Improving the Immune System During the Cold Season: Review of the Important Vitamins
Vitamins play a great role in body functions. They have an important impact on metabolism, maintain well-being, participate in response regulation, help to resist infections, and obtain energy from food. At the same time, the body’s needs for vitamins differ depending on the person’s genetic traits, lifestyle, age, as well as external factors such as season of the year.
Why is vitamin deficiency dangerous?
Vitamin deficiency can lead not only to worsening of general state of health but also development of diseases.
Vitamin deficiency is the state of the body characterized by the lack of vitamins. If no timely measures are taken to supply the nutrients that are scarce, the person can suffer from avitaminosis. In case of this disease, vitamins are almost absent in the body. Shortage of a certain organic matter blocks one or several specific metabolic responses in a cell and can ruin the balance inside the cell and later in the whole body.
As a result, the person with vitamin deficiency gets tired quickly, becomes languid, suffers from headaches, and often catches cold. In some cases, avitaminosis can cause loss of hair and peeling skin, destruction of dental enamel, body aches, and cramps in limbs. For this reason, it is essential to make sure that you take enough microelements, especially during the cold season.
Vitamins useful in autumn
To maintain well-being and support health at high level, one should primarily control the presence of the following vitamins in the body.
It is used to form cell membranes and plays the role of an anti-oxidant. Vitamin A protects cells against the destructive effect of reactive oxygen intermediates and reactive nitrogen intermediates. Thus, even small deficiency of this organic matter can provoke weakening of immune system and reduce cellular resistance to viruses. Besides, retinoids influence the general tonus of the body.
The following foods contain vitamin A:
- green and yellow vegetables;
- fish oil;
- beef liver;
- milk and other dairy products.
Similarly to vitamin A, it acts as an anti-oxidant, normalizes redox processes, participates in functioning of bone and connective tissues, as well as different enzyme systems and metabolic processes. For example, ascorbic acid is necessary for formation of serotonin – the “hormone of mood”, and interferon – protein produced by cells in response to intrusion of viruses.
Sources of vitamin C:
- sea buckthorn;
- sweet red pepper;
- different fruits.
Produced in the human skin under the influence of ultraviolet generated by the Sun. The intensity of this process depends on the lighting level. Thus, when the duration of the light day decreases during the cold time of a year, people may experience the vitamin D deficit. This may lead to muscle weakening, bone thinning, memory degradation and weakening of the immune system.
In small amounts, vitamin D is contained in such products as:
- beef liver;
Functionally, vitamin E is like vitamin A. This is the first cell membrane from free radicals – oxygen and nitrogen forms produced metabolically or entering the body from the environment. It also protects vitamin A from destruction. People who smoke or breathe contaminated air might need more of this active substance for protection from the lungs oxidative damage.
- olive and sunflower oil;
- grape seed oil;
- fish oil;
- hazelnut and almond.
B-group vitamins take active part in many chemical reactions in human body. Thiamin helps cells to turn carbohydrates into energy necessary for regular operation of brain and neural system. In addition, this is important for muscle activity and transmitting of neural signals. So its deficit may lead to severe problems including the nervous system damage.
In general, plant products are rich with vitamin B1:
- seeds and nuts;
- rye bread;
Important for protein metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis and other crucial body functions. The lack of vitamin B6 happens quite rarely, but it’s worth mentioning, as this could cause poor immune function and depression, which is in particular difficult during the autumn.
В6 can be acquired from the following products:
- non-citrus fruits.
Cyanocobalamine plays important role in establishing of blood cells and DNA synthesis. B12 also supports medullary sheath protecting nerve fibers. Deficit symptoms include: weakness, fatigue, pain, numbness. This vitamin is most important for vegans and vegetarians.
Only products of animal origin can be called proper sources of this vitamin. They include:
- beef liver;
- meet, including poultry;
- milk and dairy products.
Vitamins for improving health
All abovementioned vitamins are key in supporting the immune system. That’s why their consumption provides a positive effect on strengthening of health during the fall season when epidemiological situation is decreasing because of the spread of virus infections.
In order to prevent vitamin deficiency and normalize the content of useful substances in the body, one needs to correct the diet first. Also, don’t forget fresh air and exercise, cold water treatment and refraining from vicious habits. If you have serious vitamin deficit, improve your well-being by taking medicine and dietary supplements. But remember, before taking any medication, consult your physician.
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