Dr. Kathleen Jones
Vaccines & Vitamins: Keeping Your Immune System in Fighting Shape
Updated: Sep 12, 2021
It’s no surprise that having a strong immune system means your body is better-equipped to ward off illnesses and keep you safe, but did you know the health of your immune system can also have an impact on the effectiveness of vaccines (including the COVID-19 vaccine)? Several studies have shown that people who are nutritionally deficient when they are vaccinated are more likely than others to contract the illness the vaccine aims to protect against.
What causes nutritional deficiencies?
In most cases, nutritional deficiencies are caused by a simple lack of micronutrients from our diet. The typical western diet consists of more processed foods than whole foods, so avoiding nutritional deficiency takes a little extra intention. In a study of people ages 65 to 85 who received the pneumonia vaccine, researchers found that those who ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables during the course of their day had a notably stronger immune response than people who ate two or fewer servings.
Who does nutritional deficiency affect?
The short answer is - everyone! People over 60 are more at risk than the general population, but belonging to a younger age group does not automatically exempt you from the risk. In the past, most of the research surrounding nutritional deficiency focused on developing countries with less access to proper nutrition, but a 2019 study across several age groups in the U.K. found that nutritional deficiency affected people of all ages in western nations at a rate much higher than was previously thought.
Which vitamins and minerals does your immune system need most?
Generally speaking, your immune system works best when your body is getting enough vitamin A, B6, B9, B12, C, and D. The minerals zinc, selenium, iron, and copper are also vitally important to a proper immune response. The best way to know if you do have a vitamin or nutritional deficiency is by undergoing a blood and saliva test. The results will give you the clearest picture of which vitamins and minerals your body is lacking so you can make sure you are taking the right combination to stay healthy, especially before and after you get your COVID vaccine. Schedule a virtual consultation with Dr. Jones today to find out more!
Cinone, Danielle. (2021). These Are the Vitamins You Need Before Your COVID Vaccine, Doctor Says. BestLife. https://bestlifeonline.com/news-vitamins-covid-vaccine/
Rayman, M. & Calder, P. (2021). How to make COVID vaccines more effective: give people vitamin and mineral supplements. The Conversation. https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/how-to-make-covid-vaccines-more-effective
Various Authors. (2012). Effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on immune function in older people: a randomized controlled trial. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23134881/