Strengthening your immune system is something that most people started taking seriously only once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. People have been stocking up on vitamins and minerals like never before. But worth noting is that no health supplements or product can protect you from the virus or optimise your immune system alone. You have to socially distance yourself, wear a mask and practice proper hygiene.
Still, this doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from taking some organ health supplements. In fact, it’s recommended that you keep your body in the best health possible so that in the event you do get infected with the virus, your body and immune system will have an easier time fending off the virus.
Your immune system is made up of a complex collection of chemicals, cells or processes that constantly protect your body against invading pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. Ensuring it stays in good shape all year round is essential to preventing disease and infections.
Certain vitamins, minerals and herbs have been found to help improve the immune system response. Here are some of the most important health supplements to stock up on in these trying times that have a proven effect on improving your immune system.
Here are some of the most important health supplements suggested by Hey Nutrition, to stock up on in these trying times that have a proven effect on improving your immune system.
The sun vitamin is a fat-soluble nutrient crucial to the functioning of your immune system and overall health. It enhances the pathogen-battling effects of the white blood cells that are arguably the most important pieces of your immune defence. Further, it helps promote immune response by decreasing inflammation.
Many people are vitamin D deficient, which can negatively impact their immune function. Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to increased risk of respiratory tract infections, and we all know COVID-19 is especially harsh on the respiratory system.
Depending on your blood levels, you should take anywhere between 1000 and 4000 IU of vitamin D supplements. People with serious deficiencies may require even more than that.
Vitamin C is considered the king of all supplements. It’s arguably the most popular health supplement taken to protect against disease and infection. It supports a variety of functions in the immune cells and it improves their ability to protect against illness. It’s also an important part of cellular death, meaning it helps keep the immune system healthy by removing old cells and replacing them with new cells.
Furthermore, it functions as an antioxidant, protecting against damage caused by oxidative stress, which is a result of free radicals. Oxidative stress can negatively impact immune health and can lead to numerous diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
In addition to helping prevent them, vitamin C can also reduce the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections, including COVID-19 and the common cold. Supplementing with high doses of vitamin C can improve symptoms in people with severe infections, including acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. The recommended dose of vitamin C is somewhere between 250 and 1000mg.
Zinc is a mineral commonly added to other supplements and cold medicines. It promotes immune cell communication and development, and it helps with the inflammatory response. Zinc deficiency impairs your immune system’s function, resulting in an increased risk of infections and disease, such as pneumonia. Zinc deficiency is common in older adults. In fact, about a third of all adults are zinc deficient.
Many studies show that zinc supplements can help against respiratory tract infections, such as COVID-19 and the common cold. Furthermore, zinc supplements are beneficial to people who are already ill.
Taking zinc has been found to cut the duration and severity of illness. The recommended daily dose is 40mg, and it’s important to stick to it, as excessive dosing can interfere with copper absorption.
Other Supplements With Immune-Enhancing Potential
The aforementioned supplements are the most common ones that boost the overall function of the immune system. However, there are a few other less popular supplements that you can take as well, including selenium, B complex vitamins and propolis.
Selenium is a mineral that enhances antiviral defence against influenza strains. B complex vitamins, B6 and B12, in particular, are crucial for healthy immune response.
Unfortunately, many adults are B6 and B12 deficient. Propolis is produced by honeybees, and it’s a resin-like material used as a sealant in their hives. It provides great immune-enhancing effects and it features antiviral properties.
Losing Weight Also Benefits Your Immune System
More people are overweight now than ever. Excess fat, especially fat around the abdomen can turn your body’s defence system against you.
Abdominal fat can trigger the pro-inflammatory cells that circulate in our blood and promote inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to a wide range of diseases, such as coronary artery disease, and puts constant stress on your immune system.
If you are obese or overweight, shedding just a few kilograms can make a huge difference in straightening your immune system, You can take weight control vitamins, maintain a healthier diet, lose some weight and prevent inflammation. Weight control vitamins include the aforementioned vitamin D, B complex vitamins, as well as iron and magnesium.
Iron helps your body create energy and carry oxygen to the cells, which in turn helps you burn fat. Iron deficiency can result in anemia, which can lead to symptoms like fatigue, weakness and low energy levels, all of which are also symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.
Magnesium is another mineral that’s necessary for energy production. It plays a role in over 300 enzyme systems that are responsible for a variety of reactions happening inside the body, such as regulating blood pressure and blood glucose, keeping the nervous system functioning properly, and keeping bones strong.
Lastly, you can consider getting some green tea extract, which is one of the few marketed weight loss supplements that actually work. Green tea increases fat oxidation and energy expenditure, hence, reducing fat absorption and production. Green tea extract contains antioxidants known as catechins, as well as caffeine. This supplement is completely safe to take, but you should take it with food to minimise potential risks.
Excess weight affects almost half the population of Australia, and obesity is a major cause of some cancers and type-2 diabetes. If you’re overweight, now is definitely the time to consider doing something about it, as even small reduction in weight with the right diet can help you live a healthier life and improve your immune system.