Whether you’re a fast-food fiend or a vegan warrior, many of us gain our nutrients strictly from the foods we consume. However, from meals alone, we don’t always gain the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Often, we end up lacking the essential nutrients that help keep our immune systems strong.
Supplements are a great way to consume vitamins and minerals that you may be lacking in your daily routine. The supplement aisle in your local pharmacy or grocery store can be intimidating, so if you’re looking for a way to boost your immune health through supplements, we have a few great choices for you!
How supplements boost immune systems
Your immune system is made up of tissues, white blood cells, antibodies, chemicals, and various organs that act as the first line of defense against infection and illness. However, the immune system isn’t foolproof and can often require additional help.
This is where supplements come in.
Supplements help your immune system by filling in these “gaps.” They strengthen your body’s natural defense by sending the appropriate chemicals to your glands and organs to help protect you from illness. Check out the list below to learn more about some of the best supplements for boosting immune health.
Vitamin C is often referred to as ascorbic acid. Higher vitamin C content within the body helps cells navigate toward infections where they can target viruses and keep you healthy.
T cells and phagocytes are two cells within your body that are particularly accommodating for vitamin C. T cells develop in the thymus gland (located near the top of the lungs by the heart) and attack foreign particles like allergens or pathogens. Phagocytes are small cells that absorb bacteria and other harmful cells. Both of these are crucial for a healthy immune system and benefit greatly from a boost of vitamin C.
This antioxidant is one of the best supplements for fighting off colds and flu. However, vitamin C is water-soluble, so whenever your body excretes water (like sweat or urine), it excretes these vitamins are as well.
It’s likely that you’ve heard about vitamin D being good for your bones and that, to obtain it, you should drink lots of milk. While that is partially true, vitamin D does much more for you beyond regulating calcium production.
Vitamin D is one of two vitamins that your body creates naturally, the other being vitamin K. Vitamin D regulates calcium, hormones, and phosphorus levels in the body. Unlike vitamin C, these are fat-soluble vitamins that pass through your liver, kidneys, and other fatty tissues to be absorbed. They can be stored longer and don’t need to be replenished as often as water-soluble nutrients.
Research has proven that Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to an increase in infection, and while several foods boost vitamin D in the body, they aren’t always enough. These supplements help increase vitamin D in the body and promote health in the virus-killing T cells.
Vitamin B12 supports several areas of the body from the production of proteins and lipids to the moderation of red blood cells and DNA. Beyond that, vitamin B12 is crucial for your metabolism and converting food to energy. All of these factors are important for immune health– you need a functioning digestive and circulatory system to ward off disease.
Vitamin B12 is another water-soluble supplement that requires daily replenishment. Supplements are a great way to increase daily vitamin B12 production in the body without the stress of eating a ton of food rich in vitamin B12 like dairy, fish, and beef.
Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is perhaps one of the most important vitamins in the body. It regulates cells to better fight against infection and provides some of the strongest antioxidant production among supplements. Vitamin E deficiencies are most common in the digestive tract and can cause several unwanted problems like damaged skin, eye disorders, hormonal imbalance, and inflammation. This supplement is especially helpful for older adults who are more at risk of illness and infection.
Vitamin E is a crucial part of the immune system and a great supplement to take in moderation. Excessive amounts of vitamin E supplements can reduce the blood’s ability to clot after a scrape or injury.
Another great supplement for aiding the production and moderation of the immune system is zinc. Zinc helps to maintain a healthy supply of T cells, phagocytes, and cytokine within the body. Zinc is also an essential player in healing wounds and repairing damaged cells within the immune system. While prevention and defense are the most important aspect of daily supplements, zinc helps to ensure that even if a virus has made headway within the body, it can be flushed out before illness and infection occur.
Disclaimer: BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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