How to boost your immunity, safely

Due to our current pandemic, many are looking to boost their immune system in anticipation of fighting the disease, or recovering from it. Dr Nadine Stewart from the Elan Healthstyle medical practice explained how you can boost your immune system safely and effectively.

What are the common causes of a compromised/weakened immune system?

“This can be divided into four main categories; lifestyle, disease, medication or primary immune deficiency. Lifestyle related causes include smoking or alcohol abuse, poor nutrition and not getting enough sleep. Disease related causes include illnesses such as HIV, diabetes, cancer or auto immune diseases like lupus.

Some medications can suppress your immune responses; these include cortisone and methotrexate. People who are born with weak immune systems suffer from primary immune deficiency. This may affect them throughout their lives and they may need to take extra measures to stay healthy”, Dr Stewart explained.

When common remedies can be harmful?

“Vitamin and mineral supplements are absolutely necessary in this day and age as the average person’s diet does not provide them with what their body needs.

During the COVID pandemic, one of the major problems we have noted is that people are drinking every possible vitamin. They end up taking dosages of certain vitamins and minerals well in excess of the recommended daily intake”, said Dr Stewart.

“When you are consuming water-soluble vitamins, your body will take what it needs and eliminate the excess through your urine. However, fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D may attach to your liver when taken in excessive amounts.”  

“Certain treatments such as immunoglobulin injections are not harmful but are also not proven to be beneficial.

How do I boost my immune system safely?

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Get 7 - 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking and avoid any other lifestyle habits that could be detrimental to your health
  • Ensure that all chronic diseases are well controlled
  • Vitamin and mineral supplementation should only be used as recommended by your doctor, dietician or pharmacist

You can book a consultation with Dr Stewart on 0135907345. Her consultation rooms are located at 22 Murray Street, Nelspruit.

Read more: Managing your asthma and exercise

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