How to Supplement for Immune Function
By Dr. Ron Brown
There is an increasing number of health claims and the promotion of supplements has also increased in the coronavirus frenzy. There is a lot we don’t know and a lot we do. It’s important not to go overboard and be sensible. Let’s start with an overview of the vitamins, minerals, and herbs you need and why they are important.
- Multivitamin/Mineral: This is the foundation for any health support regimen. It’s a good way to cover the basic vitamins and minerals your body needs for day-to-day functions. If you aren’t on a good multivitamin you should get and stay on one. Look for a high-quality, broad-spectrum multivitamin and mineral.
- Vitamin D3: Adequate vitamin D status is critical for optimal immune function and this cannot be achieved without supplementation during the winter months. Studies have shown that people with vitamin D deficiency are 11 times more likely to get a cold or flu, while supplementing with vitamin D can reduce colds and flu by 42%. True Balance has found many of you need 4,000 IU or more of vitamin D3 a day in the winter. Start with 2,000 IU for adults, 1,000 IU for children.
- Buffered Vitamin C: The role of vitamin C in supporting the immune system has long been known. Take 500-1,000mg throughout the day with meals and snacks. I have taken 1 gram twice a day on a long term basis for immune support. You can get Vitamin C easily on-line and all brands have good bioavailability.
- Zinc Citrate: You can take an additional supplement or consume more foods high in this powerful immune-supporting nutrient. Seafood, especially oysters, red meat, and pumpkin seeds are the best food sources. Take 30 mg per day.
- Fish Oil (Arctic Cod Liver Oil): This old-time remedy for good health and robust immunity still stands true! In addition to the good fats, this cod liver oil contains additional vitamins A and D for added immune protection.
- Natural anti-viral herbs: Many herbs have broad-spectrum antimicrobial effects or immune-enhancing effects. Formulas contain different immune boosters such as astragalus, green tea extract, andrographis, and monolaurin.
- Mushroom Extracts such as reishi, maitake, shiitake, turkey tail, and cordyceps: These provide immune-supporting properties. Cooking with medicinal mushrooms like shiitake is also helpful.
It is not necessary to take all of these. Just starting with a daily multivitamin, 2000 units vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc and fish oil is a great start. I believe social isolation habits are most important at this time. The time to start this was yesterday…. Today is the next best option.