The immune system is vital and the only body mechanism that acts as the human body’s defense system. It protects the body against multiple infectious agents that can make you fall sick. Studies have found that there are striking connections between the immunity system and the lifestyle choices that an individual makes.
Therefore, more people are interested in increasing their immunity defense by making wise lifestyle choices. Hence, researchers have developed various immune boosters that people can intake to improve the immunity system’s functioning. Some of these boosters include probiotics, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Studies also suggest using alternative medicines and functional foods in their approach to facilitating immunity boost (1).
Today, more than 50% of the population in the US intake supplements. Researchers have stated that the dietary supplements market will have a valuation of almost US$ 349.4 billion by 2025-26.
However, supplements alone are not a bullet-proof method of boosting the immunity system. Most medical professionals suggest that regular exercise, a healthy diet, and healthy bedtime practices can promote overall health. Therefore, combining a healthy lifestyle with supplements might further help in improving the immunity system.
That being said, here are some popular and effective immunity-boosting supplements that people mostly buy.
Supplements To Add To Your 2021 Immunity Boost Plan
The immune cells in our body are rich in Vitamin E and are needed to protect the membrane of these cells. Vitamin E prevents the cells from oxidative damage, helping the overall immunity system conduct their standard defensive functions.
Besides, Vitamin E also prevents lipid peroxidation that helps in maintaining the integrity of the membrane. Therefore, pathogens or any other harmful agents cannot enter the cells. Thereby, key mediators and protein production, and signal transduction help boost the immunity system’s functioning (2).
Some of the common health complications that Vitamin E can help prevent include damage occurred during exercises, asthma, and the effects of AIDS. The RDI of vitamin E for both adult females and males is 15 mg every day.
Studies have stated that when you are affected by stress or infectious diseases, Vitamin C’s concentration in your blood’s leukocytes and plasma declines rapidly. However, by taking Vitamin C supplements, it can improve the overall human immune system by boosting some of its essential components (3).
Besides, Vitamin C also contributes to the defense system by assisting the adaptive and innate immunity system’s multiple cellular functions. It improves immunity by helping the white blood cells functioning more efficiently.
It can strengthen the defense system of your skin and even help a wound to heal faster. You can take vitamin C supplements for preventing common cold and respiratory tract infections. The RDI of vitamin C is 65-90 mg daily.
Zinc plays a crucial role in the functioning of the immunity system. Most zinc-deficient individuals have an increased risk of being affected by a wide range of pathogens. This mineral can act as a gene regulation in the lymphocytes and even protect the skin (4).
Good content of zinc in the body helps in boosting overall functions and the outgrowth of the T-cells. They attack antigens that affect the body. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of zinc further help make the immunity system more robust (5).
Common health conditions that zinc can help with include sickle cell, acne, ADHD, and ulcers. Besides, it is also used for the treatment of HIV arthritis, rheumatoid, and cholesterol. The RDI of zinc is 8 mg and 11 mg daily for women and men, respectively.
A vital micronutrient, vitamin B6 helps in promoting the strength of the immune system. It transports oxygen throughout the whole body and makes all-new red blood cells. Vitamin B6 also regulates the immune response to a variety of diseases that includes both cancer and inflammation.
An adequate intake of vitamin B6 regularly results in the production of IL-4, IL-2, and serum antibody that protects the body from pathogens. In some cases, vitamin B6 supplements could even improve impaired immunity (6).
Vitamin B6 is known for preventing heart diseases and clogged arteries. However, too much vitamin B6 can even complicate your health. The RDI of vitamin B6 depends on both age and gender.
Vitamin D is needed to keep the immune system balanced during the flu and cold season. The vitamin D receptors in the body activate enzymes in the white blood cells. Deficiency in vitamin D is linked with the risk of autoimmune diseases.
This vitamin helps boost the adaptive system and the innate system of the body’s immunity system. Therefore, allowing the body to quickly fight the infections and producing antibodies in adequate quantities.
The RDI of vitamin D varies on the age group. However, vitamin D supplements can help prevent autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis (7).
The overall status of the immunity system depends a lot on the selenium content of the host. Selenium is a vital antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidative stress that lowers inflammation, and improves the immune system altogether.
Evidence from different studies states that selenium affects different kinds of immune responses in varied ways. The extent of selenium supplementation in improving the immune system depends on the type of tissues and antigens involved (8).
It can increase the production of lymphocytes that helps in making the immunity system robust. This mineral’s acceptable content can prevent individuals from the risk of HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and influenza. However, too much of this selenium can also be harmful.
An essential mineral that regulates both secondary and primary immune response. It supports the entire working of the immune system by producing more red blood cells and improving cognitive functioning, oxygen transport, and regulating energy metabolism.
Iron also helps promote non-specific immunity that is the initial line of defense of the body against pathogens. Adequate iron levels also help the body boost adaptive immunity within a few days of exposure to foreign substances. This helps in enhancing the health of an infected individual.
Therefore, iron is needed for both host and pathogen immunity. The RDI of iron for adult men is 20.5 mg daily and 18.9 mg daily for women to activate their immune cells (9).
Magnesium helps keep the immunity system robust while supporting various body functions from the brain to the heart. It also gives strength to our bones and muscles. It is one of the most vital micronutrients with a strong link with both specific and non-specific immune responses.
A balance on magnesium level in the body prevents the activation of inflammatory components that can affect the immune system. Magnesium supplements are also often called super pills as they can treat various ailments like sleeping disorders, low energy, and muscle tension (10).
Although doctors mostly suggest magnesium intake, people can also opt for supplements after getting their doctor’s approval. The RDI of magnesium is 420 mg daily for adults.
Calcium is vital for bone health, but it is also needed for the immunity system’s proper functioning. Lack of calcium in the tissue leads to increased bacterial and virus infections. Besides, it even acts as an indicator of a higher risk of severe illness accompanied by a higher mortality rate.
Adequate calcium content in the body helps it alter the phagocytes when there is any foreign substance inside our system. Therefore with the help of calcium, the immunity system can act more promptly and efficiently during crisis times.
However, higher content of calcium can also work negatively. Hence, the RDI of calcium for most adults ranges from 1000-1200 mg daily (11).
Folate or foci acid is necessary to maintain and produce the cells in our body, especially during infancy and pregnancy. It is also required for making the RNA and DNA that dictates the functions of the cells.
As folate helps repair and make DNA, it is evident that deficiency of folic acid can hamper immunity. Intake of this supplement helps in improving overall health while preventing certain diseases.
The best thing is unlike other nutrients, folate is water-soluble. Therefore, any excess amount of folic acid in the body is quickly passed with the urine. However, to maintain safety, the RDI for folic acid is 400 mcg per day (12).
Some other alternative supplements
Other than most of the popular supplements mentioned below, some of the other right supplements include,
- Raw Honey
Things To Look-out For Before Taking Supplements
Taking your daily quote of supplements does not mean that you will only keep track of the daily dosage that you are taking. Try to avoid taking your supplements empty-stomach. Most supplements are fat-soluble, which means they would require some food to get appropriately absorbed.
Also, certain minerals and vitamins can affect the efficacy of the absorption of medications. Therefore, before taking any supplement, you have to ask your doctor to go through both your OTC and prescription medications to avoid any health complications from arising. Also, keep an eye out for any side-effects that you think you are experiencing after taking supplements.
Last but not least, do not replace your real food with over-the-counter minerals and vitamin supplements. Supplements maintain the nutrient level in your body. Therefore, you should not replace real food with supplements. Natural foods have more and varied nutrients in them with other far-reaching benefits.
Top-rated Supplement Brands in the US
Here is a list of top-rated brands offering the best quality supplements at the best price. These include,
- Natural Factors
- Vitamin Shoppe
- Herb Pharm
- Klaire Labs
- Trader Darwin
- HPF Cholestene
- Nature Made
- Life Extension
However, if you are looking for brands that have a specialty in specific kinds of supplements, these include,
- Life Extension: Vitamin D
- Jarrow: Probiotics
- Puritan’s Pride: Multivitamin
- Life Extension: Melatonin
- Puritan’s Pride: Joint Health
- Life Extension: CoQ10
- Kirkland: Calcium
Madelline completed her studies in community healthcare education. Apart from being a freelance writer, she also volunteers at the local non-profit organisations that help people suffering from mental disorders like depression and anxiety.