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How to improve your immune system with vitamins amid COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSTON – There are a lot of reasons to believe vitamins can boost our immune system but there are warnings about overdoing it or mixing them with medications.

Vitamin C

One doctor in the hardest-hit area of the United States, New York, is giving coronavirus patients frequent doses of vitamin C and he said it’s helping.

The data to prove it won’t be available for months though.

Taking high doses of vitamins is not always good since professionals said there is such a thing as vitamin overdose, which can lead to damage, diarrhea, and hair loss.

While it might not be proven to protect you against coronavirus, getting vitamins as part of a healthy lifestyle is recommended, but nutritionists like Crystal Hadnott advise you to get them from food.

“I do believe that you can protect your immune system from being more susceptible to catching viruses,” Hadnott said.

Foods rich in vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers

Zinc

Zinc is also important since it does play a critical roll in cell function in your immune system.

Shellfish, eggs, nuts, and beans all have zinc.

Harvard Medical School said the only guaranteed information they know about nutrition and the immune system is that you need regular nourishment to stay healthy. There are no definitive human studies on vitamins and zinc.

Elderberry

Many of you swear a dose of elderberry a day keeps illness away. What you may not know is mixing it with prescription medications can have adverse effects.

“It does have benefits, it does elevate the immune system, it makes the system more active, but I told people active is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to certain people on different medications. So, you have to be cautious of that,” Hadnott warned.

Talk to your doctor before taking elderberry if you’re on steroids, autoimmune medications, chemotherapy, diabetes medications, and prescribed diuretics.

What is proven to improve your immune system immediately:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • And minimize stress.