How to Boost Your Immune System

As we navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic, our immune system has never been more important and we should all be looking for ways to boost our immunity.

We have compiled a list of 5 essential and most promising supplements that are effective at treating viruses some of which are already being studied in the fight against COVID-19.

1. Quercetin

Trials on the effectiveness of Quercetin in treating COVID-19 are underway in China.

Quercetin is a potent phenolic antioxidant found in many fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants are key for keeping us young as they reduce the cell damage that continuously occurs due to pollution, toxins and normal metabolism. In addition, Quercetin is able to disrupt the viral penetration into our cells, reducing the viral load, the symptoms and the duration of the viral infection.

70% of your immune system resides in your gut, so looking after your gut is the obvious first step in bolstering your immune system. Quercetin is high in polyphenols, which are the type of food that your good bacteria love to eat, meaning the beneficial bacteria will multiply, and in turn, will improve your immune system.

Not only will Quercetin fight the virus, it will also looking after your gut and thereby indirectly boosting your immune system.

Start on a low dose and increase slowly. Therapeutic dose 1g 2-3/day. Maintenance 1g/day

However, if you are sensitive to wine, this supplement may not be the one for you, as it may cause the same symptoms in sensitive individuals such as sneezing and headaches if taken in high doses.

2. Green tea

We know that Green tea is anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants and has antiviral effects against diverse viruses. Drinking green tea will provide you with a level of antioxidants, but if you want to achieve a strong antiviral effect supplementation is necessary. When looking for green tea supplements, you should look at the level of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in the product, the higher the better.

Therapeutic dose: 1g 2-3/day. Maintenance 1g/day

3. Vitamin C

Intravenous vitamin C is already being deployed in China against COVID-19 patients and has had a great effect. We know that vitamin C can help reduce the severity of any flu or cold as well as reducing the symptoms of respiratory infections. Vitamin C is also high in antioxidants and has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Include vitamin C in your diet by eating these foods:

  • Kakadu plum contains a 100 times more vitamin C than an orange.
  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
  • Green and red peppers.
  • Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens.
  • Kiwi and orange, lemons, grapefruits
  • Guava, mango, honeydew
  • Parsley

Supplementing with vitamin C therapeutically: 1g 3-4/day. Maintenance 1g/day

4. Zinc

Zinc is crucial for growth, development and the maintenance of the immune system. Zinc has been used for a long time to fight various viruses and a deficiency of zinc can result in an increased risk of infection and disease, including pneumonia.

Therapeutic dose 20-25mg/day with food. Maintenance 10-15mg/day

5. Vitamin D

It is now clear that vitamin D is a huge player within the immune system as it can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to all kinds of infections.

Vitamin D is mainly made in the skin when the skin is exposed to the sun. Alternatively, you can supplement with vitamin D. It is important to make sure your vitamin D levels are more than adequate as research has shown that vitamin D can have a protective effect in terms of the frequency of viral infections.

The dose is dependent on your current vitamin D status, 1000iu-5000iu/day

Naturopaths and herbalists have access to many anti-viral herbs and nutrients however the ones we’ve outlined above are the most relevant at this moment in time. They are also relatively easy to find online or at the supermarket. Other good candidates to consider are garlic, Andrographis, astragalus, and echinacea.

As with all medicines and supplements natural or otherwise, please consult with experts before starting any supplement program.

Author: Pernille Jensen / The Gut Co. 

Pernille Jensen is a Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist with over 10 years of experience. Pernille has dedicated her life to researching gut issues, as she truly believes everything begins in the gut; disease as well as health. 

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References

https://www.mcgilltribune.com/sci-tech/montreal-researchers-propose-a-treatment-for-covid-19-170320/

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-feb-28-2020-1.5479561/as-coronavirus-spread-speeds-up-montreal-researchers-will-trial-an-anti-viral-treatment-for-covid-19-in-china-1.5480134

Inhibition of influenza virus replication by plant-derived isoquercetin. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/019021490927088

Binding interaction of quercetin-3-beta-galactoside and its synthetic derivatives with SARS-CoV 3CL(pro): structure-activity relationship studies reveal salient pharmacophore features https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17046271

Effect of quercetin supplementation on lung antioxidants after experimental influenza virus infection https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019982

Quercetin as an Antiviral Agent Inhibits Influenza A Virus (IAV) Entry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26712783

A Review of the Antiviral Role of Green Tea Catechins https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/22/8/1337

Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16373990

Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold https://www.cochrane.org/CD000980/ARI_vitamin-c-for-preventing-and-treating-the-common-cold

The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543583

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170330115246.htm

The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/10/4/696/5476413

Efficacy of zinc against common cold viruses: an overview. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15496046

Zinc: a new risk factor for pneumonia in the elderly? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854541/

Vitamin D and the Immune System https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

Immune system stimulation by probiotic microorganisms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24499072