Top Seven Immune Support Supplement Ingredients
If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s never to take our health for granted. Even those of us who have always been mindful of staying fit and active were served a wake-up call as we watched people younger and healthier succumb to a deadly virus.
It’s no surprise that we’ve begun to take a closer look at the vitamins, minerals, and other supplements we use to see which ingredients can help support our immune systems and which we need to add into our supplement stack. With research around COVID-19 symptoms and the vaccine, we’ve gained a new awareness of immune support supplements. As a result, some vitamins and minerals play a more crucial role than we might have realized.
What are Immune Support Supplements
Immune support supplements are any vitamins, minerals, herbs, or blends that claim to support or boost immune function. As with all supplements, immune support supplements are not strictly regulated by the government and can make claims that are not supported by scientific research. However, the vitamins and supplements on our list are backed by scientific evidence.
It’s important to note that there are currently no recommendations for immune support supplements to fight specifically, cure, or prevent COVID-19. Instead, these vitamins and minerals merely promote a healthier immune system.
Vitamin D is the unsung hero of immune support supplements. Experts have known that this micronutrient plays an important role in bone health and calcium absorption for a long time. As it turns out, vitamin D is perhaps the most involved in immune function as it has both immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. It enhances the function of T cells and macrophages, which protect the body from pathogens. What’s more is that a vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk of respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19, and other ailments.
Risks Related to a Vitamin D Deficiency:
- slowed healing
- fatigue and excessive tiredness
- bone pain and weakness
- hair loss
- muscle pain
Zinc is a mineral essential to proper immune function. Not only does it play a critical role in the body’s inflammatory response, but it also protects the tissues in the body that act as barriers between the cells and pathogens. Therefore, a zinc deficiency can lead to an increased risk of deep respiratory infections like pneumonia and COVID-19.
Zinc is a popular ingredient in many cold and flu products and multi-vitamins. Ensure your supplement contains about 20 mg for effectiveness.
Vitamin C might have had to move over for D, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some validity to the C obsession pushed by popular cold and flu products. It is a potent antioxidant, which strengthens your body’s existing defense system against outside pathogens. The antioxidant helps to produce more white blood cells, or lymphocytes and phagocytes. These white blood cells protect against infections. In addition to boosted white blood cells, vitamin C also helps the body recover from respiratory illnesses faster.
Vitamin C is a popular ingredient in multi-vitamin and immune support supplements. The recommended daily dose is about 90 mg.
Elderberry syrups and immune support supplements are among those things that gained popularity with “crunchy” moms through old wives’ tales. Still, as it turns out, elderberry immune support supplements are legitimate.
Elderberries are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A combination that helps switch a healthy immune system into overdrive by increasing cytokine production. Inflammatory cytokines are signaling molecules that are secreted from T cells and macrophages. They initiate an inflammatory response that helps defend against pathogens.
Elderberry is not typically included in a regular multi-vitamin supplement, so take about one tablespoon of syrup twice per day as a preventative measure or one tablespoon four times per day to shorten the duration of a cold or the flu.
Selenium is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant within the body. As you have read, antioxidants reduce the oxidative stress on the body caused by free radicals. In addition to protecting immune function from the damaging effects of free radicals, this mineral helps the body fight harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Increased blood levels of this essential mineral are associated with increased immune function in healthy people and those suffering from HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and more.
Your multi-vitamin may or may not contain selenium. Check to see that it has at least 50 mg of this mineral or add a stand-alone selenium immune support supplement.
Vitamin B Complex
A B vitamin complex is comprised of eight vitamins:
- pantothenic acid
- folic acid
The B group works in different ways throughout the body to assist immune function. From supporting healthy organ function to producing new blood cells and protecting and creating new DNA. B vitamins are likely included in your multi-vitamin, but many people like to add a vitamin B complex supplement to ensure they’re covering all the bases.
Each vitamin has a recommended dose:
- 1.1 mg of thiamine
- 1.3 mg of riboflavin
- 16 mg of niacin
- 5 mg of pantothenic acid
- 1.3 mg of pyridoxine
- 30 mcg of biotin
- 400 mcg of folic acid
- 2.4 mcg of cobalamin
Lastly, glutamine is an amino acid that you’d benefit from adding to your stack. Glutamine is what’s known as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that under normal conditions, the body produces adequate levels of glutamine. However, when you’re ill, the body may need more glutamine than it can produce.
Glutamine is involved in a healthy immune system because it acts as a critical fuel for white blood cells, which fight infection. For this reason, taking a glutamine supplement can help the body recover more quickly from illnesses and injuries.
As you can see, there are many vitamins, minerals, and other natural immune support supplements you can include in your daily supplement stack to support your immune system and protect your body from dangerous diseases like COVID-19. In some cases, your favourite multi-vitamin might include everything you need. Other immune-boosting supplements can be purchased in addition to your daily multi and would provide extra support.