What supplements can help boost your immune system?
The human immune system is truly remarkable when you stop and think about it, as it has to deal with a lot of stressors on a near daily basis. It can be worn down by illness, toxins and pollution in the air, unhealthy foods, stress, bacteria, aging, and even by exercise and physical exertion.
Yes, the immune system takes one heck of a battering on a daily basis, yet if you look after yours and keep it as healthy as you possibly can, you will quickly find yourself reaping the rewards.
The immune system is the first and last line of defence against illness and disease so the stronger an immune system is, the healthier the individual. Conversely, the weaker the immune system, the more likely an individual will be to fall ill and suffer from poor health.
The good news however, is that you can easily strengthen and boost your immune system in a number of ways.
#1 Fish oil supplements
Fish oil supplements, such as cod liver oil, are renowned for their health properties, especially in terms of immunity. Fish oil supplements contain compounds that have been proven to significantly increase the human immune system in a variety of different ways.
Many of these compounds are suggested to help to fight inflammation and cardiovascular disease, therefore helping to strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Following exercise, as exercise is indeed a stressor, our immune systems can actually find themselves becoming suppressed, as stress is very detrimental to immune function. However, studies have found that, following physical exertion, fish oil can significantly improve immune health and function, meaning that, in terms of using fish oil for the immune system, a good time to consume could be following a workout.
However, fish oil supplements also provide countless other benefits for the human body as well, as people may opt to consume them at different times of the day instead.
#2 Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, otherwise known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, largely down to the fact that, when exposed to UV rays from the sun, the human body is able to naturally synthesise it.
Studies have suggested that higher than average amounts of blood vitamin D can substantially reduce a person’s likelihood of suffering from illness and/or disease.
Vitamin D not only helps aims to strengthem the immune system, it also helps to assist with calcium absorption, helping the bones to absorb calcium, making it useful for people looking to strengthen their bones.
It should be noted that as vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should ideally be consumed with a fatty acid supplement rich in omega 3’s, such as fish oil supplements which we looked at previously.
Probiotics are sometimes referred to as ‘friendly bacteria’ that inhabit the human digestive tract, primarily the gut. Within your digestive tract there are literally millions upon millions of different bacteria; some good, and some bad.
Good bacteria, such as Acidophilus, have been found to play a vital role in immune health and function, as they can assist with T-cell productions, which are cells responsible for fighting harmful bacteria, toxins, and free radicals from within.
As much as 70% of the immune system is actually controlled via what goes on inside the gut, so if your gut isn’t healthy, you yourself won’t be healthier either.
T-cells, are our white blood cells, and they basically act like soldiers within the body, helping to protect us against illness and disease. The more white blood cells we have, and the healthier they are, the stronger our immune systems are as a result.
What’s more, probiotics can also improve digestion and nutrient absorption, which can again strengthen the immune system, as it will allow us to absorb more beneficial nutrients from foods and supplements that we consume.
#4 Vitamin C
Vitamin C is arguably the most impressive vitamin when it comes to boosting the immune system, which is why doctors recommend increasing our vitamin C consumption during cold and flu seasons.
Vitamin C is well known as a supplement for strengthening the immune system, due to it’s has antioxidant-like properties that help to rid the body of free radicals.
Additionally, it can bind to toxic materials from within, preventing them from interfering with natural internal processes carried out by the body.
In truth, all vitamins are healthy and beneficial for the human body, and by consuming a multivitamin each day, you are ensuring that you are consuming the very same nutrients that the body requires.
Multivitamins, as the name suggests, are supplements that are made up of a series of beneficial vitamins, including vitamins: A, B, C, D, and E. They are also often fortified with added minerals such as zinc, iron, and magnesium, which are also very important for immune health and function.
Simply consume 1 x multivitamin supplement per day, preferably with a whole food source and a source of healthy fat, and you are well on your way to receiving your RDI of vitamins and other micronutrients.
Take Home Message
Fighting a cold?
Boost your immune system with an adequate amount of rest, water and some health-boosting supplements!