5 Supplements For A Healthy Immune System
Coughing, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue, fever, too many sick days off work – does any of this sound familiar? There's nothing worse than getting a cold or flu, especially if it happens more than three times per year, or you catch another bug just when you're over the last one.
Your immune system is a complex system of interconnecting cells, tissues and organs that that are constantly working to keep you healthy, and whether you realize it or not, you're under attack all the time. Your body is constantly fighting off bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungus to keep you well. It is designed to recognize foreign invaders and mounts a response to destroy and eliminate these before they cause health issues.
Staying healthy means giving your immune system the support it needs so it can protect you all year long. Supporting it with great nutrition is one of the best ways to amp up your body's natural fighting powers, and is vital in preventing colds, the flu, and even cancer.
But when it comes to nutrition, we know if we’re not growing our own or eating locally, the nutrition in produce isn’t what it once was due to modern agriculture. In fact some reports show up to a 32% decline in nutrition of produce!
This is why I take prevention a step further and power up my immune system with natural health supplements to stay strong. They have saved me from having to take unplanned time off from work, or miss out on family celebrations - even when others around me are on the down and out.
If you’re new to natural remedies, take a deep breath… you don’t have to go ‘all-in’ to make an impact. Here are some of my favorite supplements that can give your natural defenses a boost, no matter where you’re starting from.
A quality multivitamin is always a great place to start because filling nutrient gaps in your diet can help keep your immune system strong. Vitamins B6, B12, folate, C, E, and minerals zinc, copper, and iron all support a healthy immune response.
After a multivitamin, you may want to consider adding in some support with the following:
Optiflora DI: Research supports a relationship between pre- and probiotics and good immunity. Since 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, it makes sense that having good gut flora would benefit the immune system. A diverse gut flora teaches the immune system to differentiate between friend and foe (bad bacteria, viruses, etc.) and prevent the gut from absorbing foreign invaders into the blood stream. Having the right set of gut microbes boosts the activity of immune cells in the gut. This is why having a strong immune system reduces the common cold and flu and therefore it is essential to have a healthy gut microbiome to achieve this. Unfortunately, yogurt just doesn't have enough probiotics to make a significant difference. That's why I personally use Optiflora DI daily. There are many benefits even beyond supporting the immune system such as reducing constipation and supporting the microbiome of a pregnant mama.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D has been the focus of much research on optimal immune system function. Vitamin D plays a role in the improving mucous membrane barrier functioning, the production of antimicrobial peptides (small proteins), and overall immune support. A three year trial of taking 800IU of vitamin D per day showed a reduction in colds and flu by up to 70%! Vitamin D is an extremely supportive nutrient to boost the immune system and when we are ill, it helps the immune system identify and destroy bacteria and viruses. It prevents viral and bacterial upper respiratory infections, and turns on key peptides in the immune system to trigger a strong antimicrobial response.
Zinc: Zinc is involved in over 300 processes in the body—it makes most things inside work better—and it’s the primary mineral involved in a well-functioning immune system. You can think of zinc like the raincoat you would put on to protect yourself from the storm before you step outside to face the rain. Having adequate levels of zinc in your body will offer your immune system resilience, and help support digestion, mood and skin—what more could you want from one mineral! The problem is, most people don’t get enough zinc from their diet due to the depleted nature of our soils. I load up on it all throughout cold and flu season, not just when I feel like I'm getting sick.
Nutriferon: This is the only dietary supplement in the United States created by the discoverer of interferon, world-renowned immunologist Dr. Yasuhiko Kojima, who spent decades screening hundreds of botanicals to identify natural interferon boosters. Nutriferon is a patented phytonutrient blend shown in laboratory studies to naturally increase interferon at the cellular level. In fact, I'm taking an extra dose of it right now! I woke up with a sore throat the other day and it hasn't manifested into anything serious, so fingers crossed I've nipped it in the bud!
Vitalized Immunity: This is a delicious, effervescent drink that provides a blast of vitamin C — 16 oranges worth! When sick, your body's need for C increases dramatically. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. It also serves up a blend of zinc, ginger and Echinacea designed for a boost when you’re facing environmental stress, poor nutrition, pollution, or a busy schedule.
Get them all here in this product bundle offer and save $30!
As a nutritionist, any conversation about supporting your immune system wouldn’t be complete without looking at natural health supplements, but please remember there is no one magic bullet that can immediately restore a suppressed immune system. Good sleep, stress reduction, exercise, and rest are all key players in staying well and shouldn’t be forgotten!
How do you keep your immune system strong? I love to hear your trusty go-to’s in the comments below.
Wishing you a cold and flu-free season, my friends!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement regimen.