Immune Support Suggestions
At Folsom Medical Pharmacy, we’ve always prided ourselves on providing only the highest quality compounded medications and supplements. Most of our brands, including Ortho Molecular Products, Metagenics, Pure Encapsulations, and Designs for Health are only available from select healthcare practitioners. Our pharmacist-in-charge Dr. Moses Perez researches every supplement before we bring it in the pharmacy for our patients.
At this time, we would like to review some supplements that are linked to supporting your immune system. We’ll cover some popular items, like vitamin c and probiotics, but also some that may be new to you.
Let’s start with the big one: Vitamin C. You’ve probably been told to take vitamin C to support your immune system dozens of times, for a good reason.[i] Many studies show that vitamin C is effective in supporting your immune system, and even reducing the symptoms of a cold.[ii] However, this study showed that vitamin C is only this effective when taken daily.
Our bodies don’t naturally produce vitamin C, which means it comes entirely from our diet. If you’re eating a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables every day then you should get the daily recommendation. If you want a boost, we have a few options:
Stellar C by Designs for Health has been one of our most popular products for years. With 600 mg of vitamin C, it more than exceeds daily dietary recommendations. From Designs for Health’s website, “Stellar C™ is rich in vitamin C (from a mixture of ascorbic acid and acerola fruit) and plant bioflavonoids (hesperidin, rutin, quercetin and mixed citrus bioflavonoids), known for their immunoprotective properties. In addition to supporting healthy immune function, these nutrients have been used historically for applications such as maintaining healthy veins, capillaries, skin, hair and nails by supporting normal collagen production and repair.[iii]*.
Liposomal Vitamin C by Livon Labs
Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C by Liv-on Labs is continuously growing in popularity. It’s a gel that doesn’t dissolve in water, so you swallow it in a small amount of water. It has a hint of apricot flavor, but most patients who take it quickly don’t notice the taste at all.
This vitamin C is liposomal, which means the vitamin is protected by phospholipids. This prevent the molecule from being broken down and excreted out of your system. According to their website, “The amount of non-liposomal Vitamin C absorbed in the blood decreases dramatically as the dose size increases. Of a 20 mg dose, 19 mg (98%) can be absorbed. Of a 12,000 mg dose, only 16% (1,920 mg) is absorbed, with all that excess causing some major gastric distress when it leaves the body.
“Vitamin C is water-soluble, so your body can’t store any excess when it gets left behind in either the blood or the digestive system. That’s why so much of the vitamin content from pills, powders, and even foods is passed as waste. And where it gets abandoned dictates the way your body passes it.”[iv]
Sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D has many physiological functions. Besides promoting bone health, vitamin D supports the immune system’s local response; vitamin D deficiency has even been linked to, “increased susceptibility to infection.”[v]
Vitamin D is not found in many foods, but is famously added to cow’s milk. According to Harvard’s School of Public Medicine, the best source of vitamin D is through high-strength supplementation.[vi] It’s nicknamed the sunshine vitamin because your body manufactures vitamin D from cholesterol after being exposed to UV-B rays. However, if individuals who are older, overweight or have darker skin do not metabolize vitamin D from sunlight as efficiently.
We have multiple doses of vitamin D available; the following items are some of the most unique in the store.
D3 10,000 + K by Metagenics is a mega-dose of vitamin D3 with vitamin K to complement absorption; these small softgels pack a lot of power! Vitamins K and D work synergistically to optimize bone health (while your immune system still benefits!). [viii]
Your body only need a little zinc to perform a lot of functions. It promotes cell growth in addition to boosting your immune system. Studies link zinc deficiencies to severe immune dysfunction due to affected helper T-cells but perhaps even across ten mechanisms of action.[ix] Zinc also acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Oysters are rich in zinc, meats can be a good source of zinc, and beans, nuts, and whole grains can also provide some zinc.[x]
At this time, our pharmacist would like to note that over-dosing on zinc can have long-term effects on your taste buds and sense of smell, especially lozenge-style dosage forms. Zinc can also interact with medications, so like with all new regimens, talk to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking zinc.
UltraZin Zinc by Pure Encapsulations is the first zinc product from a professional brand to use Sucrosomial Zinc. UltraZin Zinc utilizes an innovative microencapsulation technology to enhance the absorption and bioavailability of zinc. This technology creates a layer around the mineral, increasing solubility and absorbability.[xi]
In its simplest definition, probiotics are live bacteria and flora that have positive effects on your body, and already exist in your body (but might not be prevalent).[xii] There are hundreds of strains of bacteria and flora that are considered probiotics, with many different functions in your body. Some live in our mouth, while others live in specific parts of our digestive tract.[xiii]
Look for professional grade products (GMP certified, science-backed, etc.) that mention strains specific for immune support (if that’s what you’re looking for).
Because there are so many strains of probiotics that can have different benefits (and interactions, especially for immunocompromised folks), give our pharmacist or your doctor a call to get their recommendations.
If your doctor recommends different supplements for you, whether they’re specifically for your immune system or not, you can still order (or re-order) your vitamins either by calling in, or setting up a free account with our online store, FullScript.
Finally, we are stocking more, "traditional," over-the-counter items such as acetaminophen and cough medications so you can order them with your regular prescriptions.
If you don’t remember to order your supplements when you place your initial prescription order, you can call in any time before it leaves the pharmacy (being shipped or for curbside delivery).
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.