Supplementing For Immunity
While high quality sleep, exercise and nutrition are the staples of a healthy immune system, there are supplements that can help you get through flu season.
Vitamin C: A Cornerstone for Immune Health
Vitamin C is vital for immune function, acting as an antioxidant to combat free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. While it might not prevent colds, studies suggest high doses could shorten cold symptoms.
'Vitamin D: Beyond Bone Health to Immune Regulation
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in immune function (among hundreds of other benefits), with research indicating its impact on antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory responses. Clinical trials like the VITAL study have shed light on vitamin D's importance in immune health, particularly for individuals with deficiency.
Zinc: Critical for Immune Cell Development
Zinc is essential for immune cell development and communication. A deficiency can lead to a weakened immune response, making supplementation important for specific groups at risk of low zinc levels.
Elderberry: The Immune Booster with Antiviral Properties
Elderberries are high in antioxidants such as flavonoids and anthocyanins, which help in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. This can support the immune system in fighting off illnesses.
Studies have al shown that elderberry extracts may have antiviral capabilities, potentially effective against influenza viruses. This suggests that elderberries can help in reducing the duration and severity of flu symptoms.
Probiotics: Enhancing the Mucosal Immune System
Probiotics play a significant role in modulating the immune system. They stimulate the production of cytokines and chemokines, enhance the mucosal immune system, and reinforce the intestinal barrier. Long-term consumption has shown positive effects on allergy treatment and prevention.
Whey Protein: Muscles & Immunity
Whey protein, commonly known for muscle building, also offers significant benefits for immune health due to its rich content of amino acids, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, and cysteine. As a complete protein, it provides essential amino acids crucial for immune cell synthesis and maintenance. Immunoglobulins in whey strengthen the body's defense against pathogens, while lactoferrin exhibits antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Additionally, cysteine in whey aids in the production of glutathione, a potent antioxidant important for reducing oxidative stress and boosting immunity. Whey protein also positively impacts gut health, which is closely linked to the immune system.
This guide provides an overview of the current understanding of how certain supplements can support the immune system. For those considering supplementation, it's essential to consult healthcare professionals for personalized advice. While supplements can offer benefits, they should be part of a holistic approach to health, including a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
- Vitamin C and Immune Function - PubMed: Access here
- How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System - Eatright.org: Access here
- The health effects of vitamin D supplementation: evidence from human studies - Nature Reviews Endocrinology: Access here
- Immunologic Effects of Vitamin D on Human Health and Disease - PubMed: Access here
- Vitamin D and Immune Regulation: Antibacterial, Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory - PubMed: Access here
- Vitamin D: immune function, inflammation, infections and auto-immunity - PubMed: Access here
- Beneficial Effects of Probiotic Consumption on the Immune System - PubMed: Access here
- Elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections -
PubMed: Access here