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SUPPLEMENTS – BUT WHICH ONES WORK BEST FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM?…

Supplements are big nowadays, a booming market set to get bigger with supplements for a healthy white blood cell count to the sunshine vitamin D.

After finding out I was very low in Vitamin D I was given a very very strong dose ( only given by my GP ) for a week. My GP then suggested I bought over the counter vitamin D as a supplement to keep my levels up. I had no idea I was deficient and it was only through a consultation with my pain team that they felt some of my symptoms related to a Vitamin D deficiency.

At the beginning of the pandemic numerous articles pointed out that some supplements may boost your immune system against COVID-19.

The COVID-19 app writes that “We all know that vitamins and minerals are vital for our immune systems. But which vitamins should you take to boost your immunity against the novel coronavirus? Is there any evidence that these supplements work? And even if they don’t, what’s the harm?

We spoke to ZOE co-founder Professor Tim Spector, author of the book ‘The Diet Myth,’ to find out. 

Do vitamins play a role in immunity?

The novel coronavirus is sweeping the world, and as a result, everyone is searching for ways to protect themselves and their loved ones. Many people have been buying supplements and vitamins, particularly so-called ‘immune-boosting’ supplements, to try and stay healthy.

Vitamins play a central role in helping our immune systems protect against infection and fight disease. Vitamins A, C, E, and B6 all support healthy, normal immune responses to pathogens like viruses, as do minerals like folic acid, zinc, selenium, iron, and copper. 

Deficiencies of these nutrients can leave us more susceptible to infections or less able to shake off illness.” So, should we take these supplements?

The evidence in the scientific literature to support vitamin supplements is pretty dreadful,” says Professor Tim Sector. “I would say there’s absolutely no data to support most of them, with only two or three possible exceptions.”

“One exception would be zinc,” he explains, “but that data which allows any supplement with a trace of zinc to make health claims is about 20 or 30 years old and hasn’t been updated so it could be flawed.”

Even with this knowledge many of us will take our vitamins daily convinced they help us. I was also told to take Turmeric and I bought the highest dose available but after finishing a three month course I decided not to buy another three months as I noticed no change in my pain.

Vitamin C is one of the top most popular supplements which I have taken on and off for years. Studies have shown that high doses at the first sign of a cold can speed up recovery by up to two days according to a Woman & Home article on ‘Boost Immunity Special’ where they also add in Copper ( for healthy white blood cells) Selenium ( to help fight viral and bacterial infections) Vitamin D ( which can also regulate functions of immune systems) Echinacea ( helpful for fighting infections of the respiratory tract) or Mushrooms ( to help prime your immune system).

With such a vast array of supplements you should always discuss it with my GP first (especially if you are on other medication ) as I think they would advise you on the best ones to take.

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