The human body’s natural immunity is one of the most important defenses against infection and illness. If you’ve ever suffered from a cold, stomach bug, or another sickness, you know how debilitating it can be. That’s why it’s important to take measures to bolster your body's defenses by taking supplements that boost the immune system.
Get the basic nutrients your immune system needs, and always remember that a balanced diet, exercise, and adequate sleep are the keys to keeping your immune system in check. If you get enough sleep, diligently wash your hands with soap and water and have a nutrient-rich diet, supplements can help strengthen your immune system.
You don't need to have any signs of a weak immune system to think about strengthening. While food supplements do not make you immune, they give your immune system the boost it needs to get back on its feet faster. There are some vitamins and minerals to look out for in the supplement ingredients to find the ones that will improve your immune system.
Zinc is a mineral that is often added to a variety of vitamins and minerals that are supposed to strengthen the immune system. It is one of the best dietary supplements for the development of healthy blood vessels and immune cells and plays an important role in the production of inflammatory cytokines, the body's main immune response to inflammation. It is often added to a variety of vitamins and minerals that are supposed to strengthen the immune system, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper.
Vitamin C is another popular one, as it contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions and protecting against environmental oxidative stress.
Cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine (CDP-choline) is a building block for the production of adrenal hormones that include adrenaline and cortisol. It also plays an important role in the synthesis of cellular membranes. CDP-choline has been proven to have a positive effect on both gene and protein expression, increasing histone acetylation, nuclear translocation, transcription rate, and DNA reparability.
Natural Lycopene is a member of the carotenoid family. It is found in tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, and red bell peppers. It contains antioxidant properties that help prevent oxidative damage to DNA and tissues in the body. Research has also confirmed lycopene's role as an immune booster.
Probiotics give your immune system four key nutrients that are critical to its function: Bifidobacterium bifidum (Bifidobacteria), Lactobacillus acidophilus (Lactobacillus), and Streptococcus thermophiles (Streptococcus). Probiotics are thought to work in the following ways:
Athletic Greens is a healthy food supplement for anyone who wants to boost their immune system. It contains increased amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as vitamin C and E that have been proven to strengthen the immune system. It also includes quinoa, chia seeds, black Celtic sea salt, spirulina, arctic cloudberry berry extract (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), and inulin (a semi-carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic).
Zinc has many benefits for the health and immune system. Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in supporting the health of your body's cells. Zinc has also been tested with positive results in enhancing the immune system. Zinc deficient animals showed high rates of sickness.
A natural supplement that can help raise immune response levels is thymic acid, a compound derived from glands found in the breast of mammals such as humans. It is widely used as an immunostimulant through the food industry due to its ability to boost immune function. Thymic acid has also been shown in studies to decrease infection by increasing a process called phagocytosis, which is the means by which cells eat foreign materials that have entered into their space.
The most famous immune enhancer is cod liver oil, which has been shown to boost immune function. Because of its high levels of vitamins A and D, along with other natural compounds like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, cod liver oil helps to support the body's natural ability to ward off infections and sickness.
A number of studies indicate that specific proteins in milk may enhance the immune system. Milk proteins alter the surface molecules on phagocytic cells, making it easier for them to identify foreign invaders—foreign cells such as bacteria or viruses—and attack them. However, at least one study suggests that the effects of this immune response may be temporary.
When looking for specific types of supplements that work best, there are many things to consider; different people may need different types of supplements at different times in their life cycles because everyone has certain deficiencies at any given time.
Some people are deficient in vitamin D, while others can benefit from taking vitamin E. For those who suffer from chronic illnesses that require the use of extra oxygen, it’s important to find out which supplements work best for them.
There are specific supplements for different age groups as well; some need certain nutrients than others because their genetic makeup leaves them more susceptible to deficiencies than others.
Once you know what type of vitamins and minerals your body needs, it’s time to research the benefits that each supplement affords. You can choose specific brands that are known for effectiveness or choose ones that are recommended by medical professionals.
Other herbs, vitamins, and minerals have been shown to benefit the immune system as well. Here's a list of some of them:
Vitamin E is thought to help prevent the immune system from attacking the body's cells (autoimmunity). Studies suggest that vitamin E may even work on an anti-cancer level by helping to prevent mutations in cells.
Vitamin C is thought to help strengthen the immune system, inhibit the development of cancer cells, and even prevent the spread of cancer.
L-lysine has also been shown to help fight cancers. It works by blocking or damaging DNA at every stage of mutation or replication, both before it is replicated and after it has escaped the cell nucleus. L-lysine can be found in aged cheeses, scallops, wheat germ, and sesame seeds.
A number of herbs and supplements have a positive effect on a weakened immune system. These include wild yam, which is an herb that grows in the rainforest of Central America and has been used for thousands of years as a medicine.
Other herbs that have positive effects on the immune system include ashwagandha (an adaptogen), Echinacea (an herbal antiviral) ginseng (an antioxidant), garlic (supports the thymus), mistletoe (a natural anticancer compound). Other herbs that have been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system include turmeric, a spice used in many Asian dishes, and saw palmetto.
The immune system is a complex network of cells designed to protect our bodies from foreign attacks. While the immune system can sometimes go awry, it is still very important for the body's health and well-being. In order for it to work properly, however, there are certain nutrients and herbs that must be obtained from natural sources.
Just as with any other part of your body that functions optimally, enhancing your immune function can help you stay healthy by preventing infectious diseases and conditions such as cancer.
Enhancing the immune system can be achieved through proper diet, exercise, sufficient sleep, stress management, and taking supplements when necessary. It is also important to avoid lifestyle factors that may suppress the immune system, such as eating foods with trans-fats, drinking alcohol regularly without allowing ample time for liver detoxification, smoking cigarettes regularly, consuming caffeine regularly in excess of 50 mg per day (a cup of coffee is around 100 mg), overworking regularly or regularly missing sleep. Consuming wheat or dairy products, especially hard cheese, may also suppress the immune system.
There are many different types of herbs used to enhance immunity, but some of the most well known are:
Chromium (a trace element required by the body for proper glucose metabolism) is needed to facilitate insulin sensitivity. A study done with healthy people following an enhanced chromium diet found that insulin sensitivity improved significantly in those taking chromium supplements over a period of 15 weeks. The study, published in "Diabetes Care", concluded that chromium supplementation may be beneficial for improving insulin sensitivity even in individuals who have normal glucose tolerance.
The immune system is continuously challenged by infectious agents, cancerous cells, and damaged tissues. Therefore, immune-enhancing herbs should be part of everyone's diet. Immunity cannot be "tuned up" without rebalancing the hormonal system. For optimum balance, the sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone) need to be at their peak levels. This is best achieved through the use of herbal support that contains phytoestrogens (female hormones), phytosterols (male hormones), and phytoprogesterin (vasoactive intestinal peptide or VIP, which is actually a hormone). These nutrients regulate many aspects of immunity including natural killer cell activity. Phytoestrogens and phytosterols are found in equal amounts in the side effects of birth control pills. Phytoprogesterin can be found in plant sterols and plant stanols and is helpful for allergies and other immune system disorders.
Another option to improve the immune response is to combine herbs, such as garlic and oregano, in a few drops of oil in a tea or in a salad for dinner. This type of combination is usually done when there is a need to strengthen an immune system weakened by disease.
Herbs can also be combined with other foods that carry similar qualities in order to reap the benefits of both herbs and other foods by eating these foods alone or in combination with each other. For example, intense Greek seasoning can be added to casseroles. In this way, the juices from the tomatoes and garlic release important phytonutrients into the food after it has been prepared.
Herbs that have been shown to help boost immunity include:
Echinacea, taken from the purple coneflower, has been shown to stimulate the immune system. It can help to prevent or fight infections. In a double-blind study with AIDS patients who had a weakened immune system, echinacea was found to stimulate the immune system and lower excessive levels of CD4 cells in the body. Another study found that it lowered respiratory infections in elderly people.
Astragalus is also known for its immune-stimulating effects and is 4 times stronger than echinacea. It has been used in Eastern medicine since 2000 B.C. Astragalus is also known for its cancer-fighting properties. It is one of the most effective herbs used to fight cancer.
Ginseng is another herb that has been shown to increase resistance to diseases. It has been shown to reduce infections in cancer patients and can also strengthen the immune system in patients with AIDS. Ginseng causes the body's white blood cells to reproduce at a faster rate. This herb has also been found to increase interferon levels, which are proteins that enhance immunity.
Reishi Mushroom, one of the most potent immune enhancers available today, is an ancient tonic that strengthens all aspects of the immune system and reduces inflammation. It also has been shown to stimulate the body's ability to produce antibodies that combat infections and cancer cells.
Saw Palmetto, derived from a plant found in North America, is a potent antiviral herb with strong antioxidant properties. It has been used throughout history as a treatment for prostate problems and prostate cancer. Saw palmetto is effective in reducing human papillomavirus (HPV) infections of the cervix, which are associated with cervical cancer. In addition, it has been shown to protect against many other types of cancers including breast cancer.
Other herbs that have been shown to support immune function include:
Cardamom is a spice derived from the fruits of a tropical plant. It contains a heart-healthy compound called cafestol, which is also found in coffee, cocoa, and soybeans. In theory, this would help decrease cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis. In another theory, it may block some of the effects of CD4 receptor agonists, such as cytostatic drugs. In animal studies, it seems to increase levels of some immunoglobulin p (IgA) that fight infections and antibodies that combat cancer cells.
Cayenne is a spicy pepper that has been used for centuries to help treat inflammation and pain. In humans, it has been shown to stimulate the immune system and improve the body's ability to fight infection. This is probably due to its high vitamin C content.
Ginger, a spice derived from a tropical plant of the same name, contains a compound called gingerol that improves the circulation and energy of cells. Ginger also contains a compound called shogaol that inhibits platelet aggregation, which helps prevent blood clots from forming. This means that ginger can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by reducing inflammation in the arteries.
Papaya is a tropical fruit that has enzymes that can help with digestion. It has been used in folk medicine to treat indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. It contains high amounts of vitamin C and has many beneficial phytonutrients.
Milk thistle, an herb native to the Mediterranean region that is now cultivated throughout the globe, contains silymarin that helps reduce inflammation in the body. It can also help protect the liver because it contains flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and is popular in Indian cooking. Turmeric has antioxidant properties and helps protect cells from free radical damage. It has been used to treat inflammation and infections. Additional research is needed to determine its effectiveness.
Zinc, an essential trace mineral that is also found in supplements, helps the immune system function properly and may fight certain types of cancer cells. Zinc has been shown in laboratory studies to boost levels of specific T-helper cells and NK (natural killer) cells in the body. It also can help boost antibody production when taken for several weeks.
It is important to realize that the herb-food combination effects on immune function are not absolute. The herbs can still have a positive effect on immunity if they are combined with other foods that enhance the immune system. For example, elderberry fruit has been shown to help fight certain diseases including cancer, but it can also react with some medications to form toxic compounds. It is possible that the elderberry may help boost immunity, but this may be negated by taking either of these drugs.
On the other hand, ginger tea taken for several weeks by people who had received radiation treatment appears to have lowered their risk of cancer. This is because ginger is one of the best natural remedies for the common cold.
You may decide you prefer to avoid any combination of herbs and foods that enhance your immune system, or you may choose to follow a different path altogether. These herbs and foods can affect your immune system in different ways, so you must experiment to see which one works best for you.
Traditionally, people have used these herbs and foods in combination with foods that are more noted for their ability to prevent illnesses. These include:
Almonds - These nuts are packed with vitamin E, which has been proved to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that also help prevent cancer. It also has strong antioxidant properties that can help fight bacteria and viruses. A good source of magnesium, vitamins C and E, the flavonoids quercetin and rutin, and the minerals zinc and selenium, almonds may help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Apricots - Apricots are high in vitamin C, which has been proven to boost the immune function of the body. They are also rich in fiber, which helps prevent blood clotting.
Blackstrap molasses - This is an excellent source of iron, which is strongly associated with boosting the immune system. Blackstrap molasses contains magnesium and magnesium glycinate, so it may help decrease inflammation in the body. It has also been said to have antioxidant properties that help fight bacteria and viruses. Many people believe blackstrap molasses can reduce one's risk of heart disease because it increases levels of good cholesterol, reduces triglycerides, and lowers blood pressure.
Carrots - Carrots have been shown to have a strong antioxidant effect, making them a good choice for those who wish to increase their immune function. On the other hand, carrots are low in vitamin C and do not contain flavonoids, so they may also have negative effects on immunity.
Corn - Corn is high in fiber and several nutrients that have been proven to help enhance immunity. In addition, it contains beta-carotene, which has been linked to lower rates of cancer as well as to lower blood pressure.
Olive oil - Olive oil contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals that can damage body tissue and help prevent infections. It can also help regulate blood sugar, which contains glucose, which is the fuel for the immune system.
Pumpkin seeds - Pumpkin seeds contain an antioxidant called lignans, which helps fight free radicals and may boost the immune system. On the other hand, some studies suggest that lignans may lower testosterone levels in men (making them more like women), so they should not be eaten by men.
Sunflower seeds - Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and selenium, both of which are essential to good health. They are also low in cholesterol and sodium and contain significant amounts of dietary fiber. Thanks to their high vitamin E content, sunflower seeds can help boost immunity.
Tamari (soy sauce) - Tamari contains an enzyme called amylase, which has been proven to reduce inflammation and improve the immune system.
Walnuts - Walnuts are full of vitamin E, which helps fight infections and inflammation in the body. Also known as omega-3 fatty acids, these fats help protect the body from cancer and heart disease by boosting healthful cholesterol levels in the blood. A good source of selenium, walnuts may help stimulate the production of natural killer cells, which kill viruses and bacteria.
Wine - Wine contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent disease by fighting free radicals. Resveratrol can fight viruses and bacteria by stopping them from reproducing.
Wild Salmon - Wild salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. They help protect the body from inflammation and cancer, as well as from heart disease by lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels. They also contain vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that have been proven to help prevent eye disease as well as age-related vision loss. Omega-3s can also lower the risk of heart disease because they reduce triglyceride levels in the blood.