The last few years have been rough, and many people are worn down by nonstop stress and overwhelm. We’ve all heard that stress impacts our immune function, but how?
Aside from the impacts on sleep, relationships, food choices and fatigue, a major reason stress knocks out immune function is because our stress response relies on many of the same micronutrients required for a healthy immune response. This means that stress drains the nutrient “savings account” leaving the immune system “broke” when it comes time to fight infection.
This season we are facing RSV, the flu and new strains of COVID, with ill-prepared immune systems that have been protected and sheltered for the last three years. Now is the time to make sure your micronutrient stores are up to the task of warding off the bugs waiting to invade you.
This is what every stressed out person should have in their medicine cabinet to supplement a healthy whole food diet to sail through cold and flu season.
It may feel like we are stating the obvious, but Vitamin C is one of the most essential nutrients for immune function. Not only does vitamin C protect against invasion of microbes, but it’s required to make the cells that kill infections once they’ve made their way into your body. Stress tanks Vitamin C levels as it’s required for cortisol production. We recommend 1,000mg liposomal Vitamin C per day and if you start to feel run down, you can take alternating doses of 4,000mg liposomal and ascorbic acid every 2-3 hours to bowel tolerance (this means if you get diarrhea, you are getting a little more than you need). Vitamin C is water soluble so you will get rid of what you don’t need.
Magnesium is required for over 300 chemical reactions in the body ranging from neurotransmitter production to muscle relaxation. Turns out that chronic emotional stress decrease the amount of magnesium stored in the body which causes a viscous cycle of stress on the body. The ability for your body to respond to infection and manage allergies is also dependent on ample magnesium. Depleted stores means the immune system is running on empty.
The 8 water soluble B vitamins are critical for DNA synthesis, energy metabolism and hundreds of functions in the body. B vitamins are also critical for many different aspects of immune function. In addition, some people struggle to activate B vitamins making it harder to get enough from food, alone. Especially in times of stress, boosting your B’s will improve immune function and energy!
Vitamin D is critical for the innate immune response, the frontline defense against infections and low levels have been shown to increase risk of respiratory tract infections and other seasonal colds and flus. Low vitamin D levels are linked with increased risk of stress and psychological dysfunction and some research is now indicating that this fat soluble vitamin can also be depleted by long periods of stress.
Zinc is essential for healthy immune response but interestingly, zinc levels have found to be lower in those with high stress and anxiety. Research has shown that by supplementing with zinc, not only do symptoms of anxiety improve, but immune function is also restored.
Check out what Megan (and her whole family) take every day to keep their immune systems in fighting shape by clicking here.
Want to know exactly what your micronutrient levels are?
Intracellular micronutrient tests offer a 3-month overview of your nutrient status which allows you to customize your supplement routine to your exact needs. An upfront investment now can save you hundreds of dollars in unneeded supplements!