Protect yourself with these immune boosting supplements!
When it comes to protecting yourself from getting sick, things such as washing your hands, not touching your face, and avoiding people who may be sick are all helpful ways to prevent the spread of disease. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (avoid products containing the hormone-disrupting chemicals triclosan and triclocarban) and keeping surfaces clean/disinfected will also help to reduce your exposure to viruses and bacteria. But, these strategies are not always possible and are not 100% effective.
Coming in contact with viruses and bacteria is unavoidable. In fact, you have been doing it your whole life. You encounter billions of these microscopic bugs every year. It is the army of cells within your body, called your immune system, that fights off these unwanted invaders and keeps you healthy.
Strategies that support this natural defense system will give you the greatest protection from getting sick. Lifestyle approaches such as stress reduction, proper sleep, exercise, and having a healthy, nutrient rich diet are all critical factors in keeping your immune system at its best. Using vitamins and supplements can also be a powerful addition to this holistic approach.
Vitamins and supplements that support the immune system.
Vitamins play an important role with how the immune system works. In addition, there are many herbs and supplements that can enhance immune function. Below is a list of several immune boosting supplements, provided by The Institute For Functional Medicine.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C may help to prevent infections, including those caused by bacteria and viruses. Regularly administered vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration of colds, and higher doses of vitamin C during an illness can also act as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is one of the most important and powerful nutrients for supporting the immune system. Numerous studies have shown that it helps reduce the risk of colds and flu. Unfortunately, a high percentage of the population is deficient, so daily supplementation (ideally in the form of vitamin D3) offers the best protection.
Vitamin A: For short-term use and particularly for those with moderate vitamin A deficiency, supplementation can be extremely helpful in supporting the body’s ability to fight infections, particularly with regard to respiratory infections.
Zinc: Zinc plays a significant role in boosting immunity. Often available as lozenges, zinc can help to reduce the frequency of infections as well as the duration and severity of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of onset.
Selenium: Selenium, a key nutrient for immune function, is also an antioxidant that helps boosts the body’s defenses against bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. It may particularly help to protect against certain strains of flu virus. Selenium is easily obtained from foods, with the richest source being Brazil nuts.
Honey: Honey, preferably raw, is a good demulcent (it relieves minor pain and inflammation of mucous membranes), has antioxidant properties, and has some antimicrobial effects. It is helpful for coughs and sore throats and can be added to hot tea.
Garlic: Garlic contains a variety of compounds that can influence immunity. Some studies have shown that both fresh garlic as well as aged garlic extract and some other garlic supplements may reduce viral upper respiratory infection severity as well as function in the prevention of infection with viruses that can cause colds.
Probiotics: Probiotics contain “good bacteria” that not only support the health of the gut but also influence immune system functioning and regulation. Studies have shown that probiotic use can decrease the number of respiratory infections, particularly in children.
In addition to the above list, supplements such as curcumin, quercetin, green tea extract (EGCG), resveratrol, elderberry, monolaurin, colostrum, glutathione, and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) may also be considerations.
The strength and integrity of your immune system will dictate your level of health and longevity. If it is weak or compromised, you will be predisposed to illness and disease. If it is strong and resilient, the chances you will live a long healthy life are far greater.
Using a holistic approach to regularly support and strengthen your immune system is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. Through proper lifestyle, diet, and nutritional supplementation you can play a proactive role in staying healthy and feeling great.
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