7 Supplements for the Immune System

You now know that your immune system is a complex mixture of cells, chemicals, and processes that work together to provide you with protection against antigens. It is very important that you do all that you can to boost and maintain your immune system levels so that it can prevent diseases. With that, here are the 7 supplements for the immune system that you can try out.

Supplements for the Immune System

#1 Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most essential nutrients for the proper functioning and overall health of your immune system. It is a fat-soluble that increases the fighting abilities of macrophages and monocytes that make up your white blood cells.

Most people just do not get enough vitamin D. When you are deficient in this vitamin it is possible that it can have a negative impact on your immune system. A low level of vitamin D can put you more at risk for respiratory infections like the coronavirus and the flu.

A number of studies showed that using vitamin D supplements can improve the response of the immune system. Some recent research suggested that vitamin D supplements may provide additional protection against respiratory infections.

A review of studies of over 11,000 people in 2019 revealed that using vitamin D supplements significantly lowered the risk of respiratory infection in people that were deficient, and also lowered the risk of infection in others that had adequate levels of vitamin D.

#2 Vitamin C

A lot of people take vitamin C supplements because they know that is good for their immune system. Vitamin C provides support to immune cell function and enhances the ability of these cells to fight off antigens.

Vitamin C also plays an important role in the death of cells. This is vital because the dead cells need clearing out and replacing with new cells so that your immune system can remain healthy. It is also a powerful antioxidant and will help to prevent damage due to oxidative stress.

A big review of a number of case studies involving over 11,000 participants found that by taking vitamin C supplements regularly, adults were able to reduce the duration of the common cold by 8% and children by 14%.

#3 Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is critical for the healthy functioning of your immune system. Many supplements contain zinc because it is so vital for the development of immune cells and for the response to inflammation.

You really do not want to be zinc-deficient because this could certainly compromise your immune system. But more than 2 billion people across the world have a zinc deficiency and this is especially prevalent in older people.

There have been many studies showing that taking zinc supplements can protect against respiratory infections. It can also help those that are sick already. A study in 2019 of over 60 children in hospital with a respiratory infection found that supplementing zinc intake by a further 30 mg each day reduced their duration of stay by 2 days on average.

#4 Selenium

Being a powerful antioxidant, selenium plays a crucial role in the health of your immune system. It is also an essential mineral for your overall health and wellbeing. As an adult, you need to have a daily selenium intake of 55 micrograms per day.

There have been various studies that show viruses thriving in people that are selenium and vitamin E deficient. By taking selenium supplements, there is a good chance that you will provide your immune system with a boost and also minimize inflammation.

#5 Black Elderberry

The treatment of infections using black elderberry has been practiced for a long time. Various test-tube studies revealed that elderberry extract contains potent antiviral and antibacterial properties to fight against pathogens (antigens) which can cause respiratory infections. Studies also showed that it enhances the response of the immune system and reduces the severity and duration of colds.

Supplements for the Immune System

A recent review of four studies with 180 participants found that elderberry supplements reduced upper respiratory symptoms resulting from viral infections significantly. You can obtain elderberry supplements in both capsule and liquid form.

#6 Vitamin E

Like selenium, vitamin E is a strong antioxidant. It will enhance your immune system and help you to fight off disease forming antigens. Experts recommend that you need a 15 mg dose of vitamin E as an adult. If you are deficient in vitamin E then supplements could help.

#7 Medicinal Mushrooms

The use of medicinal mushrooms for the prevention and treatment of disease has been going on since ancient times. There have been studies of a lot of different types of medicinal mushrooms to identify their potential for bolstering the immune system. These studies concluded that there were more than 270 types of medicinal mushrooms that have the potential to boost the immune system. You may have heard of some of the more commonly known types such as:

  • Reishi
  • Cordyceps
  • Turkey Tail
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Shitake
  • Maitake

There was a study conducted with 79 adult participants who were provided with cordyceps mycelium culture supplements. It was discovered that this provided a significant increase of 38% in their natural killer cells, which are a white blood cell type that protects people from infections.

Images courtesy of:
HeungSoon, RitaE, Ri Butov, Pixabay

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7 Supplements for the Immune System

Part 5 of Boost Your Immune System Series
Pam Byc
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