If there is anything that life has taught us the last year, it is that our health is of paramount importance. A key part of our health is our immune system, as this is the first line of defence when dealing with diseases and infections. Your immune system consists of a complex collection of cells, processes and chemicals that constantly defend your body against invading pathogens, including viruses, toxins and bacteria.
Keeping your immune system healthy all year round is key to preventing infection and disease.
As we are starting to see restrictions being lifted surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever is the best time to ensure your immune system is working well. After having to stay socially distanced from other people, our immune system is likely to be weakened and not used to having to deal with these invading pathogens. So must take this onto account as we start to get back to normal living and boost our immune systems.
Research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs and other substances can help improve immune response and potentially protect against illness.
Here are some supplements that are known for their immune-boosting potential.
It is a fat-soluble nutrient essential to health and functioning of your immune system. It enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages and decreases inflammation, which helps promote immune response.
Many people are deficient in Vitamin D, especially in the UK, which may impact immune function. Low Vitamin D levels are also associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections. One study in South-East Asia found that 98% of people who died with COVID-19 had a deficiency in Vitamin D.
In 2019 there was study with over 10,000 people supplementing with Vitamin D. They found that it significantly decrease the risk of respiratory infections in people deficient in this vitamin and lowered infection risk in those with adequate Vitamin D levels1.
Anywhere between 1,000-4,000 IU of Vitamin D per day is sufficient, however those with more serious deficiencies require a higher dose.
Many health professionals within the health and science community argue that supplementing with Vitamin D is safe and could help possibly protect individuals from COVID-192.
Zinc is needed for immune cell development and communication and plays an important role in inflammatory response. Not only this, Zinc protects tissue barriers in the body and helps prevent foreign pathogens from entering1.
A deficiency in Zinc affects your immune system’s ability to function properly resulting in an increased risk of infection and disease. According to research, 16% of all deep respiratory infections worldwide have been found to be due to a Zinc deficiency2. Numerous studies reveal that Zinc may protect against the common cold and reduce the duration of the common cold. A deficiency in this nutrient is very common in older adults, up to 30% of older adults are considered deficient.
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