Although apple cider vinegar can help allay a yeast infection, it should be used in conjunction with foods and dietary supplements that support the body’s natural defenses against yeast infections. Consequently, choosing the right vitamins and minerals to take to help support your immune system can be a prudent course of action.
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Yeast and the Immune System
The yeast fungi that overgrow in the vagina and other areas of the body are primarily opportunistic pathogens. Yeast typically exist on the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina without causing any adverse health maladies in their hosts. Typically the only time yeast cause infection is when an opportunity to grow unchecked arises. Consequently, the yeast fungi that cause yeast infections are called “opportunistic pathogens.”
One opportunity that affords yeast the ability to overgrow and cause an agonizing infection is a weakened immune system. The immune system can become inundated and weakened for a variety of reasons. Cancer, chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, corticosteroid therapy, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can all weaken the body’s immune system. When the body is not able to naturally combat yeast fungi, they can grow unchecked. The result of yeast overgrowth is, as you probably know, is a agonizing yeast infection.
Supporting the Immune System with Vitamins and Minerals
To help ensure your immune system is performing at its functional zenith, you can support its function by providing the vitamins and minerals it requires. According to Elizabeth Somer M.A. R.D., in her book The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals, there are several micronutrients that are associated with the immune response. Some of the micronutrients Elizabeth Somer associates with the immune system include the following micronutrients:
- vitamin A
- beta carotene
- vitamin E
- vitamin C
- B vitamins
Copper Dietary Supplements
Not getting enough copper through your diet can have an adverse effect on the immune system. A low intake of copper in your diet can result in a lower amount of white blood cells in the body and a greater likelihood of developing an infection or other health malady.
In addition to helping keeping the body’s supply of white blood cells at a healthy level, copper also performs several other vital functions. Copper plays an essential role in the formation of red blood cells. Copper also helps keep blood vessels, nerves, and the bones healthy. Up to one half of the total copper in the body can be found in the body’s muscles and bones. Although the concentration of copper in the muscles and bones is not very high, these tissues comprise such a large amount of the body that they end up containing approximately half of the copper in the body.
Some foods contain copper and can be ingested on a more frequent basis to give your body a boost of copper without taking dietary supplements. The following foods are some examples of comestibles that contain copper:
- Seafood such as oysters, lobster, crabs, and clams
- Animal organ meat, e.g. liver, kidneys, etc.
- Nuts, e.g. cashews, macadamia nuts, almonds, etc.
- Legumes, e.g. soybeans and peanuts
- Enriched foods containing copper, e.g. enriched cereals
- Fruits and vegetables, e.g. mushrooms, tomatoes, and bananas
- Black pepper
Iron Dietary Supplements
According to Elizabeth Somer M.A. R.D., in her book The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals, iron helps support the immune system and helps to make the body more resistant to various infections and health maladies.
Clearly, you can acquire iron through eating comestibles that have iron in them. By eating foods rich with iron, you can help your immune system on a daily basis via providing it with the iron it needs. In addition to eating foods high in iron, you can also take dietary supplements of iron to ensure you are getting enough of this essential mineral.
Here are some foods which contain a good amount of iron; eating the following foods is a great way to enrich your diet with iron:
- Dried beans
- Red meat, especially beef
- Whole grains
Selenium Dietary Supplements
It was not until the 1960’s that selenium was identified as an essential mineral. Since then selenium has been known to be a mineral that is utilized by the human body and is necessary for having optimal health. Most of the selenium in the body is contained in the liver, kidneys, heart, and spleen. Selenium can be toxic if too much is taken into the body; therefore, talk to your doctor before taking more than 200 mcg per day. Toxicity symptoms start to manifest in individuals who take more than 750 mcg per day.
Selenium is used to make critical antioxidant enzymes known as selenoproteins. The immune system also uses selenoprotiens to operate at its best. After the body receives a vaccination, selenium can stimulate the body’s antibodies.
If you have a yeast infection, consider taking 200 mcg of selenium each day to help your body defend itself against invading fungus.
The following comestibles contain selenium naturally and are excellent ways to ingest more selenium on a daily basis:
- Grains grown in soil that is rich in selenium
- Dairy products
- Animal organ meat
B Vitamin Dietary Supplements
B vitamins can be helpful in supporting the body’s immune system and therefore can be utilized to help naturally allay a yeast infection.
Making sure to have enough vitamin B6 in your body can help aid in the regulation and maintenance of the immune system. Despite the benefits of having enough B6 in your diet, having too much B6 will not provide an extra benefit the body’s immune system. Older individuals who are deficient in vitamin B6 may be more at risk of developing a yeast infection.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenic acid was named after the Greek word pantothen which means “from everywhere.” Pantothenic acid was given this name because this vitamin is so ubiquitous; appearing in many plants and animals. The average American diet has 5mg to 20mg of pantothenic acid in it. Having 5mg to 20mg of pantothenic acid appears to be all that is required for optimal health; thus, the average American diet provides enough vitamin B5.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candidiasis (opportunistic pathogens)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunistic_pathogen (compromised Immune system is an “opportunity” for infection)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candida_(genus) (albicans is part of the normal flora of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and female genital tracts)
- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yeast-infection/DS01182/DSECTION=causes impaired immune system causes YI
- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yeast-infection/DS01182/DSECTION=risk-factors (corticosteroid therapy or by HIV infection weaken immune system)
- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-thrush/DS00408/DSECTION=causes (cancer chemotherapy and radiation weaken immune system
- Elizabeth Somer. The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals (p.120 nutrients for the immune system)
- Elizabeth Somer. The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals (p.98 white blood cells count low via deficiency of copper, p.98 copper in muscles and bones)
- http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/copper copper in foods
- Elizabeth Somer. The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals (p.105 iron supports immune system)
- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002422.htm (iron in the diet)
- Elizabeth Somer. The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals (p.112 selenium, p.114 selenium in foods)
- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002414.htm selenium in foods
- Elizabeth Somer. The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals (p.50 Immune system and b6, p.64 pantothenic acid)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantothenic_acid vitamin b5
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