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March 30, 2020

How can vitamins support a healthy respiratory tract?

During the coming weeks we will be sharing expert information about some of the things we can all do to look after our general health.

To begin, we invited medical expert Dr. Jean Monro of Breakspear Medical to share her vitamin regime, especially created to address acute upper respiratory tract viral infections.

Dr. Monro advises that this vitamin regime can be taken for a period of 7 days and includes the following supplements.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A may help to prevent most bacterial and viral disease, exerting anti-viral effects against the viruses that cause the common cold and influenza. It may increase the effectiveness of the cells that produce antibodies and increase the proliferation of lymphocytes in response to challenges by antigens.

Deficiency of this vitamin increases susceptibility to bacterial and viral diseases via numerous mechanisms that involve the immune system. Beta-carotene is the precursor of vitamin A

Dose recommendation: Check the dosage with your supplier, pharmacist or physician. During pregnancy women should be particularly cautious.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C may help to counteract many types of bacterial and viral diseases, including the influenza virus. It may help to prevent respiratory tract infections, may reduce the severity of respiratory infections and may accelerate the recovery from respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin C may help to prevent the common cold and may reduce the severity of symptoms and duration of the common cold.

Dosage recommendation: Usually 10g per day can be tolerated by an adult if taken throughout the day. The dose used will vary according to individual tolerance. Bowels can become loose with too much vitamin C.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and has the ability to modulate host immune functions. It also plays an important role in the differentiation of white blood cells.

Dose recommendation: There are different forms of vitamin E. Read product labels for daily recommendations or check the dosage with a pharmacist or physician.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has important immunomodulatory (modifies the function of the immune system) effects on cellular immunity. It may facilitate the production of antibodies, and may accelerate recovery from bacterial and viral diseases.

Dose recommendation: There are different forms of vitamin B12 available, it is regarded as non-toxic. 1mg per day is often recommended.

Vitamin D3

Results of a randomised controlled trial support the theory that vitamin D taken each day for production of antibodies may accelerate the recovery from bacterial and viral diseases.

Considerable evidence has been presented that in influenza epidemics or with the common cold infections are brought on by seasonal deficiencies within the innate immune response

Maintenance of a good levels of vitamin D should significantly reduce the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections and the burden of illness.

Dose recommendation: 2,000 – 5,000IU of vitamin D per day is often suitable but if pregnant or breast feeding consult a physician.


Flavonoids can stimulate the activities of numerous immunity related cell types. Research has highlighted that flavonoids including quercetin, hesperetin and catechin can be particularly effective in anti-infective activity.

A considerable body of evidence suggests that plant flavonoids may be health-promoting, disease preventing and anti-inflammatory dietary compounds. Good sources of these flavonoids are:

Quercetin –

Apples, peppers, dark cherries, all berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale), green tea.

Hesperetin –

Citrus fruits (in membrane and peel), apricots, plums, bilberry, green and yellow peppers, broccoli, buckwheat.

Catechin –

Chocolate (dark 70% +), apple peel, apricots, cherries, peaches, blackberries, black grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, green tea, pecans, pistachio, almonds, hazelnuts.


Reproduced by kind permission of Breakspear Medical Group Ltd.



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