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Two more immune system fighters for good health

vitamin cLast week’s article on immune health highlighted zinc and selenium as essential nutrients for overall good health and support for our very active immune systems. Since supplementing with 30 milligrams of zinc, my itchiness and rash have begun to heal. I did visit with a dermatologist so I recommend anyone with skin challenges, dry skin, or rashes to first check with the skin pros and talk about increasing zinc until healing is complete.

Vitamin E and  are two other essential nutrients working in support of the immune system. Vitamin E along with Vitamin C and selenium provide powerful resistance against infections and helps to reduce damage by pathogenic free radicals – those invading rascals that cause cellular damage raising the inflammatory responses in the body. Vitamin E is also an essential nutrient for cardiovascular health, diabetes, cancer, skin disorders, arthritis, PMS, menopausal symptoms, and inflammation according to Lorna Vanderhaeghe and Patrick J.D. Bouic, PhD in their informative book “The Immune System Cure.”

Vitamin E goes after free radicals and can itself become a free radical after donating one of its molecules to the rogue. But Vitamin C then transforms this broken Vitamin E restoring some of its available benefits. The general dosage for Vitamin E is 400 IU (international units) Low levels of Vitamin E have been associated with “certain cancers, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract and lungs,” (Vanderhaeghe). For breast cancers and prostate cancers, Vitamin E helps to reduce the rapidity of cancer cell multiplication.

Vitamin E can be found in small amounts in eggs, organ meats, leafy greens, dark green veggies, and cold pressed vegetable oils. It is hard to get enough Vitamin E from foods, so supplementation is suggested.

Vitamin C, a strong cohort for Vitamin E, protects the body against viruses. It enables our gobbler cells called phagocytes to be stronger at attacking and ingesting pathogens. This slows down the pathogen’s ability to multiply. Vitamin C is noted for its “anti” properties: antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer.

Vitamin C increases T-cell activity and glutathione production important in immune fighting capability. This enables a more rapid transport of toxins from the body and increases oxygenation that supports may other enzymatic responses.

Foods rich in Vitamin C are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, black currants, kale, parsley, chili peppers, sweet red and green peppers. Most of these are brassicae family foods, so the normal response by nutritionists is to “Please eat your greens every day!”

Be aware as well that too much Vitamin C can cause loose bowels. If you supplement, begin with about 500 milligrams and increase slowly until bowel function changes. Then cut back. That will give you a clue about how much you need.

As with all supplements, moderation is best and consultation with nutritional professionals is always recommended so all one’s symptoms or conditions can be considered in planning an appropriate nutritional healing program.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN owns Nutritionally Yours! providing nutrition education classes. She can be reached at (208) 290-6760.

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