The Cornerstone Co-op Pharmacy in Vermilion hosted a Boosting Your Immune System event on January 31.
Pharmacist, Kim Clarke, led the presentation, and participants enjoyed coffee and fruit while they learned about beneficial practices. It included vitamins and minerals, as well as natural ways to boost one’s immune system. Clarke recommended that everyone check with their doctor or pharmacist that methods are safe and won’t interact with their medication.
“Be careful about what you hear or read online. Natural doesn’t always mean safe, but there are some known/proven natural things that can boost your immune system. Being healthy and taking care of your body is important. Nobody likes being sick, and these methods can reduce the number of days that people have to miss from work. Not only are you looking out for yourself, but also for those around you, and the community as a whole,” said Clarke.
The presentation included recommendations to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get adequate sleep. It also noted that hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of infections.
“Various vitamin/mineral deficiencies can affect the immune system, but mega-doses of a single vitamin have not been shown to have any beneficial effect on the immune system. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrients taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is the best way to support healthy immunity.
Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. When used orally long-term, doses should not exceed 4000IU per day for adults.
Echinacea has been known to reduce the severity and duration of colds when started in the early signs of a cold. Elderberry is known to reduce the symptoms and duration of influenza infection when given within 48 hours of initial symptoms.
Probiotics (good bacteria) help to restore the balance in your gut, helping your immune system to defend itself against pathogenic organisms. Probiotics can be purchased at your pharmacy, but yogurt is also a great source of probiotics.
Ginseng decreases the risk of developing symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection such as the common cold or flu in adults. 200-400 mg twice daily over a three month period during influenza season has shown to reduce the risk of getting repeat colds in a season. Oregano oil is known for its healing and immune-boosting properties. It fights infections naturally due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-parasite activity,” said Clarke in her presentation.
She noted that if people have any questions, their community pharmacist is easily accessible, and willing to provide evidence-based information. Cornerstone Co-op Pharmacy will continue to have information sessions on a regular basis. If anyone has suggestions for topics that they would like covered, they can call 780-853-4119 or stop by Co-op Pharmacy Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., or Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.