Ask Our Wellness Consultant: Immune Support

We hope you have been making use of our online helpline, which we launched as part of our ongoing efforts to help you live life well in this trying time.

We'll be sharing helpful Q&As from emails sent to our online wellness consultant so that we call all live #WELLTogether.

QUESTION

My husband and I are at high risk for COVID-19, and a friend recommended that we use the following daily to support our immune systems: 

  • Vitamin D (high oral dose of 10,000-20,000IU per day)
  • Vitamin A (10,000-30,000IU per day)
  • Vitamin C (at least 1g every other hour for a total of 6g per day)
  • Zinc (30-50mgs per day, taken with food)
  • Oil of oregano and olive leaf extract (one or two per day) 

Can you advise on the efficacy of the above?

ANSWER

Thank you for your inquiry on how to support your immune system at this time.

You have all the correct vitamins and minerals on your list, but in quite extreme doses. If you have taken your supplements at those dosages for a few weeks, I would switch to maintenance doses (listed below) and only take the therapeutic dosages in the event that you fall ill. One thing that I would add would be a good probiotic – choose one with added prebiotics (these act as food for the healthy strains of bacteria that you are taking). I would recommend the Metagenics Ultraflora Synergy.

Maintenance doses:

  • Vitamin A: 10 000IU per day
  • Vitamin C: 2000mg per day
  • Vitamin D: 5000IU per day
  • Zinc: 8 to 23mg per day

You should also take note of the following:

  • Make sure you are taking your supplements in the form which is easiest for your body to absorb. For instance, a liposomal vitamin C stays in your body for longer so you might want to consider a different type of vitamin C supplement such as the Solgar Ester-C Plus, while zinc picolinate is more readily absorbed by the body than other forms. Also note that vitamin D3 is recommended over vitamin D2.
  • If you would like to continue using the olive leaf in the long term, consider taking it at the lowest recommended dosage. I would recommend that you limit the use of the oregano oil to times of illness, as it is a very powerful antimicrobial. You can safely consume lots of fresh garlic and ginger every day to boost immunity and safeguard against viruses.
  • Keep in mind that the fat-soluble vitamins A and D are stored in the body and can build up to toxic levels. Accordingly, we advise that you get regular blood tests to ensure that your levels remain safe. Food is always the preferred source of vitamins and minerals as you are unlikely to reach toxic levels of these compounds, unlike with supplements. Vitamins, minerals and chemicals all work together synergistically in whole foods and plants, so it is always a good idea to make sure your diet is as colourful, varied and unprocessed as possible.
  • It is important to take Vitamin K2 together with vitamin D as it helps to channel the calcium (which is mobilised by the Vitamin D) in the bloodstream into the bones and teeth where they belong. Otherwise, calcium could end up in your organs, heart and arteries where it could cause atherosclerosis. Vitamin K2 is easy to obtain from food sources such as fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir), grass-fed organic animal products (eggs, butter, dairy), and even certain cheeses (brie and gouda).

The very best advice that I can give you is to make sure that you are supporting your immunity with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Stay hydrated, and limit your intake of sugars and refined carbs as simple sugars are known to suppress the immune system. You should also try to engage in mild and enjoyable exercise that gets you outdoors in the sunshine. Additionally, try to manage any stress with mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises. 

Above all else, listen to your body, if you feel vibrantly healthy and happy, you are on the right track. If not, make changes until you find that sweet spot.

Look after yourself and keep in touch.