Your guide to immune health supplements
Sally Foran, beauty expert & skin consultant shares her insight & experience on immune health supplements with McCauley, from her own personal experience to her days working in a pharmacy.
I get asked a lot about the best supplements to help support your immune system, especially at this time of year. I first started taking the below supplements after learning all about their many benefits during training, while working in pharmacy, and I haven’t looked back, after experiencing many positive benefits. I never picked up any of the usual tummy bugs that go around, despite coming into contact with many people who had. I used to get a twice yearly head cold. I haven’t had one since I started taking all of the below (bar when I got very rundown in November) I was doing a lot of travelling, attending events, burning the candle at both ends, not eating great and because I was so busy, I didn’t take my supplements for a couple of weeks. Not only did I get a cold, which I am still struggling to get rid of, I also got a tummy bug! Well safe to say lesson learned, I’m back taking them religiously and will never not take them again!
In a perfect world, we would not need to take any supplements, but with stressful lifestyles, increasing pollution levels, antibiotic consumption & rising insomnia, we may need to supplement, but as always please consult your GP or pharmacist before taking any supplements. We encourage our customers to come into your local McCauley as our expert team are always happy to help, offer advice & support your journey.
Vitamin C – contributes to making immune cells stronger, supports the immune system identify & attack invaders & is both anti viral & anti bacterial. A report by the Cochrane collaboration in 2017, found that high daily doses of 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, may shorten the length of colds & flu by 8%! As you’d need to eat 18 oranges to get the same dose, supplementation is needed. Liposomal vitamin C supplements have the best absorption.
Vitamin D– is known to inhibit cold viruses & there’s good evidence that taking a standard Vitamin D, 10 micrograms daily, may improve our protection against respiratory infection. Some studies have also found that the majority of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 were deficient in vitamin D, which isn’t surprising as it’s estimated that 70% of us are deficient, due to lack of sunlight here as vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on the skin. It’s also important to take a vitamin D supplement because it’s not found in many foods either. Women going through the menopause should ensure that they take vitamin K alongside vitamin D.
Probiotics – 80% of our immune system is in our gut, so looking after our good microbes is vital for a healthy immune system. Also, did you know, that it takes your gut one whole year to replace the beneficial bacteria that is destroyed after just one course of antibiotics!
When working in pharmacy, I would never let anybody leave with an antibiotic prescription, without taking some probiotics with them, and many came back to tell me that they saw the benefits of this!
They didn’t get the usual side-effects of thrush and they didn’t pick up a secondary infection. This is because antibiotics don’t just kill the bad bacteria, they also kill the good, leaving you more susceptible to picking up another infection. It’s also estimated that we only have about 50% of the beneficial bacteria we need by the time we reach middle-age. We are all born with the beneficial bacteria we need, but rising C-sections ( babies pick up healthy bacteria while passing through the birth canal) and low breastfeeding rates (mothers milk contains lots of naturally occurring strains which is why breastfed infants are less susceptible to picking up illnesses) have given rise to these decreased numbers.
Various strains of live bacteria also speed up recovery from infections & also slash the number of colds you catch ( & of course help prevent infections in the first place if taken regularly) Choose a broad spectrum one, & look for a strain number under the species which guarantees a certain level of efficacy & that it has been proven to arrive alive in the gut. Eating fibre rich foods also helps good bacteria levels grow, these are called prebiotics. Fermented foods will also help.
Zinc – has also been found to help boost the immune system by reducing a colds duration & strong doses can increase the rate of recovery. Again it can be hard to get the full rda from diet and its best taken with copper, as they work synergistically.
Selenium – a recent study in the American Journal of Nutrition found that areas in China with high levels of selenium in the soil, were more likely to recover from colds. A lot of soils these days are found to be deficient in selenium, making a selenium supplement a wise idea.
Of course, getting adequate sleep, fresh air, rest, exercise and eating a healthy diet also goes without saying!
Come into your local McCauley for expert advice from our trained team who are always happy to help, offer advice & support
you on your journey. Find your local McCauley here
Written by Beauty Expert & Skincare Consultant Sally Foran @irishbeautyfairy