Editor Picks Immunity

How to Naturally Boost and Protect Your Immune System

Lately, our immune systems have been somewhat downplayed as of late. Many of us have a tendency to doctors and medications when we should be relying on the body’s natural defenses. Sometimes our immune systems are capable, and we simply don’t give them a chance. In other cases though, the immune system isn’t able to handle the threat. 

Like all of our bodily functions, the immune system can get worn down over time. If it’s under too much pressure, eventually it will wave a white flag and just give in to whatever it’s trying to fight. Instead of accepting it, there are things you can do to give it back its strength. We’ll look at how you can build your immune system from the ground up and protect it once it’s on the mend. 

Cut Down on Stress 

This is a difficult one to conquer, but it’s also critical for both your mental and physical health. While it can feel nearly impossible, especially in a world where you’re constantly being pulled in a thousand directions, it’s exceptionally important to take time for yourself. It’s an old adage for a reason — you cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Whether it’s cutting back on work or opting for healthier activities, less stress means different things to different people. The more you give your body what it needs though, the more it will start to give back to you. Whether it’s an infection or inflammation, your immune system will have a better chance of coming through on the other side with flying colors. 

Examine Your Diet 

When there are constant new food advice and recommendations (seemingly every other day), the understandable temptation is to simply eat what you like and not worry about it. But even if you don’t want to read every new study that comes out, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement the basics.

There is no magic cure out there when it comes to the perfect diet. It all comes down to more fruits and veggies and less alcohol, fat, and sugar all around. (If you’re a regular smoker, you already know that this isn’t helping you stay healthy.) This doesn’t mean that you can never indulge, but it does mean that those indulgences can’t become a regular habit. 

Get More Exercise 

The more you exercise, the less likely you are the be stressed and the more likely you are to maintain a healthy weight. These are both incredibly important when it comes to keeping your immune system strong. Plus, exercise is pretty much good for your entire body, not just your immune system. From psychological benefits to physical benefits, the perks really do go on and on. 

It’s worth noting that the exact link between exercise and immunity is unclear. Some researchers have suggested that bacteria can be flushed out of the airways through vigorous activity, while others say that the immunity boost comes from the increase in white blood cells. In addition, increasing the body temperature, as you would after exercising, can potentially prevent bacteria from growing. Incidentally, that’s the same reason why you develop a fever. 

Identify Your Micronutrient Deficiencies 

When your gut is healthy, the immune system is in a better position to go to war. Micronutrients, like zinc, copper, vitamin C, and folic acid, have all had positive effects on the immune system in animals.

If you have trouble with consistency when it comes to your diet, you can try supplements to round out your diet such as Rainbow Light Counter Attack. This gluten-free gummy contains few allergins, but plenty of Vitamin C and zinc. 

Remember that extra doses of micronutrients doesn’t necessarily make you healthier. At some point, your body will not be helped by several extra vitamins. The idea is to take it consistently while slowing altering your overall diet. 

Practice Makes Perfect 

The most important thing to remember when it comes to giving your immune system more is that you’re playing the long game. Even if you do everything correctly, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to defend yourself against everything. Essentially, don’t expect everything to be fixed once you’ve made the essential changes. Your immune system is affected by everything from age to body chemistry to environmental factors, and some factors are simply impossible to control. 

As you fold in more of the good stuff and try to eliminate some of the bad, know that you’re taking important steps toward health. As difficult as it can be at first, it will become more automatic over time. The key is to be more aware of the choices you’re making and to look for habits you can stick with. 

Small Lifestyle Changes 

No matter what kind of health changes you’re looking to make, it can often be better to add rather than subtract (at least at first). So instead of cutting out fast food, you simply add a salad before you enjoy that combo meal.

Instead of throwing away your easy chair, you add a walk before you actually settle in for the night. Instead of giving up your cigarettes entirely, you add in a nicotine patch to see if that helps the cravings. 

Another small change that you can make is to incorporate a daily supplement like Mary Ruth’s Immunity Gummies, which contains the nutrients your body needs to support the immune system. Ingredients like echinacea and Vitamin D can go a long way toward shielding both adults and children alike. 

It might sound hyperbolic, but simply taking an interest in your health has a lot to do with your immune system. Your immune system has evolved to fight, but it needs fuel to keep its energy up. The more you run yourself down, whether it’s through long days or hastily put together meals, the less it will have to work with. Protecting yourself from whatever lies beyond begins with measurable changes that eventually add up to big differences. 



Try These Supplements to Boost Immunity

Can you take a supplement every day to boost your immunity and keep from catching an infectious disease? If that’s all you do, you might give your immune system a boost from the supplement, but that’s not all you need to do. According to Chris D’Adamo, PhD, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, following good health and lifestyle practices is important along with supplements. Think of supplements as their name suggests: adding to your normal health habits and daily healthy routine.

Immune system myths and facts

According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, there are a few myths about the immune system. The first myth is that the more “active” your immune system is, the healthier you are. An overactive immune system isn’t good for your health. It can be related to health conditions and diseases like lupus, diabetes, and arthritis, among many others.

The second myth is that getting large amounts of vitamins or minerals will improve the immune system. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause immune system weakness. These deficiencies can occur because of unhealthy diets, but they can also be a response to aging, stress, and environmental toxins. If you’re deficient in any needed vitamin or mineral, your immune system may be weakened.

Boosting your immune system

Your immune system is complex and researchers don’t understand it completely. As one example, it’s not just medical knowledge but common knowledge that following a healthy lifestyle in general boosts immunity, but no one knows exactly how lifestyle factors improve the immune system. This is why experts like Harvard Health say that “general healthy-living strategies are a good way to give your immune system the upper hand.”

Which micronutrients boost the immune system?

Research does show that certain micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, can support your immune system. One of the best-known micronutrients that can boost immunity is Vitamin C, regarded as an “essential micronutrient for humans,” according to the Journal of Nutrients. Two of Vitamin C’s specific benefits includes supporting your skin’s ability to block infection, and it has shown benefits in treating respiratory and other types of infection.

  • Vitamin C is also a natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine, and is definitely on the immune-boosting supplement list. Other immune boosting micronutrients include:
  • Vitamin D: According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Vitamin D can reduce the risk of colds and flu, and “should be taken on a regular basis.” Vitamin D is one of the most important immune system strengthening vitamins.
  • Vitamin A helps support the body’s ability to fight off infections, especially respiratory infections.
  • Zinc can help to reduce the number of infections and can shorten the duration of respiratory infections as long as it’s taken within 24 hours of symptoms.
  • Selenium is an antioxidant mineral and immune system booster.

Other supplements that boost the immune system

In addition to vitamins and minerals, some common substances contain ingredients and have a variety of properties that help immune system functioning. They include:

  • Garlic: Whether it’s fresh or in the form of supplements, garlic is helpful not only in warding off fictional vampires but also colds and other viral infections.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics support a healthy digestive system. These “good bacteria” also help the immune system.
  • Mushrooms: Some mushrooms have been researched and show a variety of helpful effects and are known as “medicinal mushrooms.” The varieties include Mane, Maitake, and Reishi.
  • Beta-glucans: Human trials have shown that beta-glucans decrease cold and flu symptoms.
  • Berberine – Berberine is located in roots, bark, and rhizomes of different plants including goldenseal, Oregon grape species, and goldthread. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. 
  • Elderberry: Several studies have shown that elderberry helps to fight off viruses.
  • Sulforaphane: This substance comes from vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy. It has been shown to have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Other considerations for supplements:

Don’t defeat the purpose of taking supplements to help your immune system by taking ones with lots of added sugar or other unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. Gummies can be easy to chew, swallow, and digest, getting the micronutrients into your system, but you also don’t need them to be made from animal products. 

If you’re vegan, you obviously want gummies that aren’t made from any animal products. Some people aren’t aware, but gelatin, used in many gummy products, comes from animal collagen. Artificial colors and other ingredients found in traditional vitamins can also cause problems, so you’ll also want to avoid those. Finally, if you’re gluten-sensitive, always look for clearly-labeled gluten-free products.

Evaluating supplements for your needs

Your diet, lifestyle, and personal taste are all important factors for choosing which immune-boosting supplement will be right for you. 

  • Airborne makes Elderberry flavored gummies that also contain the immune-boosting benefits of elderberry. This gummy has Vitamins C, D, and E, as well as Zinc and Black Elderberry. The gummies are gluten-free and don’t contain artificial sweeteners, although they do contain some sugar.
  • Boost’s Premium Elderberry gummies have simple ingredients: Black elderberry, Vitamin C, and Zinc. The gummies use a pectin base and non-GMO ingredients.
  • If you’re familiar with organic foods, you know that getting certification is important for product quality and standards. Mary Ruth’s Immunity Gummies are certified organic, non-GMO, Vegan, and use only natural flavors. These gummies have Vitamin C, Elderberry extract, Echinacea, and Zinc. These gummies have cherry flavor since on its own, Elderberry isn’t very sweet, but they also do contain organic cane sugar.
  • Rainbow Light’s Counter Attack is a gluten-free and Vegan dietary supplement that includes Vitamin C, Zinc, and an immune blend with Elderfruit extract and numerous other herbal extracts, including Echinacea, yerba santa, and oregano oil.
  • Genius Immunity Shield capsules contain Vitamin A, C, and D, along with organic elderberry, selenium, echinacea, and Wellmune beta glucan.

Whether you want a tasty gummy supplement that will give you a daily immune system boost, or would prefer capsules, you can find the right supplements to boost your healthy lifestyle and healthy immune system.