Even though as Aussies we don’t have to endure long and cold winters like many other countries do, thanks to our mild and warm climate, it doesn’t mean we’re completely immune to colds and the flu. Take for instance this year’s flu epidemic that affected most of the continent. Even I, a man in his mid thirties who hasn’t gotten sick since the sixth grade, fell ill and in bed for a whole week. And that week has taught me quite a lot! First, that Black Mirror is a mind-blowing show. And second, that an apple a day does not always keep the doctor away.
Sometimes a healthy diet consisting of plenty of fruit and vegetables is not enough to give the immune system a proper boost to fight off viruses and infections. In addition to vitamins and nutrients directly derived from food, there are a few over-the-counter supplements for immune system support that may help fend off illnesses and give the body a nice dose of energy. Like for instance, the following.
Take more Vitamin C is the favourite health advice of doctors and grandmas around the world. And for a very good reason too. Vitamin C is an amazing antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects, and antibiotic effects which makes it an effective weapon against infections. Many long-term studies have shown that taking 1000 milligrams a day of vitamin C can lower the duration of a common cold up to 20%. If you decide to take vitamin C supplements for immune system support, be careful not to consume too much because it can cause diarrhoea and gastric problems. So while it’s safe to take vitamin C in tablets or powdery forms, the upper limit on how much you should consume is 2000 mg a day.
Studies have shown that low levels of zinc are making the body more susceptible to infection. Young children and elderly people are especially prone to zinc deficiency. This nutrient can be found in foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, oysters, nuts and beans, but if you feel that you’re about to get sick, supplementing your regular diet with 25mg of zinc per day can prove to be an effective way to stop the cold in its tracks.
Even if you consumed the ideal, vitamin-packed diet, it is still difficult to get the necessary amount of vitamin D because its main source are the sun’s rays. If you spend the most of your day indoors, because of weather conditions or because of your job, there may be a huge chance you’re deficient in this immunity boosting vitamin. When the levels of vitamin D in the blood are lower than 10ng/mL, supplements can help you get your levels back to normal and keep your immune system in shape to prevent colds, the flu as well as pneumonia and other serious infections.