The Surprising Vitamins For Fighting Off Illness, with Dr. Parris Kidd

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In this age of pandemic, the last thing anyone wants is a compromised immune system. After all, our immune systems fight off infections and keep us healthy. So what role do vitamins and supplements play in all this? In the third episode of a series with scientist Dr. Parris Kidd, he and the Amens reveal some of the surprising and lesser-known vitamins that are vital to the health of the immune system.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Welcome back. We are on episode three with Dr. Kidd and this is just so fascinating. Dr. Kidd, I just have to personally tell you, I actually feel like I owe a lot of why I feel so great and so healthy to you.
My supplement routine has changed dramatically and I actually haven't been sick. You even mentioned it. So even during this time of this crazy quarantine, I'm usually one of those people who get sick a lot. And when I get sick I get really sick and it's been like what, a few years now since I've been really sick.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, and the quarantine all by itself is bad for the immune system.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: You're not outside-
Tana Amen: Actually, I feel great.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... in the sun.
Tana Amen: I've enjoyed it.
Dr Daniel Amen: There is chronic stress. People are watching the news too much. So we've talked about vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and I also want to talk about zinc. In NeuroVite Plus, we have 20 milligrams of zinc. Why is zinc important to the immune system?
Dr Parris Kidd : Well, in that, with that very nice product we just developed for mood, The Happy Saffron, I learned something about zinc. I learned that zinc is spread across all of our chemistry, across all of our biochemistry. It's required for at least 200 enzymes to function. It's required for our DNA to be transcribed into proteins. It's required for at least 2000 proteins to function, which could be as much as a third of all the proteins that the body makes.
Zinc is just involved in a wide range of organ functions, so much so that in countries where people are not get, especially children are not getting enough zinc in their diet, their growth actually becomes stunted. And those children tend to have, did not tend to, they do have a higher risk for diarrhea and other types of infections. And if you give them zinc, the rate of infection falls, their growth resumes. That's just one example of how important it is.
So it's important for the solid tissues. That is the bone marrow, the thymus, the spleen to make immune cells. And it's also important for the immune cells themselves to be communicating with each other, to be fixing damage and to generally be functioning on a high level.
And then, it's important as part of the antioxidant defenses. So there are very important antioxidant enzymes that need to have zinc.
So zinc goes across all of our biochemistry and we need it not only for our mood and our memory and other brain functions, but for a wide range of immune functions and for overall growth.
We need it for our reproductive and sexual function. So for example, men lose zinc during sexual activity. And so, zinc is just a very, very important nutrient.
And it's estimated that up to 20% of all Americans may not be getting enough zinc. So we talk about nutrient gaps in the American diet, and it may be that as many as one in five Americans are not getting sufficient zinc. That's by the most conservative, by the most limited estimates.
Tana Amen: Wow!
Dr Daniel Amen: During one of the White House news conferences, the president, who's been rooting for hydroxychloroquine, which I think had a significant and positive impact on my parents who both had COVID-19, he mentioned zinc, but so did, Dr. Filidei who's our integrative medicine chief, because zinc was involved in actually killing the virus.
Tana Amen: And then, he mentioned it in the last episode. I've been seeing a number of videos going around about zinc, and I don't know why, Schweppes.
Dr Daniel Amen: Because of the quinine.
Tana Amen: But that it helps it-
Dr Daniel Amen: The tonic water.
Tana Amen: ... absorb better. That it helps with pain.
Dr Daniel Amen: Right. Quinine water is actually similar to chloroquine. I mean, correct me, Parris if I'm wrong, and that helps to kill a malaria. And so, the quinine has been a treatment in the past for infectious agents.
Dr Parris Kidd : Well, one thing that I do is I'm the science guy. From the time I was a little boy, I was a nerd.
Tana Amen: Nerds rule the world, by the way.
Dr Parris Kidd : I got serious about science by the time I was 11 years old. Science is all that I do. It's the only thing I really can do. And I've learned through my 36 year career with dietary supplements, that we've got to stay with the science, okay.
Dr. Fauci is one of my heroes because when I was writing my book on HIV, Living With The AIDS Virus, he was the one who actually let in the activists and worked with the activist to move forward with getting that virus under control and I'm with him. We've got to stay with the science. YouTube does not cut it. You've got to stay with the clinical trials. You got to stay with the science that we know.
We know that in clinical trials, zinc as glycinate, which is what we have in our supplements, benefits immunity. That we know for a fact. You can get it in a very substantial [inaudible 00:07:03] from the NeuroVite Plus. You can even take twice the dosage of the NeuroVite Plus if you want added protection.
Now, we haven't even got to vitamin D, which turns out to be a very, very important nutrient for balancing the immune system. So the immune system has all sorts of ways it can go. It can be hesitant or it can be over aggressive. So it can be more or less pro-inflammatory or it can be more or less anti-inflammatory.
And vitamin D made in the skin or coming in with the foods is converted into a hormone for which all the immune cells and the solid tissues have sensors. They have receptors. Even the single immune cells can respond to vitamin D. And we know that up to 90 some percent of Americans are not getting sufficient dietary vitamin D.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Parris Kidd : And because of all the paranoia about skin problems, people as they go out, even when I take my grandkids to the beach, I see little kids totally covered. They have full clothes on, they have a big hat on. They're not getting enough sun. So it's no wonder that we're having issues.
And people with vitamin D deficiency also have a higher risk for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, stuff like that. Because vitamin D is balancing the activity of the immune system and that's very, very easy to get.
So Brain MD offers a very high quality vitamin D3. And I want to caution the people out there not to take vitamin D2 because it competes with vitamin D3. You need vitamin D3. That's the one that becomes the hormone. That's the one that has receptors all through our tissues.
Vitamin E now is in the cell membranes. And vitamin E is important, and 80 some percent of Americans probably aren't getting enough vitamin E from their diets. Are we seeing a picture here of the American diet being really bad? The standard American [crosstalk 00:00:09:24].
Dr Daniel Amen: And so, let's stay with vitamin D just for a minute.
Tana Amen: Yeah, because I want to say something about that too.
Dr Daniel Amen: There is a new study out of Indonesia on who died with COVID-19 and they were older, male and had low vitamin D. So when they actually corrected for age, sex and other conditions, low vitamin D was one of the significant predictors of death. And so, it is so important.
And what I've seen routinely over the last 20 years is a very high percentage of my patients are deficient in vitamin D, which is why in NeuroVite Plus we have 2000 international units of vitamin.
Tana Amen: But I need to touch on this because I take NeuroVite Plus, plus I take our additional vitamin D and I take it daily. I take about 10,000 international units daily because I think not everyone absorbs vitamin D the same way. I think it's dependent on multiple things.
Dr Parris Kidd : Yeah, there are also nutations too.
Tana Amen: Right? I [crosstalk 00:10:38] mine regularly. I have an amazing, amazing, an amazing endocrinologist up in San Francisco that is a researcher at UCSF and he calls himself, The Savant of Thyroid. And much like you, he's gotten grief his entire life because he does things very unconventionally, has a huge waiting list of people coming from all over the world to see him, gets grief from his colleagues. And I've never felt better.
But there is a big discrepancy on what's keeping your vitamin D level optimal is. He thinks it's very overblown, this idea of vitamin D deficiency... toxicity. He thinks it's very overblown. Vitamin D toxicity is just like the idea of it is just not what people think it is. He wants mine between 80 and 100. But I hear people say, "Oh, that's too high." He's like, "That's crazy."
Dr Daniel Amen: But, that's within a normal range. Why would [crosstalk 00:00:11:29]?
Tana Amen: My OB GYN said, "That's way too high."
Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah. No, I [crosstalk 00:11:34].
Tana Amen: So I want to clarify this.
Dr Parris Kidd : Well, let's talk about units. At nanogram per mil, 80 to 100 is very high, but it's still safe. And it looks with vitamin D like the higher you can get, the better off you are. I would not recommend going beyond 100 nanogram per mil, which is 250 nanomoles per liter. But the higher the vitamin D goes, the better off you are and this includes the health of all the organs.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Parris Kidd : It includes brain function, it includes bones, joints, everything. Vitamin D is a pro hormone and when it becomes converted into the functioning hormone, calcitriol, then it does all kinds of marvelous things.
10,000 IU is actually a fairly modest dose. And we know that taking it daily is better than going to your physician and getting a huge injection of it every few weeks or whatever. So important to take a daily vitamin D3 of high quality and to keep your total intake no more than 10,000 IU. And then, [crosstalk 00:12:46] it will go up. Then it will go up. And then to keep your level, your blood level at no higher than 100 nanograms per mil.
Tana Amen: Yeah, I just, I see these doctors arguing.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well and measuring it is important. Measuring it, so you know, have a sense of how much you need. All right.
Tana Amen: But, I got to tell you, I've never felt better.
Dr Daniel Amen: When we come back, we're going to talk about magic mushrooms, mushrooms and immunity, not hallucinogens. Stay with us.
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