The 4 vitamins and supplements this doctor takes every day “for a strong immune system”
In a perfect world, we would all have access to a balanced, nutrient-dense diet rich in healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, adequate protein and fiber – and theoretically we shouldn’t have to take extra vitamin supplements to boost our immune system
However, not only do most of us fall short of these daily nutrient goals, but we may also have situations – like physical stress or inflammatory health conditions – where we need more of certain nutrients than we need. we get food.
As an immunologist and functional medicine doctor, I always say that you can’t supplement in case of poor health or replace a bad diet with vitamins, but you can fill in the gaps to give you that head start.
Below are the four supplements I take daily and often recommend to my patients. Trust me: your body will thank you.
1. Vitamin C
Since humans cannot make vitamin C and it is not stored in the body, it must be constantly replenished.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and strengthens the cells of our immune system. It quickly depletes during infection and when we are under tremendous stress. It also speeds up wound healing and is great for your skin.
Supplemental vitamin C has been found in studies to reduce the severity and duration of a cold, and in early studies it may reduce the severity of symptoms in hospitalized Covid patients.
A good starting dose is 500 milligrams twice a day for maximum absorption.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem, which is a problem because this superstar vitamin modulates many aspects of our immune function. It makes our innate immune system more effective at killing bacteria and viruses and may reduce the frequency of upper respiratory tract infections.
Low vitamin D levels have also been correlated with a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Since vitamin D is not readily found in many foods (with the exception of fatty fish, cod liver, and fortified foods), most people benefit from vitamin supplementation, especially during winter months or if they don’t spend a lot of time outdoors on a regular basis. .
I suggest starting with 1,000 to 2,000 international units per day, taken with a meal.
The World Health Organization reports that between 17% and 30% of the world’s population suffers from a zinc deficiency, which can affect health outcomes.
Zinc is a trace element with crucial effects on the cell and cytokine efficiency of our innate and adaptive immune systems. Zinc helps fight viruses, protects us from free radical damage to our cells, and has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold when taken as a supplement.
Zinc is found in high levels in oysters, beef, and crab, and in lower amounts in legumes, tofu, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and other nuts and seeds. I recommend adding 15 to 30 milligrams of zinc daily, especially during the fall and winter months and at the first signs of a cold or flu.
This substance is the main active ingredient in turmeric root and has been shown to confer multiple health benefits.
In fact, there are over 120 human clinical trials showing the effectiveness of curcumin in treating diseases ranging from autoimmunity to Alzheimer’s disease.
The magic of curcumin is in how it decreases inflammation on multiple levels in the body, not only helping to relieve symptoms of pain and arthritis, but also blocking the inflammatory cytokines that cause autoimmune diseases, heart disease and diabetes.
It also improves the health of our gut bacteria, which contributes to our overall immune health. Because curcumin is not well absorbed and one would need to eat large amounts of turmeric root to experience significant benefits, I recommend supplementing with 1,000 milligrams daily with food.
Dr. Heather Moday is a board-certified allergist, immunologist and functional medicine physician. She is also the author of “The Immunotype Breakthrough: Your Personalized Plan to Balance Your Immune System, Optimize Your Health, and Build Your Lifelong Resilience.” Follow her on Instagram @theimmunityMD and Facebook.