Sick of Being Sick?
Maybe your immune system is missing something.
It seems that everyone is getting sick right now – missing work, school, sports, and social activities.
Don’t join them.
Get the right levels of these microorganisms and vitamins to boost your immune system. We have the 4 keys to a healthy fall and winter. Plus, we’ll tell you how to make sure you’re buying a quality supplement.
A Good Offense is the Best Defense
Want to go on the offense against the common cold this winter? You can start by getting 8 hours of sleep per night and eating healthy.
Do you already sleep a reasonable number of hours and eat pretty well but still get sick multiple times a year? When you’re doing everything right, maybe your immune system is missing something.
The Common Cold Defined
The common cold (also known as nasopharyngitis) is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract which affects primarily the nose. Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever which usually resolve in seven to ten days, with some symptoms lasting up to three weeks.
Well over 200 viruses are implicated in the cause of the common cold; the rhinoviruses are the most common.
The Sick Model
You get sick. You go to the medical doctor. You get antibiotics.
Antibiotics only help you fight bacterial infection – they do nothing to fight the common cold.
$1.1 billion is spent annually on unnecessary adult upper respiratory infection antibiotic prescriptions. They were prescribed in 68% of acute respiratory tract visits – and of those, 80% were unnecessary according to CDC guidelines (CDC’s antibiotics fast facts).
Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. To their credit, the American Medical Association has been trying to curb unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for years but many MDs have been slow to change their old habits.
A Note On Preventing Naturally
There are a number of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that have been linked to improved immune function. Why not recommend all of these immune boosting nutrients for every patient?
Each supplement only helps if you don’t already have enough of it in your body.
If you’re deficient or low normal in Vitamin D, getting more Vitamin D may be just what you need to boost your immune system and stay cold free all winter. Supplementing with Vitamin D if you already have ideal levels won’t help.
The Starting Lineup: 4 Vitamins to Boost Your Immune System
Vitamin C: The Veteran Role Player
This was the “wonder” vitamin of the ‘80s that was supposed to stop people from ever getting sick if taken in high doses.
Well, it turns out that didn’t work exactly as hoped. However, Vitamin C does still have a role in fighting the common cold.
- Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that supports normal growth and development. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron.
- Because your body doesn’t produce or store Vitamin C, it’s important to include Vitamin C in your diet. Any extra Vitamin C will simply be flushed out of your body in your urine.
Fifty years of research on Vitamin C and the common cold have yielded conflicting results.
Most people eating a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables do not need to supplement their diets with additional Vitamin C (remember its water soluble so you just pee it out).
However, Vitamin C levels drop dramatically when your immune system is fighting a cold. Supplementing with large doses of Vitamin C (1000mg or more) at the first sign of a cold can help.
Zinc: The Big Hitter
Zinc is involved in many biochemical functions. Over 300 enzymes require zinc for their activation and nearly 2000 transcription factors require zinc for gene expression.
- Zinc is essential for immune function.
- Zinc is also an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
- In therapeutic dosages, zinc has been used for the treatment of acute diarrhea in infants and children, the common cold, Wilson’s disease, sickle cell disease and for prevention of blindness in patients with age related macular degeneration.
- Several clinical trials document that adequate intakes of vitamin C and zinc reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections including the common cold.
The U.S. National Research Council set a Tolerable Upper Intake of 40 mg/day of zinc. Too much zinc can be as much of a problem as too little. Most experts recommend 20-30 mg/day.
Vitamin D: The Rising Star
In recent years, evidence has accumulated that vitamin D – most commonly associated with the development and maintenance of strong bones – may also play a key role in the immune system.
- Circumstantial evidence has implicated the wintertime deficiency of vitamin D, which the body produces in response to sunlight, in the seasonal increase in colds and flu.
- Although exact estimates vary greatly, all studies agree that vitamin D deficiency is very common.
- In one study, participants with the lowest vitamin D blood levels – less than 10 ng per milliliter of blood – were about 40 percent more likely to report having a recent respiratory infection than were those with vitamin D levels of 30 or higher.
- The association was present in all seasons and even stronger among participants with a history of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema.
- Vitamin D may also help treat some cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and more.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) as of 30 November 2010, has increased the tolerable upper limit (UL) to 2500 IU per day for ages 1–3 years, 3000 IU per day for ages 4–8 years and 4000 IU per day for ages 9–71+ years (including pregnant or lactating women).
Probiotics: The Team Leader
Probiotics are naturally occurring “good” microorganisms within your GI tract.
But unhealthy diets, stress, antibiotics, and other factors can disrupt the body’s balance of “good” and “bad” microorganisms and affect digestive and immune health.
- Your gut contains more than half of your immune system. Health-enhancing probiotics serve to prevent the hostile takeover of potentially harmful bacteria in the gut.
- These two types of bacteria compete for space and “food,” within the intestinal tract. A ratio of 80-85% beneficial to 15-20% potentially harmful bacteria generally is considered normal within the intestines.
Diarrhea, constipation, or the sensation of bloating may be signs that harmful bacteria are taking over your gut.
Other Nutrients: The Minor League Prospects
There are hundreds or thousands of other nutrients that may play a beneficial role in boosting immunity. Many of these nutrients are already in products you may be taking. I’ll keep you posted as new research comes out in support of any of these items.
Picking Quality Supplements
Pick a supplement manufacturer that have their products 3rd party tested for quality. We recommend Metagenics products.
Shop for our recommended immune health supplements today!
Take Action Before You Get Sick
If you are below ideal levels of any of these nutrients, you’ll get a big immune system boost with these vitamins. Need some help deciding what’s right for you? Call today! We love to customize plans to meet your needs.
- Vitamin C: An essential nutrient http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/health-tip/HT00629/rss=6
- “Zinc – Summary”. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc (2001). Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board.
- Godfrey, J. C.; Godfrey, N. J.; Novick, S. G. (1996). “Zinc for treating the common cold: Review of all clinical trials since 1984”. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2 (6): 63–72.PMID 8942045.
- Discovery of human zinc deficiency: 50 years later http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X12000582
- Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics
- Ross AC, Manson JE, Abrams SA, Aloia JF, Brannon PM, Clinton SK, Durazo-Arvizu RA, Gallagher JC, Gallo RL, Jones G, Kovacs CS, Mayne ST, Rosen CJ, Shapses SA (January 2011). “The 2011 Report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D from the Institute of Medicine: What Clinicians Need to Know”. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism96 (1): 53–8.
- Richard Coico, Geoffrey Sunshine, Eli Benjamini (2003). Immunology: a short course. New York: Wiley-Liss.