Healthy immunity starts with a well-balanced diet consisting of natural, whole foods like fruits and vegetables. But even if you eat a nutritious diet, your body may still need more support.
Taking vitamins & supplements can help boost your body's immune system, especially during stressful times. Those with immune-boosting properties assist your body's defense mechanisms and reduce your chances of getting sick. After all — nobody likes to get sick. Level up your immune system this winter with these best vitamins & supplements for boosting immunity.
Vitamin C for Immune Support
Vitamin C is a water-soluble substance found in citrus fruits like oranges. It's also an antioxidant that reduces cell damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C has other vital roles in the body beyond immune health, like promoting bone health and wound healing.
Your body can't produce vitamin C, so you must rely heavily on vitamin-rich foods or supplements for extra support. Adult women can safely take up to 75 mg a day of vitamin C, and adult men can take up to 90 mg daily.
This vitamin helps support your immune system even if you're already sick. A dose may reduce the duration and severity of your cold symptoms. For this reason, over-the-counter cold products, such as Emergen-C, contain high amounts of vitamin C.
Zinc To Strengthen Immune Response
Consuming enough zinc is also vital for a healthy immune system. Zinc works by supporting the growth and normal functioning of immune cells. This means a zinc deficiency can make it harder for your body's cells to protect themselves from viruses and bacteria.
Additionally, taking zinc at the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration and severity of a sickness. A common over-the-counter product, Zicam, contains zinc for this purpose. In a study published in the Journal of Family Practice, participants noticed a reduced duration of cold symptoms after taking zinc. So be sure to add this essential mineral to your list of vitamins & supplements.
Echinacea as a Natural Immune Stimulant
Echinacea is another supplement you'll likely see in your local drug store's cold and flu aisle. It's a natural flower, sometimes called coneflower, native to North America. In supplement form, the coneflower supports the immune system and stimulates the body to fight infections.
In a meta-analysis of clinical trials, Echinacea reduced the odds of developing a cold and helped shorten the duration. Echinacea can also improve common cold symptoms like a sore throat or cough. You can find this supplement in either pill or dropper form in most drug stores or consume it in the form of Echinacea tea.
Probiotics for Gut Health and Immune Function
Probiotics top the list of vitamins & supplements for many reasons. Gut health and immune function are closely intertwined, with 70 to 80% of immune cells found in the gut. Many people consume a probiotic supplement daily for gut health benefits, such as better digestion and regular bowel movements. However, many people are unaware that probiotics also protect the immune system.
Probiotics can impact certain immune cells and secrete protective substances that help the immune system more easily protect your body from illness. Whether in pill or powder form, probiotics are easy to take daily. Speak to your healthcare provider to discuss which probiotic strain may be best for you.
Garlic Extract for Antiviral and Antibacterial Properties
Garlic is more than just a delicious ingredient to add to food. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties to help your body fight off or resist bacteria and viruses. While adding garlic to your food is a great idea, it isn't enough to benefit from these immune system benefits.
Allicin, an active compound found in garlic, is thought to be responsible for its immune-boosting effects. In the body, allicin converts to other compounds, which can aid the white blood cell response. As a response to illness, your body produces high amounts of white blood cells to fight off the infection.
Help Reduce Your Chances of Getting Sick
Incorporating these vitamins & supplements for the immune system into your daily wellness routine can significantly enhance your overall health and well-being. They can be used for proactive immune support or relief when you feel sick.
Your body's immune system is impacted by several factors, from lack of sleep to too much stress. Taking measures to reduce stress, get enough exercise routine, and improve sleep hygiene habits can enhance your immune system health.
In addition to taking vitamins & supplements, explore more ways to bolster your immune system on the ActiveFit+ blog. We're here to help you optimize your health and achieve your full potential.