The Inside Scoop: Vitamins for Immune System
Do you ever seem to constantly feel unwell? This could be a sign that you need to strengthen your immune system! Vitamins are an essential part of your balanced diet that has long been known to influence the immune system helping to promote optimal immune health.
- understand what makes up the immune system
- learn about the two types of immunity
- discover which vitamins for immune system you should be taking
What is The Immune System?
The immune system is made up of a network of tissues, cells, and organs that work together to protect you and your body against infection to maintain overall health. The best way to think about it is by envisioning your immune system as your body’s version of the military. It works to defend against all who threaten it, both domestic and foreign. Your immune system protects you against infection, parasites, disease, bacteria, and viruses. However, depending on what your habits are, you could be at risk of weakening your immune system. Some of the habits are:
- Poor diet
- Not getting enough sleep
- Excessive alcohol use
- Taking too many antibiotics
The main parts that make up the immune system are:
White Blood Cells
White blood cells are key players when it comes to your immune system. They are made in your bone marrow and are a part of the lymphatic system. Similarly, to a shark hunting for prey, white blood cells move through the tissue and blood throughout your body searching for foreign invaders also known as microbes, such as bacteria, parasites, and fungi. The moment your white blood cells find these microbes, they launch an immune attack.
Antibodies assist the body in fighting microbes or the toxins that they produce. They do this by recognizing antigens which are substances on the surface of the microbe. The antibodies then mark these antigens for destruction.
The lymphatic system is a network of delicate tubes that run throughout your body. The main roles of the lymphatic system are to:
- React to bacteria
- Regulate the levels of fluid in the body
- Deal with cancer cells
- Absorb some of the fats in our diet from the intestine
- Handles cell products that otherwise would result in disorders or disease
The lymphatic system is made up of:
- Lymph nodes –filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid trapping microbes
- Lymph vessels – tubes that carry lymph which is the colorless fluid that lubricates your body’s tissues and contains infection-fighting white blood cells
- White blood cells (lymphocytes)
Your spleen is a blood-filtering organ that works to remove microbes, destroying old or damaged red blood cells. Your spleen also makes disease-fighting components of the immune system including antibodies and lymphocytes.
The spongy tissue found inside your bones is called bone marrow. It works to produce red blood cells in your body to carry oxygen, the white blood cells used to fight infection, and the platelet needed to help your body clot.
The thymus monitors and filters your blood content. It also produces white blood cells known as T-lymphocytes.
Two Types Of Immunity
You have two types of immunity, known as innate and adaptive, that make up your immune system. Your innate immunity launches a fast and immediate nonspecific attack against a threat where your adaptive immunity produces a specific response to a particular microbe.
Innate Immunity: First line of defense
Your innate immunity acts as your first line of defense and is made up of the following:
- Natural killer (NK) cells – these are the white blood cells that recognize and destroy abnormal or infected cells by injecting granules into them causing them to explode. Your white blood cell count plays a crucial role as it is the key in understanding your overall health.
- Macrophages – are very special white blood cells that ingest cellular debris and bacteria.
- Cytokines – these act as little chemical messengers helping your immune cells to communicate and coordinate an immune response.
- Dendritic cells- also white blood cells, these present foreign substances to B and T cells which initiate an adaptive response.
Your immune system is a fascinating interconnected network protecting you from millions of harmful things like microbes and diseases daily. Keeping your immune system strong is so important for your overall health. Some of the indications that your immune system might not be working properly are:
- You are constantly feeling unwell
- You are constantly stressed
- You crave sugar
- Dry nasal passages
- You are carrying around a few extra pounds
- You have little to no energy
- You are dehydrated
- Your wounds heal very slowly
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that are used to help support a healthy lifestyle. The best source of vitamins comes from nutrient-dense food, but today, over 90% of consumers' diets are lacking meaning they are not getting the vitamins that their bodies crave from food alone. Here are a few facts on vitamins:
- There are 13 known vitamins
- Vitamins can either be water-soluble or fat-soluble
- Fat-soluble vitamins are easier for the body to store than water-soluble
- Healthy food is the best source of vitamins in the world
What Vitamins and Nutrients Support a Healthy Immune System?
Vitamins play a huge role in the immune system extending to both innate and adaptive immune responses. Although there are many vitamins and minerals available on the market today, there are only a select few that have been shown to influence the immune system in a highly specific manner.
Vitamin D has shown to be quite effective in strengthening the immune system cells. It is an essential vitamin that works to keep your immune system balanced – especially during the cold and flu season! Sometimes, vitamin D can be tough to obtain because it is produced in your skin as a response to sunlight. Since many individuals work inside throughout the day, it is important to supplement vitamin D with a dietary supplement!
- Vitamin D works to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and facilitate normal immune function.
- A sufficient amount of vitamin D is crucial for normal growth and the development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance to certain diseases.
- If your body suffers vitamin D deficiency, you are at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as osteoporosis or osteomalacia, so you should take a vitamin d supplement.
- Vitamin D has been shown to not only help your immune system to fight diseases but also aid in reducing depression and boosting weight loss
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to destroy free radicals and provides immune support to your body. Vitamin C and vitamin c supplements also support your immune function by detoxing your body from pollutants such as tobacco smoke, heavy metals, and pesticides.
- Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin
- Not only does vitamin C help to support a healthy immune system, but studies show it may also delay certain cancers and heart diseases, promoting healthy aging
- Vitamin C can be found in many foods such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and potatoes – just to name a few.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that people need in order to stay healthy! Zinc is naturally found in cells throughout your body and works with the immune system to fight off invading viruses. Your body also needs zinc to make protein and DNA.
- Signs of zinc deficiency include hair loss, infection, skin sores, poor wound healing, and problems with senses of smell and taste.
- The best sources of zinc are animal sources because the zinc in plants is not always easy for your body to use
- Some of the great food sources of zinc come from cashews, almonds, beef, oysters, and pork
Also known as Active Hexose Correlated Compound, AHCC® is a powerful ingredient that was derived from healing mushrooms which have been shown to support your immune system by cranking up the dial on your natural immune system response!* This means that this supplement works to enhance your ability to ward off all kinds of threats to your health!
AHCC® is made from a unique compound that was extracted from the hybridization of shiitake mushrooms and has been backed by over 30 human clinical studies! It is currently the world's most researched supplement due to all of its natural immune system boosters!
Did you know that over 90% of people around the world are not getting the nutrients they need from their diet alone? Vitamins play such an important role in your health because they work to fill in these gaps making sure that you never skip a beat and are constantly striving for optimum health!
If you are thinking about taking vitamins, it is important to make sure that you always read the label to understand what the ingredients are before putting anything into your body. Purchase products from a trusted company that backs their products with science like Quality of Life – this will help to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck by only consuming high-quality ingredients!
Whether you have a stressful lifestyle or are living with feeling unwell, vitamins to support your immune system would make a great addition to anyone’s daily supplement regimen!