Your sinuses secrete mucus designed to keep the air passageways clear and lubricated. However, blockages in the sinuses can lead to infection, causing considerable discomfort. Good overall health is key to sinus health, and there are a handful of vitamins that play a role in helping you avoid infection.
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Rich in carotenoids, vitamin A plays a key role in regulating the body’s immune system, which fights off infections by bacteria, viruses and other invasive agents, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The vitamin also promotes the health of skin and mucous membranes, both of which serve as barriers to infection. Good food sources of vitamin A include beef or chicken liver, carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe and chunky vegetable soup. The federal government’s recommended daily value of vitamin A is 5,000 IU, which can be obtained from food sources, supplements or a combination of the two. Paul Barney, author of “Doctor’s Guide to Natural Medicine,” recommends a dose of 25,000 IU daily when a sinus infection is present. However, pregnant women should take no more than 10,000 IU daily. Check with your doctor to determine whether self-treatment with vitamin A is appropriate for you.
Vitamin C can play a significant role in both preventing infection and helping to fight it off if it does occur. Jordan S. Josephson, author of “Sinus Relief Now,” points out that the vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that helps to limit the damage done by free radicals, which are associated with a wide array of illnesses. The common cold, a viral infection, often lays the groundwork for a sinus infection, so it’s important to do whatever you can to avoid getting a cold. Deborah Rosin, author of “The Sinus Sourcebook,” recommends that people who are prone to colds take a dose of 1,000mg of vitamin C daily as prevention and double that dosage to 2,000mg if a cold should develop. Consult a medical professional before taking increased doses of this or any other vitamin.
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E stimulates the body’s immune response and helps it to fight off a wide array of infections, including those that target the sinus. One of the vitamin’s important benefits for the sinuses is improved circulation to sinus tissue, according to Paul Bedson, author of “The Complete Family Guide to Natural Healing.” This property helps sinus tissue to quickly and more completely repair itself after an infection. Bedson recommends 400 to 1,000 IU of vitamin E daily, with the higher amounts reserved for periods of infection. Talk to your doctor before beginning any regimen of self-treatment.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- “Doctor’s Guide to Natural Medicine”; Paul Barney; 1998
- “Sinus Relief Now”; Jordan S. Josephson; 2006
- “The Sinus Sourcebook”; Deborah Rosin; 1999
- “The Complete Family Guide to Natural Healing”; Paul Bedson; 2005
- MedlinePlus: Sinusitis