Rising rates of the following infectious diseases will bring about an increasing use of nutritional supplements. Increasing rates of infections such as hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis will necessitate that people take increasing responsibility for their own health if they are to achieve a reduction in morbidity and mortality.

Rising rates of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) in the Asia pacific region pose a huge threat and major problems exist such as –

  • Increasing rates of resistance to first and second line drugs
  • Low potency and increased toxicity of second line drugs
  • The long duration of treatment and drug interactions

In people with chronic infections, nutritional medicine can be used to bolster the immune system so it can fight the infecting organism much more effectively. This applies especially to tuberculosis and chronic bacterial and viral infections. Even if your diet is so called adequate, you may still need to supplement with the nutrients which strengthen the cellular and humoral immune system.

You will need plentiful amounts in your body of the following –

The minerals – Selenium, Zinc and Iodine

The vitamins – Vitamin C and Vitamin D

A multivitamin and mineral tablet may not provide adequate amounts of some of these nutrients for optimal immune function and this is especially true if you have digestive disorders or you are taking multiple medications. I have found that it is best to take vitamin D by itself with a meal containing fat and initial optimal doses of vitamin D are often higher than those commonly prescribed. Do you know your blood level of vitamin D? It should be towards the upper limit of the normal range in a blood test if you need to strengthen your immune system. In someone who is very vitamin D deficient I prescribe a dose of 100,000 IUs to be taken with a fatty meal to get their levels up quickly; then I prescribe a daily maintenance dose.

Vitamin D can be measured in two different units of measurement and in the USA the units used are ng/mL. In Australia and Canada the units of measurement are nmol/L.

The normal ranges of vitamin D for blood tests reported by different laboratories and countries vary significantly and you will be surprised by the large range between lower normal and upper normal – see table below

Lower Limit Vitamin D Upper Limit Vitamin D
75 nmol/L 200 nmol/L
30 ng/mL 80 ng/mL

You don’t want to be average here; you want to have levels of vitamin D that optimize your immune system to fight cancer. The optimal levels of vitamin D are higher than the average levels.

I recommend you take enough supplements of vitamin D 3 and/or get enough sunshine to keep your serum vitamin D levels around 150 to 200 nmol/L or 70 to 80ng/mL. Vitamin D 3 supplements are not expensive.

Your iodine status can be easily and accurately determined by a urine test but when it comes to assessing your body’s status of selenium and zinc, blood tests are not always a true assessment of total body content of these minerals, and the same can be said for the mineral magnesium. Most of the selenium in your body is found deep inside your cells where it protects your DNA and thus blood tests are only the tip of the iceberg. It is too expensive and invasive to do tissue biopsies and toe nail clippings to assess your body selenium status and thus you may not be aware of your needs. Whilst eating Brazil nuts can increase selenium intake, the selenium content of foods varies enormously depending on the selenium content of the soils.

For more information see www.seleniumresearch.com