Top 7 Supplements To Support Your Immune System Health
We know the importance of a healthy immune system. In fact, theres never a bad time for supporting a healthy immune system.
The great news is there are relatively simple ways you can boost your familys immune system health, and many of these immune system assisters have been utilized by different cultures for centuries.
This is exactly what Im personally doing to support my immune system health. Its what my wife, Chelsea, and my entire family follows, too, to support immune health.
Why is this so important? Because our immune systems are our built-in first line of defense for our bodies. Its always important but especially in an age where we move and connect faster than ever before.
Thankfully, nature provides us with a treasure trove of botanicals and other ingredients to support a healthy immune system.
Here are the top healthy immune system-supporting ingredients nature has to offer, in my opinion, along with one-of-a-kind ingredient pairings Ancient Nutrition and I formulated to bring what we believe are the best immune-boosting supplements out there.
Is It Ok To Take Iron Supplements Every Day
Yes, it can be, for those who need it.
Most people dont need to take iron daily, and taking too much can lead to iron toxicity.
However, people with chronically low iron stores and those who have inadequate dietary iron intake may need to take a daily iron supplement to maintain optimal iron levels.
If you have questions about iron supplement dosing and how often you should be taking your iron supplement, reach out to your doctor for advice.
Nuts And Seeds Bring Vitamin E Selenium And Magnesium All Immunity Fortifiers
For a filling snack that’s also a boon to your immune system, reach for a handful of nuts or seeds. Not only do they have magnesium, but they’re rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that’s been shown to improve the body’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses, according to the NIH.
Plus, it doesn’t take much to get the benefits, Caldwell notes.
“Just one Brazil nut packs more than 100 percent of your daily selenium needs, a mineral that can strengthen your immune system,” she says. Indeed, according to the NIH, 1 oz of Brazil nuts provides 989 percent of the DV of selenium.
A study published in September 2018 in Nutrients noted that selenium plays a crucial role in immune response because the micronutrient helps regulate immune cell function and lowers inflammation.
Just a small handful of other options, such as sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pecans, can give you that vitamin E boost, and they’re a tasty addition to salads and other dishes, says Caldwell. They’re versatile, too, since you can roast them for a snack or make your own homemade nut flour, as the Healthy Maven describes in one of her recipes.
One caveat to keep in mind is that portion control is essential when it comes to nuts. They’re a healthy food but are calorie dense, so overindulgence can contribute to weight gain, says Caldwell.
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Engage In Moderate Exercise
Although prolonged intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can give it a boost.
Studies indicate that even a single session of moderate exercise can boost the effectiveness of vaccines in people with compromised immune systems (
Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, steady bicycling, jogging, swimming, and light hiking. Most people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week .
Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells. Jogging, biking, walking, swimming, and hiking are great options.
Overview Of The Immune System
Broadly, cells of the immune system may be divided into those of the innate and those of the adaptive immune response. The innate response is the first response to an invading pathogen. Cells of the innate immune response include phagocytes , neutrophils, dendritic cells, mast cells, eosinophils, and others. The innate response is rapid, but not specialised and is generally less effective than the adaptive immune response.
T and B cells can specialise to become memory cells, which persist permanently or for very long periods and are able to recognise the antigen if encountered again and elicit a rapid, pathogen-specific immune response.
The effective deployment of the immune system against pathogens or harmful signals and the swift resolution of the immune response is required for survival. The fighting of infection is only one piece of the puzzle. A fulminating immune response is costly in terms of energy expended and results in damage to the host tissues thus, rapid and complete resolution of an immune response is also key. Cytokines play a role in resolution of immune responses. IL-10, which is produced by a range of immune cells including Tregs, has anti-inflammatory actions including suppressing inflammatory cytokine production .
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Fueling Your Immune System
Your immune system is like an army with very sophisticated weapons in the form of cells and other compounds. For this army to function optimally, it needs a steady stream of supplies, which you get through your diet.
The best diet for your immune system is a minimally-processed, mostly plant-based diet one that’s about 75% plant foods. Keep in mind that youre also better off getting the nutrients you need from your plate rather than a pill bottle, though select supplements may be useful in some cases, such as to ensure you get the necessary amount of vitamin D, a nutrient thats only found in a limited number of foods.
Heres how to eat to support your immune system.
Whats The Bottom Line
There is no clear evidence that you can boost your immune system with a nutrient supplement or any particular food.
Your eating and lifestyle choices do make a difference for a healthy immune system, however. Get some form of physical activity every day. Go to bed at a time that will allow you to get the sleep that is so important for sustaining a strong immune system. Maintain a healthy weight. Use walks, yoga, meditation or other tools to cope with anxiety and fear, so that stress hormones are kept at healthy levels.
For protection against COVID-19, following hand washing recommendations and social distancing recommendations is key. Reduce, instead of adding to, the work your immune system has to do to protect you.
As for nutrition, the eating habits encouraged in the AICR Cancer Prevention Recommendations are consistent with the current best advice to help support your immune system. Center your eating around nutrient-rich plant foods. Limit sugar-sweetened drinks, red and processed meats, fast foods and ultra-processed choices and alcohol. Making these recommendations a blueprint for your diet is a great way to help your immune system protect your body against infections, including COVID-19, as well as continue the long-term path to reducing your risk of cancer.
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What Are The Worst Foods For Your Immune System
Eating to support your immune system is about eating a variety of foods, so it’s my opinion that all foods fit. Alcohol isn’t the best . It’s dehydrating and can affect your immune system negatively, so drink in moderation or skip it altogether. Too much added sugar may also suppress your immune system temporarily according to research, but some is totally okay.
How We Chose These Vitamin Subscription Services
Healthline assembled this list of vitamin subscription services based on the following factors:
- Quality: Are the supplements made from high quality ingredients and free of artificial additives, such as colors or preservatives? We also looked for services with products that are third-party tested or undergo testing at multiple stages of manufacturing.
- Selection: Does the service offer a wide selection of products to meet the needs of most people?
- Individualization: Does the company provide recommendations based on a health assessment or test and allow you to add or remove products as you see fit?
- Helpfulness: Does the service provide evidence-based information about the supplements it recommends or access to health professionals, such as doctors or dietitians, for paying members?
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How Important Is Diet For A Healthy Immune System
Claims you can boost your immunity by eating particular foods have hit the headlines over the past year, but do they stack up?
A healthy, balanced diet is important for supporting your immune system. You need sufficient energy and nutrients for the immune system to function properly, and poor nutrition can compromise it. But there is no individual nutrient, food or supplement that will boost immunity, or stop us getting highly infectious viruses like Covid-19, says Sarah Stanner, Science Director at the British Nutrition Foundation.
So do you need to make changes to your diet for the sake of your immune health?
Foods That Can Boost Immunity And 3 That Can Hurt It
The immune system is your body’s great defender. It helps stop incoming attacks from viruses and bacteria. It helps your cells bounce back after illness. It can even help reduce the severity of an illness. That’s why, especially when viruses and bugs are making the rounds in your community or even just in your home, you should pay a little extra attention to your immune system.
One of the best ways to care for your immune system and help make it stronger is with food but not just any food. Certain nutrients in foods are vital for healthy immune functioning. While focusing on these foods is important when you’re sick, it’s just as important when you’re healthy, because this enables your immune system to be at its strongest should it come into contact with harmful viruses or bacteria.
Check out these nine foods that provide those key immune-boosting nutrients, as well as three to avoid, to support your immune system.
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Exercise: Good Or Bad For Immunity
Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This oil has been shown to also help rebuild and boost the body’s immunity. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that olive oil’s high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. The acids also assisted in boosting the immune system and guarding the body of infection.
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How To Keep Your Immune System Healthy
Although you may not be able to fully prevent an illness this season, a healthy immune system is one way to give your body extra protection. Focusing on nutrient-rich foods and healthy lifestyle behaviors can help you and your family stay a step ahead.
The following nutrients play a role in the immune system and can be found in a variety of foods:
- Beta Carotene is found in plant foods, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, mango, broccoli and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, berries, melons, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli.
- Vitamin D is found in fatty fish and eggs. Milk and 100% juices that are fortified with vitamin D also are sources of this important nutrient.
- Zinc tends to be better absorbed from animal sources such as beef and seafood, but also is in vegetarian sources such as wheat germ, beans, nuts and tofu.
- Probiotics are good bacteria that promote health. They can be found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt with live cultures and may also be in other fermented foods such as kimchi.
- Protein comes from both animal and plant-based sources, such as milk, yogurt, eggs, beef, chicken, seafood, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.
Focus on Balance
To help keep your immune system healthy all year long, focus on a balanced eating plan, adequate sleep and stress management.
Aim for five to seven servings of vegetables and fruits daily to get vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may support immune health.
Are There Vitamins That Can Help Support Your Immune System
Sure. There are. Our immune system is supported by a generally healthy diet and also specific nutrients, namely vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as zinc. Protein is also important for immune health, as it helps to build and repair damaged immune cells . You can get all these nutrients from food. Vitamin D is probably the one nutrient on this list that’s tough to find from food alone. Your body can also make vitamin D from sunlight. If you want to start supplementing, I would talk to your doctor or a dietitian and do your research .
One key thing to remember, is that more isn’t always better when it comes to these nutrients.Too much zinc can cause GI distress and is also associated with suppressed immune function . Supplementing isn’t necessarily the answer. You’re not likely to get too much of any one nutrient from food, but on the other hand, it is easy to over supplement.
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Do Iron Pills Really Work
Yes, for most people. Oral iron supplements are usually the first choice for treating iron deficiency anemia.
However, some people with iron deficiency anemia may need iron infusions if they dont respond to oral iron, if they cant properly absorb iron, or if their iron losses are too large to be treated with oral iron supplements.
What Is Our Immune System
On a daily basis, we are constantly exposed to potentially harmful microbes of all sorts. Our immune system, a network of intricate stages and pathways in the body, protects us against these harmful microbes as well as certain diseases. It recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites and takes immediate action. Humans possess two types of immunity: innate and adaptive.
Innate immunity is a first-line defense from pathogens that try to enter our bodies, achieved through protective barriers. These barriers include:
- Skin that keeps out the majority of pathogens
- Mucus that traps pathogens
- Stomach acid that destroys pathogens
- Enzymes in our sweat and tears that help create anti-bacterial compounds
- Immune system cells that attack all foreign cells entering the body
Adaptive or acquired immunity is a system that learns to recognize a pathogen. It is regulated by cells and organs in our body like the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. When a foreign substance enters the body, these cells and organs create antibodies and lead to multiplication of immune cells that are specific to that harmful substance and attack and destroy it. Our immune system then adapts by remembering the foreign substance so that if it enters again, these antibodies and cells are even more efficient and quick to destroy it.
Other conditions that trigger an immune response
What factors can depress our immune system?
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Poultry And Lean Meats
Foods high in protein, such as lean meats and poultry, are high in zinc a mineral that increases the production of white blood cells and T-cells, which fight infection. Other great sources of zinc are oysters, nuts, fortified cereal, and beans.
Kid-friendly serving idea: Simmer some chicken vegetable soup or minestrone soup for a hearty dose of immune system-boosting antioxidants.
What Is The Immune System
The immune system is how your body defends itself from threats from the outside world. This complex system of cells, tissues and organs identifies when something has entered your body such as the flu virus. It then triggers an automatic, coordinated response to help you heal, using what is known as your white blood cells.
When your immune system is strong, your body is better prepared to fight off sickness. When your immune system is weaker, you are more likely to get sick.
Your immune system is also key to fighting diseases such as cancer. In fact, immunotherapy is a treatment that triggers your bodys own immune system into attacking cancerous cells. Given its important role in your health, we need to do what we can to keep the immune system strong.
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Boost The Immune System
Health risks associated with the novel coronavirus are prompting many people to focus more on strengthening their immune systems.
Your immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect your body from infections and diseases. There are vaccines that build immunity against specific diseases. COVID-19 vaccines, our best defense against the virus, lower our risk of getting and spreading the virus and help prevent serious illness and death. Some medications and home remedies can help treat mild-to-moderate cases of COVID.
Yogurt Aids Gut Health Which May Positively Affect Immunity
“Yogurt is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that support gut health,” says Palinski-Wade. Johns Hopkins notes that a huge proportion of the immune system is actually in the gastrointestinal tract.
In a study published in May 2017 in Nutrients, participants without diabetes who ate yogurt with probiotics daily saw an increase in protective immune function compared with the control group. To avoid added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened yogurt.
Not a yogurt fan? Try other fermented foods instead. A study in the July 2021 issue of Cell details a clinical trial of 36 adults given two different diets, chosen because both have shown benefits for gut health, and researchers wanted to determine which would be most useful. The group who ate or drank fermented foods and drinks like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha showed less inflammation compared with a group assigned to a high-fiber diet alone, and had more diversity in their digestive systems beneficial bacteria.
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