Trace elements to strengthen your immune system
Copper, gold, silver; minerals that are not naturally present in the body, give us a boost in the fight against viruses or slack in the middle of winter. Our advice to choose the most appropriate food supplements for your condition.
In Greek, oligo means "little". Trace elements are minerals that are found only in small amounts in our body. However, they have an essential function: "They act as catalysts, a bit like the spark that ignites a car engine," explains Biochemist Isabelle Hininger-Favier.
In fact, trace elements provide the body with the necessary reactions to defend itself well against viruses, to cope with stress or fatigue. And if they are in our diet, sometimes a boost is needed.
"In the elderly in particular, observations show that they do not always achieve the recommended nutritional intakes of iron, zinc, selenium or magnesium. Therefore, supplementation at very low doses may be helpful in restarting their metabolism," estimates Dr. Odile Picard-Paix, general practitioner oligotherapist.
This is especially true in winter when the body is affected by colds and viruses.
Trace elements stimulate our immune defenses
"Taking trace elements is helpful if you have repeated infections during the winter," suggests Dr. Picard-Paix. In general, "studies show that trace elements strengthen defenses: immunity markers, for example, are improved with zinc and selenium supplementation", acknowledges Isabelle Hininger-Favier.
This zinc-selenium duo is particularly helpful after age 65, as studies have shown that supplementation reduces the risk of bronchopulmonary infections.
Before age 65, it is rather the copper-gold-silver trio that is used to counteract viruses (colds, flu, viral gastroenteritis, etc.) and bacteria. Copper is antiviral and antibacterial, gold stimulates the action of white blood cells, and silver is quite bactericidal.
In the case of chronic ENT infections (tonsillitis, sinusitis, etc.), this trio is associated with sulfur, which participates in the regeneration of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
All these trace elements can be used as a basic preventive treatment, starting in autumn and for at least three months. Each trace element (or copper-gold-silver synergy) is taken two or three times a week, alternating if several are combined.
In case of cold or other winter infection, the dose can also be increased (twice a day) for a few days, to support the defenses.
Trace elements fight fatigue
"Unlike vitamin C, trace elements will not provide an immediate boost. On the other hand, they will help to change the terrain for sustainable energy recovery," explains Florence Raynaud.
In addition to the trio of copper, gold and silver, which increases immunity but also aids recovery, often prescribed during periods of convalescence, we will add selenium if we feel physically weak, because a deficit is often synonymous with muscle fatigue.
In case of nervous exhaustion: we feel nervous, the copper-gold-silver trio will be associated with magnesium, because stress depletes our stock and our nerve cells need it to function properly.
Trace elements help us maintain good morale
When winter fatigue is accompanied by mild depression, linked in particular to lack of light, lithium is prescribed to rebalance morale in infinitesimal doses, much lower than those used in psychiatry to treat depression. It can be added to anti-fatigue trace elements.
For chronic anxiety, "with sleep problems in particular, prefer the manganese-cobalt duo," says Dr. Picard-Paix.
Precautions to take
"With the amounts provided by oligotherapy specialties of the order of one milligram or one microgram, the risk of overdose is almost nil, it can even be administered to children 3-4 years old", explains Florence Raynaud.
Risk of accumulation However, be careful not to combine them with food supplements that also contain them.
Magnesium in kidney failure can be poorly eliminated and stored in excess, zinc in cancer can promote cell proliferation.
It is always better to consult a doctor, a naturopath or a pharmacist to determine the appropriate protocol for your condition, especially since "the main risk, when taking them wrong, is above all not being effective," adds Dr. Odile Picard-Paix .