Studies have shown that adults and children who have higher Vitamin D levels contract fewer colds, flu and other viral infections. Vitamin D down-regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (immune messengers) while up-regulating the expression of antimicrobial compounds in immune cells. Recommend taking between 1000-8000 IU daily depending on your blood levels of 25-OH-Vitamin D.
Antioxidants are important immune-system boosters because they are able to scavenge free radicals.
- Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects our cell membranes by trapping free radicals and enhancing the effectiveness of our lymphocytes (a particular white blood cell)
- Vitamin C prevents the production of free radicals and reduces DNA damage in immune cells. It also down-regulates the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (immune messengers) and is involved in recycling our Vitamin E. Recommend taking 1000-5000 mg daily.
- NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine) is the precursor to our most potent antioxidant, glutathione. NAC has a protective effect on DNA and is a powerful free-radical scavenger. It has been shown to modulate inflammatory messengers. Recommend taking 600-1800mg daily.
- Zinc deficiency has been shown to lead to impaired immune function and is responsible for decreased T-lymphocyte (white blood cell) and B-lymphocyte (white blood cells) function. Zinc can decrease inflammation and the production of inflammatory messengers such as IL-2.
- Copper and zinc, together, have been shown to stimulate internally produced antioxidants such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase.
- Zinc picolinate recommendation: 15mg daily
- Selenium is involved in key metabolic pathways and aids in the recycling of glutathione (our most powerful antioxidant in our body). Recommend taking 200-400 mcg daily. Did you know that Brazil nuts contain high amounts of Selenium?
Our gastrointestinal tract relies on live bacteria, called microflora, to help support a robust immune response. Probiotics help to fight foreign bacteria and allergens from passing through the intestinal wall and are important to the overall health of the intestinal immune system. Probiotics are found in foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut.