Take Your Vitamins During Flu Season
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Flu season typically begins in early fall, which means now is the time to get prepared. Taking the right supplements will positively affect overall health, but are certain vitamins helpful when it comes to warding off the dreaded flu virus?
An overwhelming amount of products on the vitamin shelves claim to “support your immune system.” Pills and herbs of all types and formulations are available, but the truth is, very little science shows us if the effects of nutrition and nutritional supplements boost immunity enough to protect you from the flu. That being said, studies show nutritional changes have an effect on the immune system. The Harvard Medical School publication entitled “How to Boost Your Immune System” recommends that if you have an imperfect diet, as many Americans do, taking a daily multivitamin can help provide the nutrients the body requires to run smoothly. A daily multivitamin can enhance the overall health of not only your immune system, but many essential functions. Cooper Complete offers several scientifically grounded multivitamin options based on your needs and routine. Consistently taking a well-rounded daily multivitamin has proven to be more effective than taking megadoses of a single vitamin.
Clinical research shows that taking 1200 IU daily during the colder months significantly reduces the risk of developing seasonal flu by about 42% in school aged children as compared to a placebo. Several cross-sectional studies associate low vitamin D levels to increased infection especially upper respiratory infection and the flu. Cooper Clinic recommends a minimum of 2000 IU of vitamin D3 each day for adults. This is the amount found in all Cooper Complete multivitamins. Vitamin D levels vary based on their diet, sun exposure and absorption. A simple blood test will reveal if you need more than 2000 IU per day. An optimal level of vitamin D is between 30-100 ng/mL.
In general, vitamin D plays an important role in your immune system. Vitamin D is thought to strengthen the innate immune system – the part that can respond quickly to foreign invaders. Flu epidemics flourish in the winter when the population as a whole has dramatically lower vitamin D levels.
At the first sign of illness, many Americans reach for vitamin C supplements. It is the most popular vitamin in the United States, and therefore is available in all forms and flavors. In the 1960s, two-time Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling claimed that vitamin C could effectively treat both cancer and the common cold, but unfortunately, later research has almost completely discounted these claims. Several studies have found consistent use of vitamin C supplements may modestly reduce symptoms and duration of the common cold, however, the notion that it will help to consume additional vitamin C at the onset of illness is a myth as far as we know.
While Vitamin C may not conclusively prevent or cure the flu, it is an essential nutrient and a powerful antioxidant, and is required for the proper development and function of many body parts including bones, muscles and blood vessels. Our bodies do not manufacture vitamin C on their own and many Americans do not get the vitamin C they need. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s Second Nutrition Report, 15 million Americans have low serum C levels, which is why it is important to consume in your diet (fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources) and in your daily multivitamin.
In addition to taking the appropriate vitamins, don’t forget the other Steps to Get CooperizedTM. Several of Dr. Cooper’s 8 Healthy Steps have shown to bolster your immune system and therefore can help you have a healthier flu season. Regular, moderate intensity exercise, maintaining a healthy diet and getting the appropriate amount of sleep are all ways to help protect yourself against illness.
Lastly, don’t forget your flu shot! Dr. Emily Hebert, Platinum Physician for Cooper Clinic discusses the importance of the flu shot for overall health in this article. Not only will the flu shot help protect you against the unpleasant, aching illness, but it will also help protect the people around you – something especially important for young children and the elderly.
To learn more about the vitamins discussed in this article and the entire line of Cooper Complete supplements please visit www.coopercomplete.com or call 888.393.2221.
Article provided by Karen Perkins, Cooper Concepts Account Executive.