I hope you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday (if you are reading from the US!). During the holiday season all of us are very busy. It’s often a stressful time, even though it should be about spending time with loved ones, and reflecting on the past year. It’s really important during this time to make sure you are taking care of yourself physically, spiritually, and mentally. I’ve been teaching some local wellness classes and I’m excited to announce that I will be doing my first on-line class on Thursday December 14th at 8 pm EST. The class will cover the “3 R’s” to staying healthy this holiday season, Re-charge, Relax, and Replenish. If you are not available at that time, no worries, the webinar will be recorded and available on my facebook page!
As a preview today I’m going to share my top 4 supplements for boosting your immune system this winter. Obviously getting nutrients from a nutrient dense diet is the best way to boost your immune system. However in our day to day we often miss certain food groups and the food we do eat lacks essential nutrients due to lack of crop rotation and food traveling a long distance before it reaches your plate. Foods also do not give us the supra therapeutic doses that have been studied in many of the references below.
- Blocks pathogenic bacterial effects by producing bacteria-killing substances and competing with pathogens and toxins for adherence to the intestine1
- Promotes intestinal epithelial cell survival, enhance barrier function, and stimulate protective responses from intestinal cells
- Enhances the innate immunity and modulates pathogen-induced inflammation
- LactobacillusGG may reduce respiratory infections and their severity among children in day care2,3
#2 Vitamin D
- Protects against acute respiratory tract infection and is especially beneficial in those who are vitamin D deficient4
- Supplementation in patients who are not deficient in vitamin D may not see as much benefit in preventing respiratory tract infections5 (however almost everyone I’ve ever tested is deficient in Vitamin D if you live in the northern half of the US!)
- Taking a one-time, higher dose when sick is not going to decrease symptoms and duration of the respiratory tract infection. Just taking the regular supplementation dose is better.6
#3 Vitamin C
- A powerful antioxidant that helps us ward off and deal with infection
- Evidence varies for cold prevention in the general population, but supplementation may be beneficial for people exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise7
- Take Vitamin C 600-1000 mg daily before heavy physical exercise to prevent exercise-induced respiratory infections.8,9
- Thirty-one comparisons examined the effect of regular vitamin C on common cold duration (9745 episodes). In adults, the duration of colds was reduced by 8% (3% to 12%) and in children by 14% (7% to 21%). In children, 1 to 2 g/day vitamin C shortened colds by 18%. The severity of colds was also reduced by regular vitamin C administration.7
- For short periods of time, adults can take up to 3 grams/day.10
- Regular supplementation of vitamin C may reduce duration and severity of colds
- Improves our immune cells and their ability to ward off infection
- Kids who take zinc every day have significantly less colds, less days of schools missed, and less days of antibiotic use11
- Use caution to make sure zinc doses are not too high, otherwise copper can become depeleted with chronic use.
You can find supplements that contain these ingredients in my Fullscript store. You can click on Wellness Adult or Wellness Kids.
To learn more about staying healthy this holiday season, join me for my first on-line class! The class is going to happen right over on facebook live at 8pm EST on Thursday December 14th. It will cover exercise, sleep, yoga, diet, preventative supplements, and supplements to help shorten the duration of respiratory tract illnesses if you do come down with a bug! Recommended doses based on evidence will also be discussed. Looking forward to sharing this information with you.
- Yan F, Polk DB. Probiotics and immune health. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2011;27(6):496-501.
- Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Ponka A, et.al. Effect of long-term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: Double blind, randomized trial. 2001:322;1327.
- Hojsak I, Snovak N, Abdovic S, et.al. Lactobacillus GG in the prevention of gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections in children who attend day care centers: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Nutr. 2010;29(3):312-316.
- Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, et.al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. Br J Med. 2017;356.
- Gysin DV, Dao D, Gysin CM, et.al. Effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on respiratory tract infections in healthy individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2016:9.
- Martineau AR, Hanifa Y, Witt KD, et.al. Double-blind randomized controlled trial of vitamin D3 supplementation for the prevention of acute respiratory infection in older adults and their carers (ViDiFlu). 2015;0:1-8.
- Hemila H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Libr.
- Hemila H. Vitamin C and common cold incidence: A review of studies with subjects under heavy physical stress. Int J Sports Med. 1996;17(5):379-383.
- Moreira A, Kekkonen RA, Delgado L, et.al. Nutritional modulation of exercise-induced immunodepression in athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007;61(4):443-460.
- Hemila H. Vitamin C supplementation and common cold symptoms: Factors affecting the magnitude of the benefit. Med Hypotheses. 1999;52(2):171-178.
- Allan GM, Arroll B. Prevention and treatment of the common cold: Making sense of the evidence. 2014:186(3):190-199.
Special thanks to Stephanie Cailor, PharmD Candidate for her help in preparing these materials!