Bolster your immunity
A question raised often in the COVID-19 pandemic is what role nutrition and food supplements fulfil in supporting the immune system. Can what an individual puts into their mouth really alter the chances of contracting COVID, or reduce the likely impact of the disease should they become infected? The empirical evidence, as with all things COVID, is lacking. However, early data on some key nutrients suggests very strongly that a healthy varied diet and optimal nutrient availability could be valuable area of focus in this testing time.
It is well understood that vitamins play a crucial role in helping our immune system function normally. We know specific vitamins have been identified to protect against infection and fight disease. Vitamins A, C, E, and B6 all support healthy, normal immune responses to invaders like viruses, as do minerals like folic acid, zinc, selenium, iron, and copper.
To understand the role and potential role of each vitamin in our underlying immune system is beyond scope of this article. However, data is already emerging around vitamin D levels and improved patient outcomes in COVID. Alongside optimising Vitamin D, it would be entirely logical to focus on zinc and Vitamin C as the two most evidence-based nutrients supporting immunity.
Zinc and Vitamin C nutritional supplements
Deficiencies of these nutrients can leave us more susceptible to infections or less able to shake off illness. After years of diagnostic testing in Harley St and beyond, Viavi have always been convinced of the role our food and diet have in enhancing our underlying physiology, making tangible differences to how we feel and function. Regular readers of our content will also know we understand the distinction between eating well and being well nourished. With up to 85% less nutrients in our food compared to 60 years ago the case for supplementing key nutrients and minerals has never been more compelling.
Diet and improving immunity
The question of supplementation must be weighed up in the context of an individual’s overall commitment to a nourishing and varied diet. Ideally optimal levels of nutrients come through our food. However, our experience with testing nutrient levels in even the most diligent healthy eaters has left us unconvinced achieving optimal vitamin levels is consistently possible in a normal, busy, working population.
Our own Viavi client data shows the nutrient values of a ‘normal population’ already interested in looking after their health.
- 60% of clients had abnormally low Vitamin D
- 74% had sub-optimal Magnesium
- 91% had sub-optimal diversity of gut bacteria
- 98% had Omega 3 levels below those required for anti-inflammatory benefits.
Bolstering immunity during the pandemic
Our clinical strategy during COVID has strongly focussed on reducing inflammation and in particular supporting gut health to mediate our internal immune response. This means alongside optimising levels of Vitamin D, Vitamin C and zinc, we have been using fish oils and probiotics proactively as key areas of focus for our clients.
However, beware! Not all supplements are equal!
Unbeknown to many people and practitioners, most of the supplements on the shelves that call themselves ‘natural’ are presented to the body in a chemical form known as a ‘chemical isolate’. Many of the vitamins in “natural” supplements are petroleum extracts, coal tar derivatives and chemically processed sugars with other acids and industrial chemicals (such as formaldehyde) used to process them.
In natural foods (plants & animals) vitamins never exist in an isolated or “free state”. They are bound in a food matrix with co-factor attachments. Rather than being isolated nutrients, they are delivered to the body within a ‘food matrix’, providing nutrients in the form that is found in nature. This allows for optimal absorption by the body, much more so than many synthetically produced, so-called ‘natural’ supplements or non-food state supplements.
Real Food natural supplements
At Viavi we have introduced our own range of food- state supplements. These are, quite simply, whole food without the bulk. Our vitamins & minerals are truly natural supplements, made using high quality whole foods, giving your body the sort of nutrients our ancestors had…the way nature intended.
Made from real food, the absorption & utilisation of the Viavi supplements give you nearly 100% of the active food nutrients. Our truly natural supplements are whole foods, not chemicals. They are made from foods such as alfalfa sprouts, carrots, corn, grapefruit, lemons, limes, nutritional yeast, oranges, rice bran, soy beans & tangerines.
The improved response rate and tolerance rate resulting from food state nutrient enables a considerable reduction in the level of intake and without the potential risk of high dose chemical supplements and make them a key part of the Viavi:be approach to nourishment and living life well.
If there was ever a time for supporting your immune system through optimal nourishment, this is it! Do speak to one of the Viavi team if you are keen to explore the use of food state supplements as part of your defence strategy. Keep well!