Choosing the Best Immune Support Supplement

Choosing the Best Immune Support Supplement

Your immune system is a convoluted matrix of cells and proteins that serves to safeguard your body against infection. Your immune system keeps a record of every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated so it can recognize and destroy that microbe quickly if it enters your body again.

The immune system can be activated by a lot of foreign particles that the body doesn’t recognize as its own. These are called antigens. Examples of antigens include the proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When these antigens attach to special receptors on the immune cells (immune system cells), a whole series of processes are triggered in the body. Once your body has come into contact with a disease-causing germ for the first time, it usually stores information about the germ and how to fight it. Then, if it comes into contact with the germ again, it recognizes the germ straight away and can start fighting it faster.

Therefore, without an immune system, you would have no way to fight harmful entities that enter your body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside your body.

Your immune system is generally ready for anything you can throw at it, but it can only handle so much. For example, stress has a significant impact on your immune system. When you experience stress, a series of events releases cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones from your adrenal glands to help your body cope with the stress. Normally, cortisol is helpful because it decreases the inflammation in your body that results from the immune responses caused by stress. But when you’re immunocompromised, your immune system’s defenses are low, affecting its ability to fight off infections and diseases.

illustration of coronavirus cells

Immunocompromised

A person is said to have an immune deficiency or be immunocompromised when their immune system is incapable of working at full capacity. When your immune system isn’t working at full capacity, it doesn’t have the army of immune cells and mediators ready to mount a defense at the first sign of attack. This means that infections may progress more rapidly from a mild virus into sepsis, a widespread infection leading to the malfunction of the body’s organs.

Therefore, someone who is immunocompromised will usually get sick more often, stay ill longer, and be more susceptible to different types of infections.

There’s really no standard scale for quantifying how immunocompromised a person is, but a particular type of white blood cell, called a neutrophil, can be one indicator of risk.

When neutrophil levels drop below 1,000 cells per microliter, patients’ susceptibility to infection goes up significantly. And if their levels drop under 500, patients’ risk goes up even higher. Low neutrophil counts are referred to as Neutropenia.

woman sneezing

Causes of Immunosuppression

Chronic conditions that affect the immune system include heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. Autoimmune diseases, such as asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis are also conditions that may bring forth immunodeficiency. Other conditions that can leave a person immunocompromised include cancer, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and some rare genetic disorders. Chemotherapy and steroids can also lower your immunity. They suppress the body’s ability to activate its immune defenses by destroying immune cells or by blunting the cells’ ability to spot and kill bacteria.

sick man

How Do You Know If You Might Be Immunocompromised?  

1. Your Stress Level is Rocket-High

Stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte levels, the more you’re at risk for viruses like the common cold.

2. Frequent Episodes of Colds

It’s perfectly normal for adults to sneeze and sniffle through two or three colds each year. But if you’re constantly catching colds or have a cold that won’t run its course – that’s a clear sign your immune system is struggling to keep up.

3. Gut Problems

If you have frequent diarrhea, gas, or constipation, it could be a sign that your immune system is compromised. Research shows that nearly 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live there defend your gut from infection and support the immune system.

4. Slow Healing Wounds

Your skin goes into damage control mode after you get a burn, cut, or scrape. This is because your body works to protect the wound by sending nutrient-rich blood to the injury to help regenerate new skin. This healing process depends on healthy immune cells. If your immune system is sluggish, your skin can’t regenerate as needed. Instead, your wounds linger and have a hard time healing.

scraped knee

5. Fatigue

If you’re getting enough sleep at night and are still suffering from exhaustion, your immune system might be trying to tell you something. When your immune system struggles, so does your energy level. That’s because your body is trying to conserve energy to fuel your immune system so it can fight off germs

6. Prone to Infection

The body’s ability to fight infections is compromised, thus, a person who is immunocompromised is more vulnerable to developing infections one after another.

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Maintain a Healthy Diet

As with most things in your body, a healthy diet is a key to a strong immune system. This means making sure you eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Healthy Food

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity isn’t just for building muscles and helping yourself de-stress — it’s also an important part of being healthy and supporting a healthy immune system. One way exercise may improve immune function is by boosting your overall circulation, making it easier for immune cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel more easily throughout your body. In fact, studies have shown that engaging in as little as 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every day helps stimulate your immune system. This means it’s important to focus on staying active and getting regular exercise.

Hydrate

Water plays many important roles in your body, including supporting your immune system. Fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which carries important infection-fighting immune cells around your body, is largely made up of water. Being dehydrated slows down the movement of lymph, sometimes leading to an impaired immune system. Even if you’re not exercising or sweating, you’re constantly losing water through your breath, as well as through your urine and bowel movements. To help support your immune system, be sure you’re replacing the water you lose with water you can use — which starts with knowing how much water you really need.

Drinking Water At Beach

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep certainly doesn’t feel like an active process, but there are plenty of important activities happening in your body when you’re not awake — even if you don’t realize it. For instance, important infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are more prone to getting sick after exposure to viruses, such as those that cause the common cold. To give your immune system the best chance of fighting off infection and illness, it’s important to know how much sleep you should be getting every night, as well as the steps to take if your sleep is suffering.

Manage Stress

Whether it comes on quick or builds over time, it is important to understand how stress affects your health, including the impact it has on your immune system. During a period of stress, particularly chronic stress that’s frequent and long-lasting, your body responds by initiating a stress response. This stress response, in turn, suppresses your immune system, increasing your chance of infection or illness. Stress is different for everyone, and how we relieve stress is, too. Given the effect it can have on your health, it’s important to know how to identify stress. And, whether it’s deep breathing, meditation, prayer, or exercise, you should also get familiar with the activities that help you reduce stress.

touching her temples feeling stress

Supplements for Your Immune System

While proper diet and nutrition are vital for maintaining a healthy immune system, many supplements have been proven to boost your immune response.

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient essential to the health and functioning of your immune system. It enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of white blood cells, such as monocytes and macrophages, that are important key players of your immune defense system, decreasing inflammation, which helps promote an immune response. Some studies show that supplementing with Vitamin D may improve your immune response. In fact, recent research suggests that taking this vitamin may protect against respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin D supplement pills

2. Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is commonly added to supplements and other healthcare products like lozenges that are meant to boost your immune system. This is because zinc is essential for immune system function. Zinc is needed for immune cell development and communication and plays an important role in an inflammatory response. It also specifically protects tissue barriers in the body and helps prevent foreign pathogens from entering. A zinc deficiency significantly affects your immune system’s ability to function properly, resulting in an increased risk of infection and disease, including pneumonia.

Zinc Zn tablets

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is perhaps the most popular supplement taken to protect against infection, due to its important role in immune health. This vitamin supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection. It’s also necessary for cellular death, which helps keep your immune system healthy by clearing out old cells and replacing them with new ones. Vitamin C also functions as a powerful antioxidant, protecting against damage induced by oxidative stress, which occurs with the accumulation of reactive molecules known as free radicals.

Vitamin C bottle

These vitamins are just some of the substances that have been researched for their immune-enhancing potential. However, although these supplements may offer a small benefit for immune health, they should not and cannot be used as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Eating a nutrient-dense balanced diet, getting enough sleep, engaging in regular physical activity, and not smoking are some of the most important ways to help keep your immune system healthy and reduce your chances of infection and disease.

Click here to learn about the best way to safely and naturally boost your immune system.

14-Day Immune Health