Your immune system comprises of a complex group of cells, processes, and chemicals that continually defends your body against invading pathogens, including viruses, toxins, and bacteria.
Keeping your immune system healthy is key to preventing infection and disease. Making healthy lifestyle picks by consuming nutritious foods and getting sufficient sleep and exercise are the most important behaviors to bolster your immune system.
In addition, research has revealed that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs can improve immune response and theoretically protect against diseases.
Note that some supplements can interact with medications you’re taking. Some may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions. Talk with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements.
Here are 3 supplements that are well-known for their immune-boosting potential.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin vital to the health and functioning of your immune system.
Vitamin D increases the pathogen fighting properties of monocytes and macrophages – white blood cells that are central parts of your immune defense – and decreases inflammation, which promotes immune response.
Many persons are deficient in this important vitamin, which may negatively disturb immune function. Low vitamin D levels are linked with an increased risk of respiratory tract infections, including flu and allergic asthma.
Some studies show that supplementing with vitamin D may increase immune response. Recent research suggests that taking this vitamin may defend against respiratory tract infections.
Also supplementing with vitamin D significantly reduced the risk of respiratory infections in persons deficient in this vitamin and lowered infection risk in those with adequate vitamin D levels.
Other studies note that vitamin D may improve response to antiviral treatments in persons with some infections, including hepatitis C and HIV.
Depending on blood levels, anywhere a supplemental vitamin D between 1,000 and 4,000 IU of per day is satisfactory for most persons, though those with more serious deficiencies frequently need much higher doses.
Zinc is a mineral that’s usually added to supplements and other healthcare products like lozenges that are destined to increase your immune system. This is because zinc is indispensable for immune system function.
Zinc is necessary for immune cell development and communication and plays a significant role in inflammatory response.
A deficiency in zinc significantly disturbs your immune system’s ability to function correctly, causing an increased risk of infection and disease, including pneumonia.
Zinc deficiency affects around 2 billion people around the world and is very common in older persons. In fact, up to 30% of older persons are considered deficient in this nutrient.
Many studies reveal that zinc supplements may defend against respiratory tract infections like the common flu.
Also supplementing with zinc may be beneficial for persons who are already sick.
Taking zinc long term is usually safe for healthy adults at the daily dose is under the set upper limit of 40 mg.
Higher doses may interfere with copper absorption, which could increase your infection risk.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the most popular supplement taken to protect against infection due to its significant role in immune health system.
Vitamin C supports the function of various immune cells and improves their ability to protect against infection. It’s also needed for cellular death, which keeps your immune system healthy by clearing out old cells and substituting them with new ones.
Vitamin C also is a powerful antioxidant, protecting against harm induced by oxidative stress, which occurs with the increase the number of reactive molecules known as free radicals.
Oxidative stress can undesirably affect immune health and is linked to numerous illnesses.
Supplementing with vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections, including the flu.
The review also demonstrated that regularly taking vitamin C supplements reduced flu occurrence in persons under high physical stress, including marathon runners and soldiers, by up to 50%.
Also high dose of vitamin C treatment has been shown to considerably improve symptoms in persons with severe infections, including sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome subsequent of viral infections.
These results confirm that vitamin C supplements may considerably affect immune health, especially in persons who don’t take enough of the vitamin through their diet. The upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 mg. Supplemental daily doses typically range between 250 and 1,000 mg.
According to results from scientific research, the supplements enumerated above may give immune-boosting properties.
But keep in mind that many of these supplements’ potential properties on immune health have not been comprehensively tested in humans, wanting for future studies.
Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc are just some of the supplements that offer immune-boosting properties. Still, they have not been methodically tested in humans, and more research is needed.
More supplements on the market may help increase immune health. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc are just some of the ingredients that have been researched for their immune-enhancing effects.
These supplements may give a small or high help for immune health, they should not be used as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle.
Keeping an equilibrated diet, taking enough sleep, making systematic physical activity, and not smoking are some of the most important ways to keep your immune system healthy and decrease your probabilities of infection and disease.
If you want to try a supplement, speak with your healthcare provider first, as some supplements may interact with certain medications. Remember that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that any of these supplements can protect against COVID-19 – even though some of them may have antiviral effects.