The availability of the immune enhancing Vitmains, primarily vitamins A and D, to the immune cells can predict whether a person who is exposed to the flu will succumb to infection. (1) We can easily ascertain that so-called flu season is exactly that time of year that our crucial stores of these fat soluble vitamins are running low. Some would even go so far as to blame vitamin deficiency itself for our susceptibility to the flu. (2) While there are a plethora of contemporary resources looking at the immune modulatory effects of vitamin D, there are relatively few regarding the arguably more important vitamin; vitamin A.
Vitamin A is critical for immune function. (3) In a comprehensive review of the literature, Scrimshaw et al. (1968) concluded ''no nutritional deficiency is more consistently synergistic with infectious disease than that of vitamin A'' (p. 94).
Vitamin A has also been maligned because of it's perceived toxicity at high doses. When in fact, these claims are ill-founded, and based on a flawed study which looked only at synthetic vitamin A in isolation.(4) As such, most government sanctioned recommendations eschew vitamin A rich foods in favor of plant-based carotenoids to supply this crucial vitamin. However, we know that over half the population has little or no ability to convert plant carotenes into true vitamin A.(5) Even in the best conditions, only 3% of carotenes are absorbed.
So, what is the most efficient way to get your critical vitamin A? Traditionally, people got their vitamin A- and their vitamin D- from rich, balanced natural sources like egg yolks, butter, milk, cheese, liver, animal fats, and seafoods.
A lovely balanced profile of both vitamin A and D can be found in grass fed butter. If the butter is from grass-fed cows, you will get the extra benefit of attaining the vitamin K2 as well. Liver from poultry, beef or lamb are very rich sources of both vitamins A and D, as well as high amounts of virtually every other vitamin and mineral the body requires. A regular standby is the tried-and-true superfood of our grandparents' time; cod liver oil!
My personal favorite way to keep up my all-important vitamin A status during the ''flu season” besides my religious use of Cod Liver Oil, is something I make every morning for breakfast. It's a delicious and satiating hot drink that keeps me full and energized for hours! It's naturally nourishing, immune-boosting properties have kept me free from the flu, and many other infections, for years. Now I feel confident in sharing it with you, to beat the flu this season, and every season.