Why take supplements to boost your immune system?
Following a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential to supporting your immune system. Unfortunately, many people nowadays tend to opt for processed foods with low nutritional value that are high in sugar, saturated fats and artificial chemicals. As a result, people with poor diet are deprived of various minerals and vitamins that are required for a proper functioning of immune system.
As the study suggests, even a mild nutrient deficiency may influence your body’s immune response and make you more susceptible to infections. So, making the switch to a balanced diet is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your immune system. And, if you are diagnosed with nutritional deficiency, then taking supplements to fill the gaps in your diet and restore deficient nutrients to recommended levels can be highly beneficial.
Vitamins for a healthy immune system
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin A helps maintain your body’s natural defenses and make you less susceptible to infections. A study shows that a proper intake of vitamin A provides effective immune responses across the entire gut lining when pathogens enter the body via digestive system. And there is a direct relationship between your gut health and a proper functioning of your immune system. By keeping your gut microbiota in balance, you will be able to improve immunity and overall health.
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A study showed that deficiency in vitamin D may result in increased autoimmunity and greater susceptibility to infections. According to this study, taking vitamin D supplements is especially beneficial for individuals with autoimmune diseases. As it turns out, vitamin D receptors are present on almost all cells of the immune system. Vitamin D supports cells that help fight pathogens and diseases, and this makes vitamin D vital for maintaining a strong immune system and a good health.
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Known as fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E plays an important role for increasing immunity. A study showed that immune cells have a higher concentration of vitamin E compared to other cells in blood. Vitamin E modulates immune system by supporting the growth of T cells and other immune cells that help fight and eliminate diseases.
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Studies show that vitamin B6 deficiency may weaken immune system response. According to the research, a B6 deficiency may reduce your body’s production of:
- antibodies that help fight infections
- cells that regulate immune response
It’s also important to mention that vitamin B6 deficiency is more likely to occur alongside deficiency in vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and B9 (folic acid).
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and vitamin B9 (folic acid)
The primary role of vitamin B12 is to help your body produce a sufficient number of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. Vitamin B9 works together with B12 to help your body produce healthy red blood cells. In addition, this vitamin aids in production of DNA and RNA.
There is also an evidence that folic acid together with cobalamin help maintain immune system in balance. It turns out that deficiency in vitamin B9 and B12 may alter our immune responses through different processes. These include production of nucleic acid, protein synthesis as well as interfering negatively with the activity of immune cells.
Vitamin C improves immunity by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. According to the research, supplementation with vitamin C can help prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.
Products to check: Now Foods C-1000, Life Extension Vitamin C with Bio-Quercetin Phytosome
Minerals for boosting your immunity
Iodine is an important element that helps in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. These hormones play essential roles in both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Therefore, adequate intake of iodine is necessary for the proper function of immune system.
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Selenium is very important for proper thyroid hormone metabolism and optimal immune responses. A study shows that selenium deficiency may result in increased oxidative stress, inflammation and suppression of the immune response to a bacterial or viral infection. Therefore, a sufficient intake of selenium is required to increase your body’s resistance to viral infections.
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According to the research, zinc-deficient people are more susceptible to different infections and get sick more often. As it turns out, zinc plays an important role in the normal development and function of neutrophils, the type of white blood cells that ingest and destroy microorganisms or other foreign particles, and natural killer cells. Zinc has been shown to shorten the duration of recovery from a cold.
Low intake of iron may lead to suppressed immunity as this element is essential for the activation and proliferation of cells that generate a specific response to infection. Since iron deficiency may impair your body’s defense mechanisms against pathogens, it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough iron to support your immune system.
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Copper plays an important role in regulating the function of innate immune system. An insufficient copper intake may result in abnormally low numbers of neutrophils, making you more susceptible to infections. According to the research, copper can neutralize several infectious viruses, including bronchitis virus, poliovirus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).
Products to check: Nature's Plus Copper
Eating a balanced diet is key to a strong immune system and maintaining your overall health. However, supplementation can be helpful if you’re unable to get adequate amount of essential nutrients in your diet, are diagnosed with nutritional deficiency or get sick very often.
Written by Natalie Myhalnytska
About the Author
Natalie Myhalnytska is a founder and editor at Magazine MN, online media and marketing professional. Natalie holds BA in International Economic Relations and writes on topics related to personal development, psychology and wellness.
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