selenium, and Zinc. 

Please watch for my next article when I will discuss the top 5 anti-viral herbs, especially Echinacea, that not only help to fight a cold or virus but help decrease symptoms as well. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.  Be Well.