Health Tip Tuesdays: Four supplements that may help maintain your immunity

By. Tricia Stefankiewicz

With the winter season in full effect, today we will talk about supplements that may help protect your
immune system. There is not a lot of evidence to support that taking vitamin supplementation
prevents you from getting sick, but the vitamins mentioned here may help support your immune
system and keep it functioning healthy. Of course, eating a healthy balanced diet is the best
1. Multivitamin
Helpful to fill in the gap for any deficiencies if you are not eating a healthy balanced diet high in
fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts, if you don’t eat enough calories daily, or have had a history of a
vitamin deficiency in the past. IMPORTANT: If you are a women of child-bearing age, look for a multivitamin with 400 mcg day folic acid if you have any plans for pregnancy.
2. Vitamin D
May work by boosting immune cells. Most people in the US are deficient in the winter months
according to where you live. You may even deficient in the summer months if you wear a lot of sunscreen.
As vitamin D is not found in a lot of foods many people may require supplementation. Vitamin D is typically found in
cheese, yogurt, tuna, sardines. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600-800 IU of CHOLECALCIFEROL per day (sold as vitamin D3 NOT vitamin D2)
Note that if you are deficient or it is a time of less sunlight, you may require up to 2000 IU of vitamin D3 per day
A dose of 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D from a supplement is
generally safe. Remember that Vitamin D is also present in your multivitamin so take that in
consideration when considering your dose.
3. Vitamin C
May help reduce or prevent common cold. Can get vitamin C from foods like strawberries,
cantaloupe, orange juice, broccoli, and kale. Recommended dose of vitamin C supplementation
is anywhere from 250 to 1000 mg/day according to your kidney function.
It is not recommended to take more than this amount as the tolerable upper limit of vitamin C is 2000 mg/day, high doses
may cause side effects such as GI distress. Do not exceed 1000 mg/day in individuals with
chronic kidney or chronic liver disease. Do not exceed more than 250 mg/day if you are on
4. Zinc
May help prevent against common cold when taken when cold symptoms appear. Zinc supplementation is most effective
when shown to be zinc deficient. The recommended daily amount of zinc for adults is 8 mg for
women and 11 mg for men. Too much zinc may hinder copper absorption and has GI side
effects. Be wary of drug interactions with zinc some antibiotics, rheumatoid arthritis medications, and
diuretics. Your doctor may need to monitor zinc levels.
Current studies are underway to examine the effects of zinc supplementation and COVID risk.

The above supplements should be used in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet. Nothing can
replace lifestyle factors such as adequate sleep, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco – all of which
will keep your immune system optimized.

DISCLAIMER: There is no evidence to support that taking these supplements will protect you
from COVID 19. Please speak with your healthcare provider first to make sure these are
appropriate for you and do not interfere with any medications.

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