The Foundations of Immune Health: Part 5 – Appropriate Supplementation

Building the foundations of immune health is important in preventing illnesses. Over the past four weeks, we have discussed the foundations of…


This week we will be exploring our top vitamins and minerals for immune health.

When trying to figure out what supplements are right for you, it is important to take into consideration how much of the nutrient you are getting from your diet, which form will be best for your body, other symptoms and conditions and your current medications and supplements. Here are our top 3 immune supplements.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the best immune supporting vitamins available. The body can not make vitamin C. Our bodies rely on us to provide it with Vitamin C through diet and/or supplementation in order to function properly. If you do not provide your body with enough vitamin C you will get sick with something called scurvy. The role of vitamin C in the immune system is vast. It plays an important role in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Vitamin C plays a direct role in the immune system: it creates strong barriers to prevent infections, it helps with the destruction and elimination of invaders, and it increases antibody levels along with so many other actions that are important for immune function. Vitamin C rich foods include kiwi, oranges, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, tomato, snow peas, kale.

Note: it is hard to get medicinal doses from food. For example, a minimum dose is 1,000 mg and there is approximately 90 mg in an orange. As such, you would have to eat 11 oranges to get the minimum medicinal amount. This is why supplementation is often recommended.



The immune system needs zinc to function properly. In fact, the whole body needs zinc. Zinc plays an important role in over 300 different chemical reactions in the body. Zinc deficiency greatly impacts the ability of the immune system to work. It is needed for the growth and maturation of our immune cells. It is also needed to recognize and destroy foreign invaders and to build antibodies so your immune system can prevent it in the future. Our bodies can not make zinc so it is important to either get the required amount through diet or from supplementation. Zinc rich foods include oysters, beef, chicken, pork, tofu, hemp seeds, oatmeal, shitake mushrooms, green peas and spinach.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D is such an important mineral for your overall health. Our bodies produce this vitamin when UV rays hit the skin. Unfortunately, there are very few food sources that are high in vitamin D. Additionally, long cold winters, with less sunlight means that less skin is exposed to the sun for less time of the day, making many Canadians deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a major role in a healthy immune system. It is associated with increased production of antimicrobial peptides, fewer respiratory tract infections, influenza and autoimmune diseases. Our clinic offers vitamin D testing that determines your individual levels – this is important to do so you know if the dose of Vit D you are taking is enough (ie optimal range). Please call 587-521-3595 to set up an appointment or talk to your naturopathic doctor about this important test. 


Finding the right supplements and the right dosages often requires you to work with a naturopathic doctor. Book an appointment, to talk with a naturopathic doctor.






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