How Natural Immune Boosters Support Your Immune System
Certain parts of your body such as your immune system may need extra nourishment from time to time. Some of those times include whenever you don’t get much sunshine, are indoors a lot, or inactive. This is when knowledge about the best immune booster supplements come in handy.
Another time to support your immune system is whenever there’s a cold, flu, or other infection going around the neighborhood. Of course, when there’s something a little more serious such as COVID-19 in the air, that’s a time to get busy and stimulate your immunity, too.
You should know that any efforts you spend by using natural immune boosters will be returned to you a hundredfold.
Healthy Food is Your #1 Best Natural Immune Booster
How to boost your immune system is always the question. Your body will always appreciate you thinking about it from a natural perspective such as using natural immune boosters.
Your body expects to be nourished via food. Thus, healthy food will always be your best protection against infectious diseases. The very best foods will be fermented foods, such as:
- yogurt (dairy, coconut, or other types)
- kefir milk (dairy, coconut, or other types)
- fermented vegetables
- sourdough bread
The reason why these foods are the best way to boost the immune system naturally is that they contain probiotic strains of bacteria that feed your microbiome. These bacteria are one of your primary lines of defense against many infections. Since these foods contain ‘good’ bacteria, they fight for your health, picking battles against any ‘bad’ bacteria that are starting to grow large armies to start infections. Naturopathy can offer nutrition advice and support.
Don’t Forget the Protein!
One of the key parts of your immune system responses is the production of antibodies. These can only be made from protein that you eat in your diet. Protein deficiency impairs the whole T-cell system and this then causes increased opportunities for infections to take hold.
Boost Your Vitamin and Mineral Stores So They Can Get to Work
Your next best way to boost your immune system naturally against infectious disorders is vitamin and mineral supplements. These can raise any nutrient levels that are low. For example, most people are low in vitamin D because they don’t get enough sunshine.
Others are low in vitamin C because they don’t like citrus fruits or they eat a keto diet. Others are low in vitamin A because their gallbladder was removed or they don’t eat organ meats, fish, or enough colorful fruits and vegetables.
Certain vitamins and minerals are closely tied to immune system function while others have different functions in the body. By focusing on the vitamins and minerals that are key players in running the immune system, you can get your immunity up quickly and feel a difference.
Three of them are vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. These are three of the most popular and best immune booster supplements on the market.
Natural Immune Booster Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that creates superoxide free radicals to damage infectious organisms. Its work doesn’t stop there. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells that engulf infectious organisms.
One thing that’s interesting to know is that white blood cells hoard vitamin C. The vitamin allows the white blood cells to move, engulf bacteria, and be drawn to areas of need.
Vitamin C also increases interferon production, which works against viruses. In fact, people with hepatitis, a viral infection, are often given shots of interferon to help them heal. If they were prescribed extra vitamin C, it would speed up the healing!
Zinc – A Mineral and a Natural Immune Booster
Cells in the immune system have to be maintained. They can’t just be born and left to fend for themselves. This is where zinc comes in. Cells in the immune system don’t develop properly without zinc. And antibodies can’t be produced without zinc either.
Once the body knows there’s a pathogen on the prowl, it also knows that the microbe needs zinc to live. The body orchestrates a mechanism through the immune system that then snatches the zinc away from microbes.
Next, the body intoxicates the microbes that have been eaten up by macrophages with high levels of zinc. This is a pretty complicated mechanism!
Supplemental zinc given to the elderly has been found to reduce the risk of death from pneumonia. As little as 25 mg/day given to elderly patients has shown to increase levels of helper T cells and cytotoxic T cells, both which tend to be out of balance in those of this age range. Benefits have been seen in studies of the common cold with 75 mg/day but not in doses that are less.
Sunshine Vitamin D – Another Natural Immune Booster
Vitamin D is one of the most potent substances for the immune system. It modulates the immune system. That means that if the immune system is inactive, it revs it up. If it’s too active, it slows it down.
Most cells of the immune system have vitamin D receptors, including macrophages and regulatory T cells. Vitamin D deficiency compromises the immune system and makes you susceptible to infections of all kinds. Coronavirus patients have been found to be low in vitamin D.
Medicinal Mushrooms Considered by Many to Be Best Immune Booster Supplements
Medicinal mushrooms contain immunomodulators that support your immune system, too. One of the medicinal ingredients they may contain is called beta-D-glucan.
Immunomodulators in mushrooms activate stem cells, lymphocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells, producing cytokines. They have anticancer activity and also calm down a raging immune system that causes autoimmune diseases.
The medicinal mushrooms with the best immunomodulation activity are Reishi, Chaga and Turkey tail.
Things to Avoid
If you want to keep your immune system on turbo charge, you may want to consider staying away from alcohol. Your immune system considers it kryptonite and it will bring you down from Superwoman or Superman to not being able to function.
Alcohol impairs your body’s ability to defend itself against infection. One way it does this is to alter the gut microbiome. (The gut flora assists in the maturation of immune system cells and their function) Alcohol disrupts how these organisms communicate.
Alcohol also damages epithelial cells, T cells, and neutrophils in the GI system. It disrupts the gut barrier, punching holes in ‘the wall’, allowing leakage into the bloodstream.
Alcohol affects your lungs, too. It disrupts the function of the small cilia in the upper airways, the immune cells in the lungs, and the epithelial cells that act as a barrier to keep toxins out of the lower airways.
Time for Action!
When supporting your immune system, you can start with a few of these options at the same time. For example, you could take vitamin D along with vitamin C and zinc. You could take a cup of medicinal mushroom tea while eating a meal with a fermented food in it. There are always many options when you want to do something positive for your body.
Stay healthy during this season by using natural immune boosters! You’ll find they are indispensable to your health.
Where to from here?
Vitamin C. Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University. Accessed online April 19, 2020. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C
Zinc. Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University. Accessed online April 19, 2020. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/zinc
Daly, J.M., et al. Effect of dietary protein and amino acids on immune function. Crit Care Med 1990 Feb;18(2 Suppl): S86-93.
Sarkar, Dipak and Wang, H.W. Alcohol and the immune system. Alcohol Res 2015; 37(2):153-155.
Lull, C., et al. Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties of fungal metabolites. Mediators Inflamm 2005 Jun 9;2005(2):63-80.