Key vitamins and minerals which strengthen the Human Immune System

Part 1 – Vitamins C and D

Vitamin C

Role: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which means that it is anti-aging, anti-viral and anti-pathogenic – a mainstay of your immune system. It plays a crucial role in housekeeping for your cells by protecting them from the systemic toxicity caused by factors such as an unhealthy diet, stress and lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and environmental poisoning. 

Vitamin C helps produce collagen for healthy bones, cartilage, skin, blood vessels, gums and teeth (and prevents the condition scurvy which is collagen deficiency), promotes wound healing, aids absorption of iron and protein, and is vital for the nervous system and healthy eyes.

It is often used in combination with Zinc for strengthening the immune system, and with a Vitamin B-Complex to combat stress.

Food Sources: Vitamin C cannot be made or stored by the body, and any that is not absorbed is excreted, making it essential to ingest vitamin C regularly. Historically, citrus fruits have been considered the most concentrated food source of Vitamin C, but there are plenty of other plant foods with equivalent or higher levels of Vitamin C – for example acerola cherries, bell and chilli peppers (all colours), blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley and thyme (fresh), and strawberries. 

Supplement Sources: Vitamin C is commonly taken in the form of ascorbic acid, often combined with the bioflavonoids which are naturally found in foods rich in Vitamin C, and are believed to increase its absorption.  

Mineral ascorbates in which the Vitamin C is combined with Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium or Sodium stay in the bloodstream for considerably longer than ascorbic acid and are gentler on the digestive tract – helpful for those sensitive to acidic food and supplements. Liposomol Vitamin C is wrapped in a tiny, fatty acid bubble which increases the concentration of Vitamin C reaching the blood, and reportedly improves absorption.

Vitamin C can be taken in powder form, tablets or in a child-friendly flavoured spray, and intravenous high dose Vitamin C has been proven to reduce oxidative stress. Please ask for guidance on the optimum form and dosage for you. 

Vitamin D

Role: Vitamin D is very important for immunity, heart health and bone mineralization, brain health and combatting inflammation. Deficiency has been linked to increased risk or severity of viral infections, including HIV and COVID-19. It is often taken with Vitamin K2 which is an often depleted but important vitamin for heart, blood and bone health, and the presence of Vitamin K2 reduces the required dose of Vitamin D.

Created by the body: Vitamin D is created from the body’s cholesterol bythe action of UVB light (a minimum of 20 minutes of direct sunlight on white skin), which may mean that cholesterol-lowering statins increase the need for Vitamin D. Dark-skinned people are less efficient at making vitamin D, because a higher level of melanin in their skin hinders vitamin D synthesis. 

Food Sources: Animal food sources include fish, meat, offal, egg and dairy. Vegetarian and vegan sources are less plentiful but becoming more mainstream, and include lichen and mushrooms.  

Supplement Sources: Vitamin D is most commonly taken in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol) extracted from the oil in sheep’s wool (lanolin), and vegan supplements are available. The differing national and international dosage recommendations can be very confusing – but without doubt one size does not fit all. Happily it is safe at very high doses so we recommend considering 4,000 to 10,000 international units per day during the darker winter months, subject to your individual health status, age and lifestyle. Vitamin D3 can be taken in liquid form, capsules or in a child-friendly flavoured spray.

Part 2 of this article will look at Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc.

Healthright’s aim for 2021 is to help you improve your immune system naturally and safely.  

Come and ask us how.  We look forward to seeing you again very soon.