Your body deserves the best, so why not treat it right? There are small and simple things you can do to improve your immune system and make your daily life go smoother. The coronavirus has devastated economies on a global scale and caused us to dramatically alter our daily routines. You turn on the TV and one of the first things you see are the climbing death tolls and case counts. The arrival of vaccines gives us some hope that things will get better soon. However good the vaccines may be, they’re not available for everyone. You may feel like you have to fend off on your own until we reach herd immunity. However, there are steps you can take to keep your immune system strong and ready to combat any threat to it.
The immune system is highly complex but it can be broken down into two general parts: innate and adaptive. The innate system is the first line of defense and isn’t targeted to a particular pathogen. It includes skin, mucus, stomach acid and other barriers that prevent pathogens from invading. Once these barriers are overcome, the adaptive system steps in. As the name suggests, this system is more specific and adapts to a particular pathogen. One of the ways it adapts is through the creation of antibodies. Making these antibodies takes time so the response is relatively delayed compared with the innate system.
Keeping the immune system strong requires good sleeping habits and nutrition. Plenty of exercise, and stopping any unhealthy habits like excessive drinking or smoking. In these stressful times however, it’s difficult to maintain a daily routine let alone fit in healthier habits. Absent from the daily alarming headlines is actionable advice regarding steps you can take to boost your immune system. Read on to find out which supplements can boost your immune system.
Diet, Exercise, and Supplements
It is no coincidence that groups who tend to suffer from vitamin D deficiency at large are among the hardest hit by the virus.. Vitamin D is a substance produced by the body when struck by sunlight. Its role in maintaining strong bone health is well known but it also plays a role in immune function. The vitamin acts as a chemical messenger to modulate immune responses. It’s overall effect is to decrease inflammation. Inflammation that runs out of control is one of the main causes of mortality for the virus. In addition, there is an association between low levels of the vitamin in the blood and rates of infection. It is hard to find this substance in food and getting enough sunlight is more difficult in the winter months. Therefore, taking this as a supplement can help ensure you have adequate levels.
Zinc is a mineral found in fish, red meat and poultry. It plays a role in multiple body functions and is helpful in treating conditions ranging from diarrhea to macular degeneration. With regards to the immune system, zinc is important for the development of cells that make up both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Zinc, like vitamin D, also helps make sure the body’s immune response stays under tight control. Several studies have shown that zinc can reduce both the duration and frequency of upper respiratory infections.
Citrus fruits are a great source of the essential nutrient Vitamin C. It is also found in tomatoes, plums, cherries, and other foods. It is important in forming collagen, storing iron, and maintaining our immune system. Like zinc, it could also shorten the duration of a cold by approximately a day. Vitamin C stimulates the production of several immune cells and protects them from damage.
Higher blood levels of vitamin C have been shown to increase the levels of antibodies. This association is especially important once vaccines allow us to produce our own antibodies against coronavirus.
You will find a vast amount of information on other supplements but these three have some of the most robust science behind them. In general, the use of supplements has been controversial due to conflicting studies. However, shying away from exploring their benefits is a misguided approach. Inconclusive data does not mean we should shy away from exploring the benefits of supplements. To the contrary, more studies will provide us with a better understanding of how minerals and vitamins can benefit our health. This pursuit is even more important in the midst of a historic pandemic.
What are you doing to protect your health and immune system? I recommend you take some supplements and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a plan and stick to it, so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.