How to Choose the Best Immune Support Supplement
Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. The short reason for this is that there is an incredible diversity among humans. What one person lacks, another person may have too much of, and vice versa. This is why it is scientifically disingenuous to claim that one supplement is right for everybody, even if that is what is most convenient for sales.
If you genuinely want to understand what your body is lacking in terms of nutrients that assist with the immunity function, one of the most ideal options is asking your physician to perform a micronutrient test on you. While this may be inconvenient or expensive, it’s one of the most reliable and accurate ways to know what is and isn’t present in the right amounts in your body. If you do not have this baseline of information, you are really just making an educated guess. For some people, these educated guesses are OK. For example, if you’re a woman approaching menopause, it is safe to assume that you would benefit from a calcium supplement since generally, women in this age range tend to begin seeing calcium deficiencies. However, depending on your diet and lifestyle, you may already receive more than enough than your daily intake of calcium. Additionally, since most multivitamin supplements contain calcium also, you could be setting yourself up for a situation where you are giving yourself too much of a good thing. So, it’s good to be wary of this, and to the extent that is possible for your particular situation, to get as much information as you can and only base your decisions on science, research, and medical advice directly from the mouth of a physician (not one on YouTube, but one that is being paid to evaluate your health).
Everyone knows it’s generally a good idea to take vitamins--it has been drilled into us since we were tiny children. The modern food supply chain is excellent at feeding almost 8 billion people every day, but it may not offer the optimal nutrition for every consumer. For this reason and others unique to individual health, many people are advised by their physicians to supplement the nutrients they get in their daily diets with extra vitamins and minerals. People who practice a restricted diet like vegans and vegetarians may have additional particular needs for certain nutrients they can’t get from food alone. Pregnant women's health is unique and has different needs as well. However, for all the unique and personal aspects that determine your health and wellness regiments, anyone taking vitamins should be keenly aware of how to select the best supplements that can have a positive effect on their immunity.
People all take vitamins for the same fundamental reason: to supplement their body's supply of crucial nutrients that may not be found, or be found insufficiently in their diet. Vitamins and minerals aid some of the body's most fundamental and essential functions. Deficiencies of crucial vitamins can lead to all sorts of health consequences that can adversely affect the quality of life which is why taking your vitamins correctly and in an informed fashion can greatly benefit your health.
What Are People Taking For Immunity?
In the world of supplements, generally, when vendors are selling something that is marketed as a remedy that will boost immunity, they are usually talking about three categories of products: vitamins, probiotics, or medicinal mushrooms. Consumers typically turn to these three products to search for compounds that may have immunity-augmenting effects.
However, we first want to explain a little bit about how the immune system works to drive home further the point that just because something is marketed as boosting immunity--and it may for certain groups of people--that doesn't mean it will have that particular effect on you. Let’s examine how exactly the immune system works. Your immune health is one of the more complex systems in the body, and it is, of course, one of the most essential. As providing for the common defense is vital for any state, defending the body against foreign pathogens and even endogenous threats are among the most crucial functions in the body.
Auto-immune disorders can illustrate the devastating consequences and dramatic reduction in survivability that occurs when critical immune system functions are compromised. However, the flip side of this is what happens when immune systems are overactive. Unfortunately, when the immune system is thrown out of balance in this direction, it can begin attacking its own body. Its pristine power is turned against the owner it is meant to protect. This can cause all sorts of chronic pain and confusing symptoms that are amongst the worst to live with. So, when you say you want to boost your immune system, let’s clarify what you mean because promoting it too much is just as bad as having it not operating at a sufficient level.
Here’s a list of some of the supplements that are commonly taken by health and wellness-minded folks to supplement their immunity. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a recurring issue with regularly getting sick, have other health conditions, or have not been advised by a physician that you are immunocompromised, then your immune defense system is likely working in tip-top shape.
Let’s start by saying that a healthy immune system requires a lot more than just a supplement. Any negative lifestyle habits you may have like being too sedentary, smoking or drinking too much, or eating a poor diet can adversely outweigh the benefits of taking a supplement. On the flip side of that, if you engage in positive lifestyle behaviors like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and in a healthy fashion, and practicing moderation in your consumption of vices and other things harmful to your health, then the positive effects will be augmented by the synergy of these other positive activities. Always consult a physician before starting any of the below supplements. To get the best and most comprehensive picture of what particular nutrients you might need and what deficiencies you may have, it’s advisable to get a micronutrient test done to give your physician an accurate and valuable baseline of your own individual data.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C supplements have been an immune booster that our parents have given us since we were young kids, commonly taken as lozenges, chewables, or immune support gummies. A food source of vitamin C is elderberry syrup, and it has been demonstrated to reduce the duration and severity of infections. Those who are advanced in age may also begin to experience a drop in vitamin C levels, so adjusting your standards as you age is essential to supporting your immune system health and helping to ensure you don't develop deficiencies.
- Probiotics: The immune system is very intertwined with the digestive system and the gut. This means that consuming probiotic superfoods and supplements promotes equanimity and balance in the digestive system, potentially giving a beneficial and amplified effect on the body's immune function. Gut health is a crucial front line in the body's defense against food and liquid-borne pathogens that we can ingest. Protecting your gut health by consuming probiotics in your diet or through supplements is one of the most important and practical steps you can take to balancing your immunity.
- Vitamins D: Many people are very aware of the benefits vitamin D possesses, especially with consideration toward bone health. Many also know of its reported effectiveness in mitigating symptoms. However, vitamin D deficiency can also seriously compromise the immune system and leave you susceptible to nasty infections.
- Medicinal Mushrooms: There are dozens of different forms of mushrooms that are thought to have properties that boost immune function. One particularly popular compound in the Americas and Asia is AHCC®. These nutrients are extracted from the mycelia (rather than the cap, or fruiting body) from several different species of mushrooms to isolate the compounds thought to have a positive effect on immunity. The patented production process lowers the molecular weight of the nutrients involved, making it easier for the body to absorb the crucial building blocks it needs for a healthy immune system. It’s worth noting that there are many, many species of mushrooms, and you should only take supplements that have already been processed and developed rather than going mushroom hunting on your own.
- Myrrh: It is considered to be among one of the most effective immune supplements to increase immune response and fight infections and viruses. It may reduce inflammation, and it is thought to stimulate the proliferation of cells vital to immune function; potentially, it is believed to aid in the healing of injuries, and in several animal studies, positive links to healthy immune system functioning have been demonstrated. Some folks choose to pair their myrrh with frankincense oil as well!