Dr. Beverly Foster
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Chiropractic Health & Rehabilitation

Prevention: The Best Medicine

Microscopic wars rage constantly within your body but you are normally not aware that these incessant battles against infection are being fought. The attackers are tiny but can be plentiful and lethal. Some are so small that 230 million of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.

Ideally, your immune system will automatically provide legions of defenders, a wonderful network of organs and specialized cells that are constantly vigilant, fighting to keep you healthy. But sometimes your defenders are caught in a weakened state, and you develop a cold, the flu, or a more serious infection.

We agree with the saying, “Prevention is the best medicine.” We promote optimal support of the body’s innate and miraculous infection-fighting ability now, which may help reduce our dependence on antibiotics later. We advocate maximizing the state of immune system readiness and functionality and minimizing periods of immune weakness.

What factors may contribute to the weakening of your immune system?

A basic list of things to avoid includes physiological, psychological, and emotional stress; poor physical and aerobic conditioning; lack of sleep, rest, and relaxation; and an especially poor diet. While all of these factors are important, our discussion below will focus on proper nourishment.

The Value of Proper Nourishment

When your nutritional stores become depleted, your immune system may become less able to provide defense against foreign invaders. A study reported in the journal, Lancet (Vol. 340, 1992), illustrates the importance of proper vitamin and mineral nourishment for optimizing immune system activity in the elderly. Ninety-six individuals over the age of 65 were evaluated after nutritional supplementation with a multiple vitamin/mineral formula or placebo. The study showed that the group who took the supplements had half the number of days sick from colds, flus and other infection-related illnesses.

Vitamin C & the Immune System

Although many nutrients are necessary for a healthy immune system, vitamin C is perhaps the most common nutrient we associate with supporting immunity. Prompted by the publishing of Dr. Linus Pauling’s book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold, in 1970, many people have sworn by megadoses of vitamin C as one of the best ways to reduce the chances of getting sick.

Although more research is needed to clearly establish the properties of vitamin C, some studies demonstrate that vitamin C increases the activity of specific white blood cells, the cells involved in fighting infection. It has been observed that white blood cell movement, as well as their ability to destroy bacteria, is stimulated in the presence of vitamin C. It has also been noted that some viral growth may be inhibited when vitamin C is present. Some scientific data suggest that vitamin C may reduce the incidence of the common cold, and that it may shorten the duration of colds and lessen the severity of symptoms.

A recent study revealed the positive effect of vitamin C on a very specific and important type of white blood cell of the immune system, the natural killer (NK) cell. The study indicated that vitamin C may cause an increase in NK cell activity. When NK activity increases, your immune system may become more capable of fighting infections.

Are all Vitamin C Supplements the same?

Nutritional experts suggest that vitamin C supplements made up of a blend of mineral ascorbates that are neutral pH and vitamin C metabolites may be a better form of vitamin C for many people.

How Much Vitamin C is Recommended?

The current RDA for vitamin C is 60 mg per day, the minimum amount needed to guard against the vitamin C deficiency disease, scurvy. Our ancestral diet contained 400 to 2,000 mg per day. According to the late, two-time Nobel Prize winner and noted vitamin C researcher, Dr. Linus Pauling, this may still fall short of providing optimal support for immune system readiness and functionality. He personally took 4,500 mg of vitamin C each day, and recommended 10,000 to 12,000 mg daily for those with serious immune challenge or weakness. Other researchers concur by suggesting that, at times of infection, vitamin C requirements may increase significantly.

Does Vitamin C Work Alone?

While vitamin C is one of the most commonly known vitamins, there are many other nutrients that are needed for good health. We offer a variety of nutritional formulas. Ask us about them today.

Recommendations for Supporting a Healthy Immune System

  • Eat a nutrient rich, balanced diet consisting of high fiber, complex carbohydrates, and moderate protein in the form of fresh, whole, unprocessed foods.
  • Implement stress control measures and strive to achieve a healthy psychological state.
  • Get plenty of rest and relaxation.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take a vitamin C supplement containing a blend of vitamin C and its metabolites.