Winter is coming, and we know that the combination of cold weather and staying cooped up inside increases your risk of getting sick. In addition, medical experts have predicted a “triple-demic” this winter with concerns for high rates of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and of course, COVID. Regardless of the accuracy of these predictions, we believe it is always better to be prepared. While good nutrition offers the first line of protection, some dietary habits can leave you without proper immune support. Read on for our favorite Züpplements (ZüpMed’s term for vitamins, nutrients, and supplements) to help boost your immune system throughout this winter.
How it works
- Vitamin C became a staple during COVID, but it is commonly sought for treating any ole cold because of its touted anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Good food sources for vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables.
- The most common formulation of Vitamin C in supplement form is ascorbic acid, which is water soluble.
- Vitamin C is best absorbed in smaller doses (100mg is almost completely absorbed, while rates of absorption are only 50%, with doses exceeding 1000mg).
- Spend your money on formulations that are more likely to be absorbed. We stock vitamin C, formulated with flavonoids or lipids for the best absorption, so you get the most benefit at the lowest dose.
- The most extreme vitamin C deficiency is a syndrome called scurvy, where connective tissues are disordered, and collagen synthesis is impaired.
- Over-supplementation of vitamin C can cause diarrhea and oxalate kidney stones, especially at high doses.
- Also, if you have naturally high iron, ingesting high quantities of Vitamin C can be dangerous because vitamin C helps your body absorb more iron. You should talk to your doctor about taking vitamin C supplements, but there is no evidence of harm in consuming Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.
- The recommended daily dose of Vitamin C is 90mg for men and 75mg for women. If you are a smoker, an additional 35mg is recommended.
How it works
- Zinc is an element that is important for immune function, memory, and mental health.
- Zinc-rich food sources include beef, shrimp, lentils, chickpeas, and cashews.
- Zinc is contained in many multivitamins and over-the-counter products related to immunity. Elemental zinc is usually less than the mg dose listed on the bottle.
- Zinc deficiency increases the risk for weakened immunity, impaired wound healing, and even loss of smell and taste.
- Medications that increase the risk for zinc deficiency include: antacids, oral contraceptives, medications used to prevent seizures, corticosteroids, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Speak to our pharmacy team if you take any of these medications and are concerned about zinc deficiency or your immunity!
- Overdosing on zinc can cause stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting. Too much zinc can also cause a copper deficiency, contributing to neurological issues such as weakness and numbness in the arms and legs.
- The recommended daily dose of zinc is 11mg for men and 8mg for women.
How it works
- Vitamin D is important for teeth, bone, cardiovascular, and immune health.
- Good food sources for vitamin D are salmon, tuna, beef liver, and dairy fortified with vitamin D.
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the bioidentical form of vitamin D synthesized in the skin following exposure to sunlight. It is more potent and better absorbed than its D2 form.
- Taking Vitamin D with Vitamin K2 influences calcium transportation to the bone, which may be important for those at risk for osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D deficiency may interfere with the normal development of teeth and bones, normal cell growth and contribute to poor regulation of the immune and nervous systems.
- You could be at a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency if you have limited sun exposure, are an older adult, have a chronic condition that decreases fat absorption, or have an elevated body mass index.
How it works
- Quercetin is an anti-allergic powerhouse. It inhibits histamine, decreases inflammatory marker release, suppresses the body’s chemical release when it encounters allergens and boosts the stimulation of the immune system. On top of that, it is rich in flavonols and polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants.
- Quercetin has been studied with positive outcomes in food allergies, skin allergies like eczema, and respiratory diseases like asthma.
- Food sources containing quercetin include onions, broccoli, fruits and berries, tea, and wine (both white and red).
- Supplements containing quercetin have become very popular since COVID, and dosing in these supplements varies widely.
- We recommend a phytosome formulation for the best absorption and antioxidant effect or combined with bromelain after injury.
- The biggest downside is that quercetin must be dosed multiple times per day to have immune activity that lasts all day.
How it works
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a derivative of an amino acid called L-cysteine and a precursor to a powerful antioxidant called Glutathione.
- NAC is most commonly known for its ability to detoxify the liver. In fact, NAC is the go-to treatment in the hospital for Tylenol (acetaminophen) overdose because of its powerful detoxification effect.
- However, NAC has many other uses. It can help break up and thin mucus, prevent kidney injuries, and even has benefits for some mental health conditions like OCD.
- We recommend NAC not only as a powerful antioxidant but also as an alternative to Mucinex.
- While NAC is naturally produced by the body, it can also be found in high-protein foods, such as fish, seafood, chicken, or turkey.
- Typically, the recommended dose of NAC is around 500 mg daily.
EZC+D Immune Support Pak
- The majority of winter colds are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, so they won’t help you feel better if you suffer from the common cold or any of the “triple-demic” viruses.
- Many doctors admit to writing prescriptions for antibiotics due to patient requests, even when it is unclear if they are necessary. The more antibiotics that are prescribed inappropriately, the higher the risk for failure when we do need antibiotics to work against an infectious bacteria.
- The EZC Pak (with or without Vitamin D) is our favorite 5-day physician-formulated immune support treatment designed for viral infections. As a bonus, it reduces inappropriate antibiotic use.
- It contains certified organic Echinacea, Vitamin C, Zinc, with or without Vitamin D.
- Echinacea boosts the immune system by supporting white blood cell production, the blood cells responsible for fighting off infection.
- The Pak is taken at a higher frequency at initiation and tapered over a five-day period
Just a couple of final thoughts about immune supplements from our team at ZüpMed:
- It is important to always tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking. All medications, including over-the-counter and dietary supplements, have benefits and risks. Supplements can interfere with other medications you are taking and can cause side effects, especially if they are not dosed appropriately.
- Blood levels for some nutrients related to immune function aren’t routinely checked. For those with certain risk characteristics, we offer micronutrient testing utilizing the best measurement of bodily stores. This unique testing provides individualized results which can aid in identifying risks for chronic disease and targets for replenishment for you to remain at optimum health.
As always, contact us at 901-701-7010 to learn more about how you and your family members can receive care if an illness arises.