Vitamins And Minerals May Boost Immune Function

by : News Canada

(NC)-Many experts believe vitamins, especially antioxidant vitamins, help boost the disease-fighting powers of the immune system. Antioxidants are thought to help protect cells in the immune system from damage caused by environmental contaminants, cigarette smoke, radiation and normal wear and tear.

Following Canada's Food Guide is a great way to get a full compliment of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. The following are some specific nutrients that many researchers believe may help boost the immune system:

Vitamin E - Studies showed an improvement in immune function in healthy individuals who received vitamin E supplements ranging from 400 to 800 mg (IU) per day. Vitamin E is found in nuts, vegetable oil, corn, soya beans, wheat germ and whole grain cereals.

Vitamin C - Recent reviews suggest that vitamin C may reduce the duration of a cold, as well as the severity of its symptoms. The current recommended daily intake of vitamin C may be enough to prevent scurvy, but it might not be sufficient to support the immune response. Vitamin C is readily available in citrus fruits, green vegetables and potatoes.

Beta-Carotene - Some researchers believe beta-carotene helps to boost the immune system. Also, evidence suggests that diets rich in carotenoids, including beta-carotene, are associated with lowered risks of certain types of cancer.

Beta-carotene is found in yellow, red and orange fruits, as well as dark green vegetables.

Zinc & Selenium - The importance of adequate zinc intake has also been demonstrated in numerous studies. A survey of an elderly, low-income population indicated that inadequate zinc intake may be linked to abnormal immune function. A study conducted in 1999 revealed that trace supplementation of zinc and selenium was associated with reduced incidence of infectious disease in adults. Zinc and selenium are found in meat, poultry, whole grains and dairy products.

Canadians should consider taking a daily multivitamin like Centrum? Forte to acquire adequate amounts of these immune boosting nutrients. Multivitamins are formulated to complement a healthy diet and maintain a consistent level of nutrients required by the body. Their careful combination of ingredients provides optimal absorption and maximum benefits.