Q. Dear Terry, “I heard that vitamin D is really important for the immune system. I know I don’t get enough sunshine throughout the year, so I want to supplement with vitamin D. How much should I take?” – Cecile P., Ontario, Canada
A. Dear Cecile, Vitamin D is incredibly important to virtually every cellular process within our body. There is a lot of interesting research being published on vitamin D and its effects on the immune system, including antiviral activity.
When our skin is exposed to sunlight, there are certain cells that undergo changes and convert a special kind of cholesterol into usable vitamin D. There are many factors that can impact how efficient this process is: including age, latitude, cholesterol status, ethnicity, and many others.
While the recent increase of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin D is promising, I think the level may still be too low for most people to receive many of the therapeutic benefits of vitamin D. This is especially important for the people living in areas of the world where receiving vitamin D from the sun may not be available year-round, such as Ontario.
Personally, I think 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D per day is a much better amount for the maintenance of good health. I prefer to use vitamin D3, as cholecalciferol, because it is in the human form. There is also vitamin D2, as ergocalciferol, but this form is much less effective at raising vitamin D levels.
For additional immune support, there are many ingredients that can be taken daily to enhance our natural defenses. Andrographis is a very safe and effective ingredient for viral illnesses. I believe that taking andrographis once or twice daily would be an excellent choice. Look for an andrographis standardized to andrographolide content and does not have a bitter taste. Elderberry has been shown to prevent viral entry into the cells and decrease viral replication. For comprehensive immune support, elderberry can be taken with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and D, along with calcium, magnesium, zinc, and bioflavonoids. Lastly, propolis is a great antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral. Look for a propolis that filters out inactive resins and beeswax. For daily support you could take 200-400 mg of propolis.
Terry . . . Naturally
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