Antibiotics are medications prescribed by your physician to help fight off foreign bacteria that can make you ill. Not only do harmful bacteria make you sick, but they are also easily spreadable to others. Certain vitamins might help boost your immune system and aid in preventing illnesses or shortening their duration, if you are already sick. Before taking any vitamin supplements, talk with your physician to ensure they do not interact with any of your current medications.
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Antibiotics entered streamline medicine in the 1940s as a safe and effective way to treat infectious diseases. While antibiotics are beneficial in treating infections and illnesses, over the years, strains of bacteria have become resistant to the drugs, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, making them less effective. Certain vitamins act like antibiotics by fighting off harmful invaders that make you ill.
While vitamin C might not fight off foreign organisms in the direct way that antibiotics can, it helps reduce the duration of illness in some people, says the Office of Dietary Supplements. Not only does vitamin C help your immune system eliminate harmful bacteria, but it also acts like an antioxidant by stifling free-radicals. These devastating compounds feed on normally healthy cells and increase your risk for certain diseases. Keep your body healthy and your immune system working its best by getting your recommended daily amount of vitamin C; men need at least 90 milligrams and women require 75 milligrams daily.
Vitamin D is known for its role in helping your body absorb calcium, thus keeping your bones and teeth strong. This powerful vitamin also modulates your immune system, helping you stay illness- and infection-free. Adequate amounts of vitamin D in your system might inhibit the growth and spread of germs that make you ill. For optimal health, you need 600 international units, or 15 micrograms, of vitamin D each day, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Just like vitamin C, vitamin E also has antioxidant properties in your system. Vitamin E acts like an antibiotic by getting rid of free-radicals, as well as supporting normal immune function. Having low levels of vitamin E in your blood results in a weak immune system that might leave you open to illness and infection, reports the Office of Dietary Supplements. Avoid your chances of having a wintertime bug by getting your recommended 22.4 international units, or 15 milligrams, of vitamin E each day.