Doctors and wellbeing experts swear by certain key nutrients to help support the immune system, particularly in the autumn and winter months, when viruses like colds and flu are doing the rounds.
In theory, we should be able to get the majority of our nutrients from a healthy, balanced diet. But it isn’t always easy to do that and there are lots of reasons you may be missing out. Research suggests even fairly mild deficiency in essential immune nutrients may be enough to knock your defences.
Use this blog to work out whether you’re getting enough of these two key nutrients and find out what to do if you’re not.
What is it? The hero immunity vitamin we all know about, vitamin C is actually needed for a range of other functions as well, including tissue healing, the function and structure of blood vessels, and healthy skin.
Where is it found? In a range of plant foods, chiefly citrus fruit, peppers, kiwi fruit, berries and potatoes.
Could I be missing out? If you’re eating a balanced diet, it’s actually quite hard to miss out on vitamin C as it’s present in such a wide variety of fruit and veg. It isn’t stored in the body so anything you don’t use will pass out in urine. But you may have a higher requirement for vitamin C at certain times – for example, when you’re fighting off an infection – and some people like the insurance of taking a supplement.
How can I top up? Manuka Doctor High Strength Vitamin C packs a powerful C punch and also contains zinc to support your immune system.
What is it? Really a pro-hormone rather than a vitamin, vitamin D is manufactured in the skin from sunlight. It’s needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles, and for a number of other functions in the body, including immunity.
Where is it found? We only get around 10 per cent of our vitamin D from food sources – which include oily fish and eggs – and rely on sun to make the rest. That’s a problem in cool, cloudy climates in the winter, as the sun isn’t strong enough for our bodies to manufacture the vitamin D we need.
Could I be missing out? In autumn and winter in Ireland, that’s very likely, so it’s recommended we all take a supplement throughout the darker months. If you tend to cover up with clothing or you rarely go outside you may need a supplement throughout the year.
How can I top up? UK Government guidelines state we should supplement with 400iu of vitamin D from October to March. In other countries, the recommended intake is higher and some people choose to take bigger doses. It’s considered safe to take up to 4000iu of vitamin D. Try Manuka Doctor High Strength Vitamin D.
 Chandra RK. Nutrition and the immune system. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Aug;66(2):460S-463S