In the next three parts of this important article, I’ll examine the vitamins you can use to strengthen your own immunity. This is an extremely important subject, particularly for older adults. Your immune system is your protection against disease and you need it to be as strong as possible. And alternative health can play a significant role in this. Here I start with a quick introduction and a look at vitamin A.
The relationship between nutrition, infection and health has long been recognized. Many vitamins and minerals are known to support immune functions on a cellular level.
The effects of micronutrients on our immune system can be classified into three categories, depending on which one of the three major sites of action is impacted:
The outer barriers (e.g.. skin): Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc
Making cells immune: Vitamin A, vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, folic acid, iron, zinc, copper, selenium
Producing antibodies: Vitamin A, vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, folic acid, zinc, copper, selenium
Vitamin A in all its forms is very important in regulating the body’s antibody responses. With vitamin-A deficiency, the integrity of the mucosa can be so altered that it leads to greater risks of infections in several key areas. They include the eyes, the gastrointestinal tract, and the respiratory system.
Studies have found that taking vitamin-A supplements could reduce risk and/or severity of diarrheal disease, acute measles, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and malaria in children and pregnant or lactating women. What’s more is that vitamin-A supplements have proven to improve antibody response to several vaccines.
All of this suggests that vitamin A has a reasonably proficient effect on your immune system.