by Danielle Labonte, Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
Cold and flu season is here, which often brings up conversations about our immune systems. The immune system is very complex and its job is to find a balance between defending us from things like viruses, while also not overreacting. Autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are examples of an overactive immune system, and when we have an allergic reaction, that is our immune system at work.
We often hear and see messages around “boosting” our immune system, especially during cold and flu season, and even more so with COVID-19, but the truth is that there really is no way to “boost” our immune system.
We also may hear about certain supplements being promoted with the claim that they can support our immune systems; however, taken individually, some vitamin and mineral supplements can throw the immune system off balance and might interfere with prescribed medications. It is recommended to talk to your pharmacist or family doctor before starting any supplements.
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