Feature image Top 3 Supplements for Boosting the Immune System

Top 3 Supplements for Boosting the Immune System

Whenever the immune system requires additional reinforcement—be it during the cold and flu season, air travel, the constant influx of germs from school-aged children, or amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic—here are our top three supplements for optimizing immune health. These are essential nutrients that my entire family incorporates into our daily routine, especially during the winter months and whenever our immune systems could benefit from some extra care.

Zinc

Zinc

Zinc stands as a crucial mineral with diverse functions throughout the entire body, playing a particularly vital role in supporting a healthy immune system and fortifying defenses against infections. The prevalence of dietary zinc deficiency is widespread, impacting approximately 2 billion people globally. Research indicates that incorporating zinc supplements is estimated to decrease diarrheal deaths by 13% and pneumonia deaths by 20%.

Some of the populations that are at a higher risk for zinc deficiency: 

  • Premature and Low-Birth Weight Infants: Adequate zinc intake is vital for the healthy development of premature and low-birthweight infants.
  • Pregnant and Lactating Women: Pregnant and lactating women benefit significantly from sufficient zinc intake to support both their health and the proper growth and development of their infants.
  • Children and Adolescents: Zinc plays a pivotal role in the growth and development of children and adolescents, making it essential for this age group.
  • People with Malabsorption Issues like Celiac Disease and IBD: Individuals facing malabsorption challenges, such as those with Celiac Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), require special attention to ensure adequate zinc absorption.
  • Adults Over 65 Years Old: Older adults, aged 65 and above, may have specific zinc requirements to support immune function and overall health as part of the aging process.
  • Those on Medications (Like Proton Pump Inhibitors) That May Inhibit Zinc Absorption: Individuals taking medications, including Proton Pump Inhibitors, which may hinder zinc absorption, need to be mindful of their zinc intake to prevent potential deficiencies.
  • Vegetarians: Zinc intake is particularly important for individuals following a vegetarian diet, as certain plant-based sources of zinc may have lower bioavailability compared to animal-based sources.

Common symptoms that may indicate zinc deficiency: 

  • Decreased Immunity or Frequent Colds: Inadequate zinc levels may compromise the immune system, resulting in increased susceptibility to infections and frequent colds.
  • Low Appetite or Loss of Appetite: Zinc plays a role in regulating appetite, and a deficiency may contribute to a reduced or loss of appetite.
  • Depression or Apathy: Zinc deficiency has been associated with symptoms of depression and apathy, emphasizing the importance of maintaining optimal zinc levels for mental well-being.
  • Some Skin Issues Like Dermatitis: Skin problems, such as dermatitis, can be linked to zinc deficiency, highlighting the mineral's role in maintaining skin health.
  • Excessive Hair Loss: Zinc is essential for healthy hair, and insufficient levels may contribute to excessive hair loss.
  • Impaired Memory or Cognitive Function: Zinc deficiency may impact cognitive function and memory, underlining the importance of adequate zinc intake for optimal brain health.
  • Developmental Delays and Learning Disabilities: Adequate zinc is crucial for proper development, and deficiencies may contribute to developmental delays and learning disabilities.
  • Poor Attention Span: Zinc deficiency has been associated with poor attention span, particularly in children, emphasizing the mineral's role in cognitive function.
  • Diarrhea: Zinc is known to play a role in gastrointestinal health, and deficiencies may contribute to diarrhea.
  • Poor Wound Healing: Zinc is essential for the healing of wounds, and low levels can impede the body's ability to repair and regenerate tissues.

Our zinc supplement pick:

Our recommended zinc supplement is Zinc tablets from Genestra Brands. What makes it a good option is its formulation which contains zinc bi-glycinate. 

Dosing considerations: 

It's crucial to emphasize that exceeding recommended doses is not necessarily advantageous, as most supplements have a therapeutic range. In the case of zinc, a high intake (approximately 150mg/day or more) could potentially trigger copper deficiency by competing with copper for absorption in the intestines, potentially resulting in issues such as anemia or neurological problems.

The appropriate dosage varies based on individual factors such as age, weight, and medical history. In the realm of naturopathic medicine, a commonly suggested daily dose for adults is around 30mg. However, during periods of illness, it is often advised to consider a higher dosage based on individual circumstances.

Always speak with your healthcare provider before taking.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is like a natural superhero against viruses. The World Health Organization (WHO) even recommends it for treating the measles virus. If you don't have enough Vitamin A, you might get sick more easily. It's also been proven to work against viruses like norovirus.

Our Vitamin A supplement picks:

  • PureGenomics Multivitamin by Pure Encapsulations, also contains a variety of vitamins that your body can easily use, including activated B vitamins, and vitamins C, D, E, and K.

Dosing considerations: 

Because Vitamin A is a type of vitamin that dissolves in fat, if you take too much, it can stick around in your body and might be harmful. Unlike vitamins that dissolve in water, which your body gets rid of through urine, excess Vitamin A can linger. While you can find basic information and guidelines about Vitamin A here, it's important to know that the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) aren't meant to completely fix a Vitamin A deficiency. In clinics, we often give higher doses and carefully watch for any signs of too much.

Always speak with your healthcare provider before taking.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Getting enough Vitamin D is crucial for various reasons, and our bodies require it regularly. Typically, we absorb this versatile vitamin from sunlight, but when the sun isn't shining, we have to find other ways for our bodies to get it. Vitamin D is essential for keeping our immune system in check and can significantly contribute to preventing infections. Additionally, as a bonus, it can help ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Our Vitamin D supplement picks:

  • Our pick is Vitamin D Gummies by Genestra Brands. Generally, most gummy versions are palatable. 

Some of the populations that are at a higher risk for Vitamin D deficiency: 

  • For individuals facing seasonal changes with low UVB rays, which hampers vitamin D production in the skin, finding alternative ways to get this vitamin is crucial.
  • Similarly, those who limit sun exposure by wearing protective clothing, hats, and using sunscreen extensively might also need to consider additional sources of vitamin D.
  • As people age, their ability to make vitamin D from sunlight decreases. Older individuals, who are more likely to stay indoors or use sunscreen, can benefit from alternative methods to ensure sufficient vitamin D.
  • Those with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, particularly if they have undergone small bowel resections.
  • People deficient in magnesium may also face challenges in maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.

Common symptoms that may indicate Vitamin D deficiency:

  • Muscle Weakness, Aches, and Cramps: Inadequate levels of vitamin D may contribute to muscle weakness, aches, and cramps, affecting overall muscle function.
  • Bone Pain and Early Signs of Osteoporosis: Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone pain and may contribute to the early onset of osteoporosis, affecting bone health.
  • Weakened Immune Systems and Inappropriate Immune Responses (Autoimmunity): Insufficient vitamin D levels are associated with weakened immune systems, making individuals more susceptible to infections. It may also contribute to inappropriate immune responses, leading to conditions like autoimmunity.
  • Fatigue: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to fatigue, impacting overall energy levels and vitality.
  • Mood Swings and Depression: Inadequate vitamin D levels may be associated with mood swings and depression, highlighting the vitamin's role in supporting mental well-being.

Dosing considerations: 

The suitable dose of vitamin D varies based on individual factors such as age, weight, and medical history. In naturopathic medical practice, it's common to suggest a daily dose for adults ranging from 5,000 IU to 8,000 IU.

Always speak with your healthcare provider before taking.

Conclusion

Maintaining optimal vitamin levels is essential for overall health. Careful supplementation, tailored to individual needs and factors, is crucial. Recognizing groups at risk for deficiencies and addressing signs early on is key. Whether considering liquid zinc from Pure Encapsulations or Genestra Brands Zinc Tablets or evaluating the bioavailability of vitamins, a personalized approach is necessary. Staying informed and consulting healthcare professionals ensures proactive steps towards optimal health.

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