One body system that everyone wants to work at its best is the immune system. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting information out there regarding which vitamins or supplements may best support your health.
If you are looking for vitamins and supplements for immune health, it is first necessary to note that not all supplements are created equal.
Professional Grade Supplements
In the United States, the FDA does not regulate supplements with the same regulatory rigor as prescription medications. Because of this, some retail products have been found to be contaminated with other herbs, pesticides, or metals. Some have even been adulterated with unlabeled, illegal ingredients such as prescription drugs.
For this reason, many physicians, pharmacists, and healthcare providers recommend professional-grade supplements. “Professional-grade” means that the quality and purity of the supplements are beyond question and are tested many times during the production process. Most importantly, herbal extracts and natural products are standardized to provide consistent levels of their primary active marker compounds.
Simple Guidelines for Choosing a Quality Supplement
- Select supplements from well-known manufacturers. Many high-quality supplements can be purchased through your physician or pharmacy.
- Choose the more bioavailable forms: activated for vitamins and chelated for minerals. This allows for better absorption and use by the body.
- Don’t just choose based on price alone. The most expensive option doesn’t always mean it offers the best in quality. Follow our guidelines above to ensure the best ingredients.
- Know your overall goal for taking supplements because dosing can vary. Your doctor, natural health practitioner, or one of our compounding pharmacists can help guide you!
Three Immune Boosters to Consider
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is vital to help to fight infections and for overall immune system health. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can make you more prone to getting sick. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health because your body doesn’t produce or store it.
Low vitamin C levels have been linked to poor health outcomes. For example, people who have pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten the recovery time.
Even better, regularly taking vitamin C supplements has been shown to reduce common cold occurrence in individuals under high physical stress, including marathon runners and soldiers, by up to 50%. Additionally, high dose intravenous vitamin C treatment has been shown to significantly improve symptoms in people with severe infections, including sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) resulting from viral infections.
Remember that if you want the benefits of vitamin C, you’ll need to consume it every day, and not just at the start of cold symptoms.
Taking 1000 mg of buffered vitamin C daily, or 2000 mg daily during times of stress or illness is recommended.
The buffered form may help to reduce upset stomach which can occur when taking higher amounts of vitamin C. For optimal absorption, we suggest spreading it out during the day — think 500 mg morning, lunch, and evening.
Vitamin D supplements, taken daily in moderate doses, may help to reduce the risk of respiratory infections and viruses in those who are deficient in vitamin D. It is one of the most important nutrients to optimize bone health, thyroid function, calcium absorption, cancer prevention, and immune function.
The recommended form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight, and it is better at increasing your blood levels than other forms of vitamin D. Having your levels tested is the best method to determine proper dosing. A typical recommended dosing is 1,000 to 4,000 IUs, though short term higher doses have occurred without negative side effects.
Zinc is a mineral essential for immune cell development, and it plays an essential role in inflammatory response. In essence, zinc supports the body’s natural defense system, including against the common cold.
Zinc deficiency has been linked to a variety of immune system abnormalities, such as the increased risk of death from pneumonia. Zinc deficiency is more common in elderly people due to reduced absorption. Others who may be low in zinc include vegetarians and people taking certain medications, such as those that reduce stomach acid and ACE inhibitors, on a long-term basis. In such people, supplementing with zinc may improve the chance of avoiding respiratory tract infection. Higher zinc blood levels have been shown to support faster healing from pneumonia and shortened hospital stays attributed to pneumonia.
The body does not store zinc, so it is important to meet the daily requirements.
The recommended does is 30 mg per day or even 40 – 60 mg per day for short-term immune support.
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Medical Disclaimer This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of such information or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Innovation Compounding, Inc. nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any medication, nutritional supplement, diet, or health regimen. Innovation Compounding does not make or intend to make any claims to efficacy or safety of compounded products for specific conditions or disease states, as compounded products are not FDA-approved for these conditions.
Sources & References
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Nov. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Nov. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659.
- Paoletti, PHh, Jim. “Differentiation and Treatment of Hypothyroidism, Functional Hypothyroidism, and Functional Metabolism.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding, vol. 12, no. 6, Nov. 2008, ijpc.com/abstracts/abstract.cfm?ABS=2861. Accessed 11 Jan. 2022.
- https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/autoimmune-disease-research.. https://www.womenshealth.gov/lupus https://www.gene.com/stories/autoimmune-disease-101