10 Immune-Boosting Nutrients To Fight Off Infections

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Immune-Boosting Nutrients

People have been reading a lot about the intake of vitamins and minerals that mainly boost their immune systems due to the viral spread of one of the most threatening viruses. Coronavirus affects the immune system directly or indirectly. The immune system, which is affected by the virus, responds in a way that leads to multi-organ failure. Only a body with a robust immune system can fight lethal microorganisms such as Corona.

A healthy immune system requires certain nutrients and vitamins daily to perform its functions efficiently. A lot of people are buying supplements these days to help fight the virus. Instead of using only supplements, it is wise to choose foods to boost your immune system. It protects your body against various toxins and infections and enhances the metabolic system and other functions. Unfortunately, we do not eat such foods that provide essential vitamins and nutrients to the body.

A healthy body needs a constant intake of healthy food. How can an orange a day fulfill your vitamin C requirement? It takes a healthy lifestyle to enjoy the perks of a healthy mind and body. Otherwise, it may get attacked by different bacteria and viruses. Consuming healthy food is like preparing your body to fight off infections and lethal toxins. Regular exercise and sound sleep will provide an extra punch in fighting those bacteria and viruses.

1.Selenium

It is an essential micronutrient whose trace amounts are crucial for life and, more importantly, immune health. Although it is a trace element yet, it does wonders in your body.

You might not have heard much about it, but it is an essential contributor in fighting off RNA viruses. Covid-19 is also an RNA virus that is continuously mutating due to its smaller genetic blueprint. Selenium deficiency can increase the risks of corona infections that may lead to death.

Another RNA virus called coxsackievirus causes hand, foot, and mouth infections, particularly in children. Usually, it does not cause any severe disease, but if someone is deficient in selenium, it can lead to cardiomyopathy that enlarges the heart. Thus, maintaining optimum levels of selenium can save one from long-term complications of RNA viruses.

The safe upper limit in adults is 400 micrograms per day. Brazil nuts, seafood, and organ meats are the richest sources of selenium. Others include cereals, grains, and dairy products. 

2.Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also on the list of those essential nutrients that the body can’t produce and is vital for the body. Vitamin C stimulates the production and proliferation of immune cells and their ability to combat pathogens. Immune cells consume vitamin C to strengthen themselves and perform their functions efficiently. Also, it helps to build collagen, a protein that maintains a healthy lung structure.

Vitamin C is the primary nutrient to counter the common cold and flu. Vitamin C shows its effectiveness to those who regularly take vitamin C, usually around 250mg to 500mg twice a day. Those who suffer from acute illness should double the dose for adequate recovery.

Foods rich in vitamin C are peppers, papaya, spinach, kale, strawberries, and citrus fruits. Thus, vitamin C may not help if taken once in a while. For all the vitamins and nutrients to show their effectiveness, the required quantity’s daily consumption is a must. It is interesting to note that vitamin C is available in so many vegetables and fruits that we use daily. Most people do not need to take any supplements if they use them unless advised by a doctor.

3.Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body kill infectious germs as soon as they enter the human body. It is like a mechanism that gets alert as soon as an alarm rings in the body. The body’s white blood cells perform this function, and all these nutrients help improve their performance. Vitamin E is of great importance as it is an essential component of almost 200 biochemical reactions taking place in the immune system. Vitamin E is a critical regulator of the immune system in the body.

Plants that are rich in fat make up a good source of vitamin E. Some good sources include almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, soybean oil, safflower oil, hazelnuts, etc. The daily recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for natural vitamin E in adults are 15 mg (22 IU) in men and women, 15 mg (22 IU) in pregnant women, and 19 mg (28 IU) in breastfeeding women.

4.Vitamin D

It is one of the most potent vitamins to regulate the immune system. It is also known as the sunshine vitamin as we get it from the sunlight. Vitamin D can be an exception to our dietary rule, as most people do not get optimum sunlight levels. However, deficiency can lead to various health attacks. Numerous studies have shown that people infected with Corona had low levels of the vitamin in their bodies. Those had poor outcomes of fighting off the infection and had high death risks.

All of our immune cells have receptors for vitamin D. Whenever we have an infection or injury; our immune cells release proteins called cytokines. As soon as vitamin D receptors get activated, it releases anti-inflammatory cytokines in response to ‘pro-inflammatory cytokines’ in the body. Thus, it helps to reduce the overall inflammation in the body.

Vitamin D is a highly recommended vitamin these days as patients who had severe Corona attacks had a rush of inflammatory cytokines in their lungs. It ends up in sepsis and eventually death of the patients because they have a lot of inflammation in their body but not enough anti-inflammatory cytokines to deal with it.  

Not only Corona, but many other microbial infections do much harm to the body. Vitamin D is also needed to make those antimicrobial proteins. These are named defensins and cathelicidins and play a crucial role in the defense system of the body.

According to an estimate, almost one billion people are deficient in vitamin D globally. And around half of the world’s population has insufficient levels of vitamin D. This is more of an alarming situation, especially for those who have low immunity.

Like other vitamins, only supplement intake can’t help you fulfill the needs of the body. You can modify your diet along with supplements to improve its health effects. Its food sources are limited to salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, vitamin D fortified milk, orange juice, and cereals.

The adults require 600 IU (international unit) to 4,000 IU per day. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so to attain full health benefits, take it with food that contains an oil such as olive oil. Magnesium is a co-factor for vitamin D, which means it activates vitamin D. Vitamin K2 is also essential for vitamin D consumption.

5.Salt

Salt is an essential mineral and vital for immunity. Low levels of salt can lead to serious health problems such as a flawed metabolic system, insulin resistance that means your cells do not respond to insulin in the blood, high levels of harmful fats, and low levels of good cholesterol. Lack of salt also worsens sleep and exercise performance. Hence, one gets tired earlier than usual.

The chloride found in the salt is also secreted by immune cells in the form of hypochlorous acid. It helps in destroying invading pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Moreover, chloride is used in forming taurine chloramine in the body to combat viral infections. Salt gurgles and nasal salt irrigations are the best home remedies for upper respiratory tract infections.

Pink Himalayan Rock Salt is a form of unrefined salt that contains the essential mineral iodine. Iodine is crucial for the thyroid gland and immune health.

Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day; that’s around one teaspoon.

6.Zinc

According to an estimate, almost half of the world’s population is deficient in zinc. It is because of inadequate dietary intake of essential minerals and nutrients. Oysters, meat, crab, lobster, legumes, nuts, and seeds are rich in zinc. Zinc is another vital booster of the immune system; however, it goes unnoticed in daily life. A deficiency in the mineral can lead to high risks of viral infections and other pathogens.

Studies have shown that people who take zinc lozenges (18gm or more) every two hours can minimize the common cold duration by up to seven days. Older adults need more zinc to keep up their immune systems healthy.

7.Copper

Copper performs an essential function in boosting the immune system as it assists in iron absorption. Iron allows oxygenation of the blood. Moreover, copper strengthens collagen and elastin; structural proteins to support elastic structures of the body such as lungs. Also, it makes our natural antioxidant enzymes called superoxide dismutase to fight infection and inflammation.

Research has shown that adults who take a copper supplement at a dose of 3mg to 6mg daily have healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Increased use of chemical fertilizers has led to decreased levels of minerals in the food. Organ meats such as liver, oysters, nuts and seeds, lobsters, leafy greens, and dark chocolate are a rich source of copper.  

8.Liposomal Glutathione

Glutathione works as a natural antioxidant of the body. Antioxidants are those substances that can prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. These are unstable molecules produced due to environmental or other pressures and cause a lot of damage. The body uses Glutathione to combat inflammation. People suffering from Covid-19 have a rush of inflammation in the lungs.

A case study reports that two patients in New York with coronavirus pneumonia consumed 2g of glutathione supplements, and their breathing improved within an hour. Constant use further improved their respiratory symptoms.

The body cannot absorb glutathione supplements well, so they are bound to liposomes hence available as liposomal Glutathione. Liposomes are spherical molecules with fatty layers that can pass through the cell wall. It enhances glutathione absorption in the body.

9.N-acetylcysteine

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) acts as a co-factor for Glutathione, which means that it boosts its production. It is a protein required essentially to increase the production of Glutathione.

A study case revealed that an elderly patient suffering from chronic degenerative diseases who took a 600mg NAC supplement twice a day for several months had a significant reduction in a flu-like illness.

10.Alpha-lipoic Acid

It is also a supplement that works as an antioxidant in the body. It increases the body’s ability to act as a natural defense against various illnesses. Yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes are good sources of alpha-lipoic acid.

Seventeen critical patients in Wuhan were given 1,200mg alpha-lipoic acid on a trial basis. It was known to lower the mortality rate from all causes whatsoever.

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!

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