3 Immune Boosters Not to Overlook This Season
Many are trying to sell some gimmick or special concoction during this Covid-19 pandemic. Don’t be fooled! There is very little evidence to prove what really works against this unique virus. Rest assured, there are three natural immune boosters that are worth talking to your doctor about, who might suggest you add them to your arsenal to boost your immune system during this pandemic and upcoming flu season.
1. Vitamin C -Ascorbic Acid
It comes as no surprise that Vitamin C is on this list. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. This means when your body is fighting viruses and bacteria on a cellular level, harmful free radicals are produced whole the war on invaders is waging. These free radicals are known to cause cell death in important organs such as the heart. This is called oxidative stress. Vitamin C acts as a scavenger to pick up these free radicals and reduce the amount of inflammation occurring in the body. Vitamin C is also essential in collagen production which makes it a great vitamin for wound healing. The benefits of Vitamin C are endless.
Beware: Many companies will try to sell you high doses of Vitamin C, however your body can only absorb so much. Doses greater than 1000 mg per day actually causes a decrease in absorption by the body by over 50%. That means the extra Vitamin C will be dumped into the toilet. That’s some expensive urine!
2. Vitamin D
No, Vitamin D is not just for your bones is another of the immune boosters. Believe it or not, there are Vitamin D receptors all over the body including the important germ fighting cells B and T lymphocytes. These important immune system cells can produce the active forms of Vitamin D metabolites and activate the cells in your body to slow down autoimmune disorders and prevent infections. Having a deficiency in Vitamin D has been linked to many conditions such as autoimmune disorders, dementia, and pneumonia in adults and children.
Beware: Vitamin D is fat soluble. That means when you take too much and your body runs out of storage in the liver, it will get stored in your fat. It is not like Vitamin C, which is water soluble, so is easily dumped in the urine when amounts are too high. High amounts of Vitamin D can cause a buildup of calcium levels in your body and cause calcium toxicity. Symptoms of calcium toxicity include confusion, vomiting, and muscle weakness, which can be life threatening.
Zinc is likely one of the most overlooked immune boosters. It is estimated that at least 45% of adults may not be getting enough zinc. Zinc is essential in cell division as well as killing unhealthy cells in the body. Without these two regulatory processes our bodies would be full of defective cells without the ability to make new healthy cells.
Not only does zinc kill defective cells in our body, but zinc has also been shown to impair the replication of certain viruses. Just like Vitamin C, zinc is important for wound healing. Zinc is also involved in regulating the cells of our immune system. No surprise that a zinc deficiency is related to increased infections. Without zinc the macrophages that eat germs for breakfast will have difficulty swallowing, a process called phagocytosis; decreased production of crime fighting lymphocytes; and decreased production of antibodies that are essential for remembering bad bugs so we can’t get reinfected with them again.
Beware: High doses of zinc can lead to decreased absorption of the essential mineral copper, and can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and oddly enough, just like Covid- 19 loss of smell. Remember the warning about Zicam nasal spray…yeah that was the zinc.
What to Do
Contact your ReDefine Life practitioner to find out which immune boosters are right for you. Based on your current medications and past medical history, your practitioner will determine how much your body really needs. This is different for each individual and ReDefine Life can provide that personalized care.
Article Written by: Gerdie Jean-Smith M.D, MBA Board Certified Family Medicine, Board Certified Geriatrics. ReDefine Life Physician
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