With so many viruses and germs circulating in our communities, especially as kids go back to school, I thought I’d share some of my tried and true approaches to immune support.
1) Vitamin D: Besides being necessary for building strong bones, vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for fighting infections, controlling inflammation, and balancing mood. It is ideal to get vitamin D from sunlight in part because exposure to the sun also increases our skin’s production of melatonin, and this melatonin seems to have a stronger effect on immune health than the melatonin made at nighttime by our brain’s pineal gland.
2) Vitamin C: This is a powerful antioxidant. It is difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin C through food consumption, especially when higher doses are needed, such as in times of illness. Most supplements contain vitamin C as ascorbic acid, which for some people can cause an upset stomach. Buffered forms of vitamin C can be tolerated in much higher amounts. An easy way to know if your body is getting too much vitamin C, is it causes softer or loose stools when the body is no longer absorbing it.
3) Vitamin A: We mostly think of Vitamin A for vision and eye health, but this vitamin is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that has anti-viral properties. For example, other than gamma globulin antibodies, the only measles treatment noted by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 2 days of high doses of vitamin A. In fact, this is how I got the idea to try it for other viruses!
4) Arabinogalactan: Most commonly found in echinacea, arabinogalactan is also present in the bark of the western larch tree. This substance enhances natural killer cells and macrophages, which are white blood cells that identify and kill viral-infected cells by consuming/digesting these cells to clear them from the body.
5) Zinc: This multi-purpose mineral helps the body fight off viral and bacterial infections, helps calm hyperactive immune systems, helps heal wounds, and is needed for DNA and RNA metabolism.