Immune Support Supplements for Weathering Winter
Throughout my sixteen years as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), I’ve had a lot of experience using and recommending supplements, navigating ingredients, and finding products that are effective. These days I offer that insight (plus a 20% discount) to all Fullscript clients simply for signing up and creating a free account.
I realize that it can be overwhelming to navigate supplementation as a busy consumer. Yet high quality supplementation is as important as ever in today’s society.
Our food is not as clean or as nutrient rich as it once was, nor is the environment in which we live. You wouldn’t believe how many well-fed Americans are walking around with nutrient deficiencies resulting in a myriad of symptoms! For these reasons and more, it’s no longer enough to simply rely on diet alone to meet nutritional needs. While you want to equip your body with ample nutrients to combat colds, flu and COVID - the ultimate ideal is to thrive!
As the holidays approach, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite immune supporting micronutrients to complement a healthy lifestyle. These suggestions are meant to be used in combination with plenty of sleep, regular stress management and meditation, frequent exercise (both cardio and weight bearing), plenty of fluids (like water, herbal tea, or green juice) and a high nutrient, plant-based diet.
If you take one supplement, implement a high quality Multivitamin (MVI) and mineral complex. I’ve been using and recommending Klaire Labs Vitaspectrum multivitamin mineral complex for years. It is the most comprehensive, well-tolerated, and cost-effective MVI I’ve found to date. It really is hard to pack this many nutrients into a reasonably sized capsule while including minerals like Selenium, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and improves immunity. I love Klaire Labs VitaSpectrum for it’s ability to provide a wide variety of micronutrients in hypoallergenic capsules.
In addition to a broad spectrum MVI and mineral supplement, if your budget allows, I recommend optimizing your intake with a few of these options:
Zinc Picolinate - When taken with a MVI, this daily dose will help to treat and prevent an underlying zinc deficiency. Zinc is important for supporting enzyme function and the immune system. Existing within cells, zinc aids the immune system by helping to ward off bacteria and viruses. Be sure to consume your zinc supplement with protein, or albumin, a zinc transporter that aids the nutrient into the cell. Aim for 50 mg daily for acute needs and decrease to 25 mg daily for long-term maintenance. Zinc Picolinate tends to be the better absorbed form, which is one reason why I like Douglas Lab’s Zinc Picolinate.
Synergy K - Includes K1, K2 and Vitamin D3 for optimal bone and immune support. Vitamin D activates B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells to help regulate the immune system and ease inflammation. Aim for 2,000 IU of D3 per day if your blood levels are between 50-75 ng/ml. Aim for 2,000-4,000 IU per day if your blood levels are 35-50 ng/ml. Aim for 5,000 IU per day if your blood levels are less than 35 ng/ml. Preliminary research suggests that people with lower levels of vitamin D have a greater chance of testing positive for COVID-19. I like Pure Encapsulation’s Synergy K or D3 Synergy by Designs for Health if you prefer a liquid form.
Vitamin A - Increases the activity of immune system cells by producing mucous membranes that help to trap infections, it was even coined “the anti-infective vitamin.” Aim for 1500 mcg per day for adults. I like Pure Encapsulation’s Vitamin A with carotenoids for enhanced eye support.
Vitamin E - A potent antioxidant found in high amounts within immune cells in order to help modulate the immune cells by prompting T-cell activation and proliferation. According to The Linus Pauling Institute, "It is estimated that more than 90% of Americans adults do not meet the estimated average requirement (EAR) of 12 mg/day of α-tocopherol. Aim for closer to 300 mg day, but do not exceed 1,000 mg/day due to Vitamin E's ability to thin the blood. I like Pure Encapsulation’s Vitamin E.
Quercetin with Vitamin C - This is a synergistic formula that combines Vitamin C with citrus bioflavonoids and quercetin. As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C supports healthy immune system responses. Flavonoids are beneficial for respiratory health and the body’s cytokine response. Each of these ingredients are powerful on their own, but when combined provide additional support for the immune system. Aim for 1,500 mg of Vitamin C daily unless you’re prone to kidney stone formation - then keep it to less than 1,000 mg per day. I like Integrative Therapeutics Vitamin C with Quercetin.
DHA - Take at least 500 - 2,000 mg per day to help enhance B-cell activation, pathogen clearance and reducing the immune system’s inflammatory response in addition to many brain benefits. I like Protocol for Life’s DHA-500.
Immune-Enhancing Herbs - Vitannica’s Immune Symmetry provides additional immune supportive vitamins and herbs for preventing and warding off winter illnesses. This product can also be used to support the immune system through an acute infection, like a cold or the flu. If you’re looking for a simpler herbal product, try Vitannica’s Immune Tonic consisting of the well researched Elderberry and Echinacea plants for supporting a healthy immune system.
All of the above items can be ordered for a discount on Fullscript here, or by clicking on my ‘Store’ and creating an account.
If you’re looking for assistance, please email me with your top priorities and your budget. I will then use the Fullscript platform to create an email with one-click recommendations sent directly to you.
To begin, simply email me at Lis@LisRodriguez.com with the above information!