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