While the warmer months promote the proliferation of bugs (insects), the colder months can encourage the spread of other kinds of bugs (colds/flus/viruses).
Though there’s no surefire way to avoid getting sick, enhancing your immune system is a smart place to start. Vitamins, essential minerals, and other nutrients are needed by the immune system to help protect your body from billions of potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, and other germs.
Some home remedies that support healthy immunity include such staples as garlic, ginger, and echinacea. But these aren’t essential for the immune system to work. Recent research has underscored the potential synergetic effects of essential nutrients – such as vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc – in supporting the immune system.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this potent vitamin/mineral trio.
Why Experts Say You Should Take Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 and Zinc for Immunity
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential for human life. Many enzymes in our brain and body need vitamin C to do their jobs.
Since the body can’t make vitamin C, we must get it from our diet. U.S. Govt surveys indicate a substantial percentage of Americans aren’t getting adequate amounts of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is the best-studied and understood antioxidant: a substance that readily donates electrons to neutralize potentially damaging oxidative “free radicals.” As our cells use oxygen to make energy, they create oxygen free radicals, which must be tightly controlled or they can destroy DNA, proteins, and other key cell components.
As a cornerstone of our natural antioxidant defense system, vitamin C helps to defend against free radicals and the many toxins that can enter the body via the air, water, or foods. Infectious agents also make toxins in the body, against which vitamin C provides an adequate defense.
Trouble on the High Cs
In centuries past, sailors on long voyages often would run out of fresh food and become malnourished – depleted in vitamins and minerals. Many would develop scurvy, a life-threatening vitamin C deficiency.
It’s almost unthinkable that in the land of orange juice and SunnyD, many Americans are deficient in this essential vitamin. Sadly, those beverages often are loaded with sugar (which blocks vitamin C absorption), and many have less vitamin C than you think. Orange juice, for example, may have only 10 milligrams of vitamin C per glass, so you’d have to drink at least 9 glasses of it to get the bare minimum of vitamin C you’d need for that day.
Tablet or chewable supplements also can contain sugar (most gummies are loaded with it), and many provide minimal or no vitamin C benefit to the consumer.
Vitamin C and Immunity
Much of our immune system consists of mobile single cells that circulate with the blood or patrol our tissues looking for hostile invaders. They need high levels of vitamin C to power their movements. Without sufficient C, they’re unable to do their job.
Many of the circulating immune cells produce highly toxic free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses, or other harmful agents. These need to carry high internal levels of C to protect them against accidental self-destruction. The solid tissues of the immune system also need C for optimal function.
Recommended Daily Vitamin C
Recently, the recommended Daily Value for intake of vitamin C was raised to 90 mg per day. Sugary drinks or foods are unlikely to provide that much functional vitamin C. Unless you have a well-balanced diet rich in citrus fruits you may be at risk of not obtaining sufficient vitamin C.
So, how can you ensure that you get enough of this essential nutrient? To protect against vitamin C deficiency and to fuel better brain health, neurotransmitter production, and antioxidant protection, try BrainMD’s Neuro-C Liposomal Vitamin C, which provides 1000 mg of liposomal vitamin C per serving.
Vitamin D primarily has been known for building bones. However, intensive clinical research in recent years established that this is a highly potent vitamin that becomes converted to a hormone essential for overall brain and body health. Optimal vitamin D3 levels can help improve your mood, boost your brain function, and generally improve your well-being.
Sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D3 promotes the actions of serotonin, dopamine, and other key brain neurotransmitters. It also is involved in the healthy regulation of thousands of human genes. And it’s crucial for immunity.
After it’s made in the skin as vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), it becomes converted by the liver and kidney into a “secosteroid” hormone (calcitriol) that has receptors in practically all our tissues. It’s so important to brain function that its receptors are distributed throughout the brain. This powerful hormone regulates not only the brain but the heart, circulation, gut, liver, pancreas, immune system, and other organ systems.
Vitamin D3 is critical for a healthy pregnancy. It also plays a critical role in the brain’s early development, its ongoing maintenance, and its functions that underlie healthy mood and basic cognition, such as learning and making memories.
The Vitamin D Challenge
Getting necessary amounts of vitamin D can be particularly challenging during the winter season – typically from November to March – when there are fewer hours of sunlight and when the sun itself is less intense. This is particularly true if you live in the northern half of the US.
Due to colder temperatures and inclement weather, the tendency for many people is to stay inside where it’s warm and hunker down for the winter. However, failure to get enough vitamin D, as well as exercise, can lead to health problems and other mental and physical difficulties. For individuals who struggle with low mood during the winter, the colder months can produce feelings of melancholy and anxiousness.
Vitamin D and Immunity
Vitamin D receptors are found all over the body, including the immune cells. Research has shown that vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency contributes to the seasonal nature of cold and flu outbreaks – less sunlight means less vitamin D production in the skin, which is linked to lower immunity and the possibility of more illness.
Exciting new research suggests vitamin D3 may help safeguard against difficulties with upper respiratory function. Currently there at least 35 randomized controlled clinical trials underway on vitamin D for its respiratory and immune benefits.
Avoid Vitamin D3 Deficiency
Though definitions of vitamin D deficiency can vary, experts agree that it has nearly reached epidemic status. Analysis of the ongoing national survey data from the US Centers for Disease Control indicate over 95% of Americans may not be getting sufficient vitamin D; of those who took supplements, 65% weren’t getting enough D.
Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiencies are becoming more and more common, in part because we’re spending more time indoors due to at-home restrictions. Also, with the current high level of concern about possible skin damage from sun exposure, many people cover up or use so much sunscreen that the sun cannot access their skin to make vitamin D3.
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with low mood and behavioral difficulties in children, and psychological difficulties, such as feelings of anxiety, in adults. Vitamin D supplementation is consistently linked to a higher quality of life and better well-being as we age.
Recommended Daily Vitamin D
In the US, the current recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 400 IU. However, most experts agree that this is well below the physiological needs of most individuals. Some experts have suggested that all adults take at least 2000 IU of vitamin D daily, but for many people, this daily dose doesn’t raise their vitamin D3 levels into a healthy range.
BrainMD’s Vitamin D3 supplement has 5000 IU, which is significantly more than the average vitamin D supplement on the market. Research shows that increasing the daily intake to 5000 IU per day will help ensure that you get the right amount of absorption so you can feel the benefits long-term.
This mineral is essential for the functioning of at least 2000 enzymes and other proteins essential for our life processes. Zinc is essential for healthy development of the brain and other organs. All our cells need zinc to maintain the structure of their DNA and the actions of their genes, but also for a diverse array of other essential cell functions.
Zinc is crucial for the body’s antioxidant defenses. It’s structurally built into the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), and is essential for the functioning of this enzyme, which is our first line of defense against free radical toxins. This mineral is also urgently needed during pregnancy and for childhood development, sexual maturation, and male fertility.
The Missing Zinc
Substantial numbers of Americans are at risk for zinc deficiency. In the U.S. and other industrialized countries, the demographic most likely to be zinc deficient is the elderly (up to 1 in 4 of those over age 60).
Deficiency of zinc allows oxygen free radicals originating in the mitochondria to threaten our antioxidant defenses, which creates “oxidative stress.” Zinc deficiency also allows increases in immune system messenger proteins – cytokines – that tend to promote inflammation.
Zinc deficiency can be due to inherited mutations, but most often is related to inadequate dietary intake and/or excessive loss from the body. Whatever its origins, zinc deficiency can pose very serious health challenges.
Zinc and Mood
In the U.S., at least 1 in 5 people experience serious mood problems and at least 1 in 4 experience serious feelings of anxiousness. Results from 6 double-blind randomized, controlled trials suggest supplementing with zinc can improve mood.
People with mood problems typically have low blood levels of zinc. Zinc is documented to improve mood in controlled human clinical trials and supplementing with zinc often enhances mood. It’s also important for attention in children.
Zinc and Immunity
Poor zinc status can cause immune problems in adults, particularly in the elderly, which often can be fixed by zinc supplementation. Older persons with digestive problems that impair their dietary nutrient absorption may avoid zinc deficiency by taking supplemental zinc.
In children, zinc deficiency has been linked to problems with the immune functioning of the lower respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, correcting the zinc deficiency with zinc glycinate improved the problem.
Recommended Daily Zinc
The zinc Tolerable Upper Level (UL) developed by the U.S. government is 40 mg per day for age 19 years and older, and 34 mg per day for ages 14-18 years. If consumed at more than 50 mg per day for a period of weeks, zinc can begin to lower the body’s copper levels.
BrainMD’s Neuro Zinc supplies 25 mg of zinc in one capsule. This product isn’t intended for children under age 14, because their UL is set below 25 mg per day.
Neuro Zinc is a pure and effective source of zinc. It’s well absorbed and gentle on the stomach.
Daily Immune Essentials
When taken together, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc are a potent combination for delivering many health benefits, including immune support:
- Neuro-C Liposomal Vitamin C – advanced brain and immune defense
- Vitamin D3 5000 – highly-potent and pure vitamin D3
- Neuro Zinc – a mineral vital for health and survival
These supplements support each other’s actions to offer maximum immune protection, so add them to your health regimen today!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients and standardized herbal ingredients to support your immunity and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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Keith has been a member of the BrainMD team for several years, providing his research and writing talents. Keith is grateful to have the opportunity to write about supplements since many of them have made a dramatic difference in his life. He is often heard around the office saying, “We have supplements for that.”
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