Best supplements for immune system: I’m a Nutritionist and these are my recommendations.
Nutritional Director Rick Hay (Dip Nutrition Dip Botanical Medicine Dip Teaching) lists the best supplements for immune system support including vitamins and spices you should consider to boost your immune system.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you want to look at boosting immune function with supplements then you should start with some simple vitamins – Vitamin A ( watch the dose if pregnant or breastfeeding ), Vitamin C and Vitamin D. These three vitamins may help to reduce the severity and length of infections. Vitamin A helps with the integrity of our mucous membranes whilst Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties and Vitamin D May decrease susceptibility to infection. Eat a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables so that you can keep levels of vitamin C high throughout the day. Berries and citrus are good options.
Vitamin D sources include oily fish like salmon and tuna. You can also get it from cheese, mushrooms and egg yolks. If vegan considers a daily supplement together with B12.
Vitamin A foods include sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, mango, spinach, squash, herring, organic eggs, cod liver oil and beef liver. The mineral zinc may help to reduce the risk of respiratory infections. You can get increase zinc intake by eating more nuts and seeds, beans, shellfish and whole grains. These are not expensive in supplement form and are recommended particularly during the winter months.
Spices and Herbs
Some of the spices that you may have on hand at home can help with immune support also – think of things like garlic, turmeric, ginger and chilli. Sage may also help to reduce viral and bacterial replication. Oregano has been used traditionally for its antimicrobial properties.
There are also some herbs that you may not be familiar with – these include elderberry, olive leaf extract and Andrographis. All of potential anti-viral and bacterial properties with elderberry potentially helping to reduce viral reproduction. Olive leaf extract acts as a powerful antioxidant and Andrographis has been widely used to treat cold and flu symptoms and reduce inflammation.
Medicinal mushrooms like Cordyceps and Reishi may also assist in keeping the immune system strong. Beta-glucans support both the innate and adaptive immune response and could help with respiratory tract infections and colds. These are found in oats, reishi, maitake and shiitake mushrooms and barley. Also, magnesium in leafy greens, avocados and bananas may help to reduce tension by relaxing muscles.
If you are feeling really stressed then you can take it in supplement form – stress may lower the immune response.