Influenza or flu is an extremely common airborne viral infection caused by the influenza virus. People normally contract the flu virus after coming in direct contact with an infected individual. The flu virus, which affects a large number of people worldwide every single year, can cause respiratory distress, cough, headache, congestion and chills.
Flu virus may prove to be deadly for people with weakened immune system, elderly people and young children. Besides adopting strict personal hygiene habits, taking specific vitamins are known to reduce an individual’s risk of contracting flu virus. These vitamins can reduce the intensity and duration of flu symptoms by bolstering the immune system. Some top vitamins to fight flu are discussed in this article.
Top Vitamins To Fight Flu
The fat soluble vitamin, vitamin A, helps to boost the immune system. A strong immune system can fight common illnesses including flu. The powerful antioxidant properties of vitamin A help to increase the number of WBC or White Blood Cells in the body. WBC or leucocytes are part of the immune system and assists in fighting different infections.
People who have contracted the flu virus should take 700 mg to 900 mg of vitamin A to recover from the unpleasant symptoms of flu faster. Individuals suffering from flu should also consume vitamin A rich foods like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables and dried apricots (to name a few).
Pantothenic acid or vitamin B-5 is a water soluble vitamin belonging to the B group of vitamins. Taking Vitamin B-5 supplements can boost the immune system by stimulating the adrenal glands to increase production of specific hormones.
A strong immune system is vital to fight infectious agents like the flu virus. Taking a B-complex multivitamin is the best way to get your daily quota of vitamin B-5. You can also consume foods rich in pantothenic acid like mushrooms, eggs, corn, broccoli and sunflower seeds (to name a few).
The best way to fight seasonal viral infections like flu is to simply increase the intake of Vitamin C. Eating vitamin C rich foods and taking vitamin C supplements can significantly reduce the duration of this viral infection. The numerous antioxidants present in vitamin C is known to boost the immune system function.
Taking adequate amounts of vitamin C can also boost the production of WBC or White Blood Cells. Increasing the WBC count of the body can help to fight flu virus in a more effective manner. To ward off flu virus one must take large doses of vitamin C – at least 10,000mg per day. Blueberries, oranges, and kiwi fruits are rich sources of vitamin C.
Not many people are aware of the fact that vitamin E can help one to recover from a nasty flu attack faster. Consuming foods which are rich sources of vitamin E or taking vitamin E supplements can reduce the symptoms and duration of flu. Vitamin E helps in the production of B-lymphocytes. B-lymphocytes in turn aids in the production of antibodies which fight numerous bacterial and viral infections.
Since Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant, it can stimulate the production of immune cells. Ideally, one should take 60mg to 100mg of vitamin E to recover from a flu infection. Sunflower seeds, nuts, tropical fruits are few examples of foods which contain appreciable amounts of vitamin E.
The ‘sunshine vitamin’ or vitamin D if taken in adequate amounts can protect individuals from seasonal flu virus. In the last couple of years or so, most people have come to associate vitamin D as the best vitamin to fight a debilitating flu infection.
Vitamin D can fight flu infection by boosting the body’s immune system. Furthermore, medical research has also shown that people who took vitamin D supplements on a regular basis for two years or more were less likely to get sick from flu virus.