Vitamins and Supplements: Immune Defense


Cold and flu season is that time of year when many people are exposed to viruses or pathogens that affect immune health. You can help your body and immune system by incorporating nutritional supplements into your daily diet that can help strengthen your body’s defenses. Adequately feeding your immune system can help defend against common health burdens.

Immune boosters work in many ways. Some may increase the number of white blood cells in the immune system’s army, train them to fight better, and help them form an overall better battle plan. Boosters also help to eliminate substances that drag the body down. Below are some of the top supplements that help support immune health.

Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters for many reasons. There have been multiple studies on the benefits of vitamin C. You don’t have to take massive amounts of vitamin C to support your immune system. Vitamin C also protects against free radical damage, which helps support the body’s natural resistance.

Zinc is a valuable mineral, especially for elderly people who often lack adequate amounts of zinc, and whose immune systems often weaken with age. Several studies on zinc support the fact that it plays a role in immune function. It is also involved in the majority of metabolic processes in the body.

Echinacea (pictured) is available as a dietary supplement and is used to support natural resistance. Some studies show mixed results. There are nine known species of echinacea and the most commonly used form is echinacea pupurea.

Probiotics, the “friendly bacteria,” help to keep your digestive tract healthy and appear to have some benefit to your immune system. Probiotics may be found in dietary supplements or as a nutritional ingredient in yogurt and other foods. Another immune supporting supplement is the astragalus root.

Astragalus root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support the immune system. Check with your physician before you make a decision to supplement.

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