Scientifically proven supplements to help strengthen the immune system and keep the coronavirus away!
Most people know about this supplement, it is the go-to for preventing and treating colds. Vitamin C helps immune cells function and their best while also supporting the physical entry points on your body such as your skin to ward off pathogens. A few items to remember when supplementing vitamin C:
- This needs to be taken regularly to have a benefit! If you wait until you get sick to start taking vitamin C, research suggests it might be too late. Evidence suggests that in order to reap the benefits of vitamin C, you have to take it regularly, not only when your cold symptoms develop.
- If you do take vitamin C regularly, you can expect to catch colds less often, and when you do catch a cold, you will fight it off quicker than if you hadn’t taken vitamin C
- Work with you healthcare professional to find the correct dosage for yourself. When taken upwards of 3-5g/day, it can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, heartburn and stomach pains.
One of my favorite supplements, especially for those of us living in such a sunny city like Pittsburgh (ranked #4 cloudiest city in the United States). Vitamin D is involved in numerous cellular processes in the body and is very important for immunity. Research suggests that not only does vitamin D help prevent upper respiratory infections but there is also positive cancer fighting benefits of having an adequate vitamin D level. What is an adequate vitamin D level? It depends on who you ask, but it is definitely not 30 ng/mL which a lot of labs define as a “Sufficient” level. In my opinion, we should all try to get our vitamin D levels up to the 60-80ng/mL levels. More on this in a later blog post.
Zinc is another supplement proven to help with illness. We do get zinc in some of our foods, but athletes and those who sweat a lot are at a greater risk of being deficient in this area. Zinc only needs to be taken while you are experiencing symptoms of being sick so unlike vitamin C, no need to take this year-round. Then, take zinc lozenges at a dosage of 70-100mg/day. This is one supplement that you definitely do not want to take too much of and dosage should never exceed 100mg/day for 2 weeks.
Other supplements with less evidence for immune benefits but may still work include elderberries, Echinacea and probiotics.
ONE MORE THING.
Remember, not all supplements are the same. Find a brand that your healthcare provider trusts and can recommend. Often times in this area, you get what you pay for!