Ask Dr Shane – What can I do to support my immunity?

Dr Shane, you’ve mentioned we need to support our immunity to help us remain healthy. Including helping us reduce our chances of falling to colds and flu. I regularly take (though I often forget), Vitamin C and Zinc. Is there benefit for me to continue with this?


Thank you for your question and interest in trying to do the right thing.

At a glance


  • Vitamin C has been repeatedly shown to be safe and effective.
  • Vitamin C supplementation of at least 200mg/day has been shown to shorten the duration of viral respiratory tract infections in both children and adults.
  • Vitamin C may have a positive effect on COVID-19 outcomes, increasing the recovery rate of outpatients by 70%.
  • Zinc lozenges can shorten the duration of respiratory virus infections.


We often talk about the value of adopting a healthy lifestyle. This is as individual to each of us as we are individuals ourselves. We can all change our behaviours, though the ease at which can do this, is unique to us. It can depend upon many factors: health, available time, budget, responsibilities, and understanding of the need and value for change.

Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) relate to our breathing and include infections relating to our airways, sinuses, throat, and lungs. Typical symptoms are varied and can include a general feeling of unwellness alongside: coughing, sneezing, stuffy/runny/blocked nose, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, breathlessness, tight chest or wheezing and a high temperature. With remedial self-care most RTIs get better without treatment, but sometimes you may need to see a GP.

Current NHS Guidelines:

  • get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of water to loosen any mucus and make it easier to cough up
  • drink a hot lemon and honey drink to help soothe a cough (not suitable for babies under 1 year old)
  • gargle with warm salty water if you have a sore throat (children should not try this)
  • raise your head up while sleeping using extra pillows to make breathing easier and clear your chest of mucus
  • use painkillers to bring down a fever and help ease a sore throat, headaches and muscle pain.

Vitamin C has been of interest in the prevention and treatment of RTIs for over fifty years. Recently research found that supplementing with at least 200mg/day shortened the duration of viral respiratory tract infections in both children and adults. The review also underscored the safety and effectiveness of Vitamin C.

It has also been shown that Vitamin C may have a positive effect on COVID-19 outcomes with a recent trial showing that Vitamin C increased the recovery rate of outpatients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 by 70%.3

We have previously posted on the value and benefit of Zinc and discussed supplementing with Zinc Lozenges. Current research continues to underpin this recommendation, with strong evidence showing that Zinc lozenges can shorten the duration of respiratory virus infections.4 Though as consumers we need to be wary that supplements have the right Zinc dose.5

It is likely that a large percent of us have low Vitamin C status, therefore we need to ensure we increase our consumption of Vitamin C rich food, plus routine supplementation (at least 200mg / day) can help us ensure we have optimal levels.

Zinc is a main player in all our body systems including our immune system. Deficiency has been proven to reduce our immune function and is described as a gatekeeper of immune system. Supplementation with Zinc oral lozenges may reduce symptom severity for the common cold, due to inhibiting viral replication at the back of your throat. Zinc acetate is reported to be the best form of Zinc to be used within a lozenge (ionizing more effectively than other sources), with Life Extension Zinc Acetate lozenges solely designed to be effective.

Related Products:

If you have a specific interest or would like to see a particular product or nutrient reviewed, please email your request to Educating our customers in respect to the importance of nutrients and the idiosyncrasies between formulas and products is at the heart of what we want to achieve.

This post is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or g