Flu Season in Arizona: Diet & Supplement Tips to Boost Immunity

Flu Season in Arizona: Diet & Supplement Tips to Boost Immunity 1024 536 Community Clinical Pharmacy

Gear Up for the Flu Season with the Right Vitamins and Supplements

Did you know that the Arizona flu season starts from October, and continues until May the following year?

According to the CDC, Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, but there are also times where it can lead to death. Oftentimes, flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. Some of the common symptoms of flu include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea may also occur mostly on children

The thing about flu is that the symptoms may vary depending on severity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most severe cases will let you experience all these symptoms at once. However, there are also instances where you will only experience a few of these symptoms.

It is also important to take note that not everyone with the flu will experience fever or feeling feverish and develop chills. But the most common symptoms are a runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and tiredness.

The Threat of the Flu

As previously mentioned, the flu season in Arizona usually begins in October and continues through May. Hundreds die even from the common flu each year. This brings to light the significance in proactiveness to keep your immune system strong during every seasonal outbreak.

As provided by the Arizona Emergency Information Network, about five to 20 percent of the population in Arizona gets flu in a year and more than 4,000 of those who suffer from flu get hospitalized for minor to severe complications. There is also a recorded average of 700 people who die from flu every year.

Gearing Up for the Flu Season

Even with the flu vaccination, many still get infected. What makes one person more vulnerable to infection, than the other? It’s been suggested that a strong immune system plays a role.

Top Supplements that Boost Immunity for the Flu Season

Vitamin C

Research shows that vitamin C deficiency can make you vulnerable to the seasonal flu and other illnesses. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that protects your body from toxins that cause inflammation. Taking Vitamin C on a regular basis is essential for good health since your body does not produce it on its own or store it to use later.

Sources of Vitamin C

Orange citrus fruits are among the most popular sources of Vitamin C. But there are also other fruits and vegetables that you can get your fill of Vitamin C from:

  • Red bell peppers
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Kiwi
  • Green bell peppers
  • Cooked broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Grapefruit
  • Raw broccoli

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Vitamin E

Another powerful antioxidant that keeps your body from infection is Vitamin E. Research shows that Vitamin E is among the best nutrients that help boost your immune function and keep your T-cells working well.

Get your fill of Vitamin E

You can get Vitamin E from various food sources. Load up your plate with these vitamin E-filled foods. The higher on this list, the more vitamin E they contain:

  • Wheat germ oil
  • Seeds, like sunflower seeds
  • Nuts, like almonds, peanuts and nut butters
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach

Source: Cleveland Clinic


Zinc is another functional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Researchers like to call it the “gatekeeper” of your immune system since it is responsible for securing the proper function of your immune cells.

Foods rich in Zinc

One of the highest food sources of zinc is Oysters. However, there are also many other foods that help you get the right amount of zinc that your body needs to stay in tip top shape:

  • Oysters
  • Beef (lean meat)
  • Blue Crab
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Broiled Pork chops
  • Turkey Breast
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Shrimp
  • Lentils
  • Canned Sardines
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Milk

Source: Cleveland Clinic


Curcumin is known to provide multiple health benefits to one’s health. It is the main active ingredient for turmeric root which is essential in maintaining immunity.

There are more than 120 human clinical trials that show how reliable curcumin is in addressing autoimmunity, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

What can Curcumin do?

Curcumin decreases inflammation and helps with relieving pain and arthritis. It also helps in blocking inflammatory cytokines, which aids in driving autoimmune and heart disease, as well as diabetes.For those who are trying to maintain a healthy gut, curcumin is especially helpful in improving the health of your gut bacteria, which also adds to overall immune health.

But the thing about curcumin is that our bodies do not absorb it well and it would take a copious amount of turmeric root before one can expect significant benefits. This is why it is recommended to take at least 1,000 milligrams of curcumin supplement per day with food.

How & When to Supplement

The “how” can best be done by checking with your doctor or pharmacist what you might need. One way they may confirm their diagnosis is with a test. Nowadays, there are plenty of home testing kits to assess vitamin deficiencies and hormone profiles. This can help disassociate symptoms between the two.

As for “when”, follow what your doctor or pharmacist recommends based on their expert analysis of your test results. Supplement appropriately and don’t take more than what the label says. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

RETINOIDS AND CAROTENE (vitamin A; includes retinol, retinal, retinyl esters, and retinoic acid and are also referred to as “preformed” vitamin A. Beta carotene can easily be converted to vitamin A as needed.) Essential for vision Lycopene may lower prostate cancer risk. Keeps tissues and skin healthy. Plays an important role in bone growth and in the immune system. Diets rich in the carotenoids alpha carotene and lycopene seem to lower lung cancer risk. Carotenoids act as antioxidants. Foods rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may protect against cataracts M: 900 mcg (3,000 IU)W: 700 mcg (2,333 IU)Some supplements report vitamin A in international units (IU’s).
Sources of retinoids: beef liver, eggs, shrimp, fish, fortified milk, butter, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese
Sources of beta carotene: sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, squash, spinach, mangoes, turnip greens
THIAMIN (vitamin B1) Helps convert food into energy. Needed for healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain and is critical for nerve function. M: 1.2 mg, W: 1.1 mg
Pork chops, brown rice, ham, soymilk, watermelons, acorn squash
RIBOFLAVIN (vitamin B2) Helps convert food into energy. Needed for healthy skin, hair, blood, and brain M: 1.3 mg, W: 1.1 mg
Milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, meats, green leafy vegetables, whole and enriched grains and cereals.
NIACIN (vitamin B3, nicotinic acid) Helps convert food into energy. Essential for healthy skin, blood cells, brain, and nervous system M: 16 mg, W: 14 mg
Meat, poultry, fish, fortified and whole grains, mushrooms, potatoes, peanut butter
PANTOTHENIC ACID (vitamin B5) Helps convert food into energy. Helps make lipids (fats), neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and hemoglobin M: 5 mg, W: 5 mg
Wide variety of nutritious foods, including chicken, egg yolk, whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms, avocados, tomato products
PYRIDOXINE (vitamin B6, pyridoxal, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine) Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may reduce the risk of heart diseaseHelps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in sleep, appetite, and moods. Helps make red blood cells Influences cognitive abilities and immune function 31–50 years old: M: 1.3 mg, W: 1.3 mg; 51+ years old: M: 1.7 mg, W: 1.5 mg
Meat, fish, poultry, legumes, tofu and other soy products, potatoes, noncitrus fruits such as bananas and watermelons
COBALAMIN (vitamin B12) Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. Assists in making new cells and breaking down some fatty acids and amino acids. Protects nerve cells and encourages their normal growth Helps make red blood cells and DNA M: 2.4 mcg, W: 2.4 mcg
Meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, fortified cereals, fortified soymilk
BIOTIN Helps convert food into energy and synthesize glucose. Helps make and break down some fatty acids. Needed for healthy bones and hair M: 30 mcg, W: 30 mcg
Many foods, including whole grains, organ meats, egg yolks, soybeans, and fish
ASCORBIC ACID (vitamin C) Foods rich in vitamin C may lower the risk for some cancers, including those of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and breast. Long-term use of supplemental vitamin C may protect against cataracts. Helps make collagen, a connective tissue that knits together wounds and supports blood vessel walls. Helps make the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Bolsters the immune system M: 90 mg, W: 75 mg Smokers: Add 35 mg
Fruits and fruit juices (especially citrus), potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts
CHOLINE Helps make and release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which aids in many nerve and brain activities. Plays a role in metabolizing and transporting fats M: 550 mg, W: 425 mg
Many foods, especially milk, eggs, liver, salmon, and peanuts
CALCIFEROL (vitamin D) Helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which strengthen bones. Helps form teeth and bones. Supplements can reduce the number of non-spinal fractures 31–70: 15 mcg (600 IU) 71+: 20 mcg (800 IU)
Fortified milk or margarine, fortified cereals, fatty fish
ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (vitamin E) Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Protects vitamin A and certain lipids from damage. Diets rich in vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. M: 15 mg, W: 15 mg (15 mg equals about 22 IU from natural sources of vitamin E and 33 IU from synthetic vitamin E)
Wide variety of foods, including vegetable oils, salad dressings and margarines made with vegetable oils, wheat germ, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts
FOLIC ACID (vitamin B9, folate, folacin) Vital for new cell creationHelps prevent brain and spine birth defects when taken early in pregnancy; should be taken regularly by all women of child-bearing age since women may not know they are pregnant in the first weeks of pregnancy. Can lower levels of homocysteine and may reduce heart disease risk May reduce risk for colon cancer. Offsets breast cancer risk among women who consume alcohol M: 400 mcg, W: 400 mcg
Fortified grains and cereals, asparagus, okra, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, legumes like black-eyed peas and chickpeas, orange juice, tomato juice
PHYLLOQUINONE, MENADIONE (vitamin K) Activates proteins and calcium essential to blood clotting. May help prevent hip fractures M: 120 mcg, W: 90 mcg
Cabbage, liver, eggs, milk, spinach, broccoli, sprouts, kale, collards, and other green vegetables
CALCIUM Builds and protects bones and teeth. Helps with muscle contractions and relaxation, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission. Plays a role in hormone secretion and enzyme activation. Helps maintain healthy blood pressure 31–50: M: 1,000 mg, W: 1,000 mg 51-70: M: 1,000 mg, W: 1,200 mg, 71+: M: 1,200 mg, W: 1,200 mg
Yogurt, cheese, milk, tofu, sardines, salmon, fortified juices, leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and kale (but not spinach or Swiss chard, which have binders that lessen absorption)
CHLORIDE Balances fluids in the body. A component of stomach acid, essential to digestion 14-50: M/W: 2.3 g, 51-70 M/W: 2.0 g, 71+: M/W: 1.8 g
Salt (sodium chloride), soy sauce, processed foods
CHROMIUM Enhances the activity of insulin, helps maintain normal blood glucose levels, and is needed to free energy from glucose 14–50: M: 35 mcg, 14-18: W: 24 mcg 19-50: W: 25 mcg 51+: M: 30 mcg, W: 20 mcg
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, potatoes, some cereals, nuts, cheese
COPPER Plays an important role in iron metabolism and immune system. Helps make red blood cells M: 900 mcg, W: 900 mcg
Liver, shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans, prunes, cocoa, black pepper
FLUORIDE Encourages strong bone formation. Keeps dental cavities from starting or worsening M: 4 mg, W: 3 mg
Water that is fluoridated, toothpaste with fluoride, marine fish, teas
IODINE Part of thyroid hormone, which helps set body temperature and influences nerve and muscle function, reproduction, and growth. Prevents goiter and a congenital thyroid disorder M: 150 mcg, W: 150 mcg
Iodized salt, processed foods, seafood
IRON Helps hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells ferry oxygen throughout the body. Needed for chemical reactions in the body and for making amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones 19–50: M: 8 mg, W: 18 mg 51+: M: 8 mg, W: 8 mg
Red meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, green vegetables, fortified bread and grain products
MAGNESIUM Needed for many chemical reactions in the body Works with calcium in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and regulation of blood pressure. Helps build bones and teeth 18+: M: 420 mg, W: 320 mg
Green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, legumes, cashews, sunflower seeds and other seeds, halibut, whole-wheat bread, milk
MANGANESE Helps form bones. Helps metabolize amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates M: 2.3 mg, W: 1.8 mg
Fish, nuts, legumes, whole grains, tea
MOLYBDENUM Part of several enzymes, one of which helps ward off a form of severe neurological damage in infants that can lead to early death M: 45 mcg, W: 45 mcg
Legumes, nuts, grain products, milk
PHOSPHORUS Helps build and protect bones and teeth. Part of DNA and RNA. Helps convert food into energy. Part of phospholipids, which carry lipids in blood and help shuttle nutrients into and out of cells M: 700 mg, W: 700 mg
Wide variety of foods, including milk and dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, liver, green peas, broccoli, potatoes, almonds
POTASSIUM Balances fluids in the body. Helps maintain steady heartbeat and send nerve impulses. Needed for muscle contractions. A diet rich in potassium seems to lower blood pressure. Getting enough potassium from your diet may benefit bones M: 4.7 g, W: 4.7 g
Meat, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes
SELENIUM Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Helps regulate thyroid hormone activity M: 55 mcg, W: 55 mcg
Organ meats, seafood, walnuts, sometimes plants (depends on soil content), grain products
SODIUM Balances fluids in the body. Helps send nerve impulses. Needed for muscle contractions. Impacts blood pressure; even modest reductions in salt consumption can lower blood pressure M: 2,300 mg, W: 2,300 mg
Salt, soy sauce, processed foods, vegetables
SULFUR Helps form bridges that shape and stabilize some protein structures. Needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails Unknown
Protein-rich foods, such as meats, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes
ZINC Helps form many enzymes and proteins and create new cells. Frees vitamin A from storage in the liver. Needed for immune system, taste, smell, and wound healing. When taken with certain antioxidants, zinc may delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration M: 11 mg, W: 8 mg
Red meat, poultry, oysters and some other seafood, fortified cereals, beans, nuts
*Recommended dietary allowance **Adequate intake

Source: Harvard

Cover Your Vitamin and Supplement Needs With Community Clinical Compounding Pharmacy

To wrap up, vitamin deficiencies are real. But it’s also risky to take any supplement you come across without knowing your levels. It’s best to consult with professionals and check what’s best for you first, you never know how your body will react.

For those living in the East Valley Area of Arizona, especially in Mesa, Community Clinical Compounding Pharmacy is the go-to place for vitamin supplements and hormone specialists.

When in doubt, contact one of our knowledgeable pharmacists at Community Clinical Pharmacy. We are here to offer you solutions and assist you in making informed decisions about your health. Contact us with comments, questions, or pharmacy related topics you’d like to know more about. And, as always, stay healthy!


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Here to Help

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about your options when it comes to hormone replacement, please call Community Clinical Pharmacy and we can consult with you and your physician to find the best solution.

We serve the East Valley Metro Area including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, and surrounding areas.


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