Best Supplements to Boost Your Immune System
Before going into what the best supplements are the best for boosting your immune system, let’s first discuss what the immune system does. Your body’s first step in protecting you against infections, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens is your immune system. The immune system can identify all the germs it has protected you against in the past. Thereby, allowing them to fight the germs if they ever come back.
Many people are not aware that your skin and digestive system play a vital role in having a healthy immune system. Therefore, it is critical to makes sure your skin stays healthy by keeping it hydrated and protecting it from sun damage. One of the most important ways to make sure you have a healthy digestive system is by taking probiotics.
Diet and exercise are the best way to help with the immune system, but it isn’t always enough. According to Tara Gidus, RD, an expert on nutrition stated that people should focus on what they should eat and taking supplements could help keep our immune system healthy.
Currently, in the marketplace supplements there are hundreds of variations of supplements that claim to support the immune system. We have compiled a list of three of the best supplements that will boost your immune system. In order to compile this list we spent hours of research speaking to nutrition experts (Registered Dietitians), looked into scientific studies, manufacturers’ practices, and the quality of ingredients used.
Do you need to take immune-boosting supplements?
The best way to maintain a healthy immune system is by exercising and eating healthy. But most of us do not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, primarily due to our hectic lifestyles. It’s much easier to stop and grab a pizza on your way home from work than cook a healthy meal. This is where supplements come in. Vitamins help to fill the gaps in your diet when you cannot get enough from food.
Kale is one of the best foods you can eat. However, people who have IBS or other digestive issues have a very difficult time digesting it. This also applies to raw vegetables and acidic foods like citrus fruits.
Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, has pointed out there are many types of immune-boosting supplements that can help keep your immune system healthy. This is especially true for people have compromised immune systems, such as the elderly population, cancer, COPD and obesity. Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick when exposed to germs are the most likely to get sick and stay sick longer.
It is crucial for anyone who is considering adding supplements to their diet to talk with your health care provider to make sure they are safe for you. They will also be able to let you know of any interactions that may occur between them and your current medications.
How are immune-boosting supplements beneficial?
Amy Sharpiro, RD states that there is a good chance our daily habits are weakening our immune systems. Our hectic lifestyle and family demands make it challenging to properly nourish our body’s immune system. Therefore, she recommends her clients take a supplement that’s proven to work.
Factors that weaken the immune system:
- Smoking – The US National Library of Medicine published an article stating that smoking negatively impacts innate and adaptive immunity. Not only does it affect your immune system negatively, in addition to the other harmful affects of smoking it is damaging to our immune system.
- Poor diet – According to a recent study concluded that around 75% of Americans are addicted to sugar, and you may be one of them. Many people find sugars to help increase their energy, at least for a short time. Then they experience the sugar crash and eat more carbs to boost their energy again. As you can see, this can quickly become a habit. Adventist HealthyYOU cited a few different studies about sugar and the role it plays in our immune system. White blood cells capture and destroy bacteria, their ability to do this is negatively affected when you consume foods filled with sugar. According to Sydney Greene, RD., of GREENE HEALTH, a healthy diet is the best way to have a healthy immune system.
- Alcohol consumption – An article published in the US National Library of Medicine states that frequent use of alcohol leaves individuals increases chances of respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and damaging the liver.
- Stress – Weakens your immune system due to the corticosteroid that is produced during stressful situations. This doesn’t mean that every time you get stressed, you’re going to get sick. We all experience stress. It’s those who experience chronic stress that needs to take immune-boosting supplements.
- Sleep – A lack of sleep lowers your immune system. While you are sleeping, your body uses less energy allowing it to strengthen the immune system even when you’re not ill. According to the Sleep Foundation, a lack of sleep may increase your likelihood of getting both short-term and long-term illnesses.
- Water – Not drinking enough water makes it difficult for your body to transport needed nutrients to organs. Susan Samueli, an integrative health specialist recommends getting at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day. It’s easy to forget to drink an adequate amount of fluids when you’re rushing around to get all of your work done. This is why taking supplements is an essential part of keeping your immune system healthy.
- Exercise – Not exercising regularly lowers your immune system because it does not allow your body to flush out bacteria. MedlinePlus says that the rise in your body’s temperature during experience helps your immune system fight off illnesses.
While taking supplements to boost your immune system helps to keep you healthy, they do not take the place of a healthy lifestyle. An article published in Application of Immunonutrient in Human Health and Diseases states that adding micronutrients found in supplements like vitamins A, D, E, Folate, zinc, etc., are essential to every stage of the immune response.
What to look for in an Immune-boosting supplement
- Vitamin C – According to Alanna Cabrero, Nutrition, PC, Vitamin C helps the immune system create antibodies and help prevent infections caused by viruses and bacteria.
- Vitamin D – There are a few different ways that vitamin D helps your body. First, it can help lower depression plus helps to prevent autoimmune diseases. An article published in the US National Library of Medicine adds that vitamin D has benefits beyond helping with calcium and bone health.
- Vitamin A – Helen West, RD, is one of the writers for the health line. She says that vitamin A is an anti-inflammatory and recommends men getting 900 mcg, women 700 mcg, and children and teens getting 300-600 mcg of it daily. But there is one thing you should keep in mind taking too much of this vitamin may cause nausea, headaches, pain, or dizziness.
- Selenium – Antioxidants & Redox Signaling published an article showing that this nutrient helps immune cells function correctly. It does this by decreasing oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.
- Raw honey – Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD., says that honey is one of the best ways to treat URIs and helps fight metabolic syndrome. Honey helps to lower oxidative stress, therefore, increasing the cells’ ability to fight off infections. According to UIC today, studies are being conducted on whether the compound made by honey bees could create new types of antibiotics.
- Garlic – According to Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD, garlic is an excellent source of allicin and contains selenium, both of which boost our immune system. Studies have found that garlic lowers oxidative stress, decreases inflammation, and reduces individuals’ risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
- Probiotics – We all know our gut health is essential for a healthy immune system, and this is where probiotics come into play. According to Jean Larson, Licensed and registered dietician, “probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive tract and helps digest food and support our immune system. “Probiotics and Immune Health, an article located in the US National Library of Medicine, states that probiotics have shown beneficial effects on many different diseases. They have also been shown to help with allergies and other viral infections.
- Beta-glucans – This nutrient isn’t naturally produced but instead needs to come from specific foods such as yeast, shiitake mushrooms, and grains. Beta Glucans helps the body defend against the fight against infections that may be resistant to antibiotics. According to one study dealing with asthmatic children, this nutrient increased the production of anti-inflammatory properties and reduced their symptoms.
- Mushrooms – A few different types of mushrooms such as shiitake, lion’s mane, mistake, and reishi have shown health benefits when taken in the dosages specified for each different type. Studies have shown that the compounds contained in these fungi help to increase the circulation of immune cells.
- Berberine – This nutrient helps to increase the T cells, which is essential to fight autoimmune disorders. The Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published an abele of their findings and how berberine has been shown to help with many conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis.
- Sulforaphane – According to Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, LN, sulforaphane helps to improve heart health and aid in digestion. You can get this nutrient in many vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Some of these vegetables can be difficult for some people to digest, making supplements the better choice. In the last 15 years, there have been many scholarly articles published about the benefits of sulforaphane. A few of the main benefits are it triggers our body’s natural defense systems and increases the amount of activity of the T-cells. This mineral may also have a natural anti-cancer compound.
- Elderberry – Tony Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, the founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition, states that “Elderberries contain many phytonutrients and antioxidants.” Studies on elderberry have shown many benefits of consuming it because it helps reduce viruses such as the common cold and flu. It’s anti-inflammation properties also help alleviate some symptoms of diabetes and lower blood pressure.
- Zinc – An article published in the US National Library of Medicine states that zinc is one of the most essential vitamins we need for both immune and mental health. Almost all the immune cells’ functions rely on zinc. Many people with disorders such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancer were found to have a zinc deficiency.
What are the best immune-boosting supplements recommended?
Goli ACV Gummies made this list because of its all-natural, vegan ingredients and that it is suitable for almost everyone. They help support a healthy digestive system, immune health and help increase energy.
The ingredients found in this immune-boosting supplement have been found to aid in weight loss, decrease blood sugar, and increase the good bacteria found in the digestive tract.
Key ingredients found in this supplement.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Citric Acid
- Vitamins B12 & B9
The apple cider vinegar contained in ACV gummies has various health benefits, according to Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD. This includes promoting gut health, improving cholesterol levels, and help prevent blood sugar spikes. ResearchGate published an article supporting studies that ACV is rich in nutrients such are acetic acid, pectin, potassium, and calcium.
It’s been discovered that Pomegranate has many different health benefits. One is that it can help prevent or treat high blood pressure. The antioxidants contained in this fruit surpass that of green tea and red wine.
According to Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, LN, RD, beetroots are high in fiber and contain many nutrients such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. These nutrients may improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increase energy.
Amy Goodson MS, RD, CSSD, LD states that “citric acid has various uses and benefits.” Some of these benefits are anti-inflammatory properties. It aids in mineral absorption, increases energy, and helps to prevent kidney stones.
According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, both of the B vitamins listed above help to increase cellular energy. B9 & B12 work together to regulate folate and methionine, which helps with brain function plus increases metabolic processes.
This type of fiber helps regulate the digestive system and enables you to feel full longer. It has been found to decrease the risk of certain types of cancer and promote a healthy immune system.
This product is made in the USA, manufactured in an FDA-registered facility, and is non-GMO. It works with your body to naturally boost your immune system. It contains many essential ingredients such as vitamins, antioxidants, herbs, and traditional ingredients.
Some key ingredients found in this supplement are:
- 30mg Vitamin C
- 20mg Vitamin E
- 200mg Green Tea
- 100mg Beta-Glucans
- 300mg Graviola Leaf
- 80mg mushrooms
- 100mg Herbal Complexes
- 200mg Raspberry Fruit Powder
- 20mg of Selenium
- 100mg Turmeric Rhizome Powder
This vitamin is highly recommended for immune supplements because of its effectiveness on a healthy immune system. Another benefit is It helps to improve the health of your skin.
Studies have discovered that vitamin E helps protect against many different infections by forming T cells and sending them activation signals. This vitamin is essential in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Those with lowered immune systems, such as older individuals, have benefited from taking Vitamin E supplements.
This is another ingredient that has been shown to regulate T cells. ScienceDaily states that some of the benefits of green tea are it helps to control inflammation and helps to prevent cancer. Not everyone is a fan of the taste of this tea which is one of the reasons it is found in so many supplements.
Beta-Glucans are found primarily in different types of fungi and grains. It has been shown to support the immune system due to its ability to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The US National Library of Medicine published an article in 2016 about how Graviola has been used to treat various diseases for years. Studies have concluded that it works well to boost lowered immune systems in immunocompromised patients.
This is an excellent way to help improve individuals’ immune systems.
This combines burdock, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, and rhubarb. All of these herbs have been used for years to help support the immune system.
It has long been known that fruits contain many antioxidants that prevent the progression of viruses and certain bacteria. According to a recent study, raspberries have reduced blood pressure, improved circulation and stabilize uncontrolled diabetic systems.
This mineral is found in soil. People only need a small amount of it to improve their immune system.
One of the primary benefits of turmeric is that it has been shown to prevent and treat cancer and inflammatory diseases. Numerous studies have shown that curcumin, one of the main minerals found in turmeric, helps treat various disorders such as jaundice and anorexia.
Although our first supplement is manufactured for the same company and both support your immune system, they are very different. Vitapost Immune Complex takes a different approach by creating a unique formula combing ingredients such as zinc, probiotics, and other ingredients proven to support the immune system.
The key ingredients found in this supplement are:
- Vitamins C, E, and B6
- Elderberry Fruit Extract
Vitamin C – Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is considered a nutrition expert, states that “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps the body repair and regenerates tissues.” Not only does this vitamin have these benefits, but it also helps to decrease bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
Vitamin E – According to Denise Webb, Ph.D., RD, 90% of Americans do not get enough vitamin E. It helps to reduce blood pressure and high blood sugar. Vitamin E also helps to prevent other chronic conditions.
Vitamin B6 – Kelly Kennedy, RD, states that “Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of hemoglobin and protein that carries oxygen throughout the body.” This vitamin is essential for regulating hormones that help regulates mood.
This mineral is essential for supporting the immune system. If you are deficient in it, you will find that you are becoming sick more frequently with viruses. According to Registered Dietitian Winston Craig, Professor of Nutrition and Director of the dietetics internship program in Berrien Springs, Michigan, “Zinc is required for more than 100 enzymes in the body.”
KC Wright, MS, RDN, states that elderberries help lower individuals’ risks of catching certain viruses such as the common cold and the flu. Even if you do catch these viruses, it may also decrease the symptoms and the length of time you’re sick.
According to Elizabeth Streit, MS, RDN, LD garlic has long been used throughout history by healers and physicians worldwide. Garlic helps to lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. It is also considered an anti-inflammatory and helps boost the immune system by stimulating white blood cells.
According to Sharon Collision, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD contains anti-inflammatory agents which help to defend against chronic inflammation and reduces pain. Another benefit of turmeric is for those who have psoriasis. Around 2-3% of the world population have psoriasis, a long-term chronic skin disease. In an article published in the US National Library of Medicine, curcumin is a good and safe treatment for psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Megan Tempest, RD, states that glutamine helps to increase metabolism and fuels the cells that line the intestines. Most people now know that the gut is the key to a healthy immune system.
Unneeded immune-boosting supplement ingredients
Aconite also goes by the names aconiti tuber, aconite, angustifolium, monkshood, radix aconiti and wolfsbane. This ingredient claims to reduce inflammation, joint pain, and gout. According to the Singapore Medical Journal, individuals who take too much of this herb can be fatal due to its cardiovascular effects.
Chaparral is also called creosote bush, greasewood, Larrea divaricate, Larrea tridentata, larreastat. This herb claims to help with inflammation, treats colds, infections and cancer. The LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury has found that this shrub has been linked to many cases of liver injury, which has led to acute liver failure.
Usnic Acid, which also goes by the name beard moss, tree moss, and unsea this ingredient claims to aid in weight loss and pain relief. Instead, it has been found to cause injury to the liver.
Beta-Carotene is recommended for healthy adults and is found in carrots, spinach, kale, and cantaloupe. While this vitamin has been shown to be a natural antioxidant but for smokers, it has led to an increase in the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
How we select the best immune-boosting supplements
We spent endless hours reviewing the most current clinical research on the ingredients listed in each supplement. We also talked with various dietitians about the different types of supplements and asked for their recommendations and what they have found to be the most beneficial ingredients.
We also took into consideration of where the supplements were manufactured. We only chose facilities that were FDA certified and were approved by other natural regulatory boards. In addition, we researched the manufacturers reputations. We researched each manufactures reputation to ensure they are well known and well established in their field.
Q: How often should I take immune-boosting supplements?
A: This varies between each supplement. You would have to read the instructions typically located on the back of the bottle since it depends on the type of supplement you’re using.
Q: Do immune-boosting supplements work?
A: Not all immune-boosting supplements work. This is why you want to make sure they have high-quality ingredients that backed by scientific data.
Q: What serving should I take?
A: This depends on which immune-boosting supplement you choose. Make sure you talk to your physician and ask them any questions you may have.
Q: How should I take them?
A: If you choose gummies, you simply chew them. The best way to take supplements in pill form is by following the instructions. Depending on the package instructions vitamins can be taken before a meal, after a meal, or with a meal.
Q: Are immune-boosting supplements safe for everyone?
A: Most supplements are safe for many people. There are always exceptions to this that is why it is essential that you talk to your health care provider before starting any new medication.
Q: How long does it take for immune-boosting supplements to work?
A: This varies depending on the type of supplement you chose. A good rule of thumb is it can take between 3-5 months to notice a difference. This is because you need the vitamins and minerals to be absorbed into your body and give them time to start working with your immune system.
Q: What foods can support your immune system?
A: According to Amy Richter, RD, the top foods to improve immune function are as follows. Citrus fruits because they contain vitamin C, which increases the production of white blood cells.
Here is a list of popular citrus fruits
Red bell peppers have been shown to contain vitamin C and is also an excellent source of beta carotene.
Broccoli is packed with many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, and E. It also contains fiber and other antioxidants.
Garlic not only tastes fantastic, but it is also a great way to fight infections and helps lower blood pressure.
Ginger helps decrease inflammation and helps with upset stomachs as well. Some studies have found that it may also help reduce chronic pain and lower cholesterol.
Spinach, also known as a superfood, is packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which increase the body’s ability to fight infection.
Yogurt is full of both live and active cultures. These cultures help to stimulate your immune system by increasing the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Almonds not only contain vitamin E it also contains healthy fats.
Sunflower seeds are another excellent source of vitamin E as well as Vitamin B6. They are also high in selenium which has proven abilities to decrease your chances of getting a virus.
Berries are rich in antioxidants and are one of the most recommended foods you can eat to improve your immune system.
Is there a difference between vitamins and supplements when it comes to the immune system?
A: Dietary supplements are typically used in addition to a healthy diet to help with minerals and vitamins you driest may be deficient in. Individuals can also use them to add to their diet to decrease the risk of some health issues.
Vitamins are used when the body does not make enough of the nutrient on its own. They can help strengthen the immune system and convert food into energy.
So the answer is yes there is a difference between the vitamins depending if you need to use it as to compliment a healthy diet or if your body does not make enough of it on its own. A blood test is the only way to determine if you’re lacking in nutrients.
Immunity booster supplements contain various vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts and most supplements use similar ingredients to help keep you healthy. This article was intended to help you choose the right supplements for your body.
It is essential to remember that taking supplements alone will not improve your immune system. To get the most out of these supplements, they need to be combined with a healthy diet, regular sleep, and exercising regularly.