There has been a lot of talk about the vitamins and minerals we need to keep our immune system functioning at its best - though it’s not been actively shared through mass media. If you have a well-honed immune system then the coronavirus, or any other virus, is not going to get past your initial lines of defense - your mouth, your nose, and your upper respiratory tract. The better your immune health in general, and the more fortified you are with antiviral compounds to support your immune system, the better chance you will have against this virus (and in staying well this Winter)!
Dr. Gundry, author of The Longevity Paradox and The Plant Paradox, shared the following recommendations to improve one’s immunity. Other functional medicine doctors, such as Dr. Mark Hyman, have shared similar recommendations. The recommendations are easy to find and better yet, inexpensive - vitamins C, D, and Zinc.
Since vitamin C is water-soluble, it’s extremely important to find a time-released vitamin C and take it every 12 hours. The recommended amount is 65 to 90 mg a day and the upper limit is 2000 mg a day. You’ll know when you’ve had too much as you’ll feel digestive discomfort.
Poor vitamin D levels have also been shown to be a huge risk factor. Over 70% of Americans are low in vitamin D. It’s a simple blood test to find out if you are deficient. With vitamin D it is impossible to overdose - but a good rule of thumb is 10,000 IUs daily. IU, or international units, is a type of measure used for fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins, A, D and E).
Lastly, zinc is a super effective microbial. In general, you want to take about 30 mg of zinc daily.
You can do all these things but if the pandemic has you eating extra carbs and sweets then think twice - you’re undoing all of the good you’re putting in. Sugar suppresses the vitamins from getting into your white blood cells. And all of the aforementioned basically turns to sugar once consumed. Your immune system does not work as well if your blood sugar is spiking. Avoid refined and processed foods and aim to add a good protein source at each meal. Protein is critical for optimal immune function. High protein foods also happen to be high in zinc.
Adding more plant-based foods is also important. The more variety of plants the better, as the microbiome, an important part of our immune system, needs a variety of plants to function properly. Plants contain phytonutrients. These help the plant survive in nature, and they help our bodies as well.
What’s even more amazing about all of the above recommendations is they are a prescription for your overall health. As an integrative health coach, my clients report feeling stronger with more energy, cognitive function improvement, glowing skin and better elimination from taking vitamins C, D and Zinc. There is also the added benefit of improved skin clarity and tone that comes from taking the three. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, and the ability to aid in cell turnover, zinc is especially beneficial for inflammatory acne and related hyperpigmentation. Vitamin D helps in skin cell growth, repair, and prevents skin aging. And vitamin C aids in your skin's natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells.
All three vitamins are easily found at your local health food store or on Amazon. But, not all vitamins are created equal. In fact, some brands are pumped full of fillers or additives. For that reason, it’s important to choose reputable brands that undergo third-party testing and are sourced from natural ingredients. Doing so ensures you are consuming a supplement that is pure, potent and can be used by your body efficiently. Some of the brands most trusted by my colleagues and doctors are Pure Encapsulations, Thorne Research, Standard Process, MegaFood and Garden of Life. Nature Made and Kirkland Signature (from Costco) rank best for value.
Written by Heather Ertel