The Best Vitamins for Immune System Support
The best vitamins for immune system are the ones that can most easily be absorbed by your body. Vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D are all key players in helping your body fight off germs and infections, but you’ll want to make sure they are able to be absorbed and don’t cause any negative side effects such as nausea or diarrhea.
Here are some of the best vitamins to support your immune system health, as well as some of the ones you should stay away from because they won’t help at all or can even cause harm to your body if you take them.
Vitamins A, C, and E
Nutrients like vitamin A, C, and E are involved in immune system support. Without these nutrients, your body has a difficult time protecting itself from infection or illness. Deficiencies in these vitamins make you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses.
To keep your immune system functioning at its best, take a multivitamin that contains 100 percent of recommended daily value (RDA) of each vitamin listed above. Avoid taking over-the-counter supplements without speaking with your doctor first.
He can help you figure out what dose is right for you and how to incorporate it into your daily diet. Some vitamins might interfere with prescription medications, so be sure to tell him about any medication you’re taking.
Some common side effects of excessive amounts of vitamins include upset stomach, vomiting, constipation, and headaches.
Your body may not need as much as they recommend on the bottle especially if you’re eating a healthy diet so start slow and pay attention to how your body reacts.
The biggest danger comes when people overdose on fat-soluble vitamins like A and E; when too much builds up in your liver it can cause toxicity symptoms including nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Your best bet is always to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement routine. And don’t forget to exercise regularly, get enough sleep and drink plenty of water all essential components for a strong immune system.
Now that we’ve got all those basics covered, let’s talk about specific vitamins. Vitamin A: This nutrient helps your eyesight and supports skin health. It also plays an important role in maintaining your respiratory system and boosting immunity.
If you’re looking for a natural way to boost immunity try juicing some carrots or adding them to a smoothie! If juicing isn’t really your thing try throwing them into some soup either way it’s delicious.
Vitamin C: This antioxidant boosts immunity by fighting off free radicals which can damage cells throughout your body causing disease and premature aging.
You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes but there are many other sources such as bell peppers, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, and strawberries.
Vitamin E: This vitamin is an excellent source of antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
It also aids in circulation throughout your body and protects against heart disease and cancer. Good sources of vitamin E include almonds, hazelnuts, avocados, sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, and vegetable oils such as safflower oil.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in your body and can build up to toxic levels. So limit your intake of vitamin E from supplements and stick to whole foods.
Vitamin B is crucial to our immune system, particularly vitamin B6. It’s also important to look out for other members of the B family for example, riboflavin (B2) and thiamine (B1).
Together, these essential vitamins help boost your white blood cell count, which helps your body fight off infections and disease. Vitamin B complex is generally well-tolerated by people of all ages.
But if you have a specific health condition or are taking medication, it’s always best to check with your doctor before taking any supplements. If you want to make sure that your diet is providing adequate amounts of vitamin B, add foods like whole grains, bananas, beans, and leafy greens.
You can also take a multivitamin daily. Just remember that there’s no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to supplements; talk to your doctor about what dosage is best for you. The best way to ensure your immune system stays strong is to avoid getting sick in the first place.
Get plenty of sleep, wash your hands regularly and steer clear of those who are already ill. Even something as simple as making sure you get enough exercise every day can go a long way toward keeping you healthy overall.
Finally, while we tend to think of colds and flu being winter ailments, they’re actually year-round threats. Stay on top of seasonal changes by stocking up on over-the-counter remedies now so they’re ready when you need them later in fall or winter.
Also, be mindful about where you sit during meetings at work cold germs spread quickly from person to person. To keep your immune system happy and healthy, eat right, stay active and practice good hygiene. This will help keep colds and flu at bay throughout the year.
As far as your vitamins go, stick to high-quality options like multivitamins or individual B vitamins rather than cheap supermarket brands. Your body will thank you for it.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3s are considered essential because they must be taken in through diet and cannot be made by our bodies, which is why they are considered essential.
They improve immune function and fight inflammation, among other benefits. Salmon, sardines, walnuts, and chia seeds are all rich in omega 3s. Wild-caught salmon with its naturally high levels of omega 3 fatty acids is one of our favorite sources.
We recommend avoiding farmed fish because it typically carries fewer nutrients than wild-caught fish. If you can’t get your hands on wild salmon (or don’t like it), we suggest cod or halibut instead.
To avoid mercury contamination, check out U.S.-based Seafood Watch’s handy guide to choosing low-mercury seafood. Or visit your local health food store and ask a salesperson for recommendations. Whatever type of fish you choose, aim to eat two servings per week.
Also, consider taking an omega 3 supplement if you’re not getting enough from food alone. Research suggests that a higher intake of omega 3s is linked with a lower risk of heart disease, cognitive decline, joint pain, eczema, psoriasis, and more.
It’s even been shown to help alleviate some symptoms associated with menopause. But keep in mind that too much can have negative effects, so follow package instructions carefully if taking a supplement and never take more than what’s recommended.
Other good sources of omega 3s include flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, and chia seeds. Aim to consume 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed daily. Chia seeds are also great sprinkled on salads or yogurt, but make sure you drink plenty of water when eating them since they absorb 10 times their weight in water.
Flaxseed oil is best consumed raw; heat can damage its fragile fats. Hemp seed oil should always be cold-pressed and refrigerated to preserve freshness. The best vitamins for immune system support: A healthy diet will give you plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary for a strong immune system.
However, there are certain supplements that can give your body an extra boost. Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps build immunity by supporting white blood cell production. Antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage that may otherwise weaken immunity over time.
While citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C, some people find it difficult to consume enough in order to reap these benefits. Consider taking vitamin C supplements in addition to eating citrus fruits.
The best vitamins for immune system support: A healthy diet will give you plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary for a strong immune system. However, there are certain supplements that can give your body an extra boost.
Vitamin D: There’s evidence that vitamin D may play a role in boosting immunity as well as preventing and treating infections. This study found supplementation improved symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and sinusitis while reducing antibiotic use during these conditions by 50 percent.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a variety of health issues, including cancer and autoimmune diseases. A large review in 2014 concluded that maintaining optimal vitamin D levels can help protect your immune system from stressors and keep you healthy.
Experts recommend between 600 IU and 2,000 IU daily, depending on how much sun exposure you get (the Vitamin D Council suggests anywhere from 1,000 IU to 5,000 IU).
As always with supplements, check with your doctor before starting any program. Also, note that these are not technically vitamins they’re called prohormones. That means they must be converted into their active form by your body before they can be used.
The problem is, there’s no evidence showing most people are able to do so at an appreciable rate and if they don’t convert it all, you may end up with toxic levels of activated vitamin D in your blood. For now, stick to good old-fashioned vitamins until more research is done on prohormones.
But don’t give up on vitamin D completely: Getting some sunlight each day is essential for staying healthy. If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D through natural sources, consider taking a supplement but make sure it has less than 400 IU per serving, as too much can lead to toxicity.
And make sure you talk to your doctor first; high doses of supplemental vitamin D have been associated with serious side effects like heart arrhythmias and kidney stones.
You should also know that several studies suggest moderate amounts of UVB radiation may actually improve immune function and lower your risk of certain cancers and infections.
So try to spend at least 10 minutes outside every day without sunscreen. Just make sure you use SPF 30 or higher if you plan to stay out longer than 15 minutes.