Your immune system does a remarkable job of keeping you safe against disease and sickness. It supports your body in not only fighting off disease but protecting it from getting sick in the first place.

Making lifestyle choices through a healthy diet and regular exercise and getting enough sleep  are important ways to to bolster your immunity power. Research has shown that certain supplements can improve your immune response. Natural strategies for strengthening the immune system are in high demand these days, and it’s clear to see why. In a world where there’s constant risk of environmental factors, keeping your immunity up is the only way of preserving your health. In addition to lifestyle changes, there are other nutritional strategies you can adopt to give your immune system an added advantage. This includes food and vitamin supplements.

TABIIB has compiled a list of 5 useful vitamins and minerals needed to strengthen immunity. Before we get into the list though, it’s important to note that some supplements may interfere with medications, if you’re on any. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any supplements.

1) Omega-3s

When it comes to nutrition for immune health, vitamins and minerals aren’t the only ones that can do the job. Another such supplement is omega-3. Increasing your omega-3 intake can promote immune health by reducing cell stress. It also enhances cell function and regulation. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, fish oil capsules and flax seeds.

2) Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient essential to the health and function of your immune system. Once championed for its role in improving calcium levels in the body, many studies have found that it also promotes immune response. In a 2019 study, it was found that supplementing a daily diet with Vitamin D significantly decreased the risk of respiratory infection. Seafood, mushrooms, egg yolks are among the richest sources of vitamin D. If you’re following a vegetarian diet, you can instead use Vitamin D supplement pills–only after consulting with your doctor.

3) Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It replenishes barriers that stop the germs from entering the body, decrease inflammation, and reduces the severity of respiratory infections. Foods rich in Vitamin C include fruits such as oranges, cantaloupes, strawberries, papaya and vegetables such as broccoli and bell peppers. The good news is that since the vitamin is present in almost every food group, it’s very rare that it has to be taken in the form of pill supplements.

4) Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that’s commonly added to supplements and other products like lozenges to boost your immune health. It’s essential for immune cell development and communication. Deficiency of zinc can result in an increased risk of infection and disease, including pneumonia. Good food sources of zinc include oysters, cashews, chickpeas and meat. Zinc is also available in supplement form such as pills and lozenges.

5) Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are important for both gut and immune health. Research shows that these helpful microbes promote immune power through the activation of multiple immune mechanisms. They enhance barrier function and regulate the survival of intestinal cells. The effects of each probiotic product depends on the bacterial strains present in it, so it’s not a one size fits all situation. The reason behind their effectiveness is that every form will be tailored to your specific needs.
There are many ways to take probiotics–through supplements or foods, such as yogurt. Which form and dosage you take will depend on your individual needs.

While the above list is by no means exhaustive, it covers the basics of which supplements are commonly prescribed. Although these supplements can be an added advantage towards improving your immune system, they are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and prescribed medications. It’s important to have a doctor’s recommendation before you add supplements to your daily intake. Consult a doctor on TABIIB to get the right medical advice.

I am a writer, covering the sprawling expanse of healthcare, among many other things that I love writing on. I write on healthcare because I want to do my part in informing people about the health industry, When I am not blogging about research and medicine, I enjoy reading, playing squash and backpacking around the world.

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