Can Vitamin D Supplements Help Immune System During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

For decades, Vitamin D3 has been one of the most consumed supplements for strong bones and teeth.  Many of us also take it for another beneficial function which is to help support a healthy immune system because we were educated that Vitamin D3 can play a major role in healthy cell development. 

It is understandable that people who turn to vitamin D3 for regular intakes could be the fact that they are dealing with a health issue, nutrient deficiency.  And nutrient deficiency is a serious health issue in the United States as well as worldwide. The 2010 NHANES study found at least 75% of the U.S. adult population was vitamin D deficient.  

On the other hand, there is a quite number of the population experiencing magnesium deficiency, which has an impact on vitamin D levels too. Therefore, in terms of the deficiency, appropriate portions of Vitamin D3 can work the magic in the body.

The same token can be applied to all vitamins and minerals.  Any individual who cannot intake enough of them via diets such as salmon fish, crimini mushrooms (exposed to UV light), eggs, dairy, etc.; or one is fighting germs, one needs zinc or selenium or other minerals, but one would not want to get too much. There is no scientific way for any experts to suggest the correct number of vitamins and minerals that we need to take daily due to the complexity of our immune system, particularly when we diligently pursue a balanced diet.

What Does the Immune System Do?

Our immune system goes to work in response to wounds and injuries, or when it recognizes germs and attacks. The system involves cooperation between cells and immune cells. Basically, when non-immune cells call for help, the immune system cells get to work.

The immune system is responsible for many important functions, such as defending against pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria. In addition, it removes old blood cells and tissue debris, resulting from injury or disease. It also destroys mutant cells and rejects foreign cells.

When the coronavirus attacks an individual, it utilizes its crown-shaped spike protein to penetrate a cell then replicate the virus.  The cell could alert the immune system for some help but the severity of this virus these SOS signals according to experts.

The Coronavirus Pandemic

In order to avoid the possible spread or transfer of this unprecedented and deadly coronavirus, and under the circumstance of lacking a comprehensive national plan, many countries around the world chose to lockdown.  The negative impacts of this mandate lockdown go far beyond shaking up the world’s economy.  The stress of isolation, burnout, mental illness, overeating, zoom meeting syndrome, insomnia, to name a few issues. 

However, what was on people’s minds the most is how to boost the immune system.  Taking more vitamin D3 and Zinc may be good to meet the body’s increased demand when ill, but they do not make a good regular immune system support. Furthermore, overtaking them could lead to harm.

That’s exactly where natural herbs come in – especially the herbs that support the immune system. Herbs meet the demand the diet cannot provide us.

Herbs Can Offer Complete Support for the Immune System

Herbs can offer support for our immune system. Take astragalus for example. As noted above, it has beta-glucans, a polysaccharide with immune-support properties. It also has saponins that have cytotoxic properties, flavonoids that typically offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as amino acids, trace minerals, and coumarins.

Do you know that most herbs provide a variety of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, detox, and immune-boosting or modulating effects? Plus, herbs can be combined with other herbs due to the relevance and practicality and strive to achieve the perfect combination of systematisms, scientificness, and integrity.  Early Chinese Herbal Medicine texts like “Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic” document not only herbs, but combinations of herbs to enhance their effect.

Nature-based herbs and mixed herbs with appropriate ratios can boost the physiological functions of our organs. Some herbs like Milk Thistle and Ganoderma offer a lot of support for the immune system on their own.  The Milk Thistle also has possibly antifibrotic and anti-inflammatory or immunomodulating effects. They can also be combined to provide complete support or possible boost the immune system such as Nafliva Chocolate.

Thus, there are benefits of taking herbs and proportionate vitamins and minerals for different purposes.

Lastly, this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease; it is for informational purposes only so make sure to consult with your physician and pharmacist before starting any new medications, medical food, or supplements.

 

Work Cited: Daisy Whitbread, BSc (hons) MSc, DipION. Top Ten High Vitamin D Food. Adams JS, Hewison M. Update in Vitamin D. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2010;95(2):471-478. doi:10.1210/jc.2009-1773. Anne Marie Uwitonze, Mohammed S. Razzaque. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 2018; 118 (3): 181 DOI: 10.7556/jaoa.2018.037. How the coronavirus attacks (nationalgeographic.com) Chen SM1, et al. Astragalus membranaceus modulates Th1/2 immune balance and activates PPARγ in a murine asthma model. Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Oct;92(5):397-405. doi: 10.1139/bcb-2014-0008. Epub 2014 Sep 2 Hong F, Xiao W, Ragupathi G, et al. The Known Immunologically Active Components of Astragalus Account for Only a Small Proportion of the Immunological Adjuvant Activity When Combined with Conjugate VaccinesPlanta medica. 2011;77(8):817-824. doi:10.1055/s-0030-1250574.

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