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Flu Season is Near: Breaking Down The Value of Vitamins

Understanding which vitamins support your immune system and prevent viral seasonal illnesses


By: Eva Fournel


Fruits and vitamins with a gradient background
Graphic By: Mia Overbo

Vitamin C, Vitamin D, K, and E – what does it all mean?


Why do our health reports claim we lack certain vitamins and then advise us to seek them out in food or pill form? What do vitamins actually do? Which ones should we be taking? 


Winter is here, and with that, so are the inevitable flu and cold seasons. Here’s how vitamins can help you not feel too ‘under the weather.’ 


Vitamins are organic compounds that we need to keep our bodies functioning properly. Some vitamins prevent infection and keep our nerves healthy, while others give us energy, promote immunity, and help our blood clot properly


We must naturally seek out most vitamins in food because our bodies produce either none or very little. On the other hand, some, like Vitamin D, are hardly available in food, so the human body synthesizes it when exposed to sunlight. 


Vitamin D


With sunset sneaking up at 4 p.m., you can’t afford to stay in all day and wake up at 1 p.m.! Deficient sunlight may trigger chemical changes in the brain that lead to poor physical and mental health. Seasonal depression is very real. Feeling weak, unmotivated, and mentally down is a side effect of physical malfunctions in our bodies: a severe lack of Vitamin D. 


Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies and helps keep our bones and muscles healthy. It also helps produce antimicrobial peptides that aid in fighting off infections, including flu viruses.


Vitamin D is most effectively acquired through sufficient sunlight, foods like fatty fish, fortified dairy products, mushrooms, and pills. While Vitamin D supplementation in pill form can be purchased over the counter, it is always a good idea to contact your healthcare professionals for more guidance on the appropriate dosage. 


Vitamin C 


Vitamin C, also known as an ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin known for supporting the immune system and reducing the risk of viral illnesses. 


Vitamin C is crucial for the immune system’s proper functioning. It enhances the production and function of white blood cells, which are essential components of the immune response against infections like the flu. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which can damage cells and weaken the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infections. Vitamin C collects and breaks down these free radicals, which supports a healthy immune response. 


The vitamin can best be obtained through a balanced diet of citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, and leafy greens. It can also be acquired in pill form. 


As flu season looms, it’s critical to understand the significance of vitamins in strengthening our immune system response. Vitamins such as Vitamin C and Vitamin D are essential for maintaining a robust immune system. Remember, while vitamins contribute significantly to our immune health, they aren’t foolproof shields against the flu. A balanced diet rich in various nutrients, along with proper hygiene and care, remains crucial in fortifying our defenses against seasonal illnesses.

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