I hope all is well and that everyone is staying healthy. I have been flooded with questions from patients over the past few weeks about what can be done to boost immune function during these crazy and unprecedented times. Below are some of the common recommendations I make on a daily basis for supporting overall immune function.
Vitamin D3 (5,000iu to 50,000iu): Vitamin D3 has a well documented history in boosting immune function and preventing respiratory illness. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory properties and is crucial for the activation of immune system defenses. It is known to enhance the function of immune cells, including T-cells and macrophages, that protect your body against pathogens, including viruses. I recommend a high dose/emulsified product from Ortho Molecular that has proven effective for me time and time again. With therapeutic dosing patients can experience quicker immune benefits.
Probiotics: Probiotics are commonly discussed for their gastrointestinal benefits, but they can also have a very impactful immune benefit. It is often discussed that about 70% of the immune is located in the gut. Our GI track is lined with immune cells and markers that greatly impact our overall health. Taking a therapeutically dosed and diverse probiotic can not only help boost key immune markers, but also help with the removal of harmful pathogens. Some literature has found that probiotics “have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies and boost immune cells like IgA producing cells, T cells and natural killer cells.” The probiotic I recommend is called Ortho Biotic that contains a blend of some of the world’s most well-researched probiotic strains.
Zinc: Zinc is well known for its immune boosting and antiviral properties. Several clinical studies link zinc to prevention of viral replication and for shortening duration of viral symptoms. Zinc is currently being used across the country in combination with several prescription medications to help combat the major viral issues currently impacting our country. This combination has shown great early success according to providers in the Northeast! Taking a daily zinc supplement can help play a key role in boosting immune function. Not all Zinc is created equal though. I recommend a chelated zinc bisglycinate called Reacted Zinc. This form of Zinc has been clinically shown to be 390% better absorbed than zinc oxide and 230% better absorbed than zinc sulfate.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C supplementation has been studied for more than six decades for its role in supporting the body during immune challenges. It has been shown to stimulate both the production and function of white blood cells, especially neutrophils, lymphocytes and phagocytes. These immune guardians have been shown to accumulate high concentrations of vitamin C, which can protect these cell types from oxidative damage. I typically recommend a “Buffered Vitamin C” and a “C Flavonoid complex”. Both are USP grade vitamin C that includes additional minerals or flavonoids for increased tolerability.
Quercetin: Another natural immune boosting approach that has gained a fair amount of clinical attention over the past few weeks during the current pandemic is the use of a bioflavonoid called Quercetin. Quercetin is often found naturally in apples, grapes, onions and several spices and has been approved safe for human consumption by the FDA. Researchers found “by analyzing the probability of docking via a viral docking assessment tool that the main protease (Mpro) of Covid-19, may be inhibited by quercetin (and other natural compounds)”. Quercetin has also been examined for its antiviral properties as well as its ability to help increase the immune/anti-viral benefits of Zinc. We recommend a product called D-Hist at the office because not only does it have the aforementioned Quercetin, but it also has vitamin C and Bromelain, which have both been linked to increasing the absorption and efficacy of Quercetin.