Some of the best ways to protect yourself from colds and viruses are washing your hands often, keeping the surfaces in common areas and high-traffic areas wiped down with disinfectants, and being aware of keeping your hands away from your eyes, mouth, and nose. As careful as you can be, you can never know if the person next to you is taking similar steps, so it helps to add in a few supplements to keep your level of protection high from the inside out.
Vitamin D is an important immune system ally. Your body can make Vitamin D from sun exposure, but there are a lot of variables in how much your body can actually make. These include the pigmentation of your skin, your geographic location, the time of the day and time of the year. It’s estimated that over 1 billion people across the world aren’t getting enough Vitamin D and are deficient in this vitamin.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin. The body needs Vitamin D in order to regulate other important minerals, such as the bone’s calcium and phosphorous. It is essential to bone development and formation.
Vitamin D also plays a large role in the immune system. The body’s immune cells, such as macrophages and T cells, need Vitamin D in order to locally regulate a response from the immune system. Without enough Vitamin D, the body could develop autoimmune diseases.
Vitamin D is protective for the immune system. It promotes antimicrobial responses and regulates adaptive immune responses, such as the stimulation of immune fighting cells.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and essential micronutrient within the body. It helps regulate various cellular functions and acts as an anti-microbial within the body and in the skin, where it functions as an epithelial barrier.
Scientists are not exactly sure what it does for the immune system’s white blood cells, but it has demonstrated the ability to enhance immune cells (perhaps through gene function regulation). A deficiency in Vitamin C is connected to higher risk factor for infections.
Some sources advocate mega-dosing of Vitamin C, but for everyday preventive use, even levels of 100-200 mg/day can saturate plasma levels and provide benefits. If you have an active infection, it’s going to require a lot more than regular intake levels to counteract the inflammatory response that demands more Vitamin C in times of sickness.
Most multivitamins combine most of the essential vitamins the human needs into one formulation. A multi-vitamin/multi-mineral is the best choice because it is the most comprehensive.
Some multivitamins, like our Ultra Complete Vitamin Complex, also feature additional plant extracts for a boost of natural wellness.
The intestinal system, or gut, is so important that it’s often called “the second brain”, and 70% of the immune system is contained there as well.
The bacteria that live in the gut make up a complex and balanced environment known as the microbiome. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to tip this environment out of balance. The bacteria in the gut ferment the foods we eat and rely on what we eat to feed them, and there are harmful types of bacteria that feed on most of the junk food we eat (sugar, yeast, etc). The good bacteria consume nutrients like fiber from our diet, vegetables, and most of the good, whole foods we can eat.
When we eat a poor-quality diet, there is an abundance of food for the bad bacteria to consume and thrive upon, so they quickly reproduce and soon outnumber the amount of good bacteria. When this imbalance happens, it is harder for the good bacteria to survive. Antibiotics and overuse of medications, caffeine, and alcohol can deplete the good bacteria as well.
Some of the functions good bacteria have in the body involve making essential components of neurotransmitters and immune system cells. Strengthening your gut health with a well-rounded probiotic, such as Probiotic Complex, can result in less allergies, colds, and give your immune system a boost.
Zinc is a trace element that is important to the immune system. Many people advocate taking a zinc lozenge to reduce the duration of a cold or flu. While the jury seems to flip-flop on whether or not it actually helps, we do know that the immune system relies on zinc and a deficiency weakens the response of the immune system.
Zinc can be obtained through dietary sources, but finding a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement that contains zinc will ensure your levels stay high enough to fight off immune system threats.