The Nutrients Needed To Avoid The Flu

The CDC says that this is the worst year for the flu in several years.  I know we all heard that last year too when they scared me about it when I was pregnant, but needless to say, it is running rampant and I’m here to tell you the nutrients you need daily to avoid such nonsense.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the function of the immune system.  Throughout a complex chain of events, vitamin D helps the immune system to product natural killer cells, monocytes and and neutrophils, which are the cells that kill pathogens that enter the body.

Sun exposure is the best way to get vitamin D, but in the winter months, this is more difficult and people become more deficient in this vitamin.  I recommend taking a vitamin D supplement especially in the winter months as most people are deficient.

Probiotics

These are the “good” bacteria that live in your gut and consume all the “bad” bacteria that they come into contact with.  This process enhances our immune system and aids in digestion.  They control the growth of yeast and other harmful bacteria.  Stress, sugar, pollution and the use of antibiotics inhibit the growth of the “good” bacteria leaving your system vulnerable to an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria.  A daily dose of a probiotic can boost the immune system and enhance the digestive system.   To get probiotics, there are several probiotic supplements over the counter or you can drink kombucha, organic yogurt, or kefir.

Vitamin C

Most people think this vitamin is the only one that helps ward off colds and flus.  While it’s critically important, we’ve learned it’s not the only one.  Vitamin C helps the body to destroy foreign invaders with enzymes and free radicals.  It also increases the production of immunity cells including natural killer cells and interferon (a messenger that promotes anti-viral activity).

Our body doesn’t naturally produce vitamin C, so we must get it from external sources.  You need to make sure to eat a minimum of the recommended 5 servings of fruit and veggies each day.  A warm glass of lemon water in the morning is a great way to start the day with vitamin C.  Vitamin C is also necessary to absorb iron, so that’s a win too!

Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for nearly all chemical reactions in the body.  It helps to regulate several other vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, vitamin D, potassium and calcium.  It also plays a big role in the production of enzymes, which help to destroy pathogens.  Research has indicated that magnesium deficiency is now known as the silent killer because as much as 80% of us could be deficient and most people don’t know.  Epsom salt baths, and supplementing with magnesium pills, magnesium oil, or magnesium drinks are very helpful.

Vitamin E 

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant for the immune system because it stimulates the production of B-cells, a type of cells that destroys bacteria in the body.  Most people eat foods that are high enough in vitamin E to get the allotted amount.  These vitamin E enhancing foods include seeds, nuts, vegetable oils and whole grains.

Other nutrients

There are a  number of other nutrients that help strengthen the immune system and keep it working properly.  These include zinc, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B6.

Make sure you are eating a clean, balanced diet and you should be getting in enough of most of these nutrients to keep your immune system fighting against winter illnesses.

 

Sources:

http://www.elle.com/news/beauty-makeup/the-five-most-essential-vitamins

http://www.livestrong.com/article/489532-magnesium-and-the-immune-system/

http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/nutrients-preventing-cold-flu/#ixzz2pknAkDxp

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, but I use all of these products and believe in them.  All opinions are my own.  Please consult a doctor before adding new supplements to your regimen.  I am not a doctor – an acupuncturist – and I would need to do a personalized intake with you to determine if these are right for you.

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