You don’t have to choose between prioritizing your immunity and a healthy complexion. Our immune and integumentary (skin) systems are similar in functionality and nutritional requirements – both systems are made up of rapidly regenerating cells, rely on built-in mechanisms to protect and repair from recurrent attacks and injury, and thus have a high demand for many of the same nutrients. When you nourish your body with the nutrients below, you simultaneously support your resiliency against illness and infections as well harness your glow from within.
- Immune System: Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant that protects the body’s cells against oxidative damage incurred during an illness. Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate both the production and function of leukocytes, our primary immune cells.
- Skin Health: Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties helps reduce the signs of aging by protecting the skin from UV radiation and damage from pollution. Additionally, Vitamin C plays a key role in collagen synthesis, which is vital to maintaining the integrity of our skin’s structure and elasticity. As we age, our need for Vitamin C increases with every decade.
- Foods to eat: Think orange and yellow fruits, such as oranges, lemons, pineapple, cantaloupe and apricots; and green veggies such as broccoli, spinach, kale and brussel sprouts.
- Supplementation: I recommend patients take 1000mg of powdered vitamin C, 2 3 times per day. This dose may be doubled while battling an illness.
- Immune system: Vitamin A is required for both our immune systems initial response to a foreign invader, as well as the formation of antibodies against infective-agents, which is integral for future protection. Vitamin A is a key nutrient for the sustaining integrity of our physical barriers, such as the lining of our respiratory tract, a primary level of protection from respiratory illness.
- Skin Health: Vitamin A plays a role in protecting skin from UV damage, helping prevent or reduce the formation of wrinkles and dark sun spots. Clinically, Vitamin A may be used topically or orally to treat acne.
- Foods to eat: Think orange & yellow vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes; green leafy veggies; eggs and fish.
- Supplementation: I prefer getting Vitamin A from whole food sources such as Cod Liver Oil or from a supplement with a blend of all the other fat soluble vitamins, Vitamins D, E & K.
- Immune system: Our body relies on a steady intake of zinc for optimal immune function as zinc, a mineral, is not stored in the body like vitamins. Zinc plays a role in many aspects of the immune system, notably improving the function of our natural killer cells and other white blood cells in their defense against an infective agent.
- Skin Health: Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in sustaining healthy skin (hair & nail) growth/ regeneration as well as a primary role in wound healing. Zinc is useful for addressing hormonal imbalances that manifest as skin issues, such as hormonal acne.
- Foods to eat: Think shellfish, beans, red meat and dark chocolate.
- Supplementation: Zinc can be taken by itself in a supplement ranging from 15-60 mg/ day or within a trace mineral formula, containing other minerals which are vital for immunity, skin function, and overall health. Recommend taking with meals as zinc supplementation can cause nausea on an empty stomach.