November 2, 2020

“What Should I Do To Boost My Immunity?”

Our Lovely Pharmacist

When we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic – and in flu season – asking questions about boosting immune health is a good thing. It means we’re taking a proactive approach toward staying healthy, and as the old saying goes, “the best medicine is preventive.”

During the 2019-2020 flu season, with COVID-19 in the mix, the CDC estimates that influenza was associated with 38 million illnesses, 18 million medical visits, 405,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths. For obvious reasons, there are elevated concerns about what this current season will produce.

As you consider boosting your immune system, begin with assessing your immune health.

Some Signs of a Weakened Immune System include:

  • High stress level
  • Frequent colds
  • Stomach/lower intestinal troubles
  • Slow healing Wounds
  • Frequent Infections
  • Fatigue

Whether you take a multivitamin or not, it’s a good idea to consider supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals that have been studied for their efficacy.

The dietary supplements I recommend most often to boost immunity during cold and flu season have also gained much attention lately because of their potential for protection against COVID-19. Here are my favorites:

Vitamin D 2000 units (1 tab/cap daily) – Vitamin D, along with calcium, is essential for its role in promoting bone health, preventing osteoporosis. Additionally, it has potent antiinflammatory properties helping to promote immune response and lowering the risk of respiratory infections. Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body naturally upon exposure to the sun. As you might expect, Vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent in populations where climate and/or lifestyle limit sun exposure. This important vitamin has recently been shown to be effective in protecting and fighting against COVID-19.

ZINC 50mg (1 tab/cap daily) – Zinc is a supplement beneficial to immune cell development and communication. The body requires Zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Studies indicate that up to 30% of older adults are considered to be deficient in this nutrient. Zinc picolinate is the better absorbed form over zinc citrate and zinc gluconate.

VITAMIN C 1000mg (1 tab/cap daily) –  Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, is a vitamin with potent antioxidant properties.  It protects against cell damage by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to the development of free radicals, which can cause a decrease in immune health. VItamin C is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues.  It is important in the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing and the maintenance of cartilage and bones and teeth.

ELDERBERRY 100mg (1 tab/cap daily) – Elderberry is a plant that has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is useful in preventing stress and protects the heart.  In addition, it is also useful for reducing joint and muscle pain, headaches, fever and respiratory infections.

Taken together, these dietary supplements can prove beneficial to the health and functioning of the immune system and in lowering risk for respiratory infection.  Fortunately, they present a limited risk for producing side effects and adverse drug interactions.

If you have questions about these or other vitamins and minerals, ask a PersonalRX pharmacist, such as Gillian, Rachel, Joe or myself. Our patients can choose to have dietary supplements safely incorporated along with their regularly scheduled 30-day supply of prescription medications.

Always yours in health!
Matilda B.
VP of Pharmacy Services
Pharmacist -In-Charge

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