LAPEER, Mich. – With the coronavirus and the flu going around, we are reminded to wash our hands, cough and sneeze into our sleeves, or simply stay at home.
Meanwhile, health experts suggest that it could be more than a year before there is an approved vaccine to fight COVID-19.
But as we wait, some people are wondering can more be done? Can taking vitamins and other supplements help protect our health?
“We should live a healthy lifestyle all the time. This is why we do something like that,” said Rebekah Niman, owner of Rebekah’s Health & Nutrition Source.
Some medical professionals say there is a lack of scientific evidence to affirm the effectiveness of supplements in strengthening the immune system, but others believe they can help.
While working at her store in Lapeer, Niman said certain products were flying off the shelves.
“The very first thing we ran out of was aloe vera gel. Clients are making their own hand sanitizer. The next is Vitamin C is running short, Vitamin D, and elderberry syrup.”
Niman said, in addition to supplements, stress levels and diet play roles in boosting the immune system.
“I mean just worrying is going to compromise your immune system, right there. Eating right. Making sure that when you’re going to the grocery store, you’re filling your grocery cart up with fruits, vegetables, soup, bone broth,” she said.
In Saginaw Township, Covenant HealthCare Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ann Hoffman said it is better to get vitamins and minerals by eating food when possible.
“Certainly, the food is going to be better absorbed. So, you’re going to get better utilization of the minerals and vitamins, and also the antioxidants that naturally occur.”
She said drinking enough water and eating a balanced diet, which includes fruits and vegetables, can boost your immune system.
However, can that fend off viruses?
“There’s just a lot of answers that we don’t have regarding that,” said Hoffman. “But the more that we can try to eat healthily, getting the nutrients that we need every day, including those natural antioxidants; hopefully, the better health that we can stay.”
Hoffman said it is important to get good rest and manage stress.
“Walking, trying to get some extra activity in, and also maybe experimenting with meditation or other stress reduction,” she said.
The Sugar Mermaid Organics owner Adrian Deiulius, who makes supplements, warns that “when you’re very stressed out and full of anxiety, your immune system crashes.”
Deiulius serves as a consultant at Ojibwa Health Store in Burton, where coronavirus concerns closed the store’s deli.
She believes modern and traditional medicine can work in concert.
“And not a lot of people will say that, but I do believe in regular medicine and I do believe in herbs.”
Thoughts on supplements and general wellness may differ, but Niman thinks it is a plus that people are thinking about their health.
“I think it’s a big turning point in knowing options to increase your health,” she said.
Healthcare professionals advise you to consult your physician before taking any supplements, because improper use could lead to toxicity or interact with pharmaceuticals.