The ailment known as pneumonia is not fun for sufferers. It is a very uncomfortable lung infection, although there are supplements that can help bolster your immune system to help ward off an occurrence of pneumonia. What Is Pneumonia? Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that causes the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs to fill up with pus. The course and symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe. The symptoms it entails often depends on what caused the infection. Mild cases of pneumonia often mimic flu symptoms, but last longer. Typical symptoms include: cough and phlegm production, chest pain during breathing or coughing, fatigue, fever & chills/sweating, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, and a loss of mental clarity (in people over age 65). In some cases of pneumonia, circumstances merit visiting a medical doctor, and getting treatment if necessary. You should see a doctor if you have difficulty breathing, unusual chest pain, a persistent fever over 102 degrees, and a cough that is persistent or resulting in the expulsion of pus. Those over 65, or who have an underlying health condition, should also see a doctor.
The Causes of Pneumonia
Many different germs can cause pneumonia, the leading types being certain bacteria and viruses that are airborne. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading bacterial cause of pneumonia in the U.S. Conversely, Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the leading bacterial cause of pneumonia, usually leading to walking pneumonia, a less severe form that does not usually require bed rest. The viruses commonly responsible for cold and flu can also lead to pneumonia. Healthy habits can reduce the chances that you do contract pneumonia. These include a diet that fosters a healthy gut, regular exercise, consistently getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels all have a positive effect on the immune system.
Products to Help Prevent Pneumonia
The following supplements each have the potential to support your immune system, such that it can better fend off pneumonia and its symptoms. Some of these have substantial scientific basis for this use, while others are renowned more for their reputation. We recommend talking to your doctor before taking any of these supplements for the first time.
- Vitamin C is a critical vitamin for combatting different types of infections. Supplementing with vitamin C has been found in some clinical trials to make a difference in preventing pneumonia (as well as other infections including the common cold).
- Zinc supplementation can help prevent pneumonia, because a deficiency of this mineral is a common factor to many cases of pneumonia infection. Zinc is an essential mineral present in every cell in the body, and it is necessary for immune function.
- Vitamin D has been shown to be a factor in the likelihood of a pneumonia infection. Per a 2009 study, a deficiency in vitamin D was a precipitating factor in the development of pneumonia in elderly, institutionalized patients. Conversely, supplementing with vitamin D was stated to possibly help prevent pneumonia in the same population.
- Vitamin E can be very helpful in preventing bacterial infections such as pneumonia. Getting enough vitamin E can do this both by killing bacterial cells in the lungs, and by boosting the function of immune cells.
- Probiotic supplements can help reduce the chances of infections, including pneumonia. They do so by helping the flourishing of positive bacteria in the gut and combating negative bacteria. This, in turn, benefits the immune system functionality.
Preventing pneumonia is a worthwhile priority, if you think you might be susceptible to it. Because vitamin deficiencies often play a part in the development of pneumonia, the right supplement can be important in helping you avoid this infection. Talk to your doctor about the usefulness of these supplements in preventing pneumonia.