Catching a cold, the flu, or some other illness that is going around can impact your entire life. Not only do you feel awful, but you may have to miss work or miss out on events and activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that just the seasonal flu alone causes between 9 and 45 million illnesses per year. And the flu is just one illness your immune system has to fight off!
Luckily, there is a lot you can do with your lifestyle when you’re well to help support your immune system. A healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management and adequate sleep can all strengthen your immune system, but immune booster supplements can also help. So, what are the best supplements to boost the immune system?
Best Immune System Supplements
When looking for best supplements for your immune system, there are a lot of products out there that claim to support immune function. Before taking any supplements, it is always best to speak with your doctor about the best options for you, especially if you are taking any medications or have any medical conditions. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also avoid many of these supplements before speaking to their doctors. Some of these supplements can even boost the immune system too much, which may not be beneficial for certain people.
If you do decide to give immune booster supplements a try, here are some of the best supplements for your immune system:
- Glutamine— Glutamine is an amino acid that becomes depleted when you are sick. Supplementing with this amino acid has been found to reduce hospital stays, support a healthy digestive tract during illness and provide ideal fuel for immune cells.
- Oregano oil— Oregano oil has natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. It contains two powerful phenols, thymol and carvacrol, plant chemicals with antioxidant effects. Oregano oil can be inhaled, taken orally in a capsule or applied to the skin with a carrier oil.
- Larch arabinogalactan–This supplement can help reduce the risk of catching a cold by as much as 23%. It is able to enhance the action of natural killer cells and macrophages, directly boosting the immune system. Larch is taken as a powder or extract.
- Vitamin D– Vitamin D is needed to support healthy immune function. Since the body makes vitamin D from sunlight, deficiency is common during the winter months, leaving the immune system depleted. Around 1000 IU per day is enough to help ward off most colds and cough.
- Vitamin C– Vitamin C is one of the most important immune system supplements It has been found to decrease the severity and shorten the duration of the common cold. During cold season, consider taking a 250 mg supplement daily to keep your immune system working well.
- Elderberry–– Elderberry floods the body with antioxidants to help the immune system naturally fight off infection. One study found that elderberry supplements were able to shorten the duration of the flu by 4 days.
- Astralagus– Astrgalus is an immune booster supplement made from the root of the Astragalus membranaceus or Astragalus mongholicus It may help bolster your body’s resistance to disease, enhancing your immune system and reducing your risk of catching that cold
- Colostrum— Colostrum is the first milk that mammals provide to their newborn babies intended to bolster the immune system. It contains immune-boosting components like gamma globulin, interferon, growth hormone (GH), that help “train” the body how to ward off illness. Taking a colostrum supplement provides antibodies that “teach” the body how to recognize pathogens more effectively. It gives your body skills it needs to fight off any illness it comes across.
These are just a few of the supplements to boost the immune system you might want to try to support your body during cold and flu season.
But, there is one very important thing to remember: supplements are great, but alone they won’t do the trick! Taking supplements will increase your chances of fighting off colds and infections, but if your immune system is suppressed–by stress, an unhealthy diet or lack of sleep–it will be unable to fight properly. For optimal immune function, you need to be living a healthy life.
Also, alongside taking care of your body, you need to practice prevention in your daily routine. This comes from good hygiene, especially keeping your hands clean and out of your face. One of the most important ways you can avoid getting contagious viruses is by maintaining healthy hand habits. Paired with this, avoid being in densely populated areas to minimize your exposure to others that might be sick themselves.
Eat the right foods to get your immune system back to full strength and do plenty of exercise (another immune-boosting remedy). Add these best supplements for the immune system to your healthy regimen, adjust your daily habits to reflect health consciousness, and you’ll have the immunity needed to fight off those invaders!