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Five vitamins to swear by

With influenza rampaging through schools and workplaces this year, many people are fearful of not only contracting the flu, but the deadly strain which has claimed several dozen lives this season. Here are some easy things that can be done to reduce chances of contracting the flu.

Regular vitamin and mineral intake is an extremely effective way of preventing illness and boosting the immune system, among other benefits. Health food stores, supplement shops and even basic grocery stores carry extensive inventories of vitamins or minerals. Despite the variety of choices, there are a few powerhouse vitamins that are essential to immune support and the maintenance of healthy body function. These can be found at stores like Walmart, Target and Walgreens.

Iron is critical to the body because it helps the hemoglobin in our red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. When there is not enough oxygen getting to the body’s cells and tissues, anemia develops. Anemia is a condition that causes fatigue, lightheadedness and other tiring symptoms and affects almost five million Americans. Iron supplements, when taken regularly, significantly alleviate the symptoms of anemia.

Vitamin C is one of the most well known vitamins, but few people know all of the benefits. Vitamin C has been associated with the production of collagen, a connective tissue that knits together wounds and supports blood vessel walls. It is also great at bolstering the immune system, which is why it is often mistaken as a cure for the common cold.

Zinc is a supplement that helps the body control and regulate immune responses, as well as attacks infected or cancerous cells. The positive effects on the immune system are vast, and according to a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.”

The body synthesizes Vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin. However, this can be hard to do when winter comes. Vitamin D helps in the regulation of calcium and the maintenance of healthy bones, is a powerful immune system builder and has been known to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Some claim that it can even reduce the risk of contracting influenza by up to 40 percent.

B-complex vitamins are powerhouse vitamins that can help the body turn food eaten into energy, as well as protect the body from red blood cells when taken with an iron supplement. Experts also claim that this vitamin can help alleviate a variety of conditions, including anxiety and depression.

Implementing a regular intake of these vitamins is a great approach to avoid coming down with one of those nasty flu or strep viruses. Being pro-active about health will pay off, now and in the long run.