Zinc, Vitamin C, D, B12 Supplements to boost immunity? Do one better with Ayurveda

The Immunity Kit that offers all this and more

As more people learned about the importance of building immunity to stave off unfamiliar viral strains like COVID-19, internet searches for immunity-boosting supplements skyrocketed. Some suggested adding zinc and vitamins C, D, B12 to one’s diet, yet others recommended chewing on elderberries, echinacea, among other herbs. What we have been missing hearing about is a more holistic and complete approach to building immunity that an ancient healing system like Ayurveda promises, versus a piecemeal approach that we have been used to hearing about.

There is little in terms of research to prove that immunity boosting supplements, diet or any lifestyle changes can fight COVID-19 directly. What we can strive for is, to integrate healthy lifestyle practices. We can begin with eating a wholesome nutritional diet, taking natural herbal supplements to load up on nutrients that your daily meals may not provide, good sleep, mind-body practices to keep stress at bay. All of these can help us have robust immunity.

Our immune system is basically our body’s first line of defense against infection and illness-causing pathogens. It includes a network of immune cells and tissues that fend off these alien pathogens from attacking your body. There are lifestyle triggers like improper sleep, stress, nutritional deficiency, the buildup of toxins, environmental pollution, among others that can weaken this naturally occurring defense system. One way that people have been trying to bolster their immune system is, relying on individual supplements like zinc, multivitamins, elderberries, garlic, Andrographis, among others. If only there were a way to have this range of supplements in the form of a cohesive immunity kit, to take total care of our immune system, wouldn’t that be great!?

The Sri Sri Tattva Immunity Kit, fulfills this purpose for you…and then some. The kit comes with a bagful of benefits of 10 power herbs that not just boost immunity by supporting the function of the immune cells but also by generally fortifying the body with necessary nutrients, vitamins minerals, and strengthening other bodily processes so that our immune system remains healthy. 

1. Amla (gooseberries)

A recent favorite for boosting immunity is Vitamin C that you can find in ample quantity in amla or gooseberries, that you can have in the powdered or tablet form. That way it is much easier to swallow than the strong sour-tasting raw fruit. Vitamin C is known to help speed up recovery from respiratory illnesses, boost immunity, clear out older cells, support growth of specific immune cells, and is a rich source of antioxidant that fights oxidative stress which can undermine your immunity. Though you can find vitamin C in amla (gooseberries), giloy, other berries and citrus fruits, taking vitamin C alone is not enough to give you the kind of immunity you may need.

2. Need zinc supplement?

We need zinc as it helps build a healthy immune system, works on the synthesis of proteins that help in wound healing, regulating glucose levels, and fighting pathogens that cause cold and flu. It is known to promote fertility and regulate enzymes in the body. But do you know that while adding zinc to your daily intake is a good idea, some people may already have enough of it in their body and may not need any more of it? This is also where Ayurveda provides a real value addition, for being a personalized and individualized school of medicine.

In Ayurveda, each individual is given a well-rounded treatment including diet, cleanses, detoxes, oils, and herbal supplements based on their body constitution and needs. In many cases, zinc must be supplemented with the intake of other minerals like magnesium and iron in moderate amounts, for immunity to improve. The host of 10 ayurvedic super herbs like giloy, gooseberries, brahmi (watterhyssop), liquorice, shatavari, aloe weed, among others present in the Immunity Kit are known to provide many of these essential minerals for your body, in just the right dosage.

3. Vitamin D supplement

There is also a whole lot of debate and discussion around immunity and the role of vitamin D in making it stronger. Vitamin D improves the function of pathogen-fighting white blood cells (macrophages and monocytes). Vitamin D molecule is also needed for robust bone health, synthesis of other minerals like calcium and phosphorus, and maintenance of parathyroid hormones. Low vitamin D has been associated with respiratory infections, in many studies. Not getting enough vitamin D into the body through exposure to natural sunlight or dietary sources, about 40% Americans have been found lacking in vitamin D. Our body needs about 400-600 international units of Vitamin D on a daily basis to stay in good health, based on age, location (receives more sunlight or not), and nature of lifestyle.

While Vitamin D supplements are going off the shelf, the tablets may have some side effects like fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, or nausea, though they do not tend to have major side effects, unless taken in unusual doses. Before you start with the supplements, it is recommended you get a blood test done to determine levels of vitamin D in the body. But you can always go for herbal and natural sources of Vitamin D, apart from following a Vitamin –D rich diet that includes mushrooms, dairy-free Vitamin-D fortified foods like soy milk, cereal, yogurt, and orange juice.

4. The power of holy basil (tulasi arka)

Like the elderberry syrup that has caught the fancy of Americans in building immunity, the essence of holy basil, which is far more commonly available without the side effects of the berry, is a storehouse of physiological as well as mental benefits. It exemplifies Ayurveda’s holistic goodness.

It can penetrate deep tissues, and normalize both Vata and Kapha dosha. It is known to promote general health and longevity. While basil is known to present a solid counter against respiratory tract infections (like the elderberry), it also comes with the added benefit of being a powerful adaptogen that can reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is the single most prevalent risk factor in compromising one’s immunity apart from affecting numerous lifestyle illnesses of the modern-day including diabetes, hypertension, and other neurological illnesses. Tulasi is known to help detoxify the blood and can help to get rid of the industrial and metallic pollutants that enter the body. The Tulasi herb is also known to reduce metabolic stress by supporting a healthy blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid levels.

According to a paper published by Mark Maurice Cohen, from the School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Victoria, Australia, tulasi has, “Antimicrobial (including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antimalarial, anthelmintic), mosquito repellent, anti-diarrheal, anti-oxidant, anti-cataract, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive, radioprotective, hepato-protective, neuro-protective, cardio-protective, anti-diabetic, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-hypertensive, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, anti-pyretic, anti-allergic, immunomodulatory, central nervous system depressant, memory enhancement, anti-asthmatic, anti-tussive, diaphoretic, anti-thyroid, anti-fertility, anti-ulcer, anti-emetic, anti-spasmodic, anti-arthritic, adaptogenic, anti-stress, anti-cataract, anti-leukodermal and anti-coagulant activities.”

Singular uses of herbs like elderberries, AHCC, echinacea, elderberry, andrographis and astragalus that do not have sufficient research backing their benefits. The ancient and time tested use of ayurvedic herbs found in the Immunity Kit like amla, shatavari, ashwagandha, brahmi, tulasi, shankhpushpi, and yashtimadhu, whose benefits you can find here, have found favor among both users and researchers of alternative medicine for many a millennia.

Published by Ruchira Roy

This content on the Sri Sri Tattva blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any links to third party websites is provided as a convenience only and the Sri Sri Tattva Blog is not responsible for their content.