Hello Nutra Friends!
This is hopefully the first of many blogs. Considering the current situation, I thought we’ll dive right in and talk about the immune system and what we should be doing to stay as strong as we can in these times. What we have to understand however is that nothing will ever guarantee our safety, but there is nothing wrong with taking the right practical steps to decrease our chances of falling ill. So being a pharmacist, we like to use medications based on suitable evidence. The same applies to using healthcare products, whether through a study or anecdotally, there has to be something which tells us that doing the following may lead to an improvement in our overall health. So here are the following five vitamins/supplements that I recommend to boost our overall immune system.
1. Vitamin C
There have been many studies to support the idea that vitamin C is MASSIVE contributor to immune function. One such study published in 2017 by Carr and Magginni states that vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and helps the body on a cellular level therefore aiding in the prevention and treatment of respiratory and systemic infections. Preventative doses usually vary in the range of 100-200mg daily but if you already are infected than much higher doses are usually required.
2. Vitamin D
I’m sure your already aware that vitamin D is needed for optimal calcium absorption but it also plays an important part in immune function too. Those with autoimmune diseases such as IBD, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis are shown to have very low levels of vitamin D. It affects the immune system on a cellular level such that it causes a decrease in the production in inflammatory cytokines and an increase in the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Zinc plays an essential role in the immune system and being deficient in zinc has proven to make a person more susceptible to pathogens. Zinc helps in the production of antibodies and regulation of cytokine production. As well as all this, zinc also works as an antioxidant and can stabilise membranes.3 This is why it is definitely in my top 5 for immune support.
4. Black Seed Oil
This blog would be incomplete without mention of Black Seed Oil otherwise known as Nigella Sativa. This is definitely something that I can personally testify to as it is something I consume on a regular basis, and even more so when ill. Studies have show Black Seed Oil to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihistaminic, immune-modulator, antimicrobial and analgesic effects.
Last but most definitely not least, honey. Apart from being tasty, honey has many medicinal benefits too. Throughout human history we have grown to appreciate the power of honey on the body, from wound care to cough treatment. Studies revealed that the medicinal effect of honey may be due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, apoptotic, and antioxidant properties.5 Anything that is good for you does not normally taste good, but this has to be one exception to this rule.
There you have it folks, a solid top 5 if I must say so myself. If you are interested in purchasing any of these vitamins/ supplements click here!
- Anitra C. Carr and Silvia Maggini Vitamin C and Immune Function Nutrients. 2017 Nov; 9(11): 1211.
- Cynthia Aranow, MD, Investigator Vitamin D and the Immune System J Investig Med. 2011 Aug; 59(6): 881–886.
- Shankar AH, Prasad AS Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Aug;68(2 Suppl):447S-463S.
- Mohaddese Mahboubi Natural therapeutic approach of Nigella sativa (Black seed) fixed oil in management of Sinusitis Department of Microbiology, Medicinal Plants Research Center of Barij, Kashan, Iran Received 25 October 2017
- Saeed Samarghandian, Tahereh Farkhondeh and Fariborz Samini Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research Pharmacognosy Res. 2017 Apr-Jun; 9(2): 121–127.