Keeping your immune system strong year-round is a big part of staying healthy. The best way to do that is by following a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious foods and supplementing with immune-boosting vitamins and herbs.
However, some supplements can interact with other medications or cause side effects if taken at high doses, so be careful and check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
Boost Your Immune System
Your immune system is an important part of your body’s defence system and plays a big part in keeping you healthy. It’s made up of a complex combination of cells, processes and chemicals that constantly fight off invading bacteria, viruses and toxins.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to boost your immune system and keep it working at its best. These include following a healthy lifestyle and taking immune system support supplements that contain nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
The best way to get these essential nutrients into your diet is through a well-balanced diet, which should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. It also helps to consume vitamin-packed foods and stay hydrated.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damaging free radicals. It also helps maintain the immune system’s ability to fight disease and infection.
It plays a role in many parts of the immune system, including stimulation of the production and function of white blood cells called lymphocytes and phagocytes. It can also help boost the activity of immune cells that produce antibodies to bind pathogens and neutralize them.
Although it is an essential nutrient, getting enough Vitamin C from your diet alone is usually sufficient for most people to stay healthy. However, if you are prone to catching colds or other immune-related diseases, taking supplements may be helpful for boosting your immune response.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in the function of immune cells. Your body naturally produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
However, if you live in an area where the sun isn’t out much during the winter or you have dark skin, supplementing may be necessary to ensure your vitamin D levels are at their optimum.
Research suggests that people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases involve a malfunction of your immune system, which triggers inflammation in the body.
Selenium is an essential mineral that helps your immune system fight off bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It also boosts antioxidants in your body and balances free radicals, which can cause cellular damage.
It’s best to get selenium from foods, but if you don’t, consider taking a supplement. It’s safe for healthy people to consume 55 milligrams of selenium daily.
Selenium deficiency can lead to problems with both the innate and adaptive immune systems. This includes problems with immune cell function in the lungs (e.g., swelling of the gill lamellae), liver and kidney tissue, and egg follicles in ovaries. In humans, low levels of selenium may increase the risk of heart disease and miscarriage. It also can affect how the immune system works, causing it to act slower or more poorly.
Many herbs can boost your immune system, but they should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet. A well-balanced diet containing whole, unprocessed foods and high-quality supplements with probiotics and prebiotics help maintain a healthy gut microbiome and improve immune function.
Herbs that are known to boost immunity include echinacea, reishi, and holy basil. They can be taken in tincture or syrup form and are safe to take daily.
Elderberry is another well-known herb that helps prevent sickness and reduces the risk of catching a cold. It is most commonly found as a syrup or tincture, but can also be taken in lozenges and gummies.