Its that time of year again – the leaves have fallen, the days are getting shorter, and those of us who are located in the Northeast, are bracing for snow as the inevitable draws closer-and-closer after the holiday season. Synonymous with the transition from Autumn-to-Winter and this time of year is the emergence of Flu-Season – the sniffles, body aches, fever, and everything else that goes along with it. We're constantly reminded as our providers and pharmacists encourage to “get your shots”.
For those individuals who choose to not participate in the “get a flu-shot movement”, or who just want a little extra immune boost above and beyond Vitamin C supplementation, here are my Top 3 Immune-Boosting Supplements you NEED to take this Flu-Season:
PROBIOTICS – First and foremost, none of the supplementation that you consume will do you any good if it is not absorbed and digested properly. Probiotics facilitate a healthy digestive environment and immune responses, specifically phagocytosis, Natural Killer Cell (NKC) activity, and IgA (Immunoglobulin A) production (especially in children)1. Immune function is controlled by the gut, which is why many autoimmune specialists will actually look to your diet first and foremost when any skin or allergic reaction occurs. Probiotics have also shown to be an effective supplement in the treatment of Traveler's Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, and Atopic Dermatitis.
ZINC – It is well published that Zinc plays a central role in immune function, and that Zinc-deficient individuals experience an increased risk of “getting sick” come Flu-Season. More specifically, Zinc affects: the barrier of the skin to protect against pathogens, gene regulation with specific types of White Blood Cells (WBCs) (Lymphocytes), and the development of other WBCs that combat infection. And as a bonus, Zinc even has anti-aging properties that helps to stabilize cell membranes.
VITAMIN D3 – In addition to having well known positive effects on Calcium and bone homeostasis, Vitamin D3 can “modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses”2. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infection, and has shown numerous benefits to individual's with autoimmune diseases. Most people are Vitamin D deficient, so almost everybody can benefit in some way from extra Vitamin D supplementation.
If you don't have your pantries stocked with these 3 supplements, it would be a good idea to get started on a daily regimine before the flu-season is in full swing.
If you have any questions about any diet or supplementation needs or requirements, please don't hesitate to ask. And as always, we are accepting new patients, specializing in the treatment of your neck & back pain, as well as headaches!
Brandon S. Osborne,DC
Central Jersey Spine & Rehabilitation Center, LLC
Serving the Pennington, Hopewell, Princeton, Skillman, Lambertville, and Lawrenceville communities since 2014.
1Lomax, A.R., Calder, P.C. Probiotics, Immune Function, Infection and Inflammation: A Review of the Evidence from Studies Conducted in Humans. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2009; 15 (13) 1428-1518(91).
2 Aranow, C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. J Investig Med. 2011; 59(6): 881–886.