Vitamin Supplements to boost your immune system

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Vitamin A: Playing an important role in supporting T Cells, which are a type of white blood cell that help identify pathogens (like viruses or infectious bacteria), vitamin A can be found in all kinds of foods such as: liver, whole milk, cheese; which contain retinol – preformed vitamin A, and dark green leafy vegetables and orange-colored fruits and vegetables, which contain beta carotenes that the body converts to vitamin A.

Vitamin B6: This vitamin helps produce new immune cells, helps process antibodies, and helps immune cells to communicate. It is found in poultry and fish, fortified breakfast cereals, egg yolk, yeast extract, soya beans, sesame seeds and some fruit and vegetables, like banana, avocado and green pepper.

Vitamin B12: This vitamin is important for producing new immune cells. Found in animal products like meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs, as well as fortified breakfast cereals, or as part of a multivitamin supplement.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection by helping immune cells attack pathogens, enabling us to clear away old immune cells from the site of infection, and also by helping maintain the skin, our external barrier to infection. Vitamin C also functions as a powerful antioxidant, protecting against damage induced by oxidative stress, which occurs with the accumulation of reactive molecules known as free radicals. Oxidative stress can negatively affect immune health and is linked to numerous diseases. Supplementing with vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections. Vitamin C is found in oranges and orange juice, red and green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes and tomatoes.

Vitamin D:  A low status of vitamin D is associated with reduced immune response. Healthy levels of this vitamin may help lower your risk of respiratory infections. It may also improve response to antiviral treatments in people with certain infections. Our main source of vitamin D is from sunlight on our skin but food sources include salmon, tuna, sardines, milk, cheese, eggs yoghurt and fortified cereals. If you are self-isolating you may not be getting enough vitamin D.

Copper: Often forgotten when thinking about nutrients, copper helps protect and fuel immune cells. It can be found in a range of sources, including: bread, wholegrain breakfast cereals, rice, quinoa, meat, fish and shellfish, pulses, avocado, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.

Curcumin: Curcumin is the main active compound in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and animal studies indicate that it may help improve immune function. Can be added to your meals

Folate: Folate also plays an important role in producing new immune cells. It is found in green vegetables, pulses, oranges, berries, nuts and seeds, cheese, bread and fortified breakfast cereals.

Garlic: has powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. It has been shown to enhance immune health by stimulating protective white blood cells like NK cells and macrophages. Garlic is found to have antiseptic properties. During an illness you can eat large amounts of raw garlic, peeled and swallowed whole or crushed with lemon and honey.

Ginseng: is an herbal supplement that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, strengthens the immune system, fights fatigue and enhances the function of certain immune components in the bronchi, which are the main airways in the lungs. There is some evidence that ginseng enhances immune activity once you are ill but does not help prevent an illness. Ginseng can be bought as a supplement from your health food store, grocery store or pharmacy.

Ginger: is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can help lower the risk of infections. Don’t consume more than 4 grams of ginger in any given day in any form Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice.

Iron: Helping to maintain the health of immune cells, iron has a variety of meat and vegetable sources. Haeme-iron, which comes from meat sources of iron, like offal, red meat and fish, is more easily absorbed than non-haeme iron, which is found in plant-based sources.

Selenium: is a mineral that is essential for immune health. Animal research demonstrates that selenium supplements may enhance antiviral defense against influenza strains, including H1N1 This nutrient is vital for producing new immune cells and can help to strengthen response to infection. It’s found in nuts and seeds, particularly Brazil nuts, cashews and sunflower seeds, as well as eggs, offal poultry, fish and shellfish

Zinc: Essential for immune system function, zinc helps produce new immune cells, helps develop ‘natural killer cells’ that help to fight off viruses, supports communication between immune cells, plays an important role in inflammatory response and it has been shown to protect against respiratory tract infections. Zinc may be beneficial for those who are already sick by reducing the duration of the illness. Found in a wide range of sources from meat and poultry, to cheese and wholegrains. Excessive doses may interfere with copper absorption, which could increase your infection risk and lead to anaemia and weakening of the bones.

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