This is not just a list of vitamins and minerals to take because their immune-boosting no this is about a chain reaction that occurs with each and every vital nutrient mineral along that process okay you require one mineral for the function of another vitamin and vice versa and then they get depleted so anyhow you have to understand this root cause of your immune system you have to understand it and we’re gonna break it down very simply with four very critical vitamins and minerals that are all involved for each other.
Okay let’s start with vitamin C which has been quite honestly talked about a lot right now so I won’t spend a ton of time on it but I’ll give you the basic gist of it our immune cells have little pumps on the membrane on the outside of it that pump in vitamin C when we are in need our immune cells don’t use vitamin C unless they get called upon unless they get activated and when they do get activated boy do they get activated because they can absorb a hundred times the vitamin C content that’s in our blood plasma level so they just soak up all that vitamin C like crazy.
That’s why when you get sick or when you’re stressed out your vitamin C levels in your blood plummet because your immune cells just soak them up immediately, so basically like a fuel for your immune cells now we have to remember to are the more ferocious the specific immune cell the more vitamin C it needs for example if you have a cell that’s right on the front lines that are designed to go neutralize an attacker it’s going to use more vitamin C it’s more powerful it’s a bigger monster so it takes in more vitamin C right that’s the interesting thing and so if it’s a more powerful virus your body’s gonna demand.
More vitamin C it’s plain and simple so when you’re stressed or when you’re tired or immunocompromised your cells are requiring a little bit more vitamin C so that’s why it’s more important to take a decent amount of it I usually recommend that you kind of use your guidelines there personally I take anywhere north of 5,000 milligrams per day but that’s just me now what’s really important to know is that vitamin C fuels your immune cells but your immune cells are useless without vitamin D.
This is where you have to pay close attention to vitamin D is what mobilizes our immune cells. I want you to think of this for one second the immune cells travel through the bloodstream they identify a pathogen let’s say they see a virus so they see the virus and then they stick out a little antenna and then the antenna is a vitamin D receptor so it’s kind of like this the reconnaissance soldier goes out he finds an enemy and then he hides behind a rock and pops open his little comm unit and he calls in for backup via vitamin D.
But if you don’t have vitamin D nothing ever gets activated he’s not able to reach the immune system so this happens a lot if we’re deficient in vitamin D whereas the immune system begins to notify that there’s an attacker but there’s no vitamin D to actually complete the signal so without vitamin D immune cells remain naive they never truly mobilize so at that point what good is vitamin C.
If vitamin C only fuels immune cells that are mobilized really without vitamin D vitamin C is kind of useless and then it gets even more complicated vitamin C is needed for vitamin D conversion and there’s a study that was published in the journal Nutrition that found this to be pretty darn interesting they found that vitamin C influences enzyme known as 125 D3 hydroxylases this is the enzyme that converts.
Vitamin D into its usable form so without vitamin C we don’t have the enzyme that allows vitamin D to be utilized in its actual active form holy cow.
So it took 10 subjects and they identified that their serum levels of vitamin D3 went up quite significantly if they took in vitamin C how about them apples so vitamin C is required for vitamin D and then vitamin D is required to mobilize the immune system and then the immune system needs vitamin C again so you see how they kind of work together right.
So vitamin C isn’t worth the orange that you’re getting it out of without vitamin D but now things get even crazier okay so we know vitamin C is important we know that we need to make sure we’re getting vitamin D but to convert vitamin D once again and metabolize it.
We need magnesium when we convert vitamin D we deplete our magnesium stores and guess what we’re already depleted in magnesium a large percentage of people at least in the Western world are very very depleted in magnesium because our soil is depleted in it it’s involved in 400 different enzymatic processes it is a cofactor for so many things.
The converting enzymes just can’t do their job without magnesium so magnesium is drained and used up when we’re converting vitamin D however it’s required for vitamin D, so you see the problem here right so we need magnesium then we need vitamin D then we need vitamin C and it’s all this chain reaction, in fact, it’s kind of funny when you look at some patients that are given vitamin D via their doctors right they tell them to take two items in D and then they measure their blood levels they find their vitamin D never went up well what’s happening there they’re taking a vitamin D supplement but their vitamin D levels aren’t rising because they’re deficient in magnesium.
So the vitamin D they’re taking in is it doing diddly squat because it doesn’t have the cofactor to actually allow the enzymes to be there to allow that vitamin D become usable we need magnesium as the underlying mineral for all of this to happen for our immune system to truly work I usually recommend probably between 4 and 800 milligrams of magnesium per day.
I’ll go ahead and put a link down below to my favorite magnesium as well the next piece we have to talk about operates kind of parallel which is zinc we know that zinc is important for the immune system but a lot of us don’t know why it’s not that it helps the immune system per se it’s that it keeps the immune system and inflammation kind of in check so Ohio State did some interesting stuff and this is where we all kind of got this information so what it looks like is when you get sick you have inflammation that occurs well inflammation signals the expression at a genetic level of a zinc transporter.
If that doesn’t prove that we need zinc when we’re sick, I don’t know what does now we have a natural genetic process to automatically create a zinc transport, the moment that our body recognizes sickness or inflammation, so it’s the job of that zinc transporter to bring the sink into the cell to help control the inflammation, a little bit more a lot of the issues that we face when we’re sick are just both quite honestly collateral damage from inflammation we get sick we have inflammation that comes in and causes a big problem, and in the collateral damage from the inflammation causes a bigger problem ie things like pneumonia things like that right that’s a big problem well zinc somehow interferes with what’s called nuclear factor Kappa B.
It interferes with the process so we don’t have too much inflammation so the inflammation is Corral to where it should be and doesn’t go crazy running through our body causing other secondary issues and potential co-infections it’s pretty cool stuff.
Zinc is much more powerful than we think so between those four we’ve got the perfect little harmony now as an added side note and I’ll just mention this for second B vitamins like B6 and B12 are also very very very important primarily because they build antibodies so don’t neglect your B vitamins but quite frankly unless you’re poor with your diet you’re probably still getting B vitamins in and probably not much of a need to supplement with them so vitamin C vitamin D magnesium and zinc that is how you bolster and support your inherent immune system.
Rebecca Marie, MA, LMHC, LPC, MAA is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is an expert in anxiety, stress, depression, and relationship issues.