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Which supplements should you be taking to protect yourself right now?

What can you do to boost your immune system, during these uncertain times? Here are the supplements we recommend taking daily:

Vitamin C

Seriously sick coronavirus patients in New York state’s largest hospital system are being given massive doses of vitamin C, based on promising reports that it’s helped people in hard-hit China.1 Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island, said his intensive-care patients with the coronavirus immediately receive 1,500 milligrams of intravenous vitamin C. Identical amounts of the powerful antioxidant are then readministered three or four times a day, he said. Each dose is more than 16 times the National Institutes of Health’s daily recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C, which is just 90 milligrams for adult men and 75 milligrams for adult women.

Recommended dosage: 1000 mg, or 1 g of Vitamin C, three times daily.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system, which is your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease. It has both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties and is crucial for the activation of immune system defenses. Vitamin D is known to enhance the function of immune cells, including T-cells and macrophages, that protect your body against pathogens In fact, the vitamin is so important for immune function that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune-related disorders.2

Recommended dosage: The NHS recommends that all adults and children over the age of one should have 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D every day.3


Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults, with an estimated 80 percent being deficient in this vital mineral. Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, it is one of the most crucial to overall health. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical functions in the body, such as regulating heartbeat rhythms and helping neurotransmitter functions. We must regularly replenish our stores, either from foods or magnesium supplements, in order to prevent deficiency symptoms. That’s because the body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions, such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production. It’s believed that magnesium in citrate, chelate and chloride forms are absorbed better than magnesium supplements in oxide and magnesium sulfate forms.4

Recommended dosage: 270mg a day. Do not exceed 400 mg daily.5


Selenium

Because it both increases antioxidant capabilities and the quality of blood flow, selenium can help to enhance resistance against diseases and effects of stress. According to recent research, selenium benefits immunity because it is needed for the proper functioning of the immune system and can also be a key nutrient in counteracting the development of viruses. In supplement form, selenium is available in the form of selenomethionine and selenium selenite. Selenomethionine is usually easier for most people to digest and absorb properly.

Recommended dosage: When taking selenium supplements, most adults should take up to 55 micrograms daily (such as of selenomethionine), while pregnant women can take up to 60 micrograms and lactating women can take up to 70 micrograms. The tolerable upper limit of selenium is 400 mcg per day.6


Zinc

Often considered one of the most effective immune-boosting supplements, zinc is crucial to maintaining overall health. Research shows that zinc helps regulate the immune response and is necessary for the survival, proliferation and maturation of immune cells. Clinical trials have also found that getting enough zinc in your daily diet can reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of serious conditions like pneumonia and malaria.7

Recommended dosage: 8 milligrams for women, 11 milligrams for men.


Probiotics

Probiotic supplements have been linked to a long list of health benefits, including enhanced digestion, decreased cholesterol levels and, most notably, improved immune function. In fact, studies show that probiotics regulate the function of certain immune cells and may even be beneficial for immune-related conditions, ranging from viral infections to allergies and eczema.8 Dr Michael Mosley of Trust Me I’m a Doctor found in his NHS trials found that kefir was the most effective of all the probiotic foods available.9 Kefir has been shown to cause an increase in CD4+ T cells and IgG antibodies.10 Kefir has also been shown to help with the maintenance of a normal immune system, due to the Vitamin A it contains.11

Recommended dosage: 170 ml of kefir per day.


Prebiotics

Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds that are degraded by gut microbiota. Essentially, they are “food” for your gut bugs, that maximise the beneficial activity of the probiotics. This “prebiotic effect” has been associated with improvements in biomarkers and activities of the immune system.12

Recommended dosage: 10 g per day.

References

  1. New York Post - "New York hospitals treating coronavirus patients with vitamin C". Written by Lorena Mongelli and Bruce Golding on March 24, 2020
    link to articlehttps://nypost.com/2020/03/24/new-york-hospitals-treating-coronavirus-patients-with-vitamin-c/
  2. Healthline - "Can Vitamin D Lower Your Risk of COVID-19?". Written by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD on March 26, 2020
    link to articlehttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-coronavirus#effect-on-immune-health
  3. NHS - "The new guidelines on vitamin D – what you need to know". July 21, 2016
    link to articlehttps://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/the-new-guidelines-on-vitamin-d-what-you-need-to-know/
  4. Dr Axe - "Magnesium Benefits, Dosage Recommendations and Best Types". Written by Jillian Levy, CHHC on May 15, 2019
    link to articlehttps://draxe.com/nutrition/magnesium-supplements/
  5. NHS - "Vitamins & Minerals".
    link to articlehttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/
  6. Dr Axe - "Selenium Benefits for Health, Plus Dosage Recommendations". Written by Jillian Levy, CHHC on August 22, 2019
    link to articlehttps://draxe.com/nutrition/selenium-benefits/
  7. Dr Axe - "Which Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Boost Your Immune System?". Written by Rachael Link, MS, RD on March 26, 2020
    link to articlehttps://draxe.com/nutrition/immune-boosting-vitamins-supplements/
  8. Dr Axe - "Which Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Boost Your Immune System?". Written by Rachael Link, MS, RD on March 26, 2020
    link to articlehttps://draxe.com/nutrition/immune-boosting-vitamins-supplements/
  9. BBC - "Which foods can improve your gut bacteria?". Written by Trust Me, I'm A Doctor on January 30, 2017
    link to articlehttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38800977
  10. Frontiers in microbiology - "The Microbiota and Health Promoting Characteristics of the Fermented Beverage Kefir". Written by Bourrie, B. C., Willing, B. P., & Cotter, P. D. on May 4, 2016
    link to articlehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4854945/
  11. Journal of clinical medicine - "Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System". Written by Huang, Z., Liu, Y., Qi, G., Brand, D., & Zheng, S. G. on September 6, 2018
    link to articlehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162863/
  12. Dr Axe - "7 Reasons to Get Prebiotics in Your Diet — Plus the Best Sources". Written by Jillian Levy, CHHC on August 4, 2019
    link to articlehttps://draxe.com/nutrition/prebiotics/

11 thoughts on “Which supplements should you be taking to protect yourself right now?

  1. Thanks once again. I must look up foods that contain all these things . Do you happen to have a simple , not too long list of foods that contain these vitamins and minerals?
    Diolch yn fawr, as always and kind regards to you and your staff

  2. I prefer to get my minerals from foods rather than supplements. Can you please advise which foods would provide the recommended daily dose of magnesium and selenium. Also, I take 1 x Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 1000iu. How does this dosage compare with your suggested 10mcg?

  3. Hello. I take an acidophilus tablet daily. Can I also drink kefir? With regards to Vitamin C is the effervescent one good, or are tablets better?

  4. Hello

    I have just started taking kefir (1 week)
    The kefir Bottle has very little fizz.

    Could you please tell me if it is still effective?
    Thanks Danielle

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Taste, consistency and fizziness of kefir can differ from bottle to bottle – these factors are affected by things which are out of our control such as the season, the environmental temperature and how quickly it reaches the correct pH.

      The one thing that does remain consistent is the bacterial content, which is the important thing so whether the kefir is fizzy or flat or doesn’t taste quite the same as before, it is still active and beneficial and perfectly safe to consume.

      I hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything else we can help with. 😊

      Best wishes,
      Daisy.

  5. Dear Shane and all at Chuckling goats – we always read your Blogs as they always contain extremely helpful guidance – we do take all Vitamins and Minerals you mentioned and of course your Kefir milk. Thank you for all you do in helping to keep us safe.

  6. Hope your goats haven’t heard about the Great Orme goats running wild on the streets of Llandudno and eating the town’s hedges !
    Your CG oil is excellent, we look forward to our daily “snort” !
    Stay healthy, all of you.
    Penny

    1. Hi Penny,

      We hope not! 😉

      Thank you so much. You too, we hope you’re keeping safe and well!

      Best wishes,
      Daisy.

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