Bottom Line/HEALTH: What are your favorite everyday immune boosters?

Dr. Rubman: I like to have a combination of vitamins and food. The most important vitamin is vitamin C, and the foods are the bright fruits and vegetables with a great color. They actually make the vitamin C work better. So I like the two of them in tandem.

Bottom Line: So the old “lots of fruits and vegetables on your plate.” But it’s interesting, because vitamin C—it’s almost like aspirin. It is the classic vitamin and so simple, and yet that really is your favorite.

Dr. Rubman: It is. As a matter of fact, there’s more published literature on vitamin C and its function with the immune system than on any other vitamin or mineral. The important takeaway point, though, is to remember the cofactors. You can’t just take the pills and have a poor diet.

Bottom Line: What is it about vitamin C that is so great?

Dr. Rubman: It works in virtually every part of the body. It helps to prepare the immune system…it helps to activate the immune system… and it also helps to work against foreign invaders. So it works in all the places one would imagine it should.

Bottom Line: Is there some standard safe dosing that everybody should take?

Dr. Rubman: There’s some controversy about that—usually somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 milligrams. Some people like to take it to the point where they notice loosening of the bowels—how can I say that artfully? But usually somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 milligrams.

Bottom Line: Just every day, to be able to fight off all these nasty viruses going around.

Dr. Rubman: Particularly during times of environmental change. When you’re going through fall into winter…you’re coming out of winter into spring…there tends to be increased vulnerability. Going on a job interview, doing something more stressful, having maybe a family meeting where you haven’t had one in awhile—that’s a good time to add it in if you’re not taking it regularly.

Bottom Line: Great. Thank you very much, Dr. Rubman.

Dr. Rubman: My pleasure.