Health Freedom Resources
Essential Nutrition Building Blocks for Immune Health
Physical and emotional stresses raise the need for essential nutrients while depleting them faster. A good supply of Vitamin D, K, A, C, zinc and selenium will work together to create better immune response capability, and build healthy respiratory, gut, cardiovascular and bone tissues.
Vitamins A, D3 and K2 are essential to immune health and all are fat-soluble meaning they dissolve in fat rather than water. These vitamins are best absorbed when eaten with foods containing fat, or with a supplemental oil such as coconut oil or fish oil.
Vitamin D3 is often overlooked when it comes to its effects on the immune system. Most people may think they get adequate levels through exposure to sunlight or the amount of synthetic vitamin D1 added to fortified foods. It can be challenging to get enough of this vital nutrient from the sun due to factors like the not enough regular time spent outdoors, geographic location, and seasonal variations. Sun block lotions prevent absorption of sunrays. Also older people produce less vitamin D and darker-skinned individuals need more time in the sun to make enough Vitamin D. Showering immediately after spending time outside can also wash off skin oils that capture and convert sunrays. Due to numerous issues, over 40% of earth's people may be deficient in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 needs Vitamin K2 to help the body absorb calcium properly and deliver it to bones and teeth rather than into soft tissue like arteries, kidneys, brain and other organs, or joints. This vitamin duo works together to support the body in calcium utilization for bone, brain and cardiovascular health, and immune function. Vitamin K2 also acts as a cofactor for some proteins used in immune and inflammatory responses.
Vitamin A also plays a role alongside D and K in supporting immune and bone health. Vitamin A helps form and maintains healthy teeth, skeletal, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. It also helps support and maintain healthy vision, the normal function of the immune system and organs, and babies in the womb.
Vitamin C and Zinc are both well known for their ability to support the structural elements of tissue and the immune system, but many people are at risk for being deficient in them. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that the body needs replenished regularly. Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. It helps to heal wounds, and repair and maintain healthy bones, skin, teeth and cartilage. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body and promotes healthy aging. Vitamin C also plays a role in our energy levels too. Vegetarians may be especially interested to know that Vitamin C helps the body better absorb non-heme iron-the kind from plant foods such as beans, spinach and quinoa. Today foods often have transport and shelf times of weeks or months, during which time Vitamin C content may deteriorate by over half, so even "fresh" fruits and vegetables may not supply as much Vitamin C as our ancestors got from fresh garden and farm foods. Most people are deficient to some degree.
Zinc is a mineral well-known for its ability to support immune health. Zinc is essential for the function of over 300 enzymes in the human body and to normal cell division. Without zinc, the white blood cells in your body that fight off bacteria and viruses can't do their job properly. Zinc helps keep your immune system strong, helps heal wounds and keeps skin healthy, and it supports the normal growth and development of children.
A vegetarian diet, pregnancy or breastfeeding, gastrointestinal issues, stress, high blood sugar, kidney disease, taking immunosuppressant medications, smoking, and abusing alcohol can also increase the likelihood of zinc deficiency.
Selenium is a lesser known micronutrient but no less powerful in its ability to support immunity. It is a powerful antioxidant and an essential micronutrient required for DNA synthesis, fertility, production of thyroid hormones, maintenance of cognitive function and regulation of immune response. Considered a cornerstone of the body's antioxidant defense system, selenium can lower oxidative stress in the body, which helps to enhance immunity. Oysters, Brazil nuts and halibut are the best sources of selenium. Other foods containing lower amounts of selenium include sardines and other seafood, ham, turkey, beef, eggs. In plants, such as sunflower seeds and brown rice, the content of selenium depends on the soil. Food is a good way to get your selenium because too much of a good thing - over 400 mcg per day of seleniium, can be toxic.
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