“The human body needs to consume at least 13 vitamins and 16 minerals regularly to function properly, and a well-balanced diet is the best way to obtain these nutrients. But because the modern-day diet is heavy in nutrient-poor processed foods, refined grains and added sugars, many people don’t get enough nutrients from the foods they consume,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar Khandelwal, internal medicine specialist at Aster Clinic, Barsha Heights.
Dr Rajesh Kumar Gupta, internal medicine specialist at Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah, added that immunity develops as a result of years of nurture and care. “The hysteria generated by the pandemic sees many people opting for multivitamin supplements and pills that claim to boost immunity. But avoid self-medicating yourself, [and first consult a physician],” he said.
A total of 13 vitamins and 16 minerals have to be consumed regularly to ensure proper functioning. The recommended daily intake however varies based on age group, gender, and overall health of a person.
* Essential vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and B vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate.
* Essential minerals: Calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, chloride, iron, iodine, fluoride, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium and cobalt.
Common reasons for nutrient deficiency
* a diet heavy in processed foods, refined grains and added sugars
* ageing, which decreases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients
Many nutrients have important immunity – boosting roles, but when taken without consulting a physician, they can lead to unwanted side effects. This is why it is important to discuss dosage with a doctor, and also mention any supplements you take when you consult a doctor for any medical purpose.
* Iron can interfere with the absorption of calcium, and can also give a false positive result for stool occult blood test that is used to determine gastrointestinal bleeding.
* Zinc, when taken in excessive quantities, can actually inhibit the body’s absorption of other essential minerals like copper.
* Vitamin C can block the absorption of copper in some patients.
* Manganese, even with a minor overdose, can worsen iron deficiency.
* Vitamin A may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Bexarotene, an anticancer drug.
* Orlistat, a drug used to treat fat absorption for obese patients, could decrease the serum concentration of fat-soluble vitamins.
* Vitamin A may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Retinoic Acid Derivatives
With that being said, the added focus on overall health may still be a good thing. “We are seeing a positive trend, because in essence, it means people are keen to build their immunity and maintain their health. This shift indicates that people are moving away from reacting to illness towards proactively managing their health and preventing illness,” said Dr Alisha Moopen, deputy managing director at Aster DM Healthcare.
In such cases, both physicians recommended taking supplements, but only under a physician’s guidance and in proper therapeutic doses.
Tips to maintain a healthy immune system
* Eat a well* balanced diet that incorporates a lot of leafy greens, vegetables and fruits.
* Try to minimise stress.
* Try to maintain a healthy weight.
* Do not consume too much alcohol.
* Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
* Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body.
Original news source Credit: gulfnews.com