Winter Immunity (Part 2): Important micronutrients
Last edition we looked at the importance of helping our immune responses to defend against viruses, bacteria and other infections as we move into our winter months. Specifically we looked at the critical importance of Vitamin D. You should re-read that edition before reading this.
Our internal world
We should take all the personal hygiene advice offered by health authorities. My focus here is more on your internal world, especially the health of your immune system. Our focus here is not trying to ‘boost’ our immunity but to help our immune system to be better organised. Most people have a perfectly good immune system. The problem is that it is not activated properly. You can have a perfectly good car engine but it will count for little if the computer governing your engine is not working well. The first and most important part of prevention is vitamin D.
Trace minerals are essential for immunity
Trace minerals, especially selenium, zinc, copper and manganese are critical for our immune system. In an excellent paper by Melinda Beck https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK230971/, she summarises the importance of trace minerals and immunity: “A number of trace elements have been shown to be important for adequate functioning of the immune system, including copper, zinc, and selenium. Both deficiencies and luxus [optimum] levels of trace elements can influence various parameters of the immune system, such as antibody responses, cell-mediated immunity, and natural killer (NK) cell activity.”
The basic principles of trace minerals (and other important micronutrients including vitamins C, D and E) are that inadequate micronutrients intake result in poor immune responses causing increased susceptibility to infections (such as viruses) leading to preventable illnesses. This could be one possible explanation as to why many people with Covid 19 have few symptoms. It just may be that their immune systems are better equipped.
Micronutrients offer both improved protection against viral and other inflections but they may do even more. Melinda Beck also found that high levels of micronutrients not only improved our immune system protection against viruses they also worked against the viruses making them less effective as they try and attack and invade our cells.
How do trace minerals help immunity?
Our bodies manufacture potent antioxidant enzymes from trace minerals. Selenium is needed to make glutathione peroxidase while zinc, copper and manganese are required to make superoxide dismutase. These potent antioxidants are our first and main defences against free radicals.
When our immune system is actively fighting a viral infection there is a massive increase in free radicals (oxidative stress). Researchers have found that low levels of selenium and therefore glutathione reduces immune function by poorly modulating inflammatory cytokine production, allowing viruses to gain a stronger foothold by reducing antibody production.
Most people in NZ have low selenium (half recommended levels) and have generally insufficient zinc and other trace elements. The biggest challenge with trace minerals is they come directly from soil. If soils are deficient so will the plants and animals it supports. Supplementation is the only guaranteed way to ensure your trace mineral intake.
Cell-X is a comprehensive multi-mineral/multi-vitamin and multi-antioxidant. It has three mineral components. Firstly it has all the important trace minerals. These are selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, boron, iron, vanadium, chromium, molybdenum, silica and iodine. All except the last two are chelated, meaning they are bonded to amino acids for superior absorption in our small intestines. These are essential for life and affect every cell in our body including immune responses.
Cell-X also has a major mineral complex with chelated calcium, magnesium and potassium. It would take a text book to explain all these do suffice to say that they are absolutely essential for life. The third mineral complex is an ancient salt derived ultra-trace mineral complex.
Cell-X is also a complete multi-vitamin with a full B complex, a significant amount of natural vitamin E, with vitamins D and C. Cell-X then is a complete antioxidant with most antioxidant groups represented.
The normal maintenance dose is 2 capsules daily but I recommend initially starting with 4 capsules daily. Some people, especially those with compromised immunity, should stay on 4 daily.
Consider adding Vitamin C
Even inexpensive ascorbic acid is fine. It is worth remembering that vitamin C in fruit and vegetables is ascorbic acid and is readily absorbed! Something like 500 -1000mg a day is fine. Those with respiratory problems like asthma should take higher doses and make sure your supplement programme includes bioflavonoids like Quercetin and Hesperidin. I particularly like the Clinicians ‘Super Family C’ powder. You make it into a drink and sip throughout the day top keep you topped up. We usually stock this.
What if you do become sick?
Other than normal precautions I would consider adding these supplements: