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Top 5 Nutrients to Support Your Immune System (During Cold and Flu Season)

When winter and the holidays roll around, this is prime time for nefarious microbes to exert their strength resulting in many people getting sick from various types of infections. With the lack of abundant sunshine and dropping temperatures, most people start spending more time indoors, which can cause blood serum vitamin D levels to drop. There are many factors to staying healthy during the cold and flu season, and luckily there are many vitamins, minerals, and supplements to help support the body. At The Dempster Clinic – Center for Functional Medicine, we work hard to help our patients support their bodies naturally. By adapting some healthy lifestyle tips and adding in some supplements to support your immune system, you can be massively proactive to reduce your risk of getting sick.

My Top 5 Supplements for Immune System Support

Supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements is a wonderful way to help support your body and keep your immune system functioning properly. I’ve found that these are some of the most effective supplements for the cold and flu season, and taking them daily is a great idea. You won’t do any harm to your body by taking these, and they are generally safe for children to adults, depending on dosage.

1. Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace element, and it helps support the immune system and helps make proteins and DNA. Zinc is needed for immune cell development and communication and plays an important role in inflammatory response. Zinc may help protect against respiratory infections, and can reduce the length and severity of illnesses. 

2. Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient essential to the health and functioning of your immune system. Many people are deficient in Vitamin D, and a simple blood serum test can tell your levels. By supplementing with Vitamin D, you can drastically raise your levels quickly, depending on your Vitamin D status. Vitamin D enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of white blood cells and decreases inflammation in the body. 

3. Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid found in many plants and food, and is one of the most abundant antioxidants in the diet. It can help reduce inflammation, allergy symptoms, and blood pressure. Often quercetin is paired with other compounds such as vitamin C, as it has a low bioavailability on its own. By adding in some vitamin c, your body can absorb it a lot better, making it much more useful.

4. Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps keep your immune system running properly. It is necessary for the growth, production, and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, such as the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, and proper functioning of the immune system. Vitamin C can be taken in high doses, but should be spaced apart as it is a water-soluble vitamin, so if you take a lot of it at once, your body may excrete excess through your urine. 

5. Glutathione 

Glutathione is the master antioxidant, and it helps combat free radicals in your body. Glutathione boosts other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, CoQ10, and alpha lipoic acid. It protects your mitochondria, ensuring your cells are able to make the energy your body needs. Age is a factor of glutathione levels, and as you age your levels drop naturally. Supplementing with glutathione directly is a good idea, but taking a supplement like N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC, which is a precursor to glutathione), can also be helpful to many. 

In addition to the aforementioned supplements, lifestyle tips can help keep your body in tip top shape, and these are all things you can do that will cost you no money at all.

A tray with a bottle of champagne and a plate of food

Stay Hydrated

Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body depends on water to function properly. Your body uses water to remove waste, lubricate joints, and maintain proper temperature. Drinking enough good quality filtered water is very important for your health. 

A good recommendation is at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. If you’re exercising, working outside in the heat, or detoxing, it would be helpful to drink more than that. By drinking more water, you are helping to flush toxins out of your body while staying properly hydrated. 

Your urine can be a good indicator of hydration. If it’s colorless or light yellow, you are properly hydrated. If it’s a dark yellow or amber color, you’re bordering on dehydration. Staying hydrated is an easy way to help support your body’s health.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise has so many benefits for your mind and body. It can help control your weight, help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, improve your mental health and mood, and can reduce your risk of chronic disease. By exercising for just thirty minutes a day, you’ll make a huge difference in your physical and mental health. 

Wash Your Hands Often

Washing your hands is a simple way to help increase your odds of staying healthy. By using a natural soap and washing your hands for at least twenty seconds, you’ll be removing germs quickly and naturally. Using a soap without antibacterial agents might sound scary, but a natural soap like castile soap can work just as well to remove germs. Soap and water don’t kill germs but work to remove them mechanically when you scrub your hands together and run them under the water. 

A tray with a bottle of champagne and a plate of food

Keep Stress Levels Low  

Studies have found many health problems linked to stress. When your body is in fight or flight mode, it doesn’t have time for normal body functions like digesting food and preparing to kill off viruses and bacteria because it thinks it needs to be ready to go to battle at any point. Keeping stress levels low can return your body to a state of homeostasis, and help improve your health as well. 

Let Us Help You Support Your Body 

By supporting your body naturally, you can help ensure that you’ve got the best fighting chance at staying healthy during the cold and flu season. We would love to help you come up with an individual plan if you feel you need more help from a professional. Please feel free to reach out to us to schedule an appointment today!