Please note that supplements cannot prevent or cure diseases. The only way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is through staying at home, physical distancing, and proper hygiene practices.
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The immune system is comprised of a complex group of cells, chemicals, and processes that protects our bodies against toxins, viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that can cause diseases.
Maintaining a healthy immune system helps our body in defending against infections and diseases. Living a healthy lifestyle helps boost the immune system. Eating nutritious foods, proper exercise, and having adequate sleep are just some of the ways to stay in good shape.
Another way to improve the body’s immune response is by taking nutritional supplements like vitamins, herbs, minerals, and other beneficial substances.
Here are some supplements that are known to help strengthen the immune system.
Probably the most popular supplement, vitamin C is known for the significant role it plays in supporting the immune system. It’s a strong antioxidant that protects the body against the harmful effects of oxidative stress which is the result of free radicals.
This vitamin enhances the function of different cells and boosts their infection-fighting power. It’s also known to lessen the length and gravity of upper respiratory tract infections and hasten the healing of wounds.
The body can only take in so much vitamin C so it’s important to consume it with caution. Too much of this vitamin can cause upset stomach and diarrhea.
When we say vitamin B, we are actually referring to the B vitamins, a group of eight essential vitamins that play a vital, tightly interconnected roles in cell functions. These are B-1 - thiamine, B-2 - riboflavin, B-3 - niacin, B-5 - pantothenic acid, B-6 - pyridoxine, B-7 - biotin, B-9 - folic acid, B-12 - cobalamin.
Among all the B vitamins, vitamin B-6 and B-12 standout with their immune-boosting powers, Vitamin B-6 is needed in the production of new red blood cells that transport oxygen all over the body while vitamin B-12 helps in maintaining healthy blood and nerve cells in the body.
All the essential B vitamins can be found in one vitamin B-complex pill. You can buy these pills in health stores or online. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
It’s also called “sunshine vitamin” as you can get your dose of vitamin D by directly soaking in the sun. You can also get this vitamin by eating certain foods and by taking supplements.
Vitamin D performs a crucial role in enhancing the body’s immune response. It has immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory attributes that are essential in activating the defenses of the immune system.
People with vitamin D deficiency become more prone to infections, diseases, vitiligo, type 1 diabetes, and other immune-related disorders.
Also known as micronutrients, trace elements are minerals present in living tissues in very small amounts. Micronutrients that support immune function are iron, zinc, copper, and selenium. Sufficient amounts of these minerals are needed so the immune system could function efficiently.
Studies have shown that Iron is essential in the development of the immune system. Low levels of iron can greatly affect the body’s immune response capability.
It plays a vital role in the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs. With enough red blood cells, you get sufficient oxygen in your body.
Deficiency of this element results in an inadequate supply of oxygen that leads to exhaustion that could affect your brain function, muscles, and immune system.
Women, babies, children, vegetarians, and regular blood donors have a higher risk of having iron deficiency.
Zinc also plays an important role in boosting the immune system. Studies have shown that zinc is needed to activate T cells in the body. T cells help in the control and regulation of immune responses. They also help in fighting cancerous or infected cells.
Aside from enhancing the immune system, zinc is also known to help in healing wounds and helps in the treatment of ADHD, sickle cell anemia, acne, ulcers, and other health problems.
People with poor diet, alcoholics, and strict vegans are more prone to zinc deficiency and are likely to be advised to take zinc supplements.
Along with iron, Copper helps in the formation of red blood cells. Copper is involved in the function of several blood cells in fighting infectious microbes and producing specific antibodies against certain pathogens.
Selenium is essential in the maintenance of the immune system. It is an antioxidant that helps to keep the oxidative stress in the body at a low level thereby reducing inflammation and improves immunity. Studies have also shown that Selenium may play a part in enhancing the immune system of people with tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV, and influenza.
Although the above vitamins and minerals are proven to boost the immune system, please keep in mind that these supplements cannot replace healthy living.
Consult your doctor first if you want to try taking some supplements. Some supplements may have interaction with certain medical conditions or medications.