Immune Boosting Supplements: A Natural Approach

Updated: Feb 9

Chronic stress, fatigue, over eating, not eating enough,poor nutrition, processed foods, sugar...there are so many reasons today why we could supplement our diets, however, as the pandemic continues to rage onward, I invite you to discover several immune booting supplements that will help strengthen your immune system. (granted, supplements are only a part of the equation. It is not a cure all! Do your part to stay healthy. Here, we are only offering information, it is not proven to cure or prevent any dis-ease or illness, COVID-19 included.)


Disclaimer: Our body is designed to protect us and heal via our immune system. Our immune system protects us from disease caused by bacteria, viruses and toxins, and helps remove foreign bodies and malignant cells from our system. With a strong immune system our body can ward off cold/flu symptoms and/or decrease the severity and longevity of the cold/flu virus. There is not one way to build immunity, however, supplements do offer support.


Listed below are several immune building supplements to try that work naturally within your body. Most of these, found as food sources, all can be found in capsule form in store and/or online. Be sure to read the labels for sensitivities (gluten free, vegan, allergen free, etc).


Vitamin D: the sunshine vitamin

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when your skin is directly exposed to sunlight. However, during autumn and winter, you may want to consider adding vitamin D to your your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make its own. A daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D should be considered for adults.


The most vital functions of vitamin D are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.


In a study published by JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), it was concluded that low levels of Vitamin D may increase ones vulnerability to COVID-19 virus. (Several recent studies have shown that people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to test positive for the virus than those with normal levels.)


Aged Garlic Extract (AGE):

Garlic is a known antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It has been used for centuries to treat ailments like heart disease, asthma, respiratory disorders and digestive problems. AGE has been shown to assist the immune system and dramatically improve heart health by strengthening the heart; reverse early heart disease; and preventing strokes and heart attacks. This common vegetable has been the subject of 4,525 study abstracts that can be found in the National Library of Medicine, showing it can successfully treat more than 150 chronic diseases and effectively protect against bacteria, viruses, infections and heart disease.


A process called "cytokine storm" overwhelms many patients with COVID-19 where the body starts to attack its own cells and tissues rather than just fight off the virus. AGE acts as a "cytokine secretion modulator" where it works to maintain a healthy and balanced immune system.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It's involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. Essentially, it helps keep the body functioning.


Because serious COVID-19 may cause sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the potential role of high doses of vitamin C in improving inflammation and vascular injury in patients with COVID-19 is being studied.


Zinc

A mineral that is important to the body in many ways, zinc keeps the immune system strong, thus has become a popular treatment for the common cold. WebMD states that zinc lozenges may reduce the duration of a cold by a day or two as well as reducing the number of respiratory infections in children.


There has been some evidence in the medical literature that zinc has been helpful in terms of not curing a viral infection, but in helping with some of the symptoms of common cold viruses including the coronavirus.” Dr. Ian Tullberg, medical director of UCHealth Urgent Care said.


Elderberry

Packed with antioxidants, elderberry fruits are very versatile and help with boosting your immune system, reduce inflammation, and decreases stress, among many other things. High in vitamin C and dietary fiber, some experts recommend elderberry to help prevent and even ease cold and flu symptoms, constipation, sinus and upper respiratory infections.


The syrup is believed to reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu infection if taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms. So start early and discontinue use if symptoms worsen. As part of elderberry's immune response, it increases the release of cytokines as part of the inflammatory reaction to COVID-19 and for this reason, it is recommended to stop elderberry at the first sign of COVID infection (fever, sore throat, and if you test positive to COVID).


Mushrooms

Mushrooms are undergoing a tremendous surge in popularity, especially for use as dietary supplements in supporting immunity and overall health. Mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane, turkey tail, and cordyceps are the most revered for their powerful health benefits.


Taking multiple mushrooms together may be more effective than taking just one as they are very potent in triggering immune cell function.


how to take:

Add a blend of medicinal mushrooms to your daily regimen (add a teaspoon of a medicinal mushrooms blend to any smoothie for daily immune support). Chaga, reishi, turkey tail, shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane and cordyceps have all been shown to have immune-balancing effects and antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body. You can find blends in tincture or powder form to add to a daily smoothie or tea and you can also find mushroom blends in capsules.

If you’re coming down with a cold, take a chaga or reishi tincture (or drink chaga or reishi tea) every day. Chaga and reishi are both powerhouses for immunity and their potent medicinal properties can ward off sickness and boost you back to vitality.

Cook with medicinal mushrooms, especially shiitake and maitake. Lentinan, the active compound in shiitake mushrooms, has been widely studied for its immune system–enhancing effects. A compound in maitake mushrooms called D-fraction has been shown to support the immune system and fight cancer cells. To add an extra immune system boost to your daily life, add shiitake and maitake to your cooking wherever you’d normally use any culinary mushroom!

Selenium

Selenium is a powerful mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of your body. This antioxidant helps lower oxidative stress in your body, which reduces inflammation and enhances immunity.


It plays a critical role in metabolism and thyroid function and helps protect your body from damage caused by oxidative stress. What's more, selenium may help boost your immune system...Higher levels of selenium may help boost the immune systems of people with HIV, influenza, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C. Due to selenium’s ability to reduce inflammation, some studies suggest that this mineral may help reduce asthma-related symptoms. Studies have demonstrated that increased blood levels of selenium are associated with enhanced immune response.


Sources from food (vegan):

Brazil nuts: 174% of the DV in one nut (5 grams)

Sunflower seeds: 27% of the DV in 1 ounce (28 grams)

Shiitake mushrooms: 10% of the DV in 1 cup (97 grams)


H2O/Water:

If you’re dehydrated, you’re at higher risk of any type of viral or bacterial illness, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia. If you have dry mucus members because you’re not drinking enough fluids, that decreases your immune response because it decreases your immune barrier.