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L-glutamine is a building block of glutathione and functions as an immunoregulator as well as an antioxidant. Glutamine is a key energy supplier to the cells of the immune system undergoing rapid mitosis (cell division).
Taking glutamine has also been found to improve the functioning of intestinal mucosa and thereby contributes to the stabilization of the immune system. Glutamine deficiency increases susceptibility to infections.
Glutamine is well tolerated and can also be taken in higher doses of several grams per day. People with epilepsy should take higher doses only after consultation with their physician.
L-arginine is an element of white blood cells and can significantly contribute to the effectiveness of the body’s defense against viruses. A study conducted as early as 1991 shows the positive effects of L-arginine on white blood cells.
Because L-arginine also stimulates collagen synthesis, supplementation with the amino acid can lead to improved wound healing.
Lysine has antiviral properties and is recommended as an inhibitor of herpes viruses and shingles (herpes zoster). Lysine’s immune-stimulating and virus-inhibiting functions in herpes cases have been documented in several studies.
Taking lysine in combination with L-arginine is recommended. Lysine is well tolerated and doses of up to 3 grams per day are considered safe for healthy adults.
Vitamin D is rarely found in food and is synthesized in the skin through UV radiation. To generate vitamin D in the skin, the sun has to be at least 30 degrees high in the sky, and its rays have to reach a UV index of at least 3.
In central Europe, these conditions are only met from March to September around noon. As a result, 9 out of 10 central Europeans have a vitamin D deficiency. Even in southern Europe, the majority of people cannot synthesize sufficient vitamin D.
Vitamin D has extensive functions in the immune system and its effects can be remarkable. In a renowned study, the effectiveness of vitamin D as prevention against the flu was compared to the effectiveness of a flu shot. The result: taking vitamin D provided eight times the protection of the flu shot!
A study conducted in 2007 shows a clear correlation between upper respiratory tract infections / asthma and low blood levels of vitamin D.
L-carnitine is known for its functions in fatty acid transport. However, L-carnitine also plays a major role in the immune system.
Individuals with weakened immune systems often evidence low levels of L-carnitine. An American study shows that giving these individuals supplementation with L-carnitine improves immune defense on several levels.
L-carnitine also helps protect cells from oxidative stress and contributes to the protection of nerve cells.
VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the most well-known and researched supplement. It is safe to take vitamin C in doses of up to several grams per day.
With higher dosages, the amount of vitamin C that the body can actually use decreases and the amount that is eliminated increases. Nonetheless, it is widely accepted that Vitamin C in high doses of up to 10 grams per day is not harmful.
According to European agencies, the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C for a healthy, young non-smoker is 80 mg. More than 30% of the population do not get this amount through a regular diet. This amount is also not enough to restore a compromised immune system.
Moreover, vitamin C is used when taking medications such as aspirin®. Smokers need twice the amount of vitamin C that non-smokers require.
Vitamin C controls histamine levels in the body. Deficiencies in vitamin C lead to elevated histamine levels in the blood. Histamine is released in allergic or asthmatic conditions and is the cause of allergic symptoms. If you are suffering from allergies or asthma, daily doses of at least 800 mg of vitamin C are recommended.
Because low levels of vitamin C weaken immune defenses, it is recommended that you take vitamin C together with your medication when fighting the flu.
In addition to immune functions, vitamins of the B complex play an important role in energy metabolism and nerve function. Niacin (B3) slows the release of histamine and is therefore commonly recommended for allergies.
Lack of energy and fatigue, both signs of an overworked immune system and often caused by deficiency in vitamin D, can be effectively addressed by supplementing with a vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid).
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