As we continue the fight against Covid-19, a pharmacist shares which research-proven supplements to take to boost your immune system
In partnership with Kordel’s
While face masks and regular hand-washing are now par for the course in this age of Covid-19, there are other steps that we can take to ensure we keep our immunity levels up, such as making sure we are getting an adequate amount of nutrients in our diet and supplementing the latter with vitamins.
When it comes to nutritional wellness boosting immunity, Kordel’s leads the way with its wide range of health-boosting supplements that are backed by the latest research on nutritional healing and disease prevention. We speak to Mr SL Ho, the leading pharmacist at Kordel’s, to demystify the information surrounding supplements on immunity boosting and find out which of them will be suitable for you and your family to take for better health.
Q: Vitamin C seems to be the most common option for supporting immune health. Is it safe to be taken at high dose and for long term? Will it cause any harm to my body as it is acidic?
A: Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most effective nutrients that provide protection against immune deficiency. For an adult, taking 2g a day is unlikely to cause any harm. For those who are at high risk of contracting Covid-19, it is safe to take 2-8g a day for the short term. However, those with a history of kidney stones or kidney disease need to avoid such high doses of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and it is expelled from the body via urine. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid does not harm your body even though it is acidic in nature. Your body can handle a large amount of ascorbic acid. In fact, stomach acid is much stronger than ascorbic acid and your body is able to neutralise it easily. Furthermore, your blood and cells have a buffering system to maintain your body’s pH balance.
Q: There are so many types of vitamin C in the pharmacies. How do I know which one is suitable for me and my family?
A: With the current development in pharmaceutical technology, vitamin C now comes in different dosage forms and formulations to suit different needs. People with sensitive stomachs should look out for vitamin C that has low acid and doesn’t cause irritation to the stomach. For people with kidney problems or kidney stones, a vitamin C formula in the ester form is the best choice. It protects the body 24 hourly and at the same time, doesn’t cause formation of kidney stones. The 24 hourly protection is also an excellent formula for people with low immunity. Finally, to get a boost of vitamin C to ward off early signs of cold and flu, vitamin C plus zinc in effervescent form is your best choice, as you can enjoy the different flavours – orange or passionfruit. These soluble, effervescent supplements offer a more efficient delivery system for effective nutrient absorption. Compared to traditional solid supplements, effervescent supplements travel more efficiently through the gastrointestinal tract and their absorption is less likely to be hampered by food or other chemicals.
Q: Is taking a lot of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C sufficient to prevent me from getting sick?
A: Unless you are taking the recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, you may need to take a dietary supplement of vitamin C to gain all its immunity benefits. It is not practical for most people to consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables consistently. Taking a once or twice daily supplement is safe, effective and more convenient to meet your nutrition needs. While it is still best to get your nutrients from the food you eat, very often, a busy lifestyle leads to dietary habits that prioritise convenience over nutrition. That means you may not be getting the adequate vitamins your body needs to function properly. Furthermore, because of soil depletion, the fruits and vegetables grown these days have lower nutritional value as compared to those grown decades ago. Thus, we need supplements to make up for the nutrition that may be lacking in our diet.
Q: My child is going to school now. Is there any other immune supplement that is suitable for him, to prevent him from falling sick easily?
A: Yes, you should be giving your children vitamin C, especially if he or she is a picky eater. At Kordel’s, we offer vitamin C 250mg + bioflavonoids in chewable tablets for children as young as one year old. You can also give your children BeWell lozenges if they are old enough to suck on lozenges without any risk of choking. BeWell contains a unique beta glucan called Wellmune® that works by training the immune cells to be alert at all times to fight any invading pathogens.
Q: I am worried about falling sick, especially during the age of Covid-19. Besides Vitamin C, what sort of vitamins should I be taking to boost my immunity?
A: There are a few types of supplements you can take to boost your immunity. Kordel’s BeWell, a 1,3-1,6 beta glucan, “trains” your white blood cells to react more quickly when pathogens are detected. It is presented in a convenient peppermint drop, and is made with a patented ingredient, Wellmune®, which is clinically proven to enhance the immune system. It helps relieve symptoms of the common cold such as cough, sneezing and running nose.
Another good supplement to take is vitamin D, which helps strengthen the lungs’ immunity against infections. A recent article in The Conversation points out that in order for the immune system to ward off infections and generate good protection against a disease following vaccination, it needs a variety of micronutrients. Among them are vitamin D. Individuals who had vitamin D deficiency were less protected against flu despite being vaccinated as compared to those with sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Q: I have heard a lot lately about Vitamin D3 for immunity, especially for the elderly and people who have other diseases. Why is it so important?
A: Vitamin D is your body’s natural antibiotic booster, but most people get only 10% of their nutritional requirement for vitamin D from their diet. It is important for the elderly to have a healthy level of vitamin D to strengthen their muscles and bones, regulate their immune functions and improve their brain functions, fatigue and digestive issues. Because the elderly spend majority of their time indoors, they tend to have minimal exposure to natural sunlight. Furthermore, as their skin thins with age, production of vitamin D becomes less efficient. For those who have pre-existing medical conditions, they need even more vitamin D to reduce the violent inflammatory response of the immune system. When taking vitamin D, you will need vitamin K2 as well. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium in the body but this may lead to calcium deposits in the blood vessels and soft tissue. Vitamin K2 is the essential nutrient to guide absorbed calcium to the bones, thus preventing calcium deposits in the soft tissues.
For more information on Kordel’s range of immunity supplements, click here.