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Key Vitamins for a Healthy Immune System

Posted by Jaime Camirand, RHN

While the past year has taught us many things, it has especially highlighted the importance of a healthy immune system. More people are looking for immune boosting supplements than ever before, and as it turns out, immunity is complex. 

The immune system involves a collection of organs, cells, enzymes and chemicals that work together to defend us from almost anything that comes our way. There are also countless products and diets that promise to boost the immune system, leaving us wondering what we really need. When it comes to simple and proven ways to support immunity, vitamins are a great place to start.

Vitamins are considered essential, which means that we can’t make them on our own, but rely on our diets to fulfill our daily requirements for proper development and function. In other words, the immune system won’t be able to perform at its best if we’re lacking these raw materials. There are many vitamins needed for immunity, but here are a few of our favourites that can have a big impact.

Note: If you have any particular nutrient deficiencies or other health concerns, it’s important to consult with your health practitioner for guidance

Vitamin C

It’s no secret that Vitamin C and immunity are closely linked, but how? As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps to protect our cells from free radical damage. This damage comes from many sources like stress, pollutants, illness and even just living and breathing. Vitamin C also acts as a cofactor, helping the immune system to recognize threats, kill foreign cells, create antibodies and heal wounds.1

Unfortunately, many people are deficient in Vitamin C, and because we can’t store it for later, it’s important to consume enough on a daily basis.

Where to get it: 

  • Broccoli 
  • Citrus fruits
  • Bell Peppers
  • Dayli Vitality Blend (100% of your Vitamin C Daily Value per serving)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays many different roles in overall health, but it’s particularly crucial for immune function. This vitamin is known to act like a hormone, binding to immune cells and modulating several immune responses. With a role in protective immunity, vitamin D can help to lower our susceptibility to illnesses. Those with low levels have been found to experience higher rates of autoimmune diseases, colds, flus and other infections.3

Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is usually created in response to adequate sun exposure, but many of us are not getting nearly enough. It’s estimated that roughly 40% of North Americans5,6 could have low vitamin D levels. Unfortunately this means a greater chance of getting sick, especially in the winter months.

Where to get it:

  • Regular, adequate sun exposure
  • Oily fish (salmon, sardines, etc.)
  • Mushrooms
  • Dayli Sunshine Blend (100% of your Vitamin D Daily Value per serving)

Vitamin A

As one of the most widely studied nutrients in relation to immunity, Vitamin A has a long-standing reputation as a key player in the immune system. Vitamin A describes an entire group of compounds called retinoids. They support the function of several different immune cells, are needed for proper antibody production, and also help to maintain the health of membranes such as the skin and gut lining.4

Vitamin A deficiency continues to affect many people worldwide, and is associated with a higher risk of infections and mortality.4  Thankfully, it can be found in some common foods, so being mindful of dietary sources can help to make sure that you’re getting enough to fuel your immune system.

Where to get it:

B Vitamins

B vitamins are a group of nutrients that act as cofactors, meaning that they enhance many ongoing reactions in the body and allow them to occur more efficiently. Known for their effects on energy and hormonal balance, they have both direct and indirect influences on immune function as well.7

Like Vitamin C, B vitamins are water soluble and cannot be stored in the body, so it’s important to consume them regularly. This is especially crucial in times of increased stress or illness, when B vitamins are more likely to be depleted.

Where to get them:

Sunshine Blend Bundle
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References
 
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20accumulates%20in%20phagocytic,species%2C%20and%20ultimately%20microbial%20killing    
  2. https://nutritiondata.self.com/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/   
  4. https://cmr.asm.org/content/18/3/446  
  5. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm  
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6075634/  
  7. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010131444.htm

 

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