The best line of defense against a viral infection is good immune health, and with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading around the country, many of us are seeking out ways to keep our immunity up. Adding nutrients into your diet is a great way to enhance your immune response, and taking supplements can certainly help.
But don’t rush out and spend all your money on expensive products just yet. The experts over at Healthline say that our bodies better absorb nutrients from whole foods. Luckily, there are a few companies out there making convenient-to-take supplements made from whole foods to help your body better assimilate all those nutrients. And remember, supplements are great to use for a boost when you need it (and now is probably one of those times), but they’re generally not intended for unmonitored, long-term use. Be sure to talk with your doctor before trying any new supplements.
One of the most popular supplements for immunity, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative damage to our cells. Vitamin C protects our immune cells and boosts their ability to fight an infection. It also plays a role in cell death, which improves our immune systems by replacing dead cells with new cells.
Too much vitamin C in your system can be harmful, so be sure to consult package instructions as well as consult your healthcare provider about a proper dose for you.
We love this whole food vitamin C from MegaFood: $31.99, Amazon.
Many women, especially after menopause, can be deficient in essential B vitamins. Vitamins B12 and B6, for example, are required for several biochemical reactions that ensure a health immune response. That being said, taking a good-quality B complex vitamin can help protect you against an infection. And not only that, b vitamins can also boost your energy levels and regulate your mood by affecting the happy hormone, serotonin!
Try this B-complex from MegaFood: $25.75, Amazon.
Zinc is a mineral that’s essential for immune function. Zinc plays a role in the development of our immune cells and regulates how they communicate. What’s more, it’s also involved in our inflammatory response. Studies have even shown that being deficient in zinc significantly increases your risk of infections and disease.
Interestingly enough, zinc has been researched as a promoter of immunity. Results from one study showed that zinc supplements could help fight respiratory infections such as the common cold. Another study found that zinc supplements could even improve the duration of an infection.
Get more zinc with these zinc drops from Good State Natural’s: $19.99, Amazon.
Vitamin D is a powerful immune booster. It improves white blood cells ability to fight harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms and decreases inflammation, which helps promote good immunity. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections like asthma and the flu.
Science suggests that supplementing with vitamin D can improve immunity. One 2019 review of studies found that subjects supplementing with vitamin D significantly decreased the risk of respiratory infections.
Vitamin D levels are also chronically low in older adults, and this can have other serious health complications.
To avoid a deficiency, check out this vitamin D supplement from Garden of Life: $19.44, Amazon.
Black elderberry, which comes from a tree native to North America, has been used historically to treat viruses and other infections, and researchers are exploring its immune-boosting properties. Studies show that taking elderberry may enhance your immune response and shorten the duration of sickness. In the same study, supplementing with elderberry also helps relieve symptoms related to viral infection. Another review of studies found that supplementing with elderberry led to significantly reduced respiratory symptoms like coughing caused by viral infections.
We love this Black Elderberry Syrup form Gaia Herbs: $24.11, Amazon