Boost your immunity with 10 of the best immune system supplements.
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10 Supplements To Boost The Immune System
Three of the nine different species of Echinacea have medicinal purposes. These are Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, and Echinacea pallida.
Being potent immune system stimulants, many chemicals found in this plant can bring therapeutic value.
Medicinal echinacea is widely used to treat and prevent infections in elderly, children, and patients with compromised immune systems. It can fight pathogens (viruses and bacteria) that cause sore throat, flu, colds, and other respiratory illnesses.
It can also, through its anti-inflammatory properties, support improved healing of wounds and increase the immune system’s resistance against infection.
Having a healthy gut, which is heavily reliant on having healthy gut microbiota, impacts our overall health. The composition of microorganisms in the gut influences the quality of the reactions of the immune system.
Echinacea has shown to enhance the growth of healthy bacteria (gut flora) in the gut specifically raising the level of the beneficial Bifidobacterium species.
2. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with higher risks of developing autoimmune diseases (conditions where the immune system attacks itself) and increased infection susceptibility.
Taking vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) capsules regularly at a dosage of 1,000-5,000 IU daily may help counter these possibilities. Taking these supplements may be a great idea since according to a 2011 study, 41% of American adults have Vitamin D deficiency.
For children, it is best to consult a doctor before giving them vitamin D supplements.
Elderberry or Sambucus nigra is a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, and unsaturated fatty acids. Additionally, it is also rich in antioxidants called polyphenols.
Polyphenols’ antioxidant effect has shown to have positive effects on blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, and stimulating the immune system. It also has anti-viral and, even, anti-tumor potential.
Additionally, there are a small number of studies supporting the claim that elderberry can fight colds and flu.
- 60 people with flu-like symptoms took 15 ml of elderberry syrup four times a day. Their symptoms were relieved 4 days earlier than the participants who took placebos.
- In this study, 32 people with flu-like symptoms where given lozenges with 125 ml of elderberry four times a day within two days. After a day, patients reported improvements on symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache, and nasal congestion.
One of the best-known brands of elderberry syrup is Sambucol. Taking two teaspoons per day would be beneficial.
4. N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC)
NAC is a type of cysteine amino acid. How exactly can the immune system benefit from taking it?
It increases glutathione—a strong antioxidant that contributes to an optimal immune system function. What’s interesting about NAC is it can seem to sense when the body has enough glutathione levels so that it won’t supplement it any further.
Taking NAC is most effective in older people since they are likely to have lower glutathione levels.
Remedy for Bronchitis
NAC can help reduce coughing severity and frequency in patients with bronchitis. It can also clear and eliminate bronchial mucus.
In an analysis of 13 chronic bronchitis studies on NAC, patients with airway obstruction benefited from a daily dosage of 1,200 mg; 600 mg daily, on the other hand, for patients without airway obstruction.
Protection Against The Flu
In one study, 262 older adults took 1200 mg of NAC or placebo daily over a span of six months. Researchers reported a significant decrease in flu frequency and severity among the NAC group.
Furthermore, only 25% of the NAC group infected with H1N1 influenza developed symptoms. In the placebo group, this number is 79%.
NAC can also damage the biofilms of harmful bacteria and yeast like Helicobacter pylori, Candida albicans, and Staphylococcus aureus.
Biofilms Definition: This is an assembly of microorganisms attached to an inert or living surface by a self-produced polymeric matrix. Consider it a community or city of microorganisms.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits by improving gut flora. They are one of the most effective immune system boosters because they can impact B-cells, lymphocytes, T-cells, dendritic cells, and epithelial cells.
When probiotics reach the gastrointestinal tract, they help in reinforcing the barrier function of the gut lining. This lowers the chances of harmful bacteria getting into the bloodstream.
These four healthy bacterial strains have been proven to significantly impact the immune system:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
- Bifidobacterium animalis
- Lactobacillus paracasei
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
6. Vitamin C and Zinc
A number of immune system cells (especially phagocytes and T-cells) collect vitamin C and use it to perform their tasks. Zinc, on the other hand, has shown to be able to fight infections and help in wound healing.
These two substances are commonly associated with the prevention and treatment of the common cold. But, there were controversies that questioned their therapeutic properties.
Quite a number of randomized controlled intervention trials have reinforced the case pro-vitamin C and zinc. Results from the trials reported that sufficient intakes of up to 1 g. of vitamin C and 10 mg. of zinc can improve symptoms and shorten the duration of common colds and other respiratory tract infections.
Ayurvedic medicine experts use ginger for its immune system benefits. Practitioners of this ancient discipline believe that this root crop can help break down toxin accumulation in our organs because of its warming effects.
It can also cleanse our lymphatic system, an important part of the immune system composed of a network of vessels that through which the bacteria-fighting fluid called lymph is transported.
Ginger root and ginger essential oil, with their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, can help with inflammatory disorders caused by infectious agents like bacteria and viruses.
Ayurvedic Medicine Definition: This is one of the oldest holistic healing systems in the world that originated more than 3,00 years ago in India.
Ginseng roots, stems, and leaves can maintain immune homeostasis and improve infection resistance.
- It can regulate a number of immune system cells like natural killer cells, T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages.
- It also contains antimicrobial compounds that increase the body’s defense against viral and bacterial infections.
Additionally, ginseng extract can also help fight pathogenic antigens. According to a study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, can induce antigen-specific antibody responses when orally taken.
Antibodies can keep toxin and viruses from harming healthy cells in the body by binding to antigens.
Immune Homeostasis Definition: A state where the immune system is in equilibrium—a result of effectively eliminating potential harmful foreign entities.
9. Vitamin B6 and B12
Healthy levels of vitamin B6 and B12 in the body contribute to an efficient immune system.
Vitamin B12 is essential in cell division and growth and B6 is important in supporting biochemical reactions. B vitamins can also protect the gut microbiota from pathogens.
A deficiency in these nutrients will result in reduced white blood cell response.
This aromatic Mediterranean-native herb has the following potential benefits for the immune system:
- It’s rich in the antioxidants carvacrol and thymol that helps in preventing cell damage caused by free radicals.
- It has potent antibacterial properties. In fact, a test tube study found that it is effective in fighting 23 bacterial species.
- Oregano could help with chronic inflammation which is linked to the development of autoimmune diseases.
Free Radicals Definition: These are typically short-lived and highly reactive uncharged molecules in the body. High levels of free radical lead to more oxidative stress and more cell damage which are both harmful to the body.
Here is a quick video from Meghan Livingstone about natural immune boosters:
The immune system is the body’s ultimate protection from diseases. When it is compromised, we are at greater risks of developing infections and other illnesses.
Intake of supplements with the mentioned ingredients above can promote stronger immunity. Protect the body by ensuring the immune system is healthy.
Which of these immune system support supplements would you like to try? Let us know the comments section below!
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