We all want to be as healthy as possible, and while we cannot control how our immune system responds to cold, we can take the necessary steps to boost our body’s natural resistance to the viruses.
As the world faces the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no better time to take precautions and boost the immune system than right now.
You can help strengthen it in many different ways, like eating a nutritious diet, a good night’s sleep, and managing your stress can help.
But if you really want to have a substantial boost, you might want to consider supporting your diet with vitamins and immune-boosting supplements.
With many vitamins ranging from A to Z, you cannot take them all to keep your immune system functioning at its maximum. You need to know what specific vitamins and supplements can help.
Lucky for you, there is no need to read up on relevant research to find out. We have researched for you.
Read this to find out the proven vitamins, minerals, and supplements you need to have a strong stance against these pathogens.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is made up of complex cells, chemicals, and biological processes that work together inside our body to form a defense system against pathogens that include bacteria, toxins, and viruses.
It is integrated into our entire body, from our brain to our gut. Scientists are not through studying the immune system.
In fact, they are still exploring it, and every time a new pathogen is discovered like the coronavirus, the body’s immune system has a different form of attack.
How Does Our Immune System Works?
It is fascinating how our immune system is working round the clock in a thousand different ways inside our body, and we are unaware of it.
We only notice our immune system when it fails to work. We can have many discussions on how our immune system works for our review, we shall focus on Viral or Bacterial Infection.
When a bacteria or virus invades the body, it multiplies and can make you sick. It is the side effects caused by the germs that can make you sick.
The most common effects of viral and bacterial infection include colds, measles, influenza, malaria, mumps, AIDS, and many more.
The immune system can protect the body in the following ways:
- It forms a defense system to prevent viruses and bacteria from getting into our bodies.
- If these pathogens have entered our body, the immune system will detect it and eliminate the threat before it spreads.
- If these viruses and bacteria were able to reproduce, the immune system would lead to eliminating it.
The Best Vitamins to Boost the Immune System
The lack of adequate nutrition is one of the primary reasons for weakening the immune system. According to a 2007 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, there are three levels by which micronutrients boost the immune system.
- Physical barriers in the mucous and skin
- Cellular immunity
- Production of antibodies
Vitamins C, E, and Zinc are the multivitamins that help in strengthening the physical barriers.
Vitamins B6, B12, C, D, E, folic acid, selenium, and zinc helps in supporting immunity at the cellular level.
You need all these nutrients, except for Vitamin C and iron in the production of antibodies.
The best vitamins to enhance the functions of the immune system include A, B-Complex, C, D, E. (We’ll discuss each in this article).
People who have no access to nourishing food are the first to have an unhealthy immune system. Inadequate levels of these vitamins can compromise it, leading to diseases.
The simplest way to get an ample amount of nutrients to boost the immune system is by eating a healthy diet.
- Vitamin A
This vitamin has a critical role in maintaining the body’s natural defense against viruses and bacteria. Unlike other vitamins that have a powerful effect in boosting the immune system, this vitamin is different.
It has a hormone-like property that can target the immune system.
It accelerates the production and function of the white blood cells or lymphocytes.
WBC has a vital role in attacking foreign matters by producing antibodies that help fight infections. Aside from this responsibility, Vitamin A has a direct role in keeping the mucous lining of the gut in top shape.
The digestive gut commonly encounters bacteria, allergens, and toxins from our food intake. Vitamin A helps the gut lining to stay healthy so that we have a physical barrier against harmful substances.
Massive amounts of Vitamin A is present in chicken liver, cod liver oil, sweet potato, kale, butter, milk, and cheese.
- Vitamin B-Complex
Vitamin B-Complex is composed of not one but eight water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins work in synergy to boost metabolism, enhance our immune system, and the nervous system keeps our skin and muscle health, and encourages the growth of cells.
Vitamin B6 and B9 are the two vitamins that help boost the immune system.
- Vitamin B6 – is the vitamins that are needed by the body to produce the cells of the immune system and in increasing the number of antibodies. It is also responsible for communication at the cellular level when there is an invader in the system.
- Vitamin B9 – This vitamin is commonly known as Folic Acid and is responsible for supporting the immune system as we age. Our body decreases the production of T-cells with age. These cells are essential because they are immune system helpers, increasing rapidly when there is an infection to defeat the pathogens. Folate can help to increase its production to fight viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin B6 is commonly found in potatoes, milk, chickpeas, and bananas, while Vitamin B9 is found in broccoli, fortified cereals, and leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the most prevalent nutrient to boost the immune system and fight against infection. The first reason why this vitamin has a vital role in the functions of the immune system without this vitamin, the body will not be able to produce collagen. This collagen lines the nose, gut, and lungs, our first defense against germs.
Another action of Vitamin C is in increasing the production of enzymes, antibodies, and white blood cells. One vital point to remember is while Vitamin C has a high concentration in the cells of the immune system, it quickly dissipates when you are fighting infection and if you are a smoker and an alcohol drinker or training extensively.
Foods that are rich in vitamin C include kale, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, bell peppers, grapefruits, tangerines, and oranges.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D can also bump the immune system and is necessary to fight off viruses. Most people associate this vitamin with maintaining healthy bones; recent studies have linked its deficiency to respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, and colds.
It keeps the immune system functioning at optimum levels by activating the T-cells when they are needed to fight off infection without overdoing it.
Vitamin D is more of a hormone than a vitamin and it is manufactured by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. It is also found in egg yolks, fatty fish, and cheese. Our body needs 1,000 to 4,000iu of this vitamin daily; otherwise, we need to take supplements to support our daily requirements.
- Vitamin E
This vitamin is more popular as an antioxidant that fights free radicals, but we only have a little knowledge that It is also essential to the immune system.
Our body also uses Vitamin E in fighting infections. Our immune system will not work efficiently if there is a lot of oxidative stress going on in our body. Vitamin E helps in protecting the T-cell membranes from damage so that it can successfully fight off the virus.
Vitamin E is found in foods like spinach, nuts, and seeds.
Supplements the Boost Immune System
Vitamins and nutrients are not the only things you need to keep your immune system on top levels. There are other micronutrients as critical too. Here is why you need to load up on probiotics and zinc to help you fight off viruses at this crucial time.
Among the virus-fighting minerals, zinc is the most important. The cells in our immune system can communicate with each other through zinc. This micronutrient has anti-inflammatory characteristics that promote healing wounds.
But what is more important is its role in the defense against infections.
The T-cells produced by our thymus gland decreases with age, and when we reach the age of 65, it barely produces T-cells at all. Hence the elderly need to have zinc supplements to maintain the levels of these cells.
Zinc can be found in egg yolks, whole grains, meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, and shellfish.
A significant portion of the immune function is connected with our gut. In fact, about 70 to 80 percent of the immune system is found in the stomach.
And because it plays an important role, it is vital to support its health. Probiotics add immunity because it adds more healthy bacteria into the microbiome. It includes saccharomyces, Bifidobacterium, and lactobacillus.
These healthy bacteria work on blocking the bacteria from entering the gut, vying with the pathogens for space in the stomach, and boosting the lining of the gut wall.
Probiotics are found in fermented dairies like yogurt, kombucha, and kefir.
Ways to Boost the Immune System
Our immune system is our body’s natural defense against colds, flu, fever, strep throat, and other sicknesses. We are susceptible to pathogens that can make us sick all year round, and we need to be proactive so that we can avoid nasty diseases. Here are some tips on how we can naturally boost immune system.
1. Start consuming supplements.
Selenium, vitamin D, and zinc are commonly known supplements for immune system. In 2013, a review of several studies on the effectiveness of zinc supplements in reducing the common symptoms of colds within 24 hours.
Indeed, many people are convinced that supplements for an immune system like zinc can help ward off colds and other illnesses and infections. Zinc supplementation can help improve immunity among the elderly.
There is an immune booster supplement that can effectively supply the body with zinc, and it’s called Immune Defence. It contains enough zinc to help the immune system fight against infection.
Most studies have shown that there is a near 50% reduction in the duration of cold symptoms among the volunteers who are taking zinc lozenges.
2. Eat Healthy Foods.
Make sure that you are eating a well-balanced and varied diet; your goal is to consume as many vitamins and minerals without taking in excess fat and sugar.
Many people eat excessive amounts of calories from fat and sugar but do not meet the needed minerals and vitamins. Food with high ratios of nutrients. Examples of these foods are butternut squash, quinoa, collards, and kale.
3. Wash your hands properly.
To prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hand throughout the day using soap and water for 20 minutes. Try singing the song “Happy Birthday” from start to finish while scrubbing your hand to wash it effectively.
4. Get quality sleep.
Experts will tell you that you should get seven to nine hours of sleep to have the best of health. If you are having a hard time getting quality sleep, try calming routines before going to sleep.
Make the bedroom conducive for rest by lowering the lights and turning off the computer.
Lack of enough sleep can decrease immunity, cause overeating, and impact your mood. Getting to bed early can also help you wake up early and enjoy the sunlight to get vitamin D that your body needs.
5. Avoiding excessive alcohol and cigarette smoke
Cigarette smoking and consumption of excessive drinking are some of the bad habits that can pose a serious risk to your immune system.
Drink alcohol in moderation because it has some health benefits. Do not overdo it as it can weaken the immune system.
Staying healthy is the key to being a productive and happy individual. We are in an uncertain time, and we don’t know the extent of this global pandemic.
The only thing we can do is to boost our immune system by taking enough vitamins and nutrients that will keep us healthy.
Follow our tips on how to increase our immunity. You can get these nutrients from a healthy diet or supplements for the immune system. Keep the immune system in check by eating a balanced diet, having adequate sleep and exercise.