How to boost your immune system? [+ 10 Best supplements list]

Immune System

The immune system is a vital part of the body to keep strong in order to protect the body against infection. It is a complex system of cells which act as a barrier to destroy bacteria that attempts to enter and infect the body.

Immune response is better when your immune system is strong and healthy.

To boost the immune system and defend it from foreign bodies, you can follow this guide and have a look on our supplement list. 

What should you expect the final result to be from completing this guide?

Feeding your body certain foods and supplements can keep your immune system strong. Supplements are the easiest and quickest way to provide your body the most amount of a vitamin or mineral your body needs to boost and maintain your immune system. 

Colds, flus, fatigue, sickness and frequent infections are the result of a weak immune system. A strong immune system is important all year round to inhibit and fight infections.  By simply completing and partaking in this lifestyle guide, whilst taking a daily dosage of any of the supplements from the list, you can boost your immune system and help defend your body against colds, flus, infections and viruses. 

Fighting off immune deficient illnesses is not easy, especially when you’re feeling low. We’ve all been there and wish we kept our bodies healthy to prevent this from happening. Therefore, creating this guide is essential to help you all fight off bad bacteria and boost your immune system. 

First let’s find out how the immune system work so you can understand how these steps and supplements can help:

How does the immune system work?

When your body is full of lymphocytes it is more likely to fight off infections. Lymphocytes are the white blood cells in your body that act as a barrier to colds, flus, infections and viruses. The body can hold onto the lymphocytes and continue to fight off bad bacteria with the use of supplements. 

Lymphocytes help make antibodies which are specialised proteins to lock onto specific antigens and fight them. The antibodies keep data of all antigens that ever enter the body in order to recognise and defend them the next time they enter. However, the antibodies can not always destroy it alone, it needs help from nutrients that you can get from foods, drinks supplements and lifestyle changes. 

Seeing as the immune system is not a visible part of the body and you may not experience infections and viruses all year round, it is hard to keep on top of knowing if you have a good immune system. Here are a few signs of a weak immune system:

High stress levels 

The most common way and reason to recognise if you have a weak immune system is if you have regular high stress levels. Being constantly stressed in your mind or your body can cause your immune system to crash, resulting in colds, flus, infections and viruses.

According to the American Psychological Association, long term stress can weaken the immune system, which will quickly decrease your lymphocytes and make you more susceptible to infections. 

Constant colds, flus or frequent infections

Catching a common cold or flu is normal for most people, even up to three times per year. But if you get them more often than this, this could signify a weak immune system. Likewise, if it takes your body longer to fight off an infection like this, usually around 7 to 10 days, this could be a sign of a weak immune system.

After fighting a cold or flu, your immune system will be weaker than usual and will take around 3 to 4 days to recover and get back to its normal state. In that time, your antibodies rebuild and strengthen, which your body needs to fight off germs and bacteria. 

Similarly, if you get frequent infections like ear infections, pneumonia or sinusitis then your immune system may be sending you signals. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology reports that frequent infections could be a sign of immune deficiency. To fight this you will need to give your body what it needs, like supplements, to replace the antibodies in order to boost the immune system. 

A sensitive stomach

A weak immune system can also have a great effect on your stomach and can cause anything from bloating to diarrhea and constipation. Studies show that almost 70 percent of your immune system can be found in your digestive tract. Bacteria and microorganisms that live in the gut can help fight off stomach viruses and help support the immune system.

However, if these bacterias are low then you will be more at risk of getting a virus. To tackle this, a daily dose of supplements can help build your immune system and defend the bad bacteria that can upset your stomach. 

Feeling fatigued 

It is natural for your immune system to struggle when you are tired. Therefore, if you lack sleep or overwork your body, your immune system will struggle. Your body tries to conserve energy to fight off germs when you are fatigued. Without fuel and energy, your body will no longer be able to do this. 

The best way to recover and refuel your body is by getting enough sleep and providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals, which you get from supplements and completing this guided tutorial. 

A lifestyle guide: steps to help boost your immune system

1 – Regular exercise

Exercise is very beneficial for the immune system. Regular exercise works wonders as it stimulates blood circulation, which allows the cells to move freely through the body and respond quicker to the immune system if it needs help. 

However, consider that excessive exercise could cause high body stress which is a cause of a weak immune system.

Find your workout plan here

2 – Can cold weather give you a cold

Research has not successfully determined if cold weather can cause a weak immune system. Results show that the cold and freezing temperatures have no detrimental effect on the immune system. However, if you feel more comfortable and well covering up in cold temperatures, you should do so. 

3 – Reduce stress levels

High and long term stress levels have a negative impact on the immune system and can cause abnormal occurrences of colds and flus. Research shows that stress on the body makes you a target for immune deficient illnesses such as common colds and viral infections. 

Taking time out and relieving stress from your mind and body and detoxifying and reducing the probability of weakening your immune system. 

4 – Maintain a healthy diet

Your body needs a sufficient amount of daily nutrients to prevent immune deficiency. This includes zinc, iron, copper, folic acids and vitamins. If you feel you are lacking nutrients due to not liking certain immune system boosting foods, like vegetables, it is advised to take supplements to provide your body what it needs.

Read more on our complete Immune System Foods List

5 – Stop smoking 

Smoking can harm the body in many ways. It can age you quicker, can cause unnecessary stress and deprive the body of essential nutrients. All of which will have a negative impact on the immune system. 

Quitting smoking can quickly improve your immune system as well as have many other great health benefits. 

6 – Consume alcohol in moderation

Unlike smoking, drinking alcohol is still permitted if you do so in moderation. If you can stop the consumption of alcohol for good, you will see better results. However, moderating your alcohol intake can decrease the impact it has on your immune system. It is important to keep up regular exercise, sleep and a healthy diet whilst doing so. 

7 – Washing frequently 

Making sure your body and what you are putting into your body is free from bad bacteria is key for inhibiting illnesses. Washing your hands and fresh foods regularly can wash away any harmful germs. 

8 – Herbs and supplements 

Natural ingredients are known to help boost the immune system due to them being safe and well researched. Your body needs a daily dose of nutrients to stay healthy and functioning well to protect you from harmful bacteria. 

Taking a daily dosage of one or more of these 10 supplements will help boost your immune system and fight these issues:

The 10 best supplements to boost immune system

1 – Vitamin D: can prevent respiratory infections 

Vitamin D is commonly associated with the ability to strengthen bones, joints and muscles. However, it can do more than help your skeleton. The vitamin taken as a supplement can impact your immune system due to its pathogen fighting effects

Many people are deficient in vitamin D, but it is an essential to prevent respiratory tract infections. Studies found that vitamin D decreases the risk of these infections and protects the body against bad pathogens. 

2 – Elderberry: works to shorten infections 

Black elderberries are also known to help with upper respiratory infections but instead of preventing them like vitamin D, they can help shorten and decrease the severity of a cold and viral infections

Test tube studies revealed that elderberry extract can perform as an antibacterial against bacterial pathogens. The studies suggest that the extract may be able enhance your immune systems response to fight off any developed infections. Elderberry supplements are often sold in liquid or capsule form and can be taken daily. 

3 – Zinc: helps prevent inflammation 

Zinc has long been around as an additional ingredient to existing flu and viral infection medications such as lozenges that are for the immune system. The reason being that zinc is essential for helping the immune system communicate with the body to prevent inflammation. 

A zinc deficiency is closely associated with a weak immune system and without it, it is easy to develop colds, flu and viruses. Around 2 million people have this deficiency worldwide even though it is simple to add into your daily routine as a supplement. 

Like any other nutrient, zinc can be mixed with other ingredients to increase its benefits. For example, Immune Defence’s Zinc Lozenges combine zinc with other immune boosting ingredients. 

4 – Vitamin C: clears out bad bacteria 

This is arguably the most popular supplement on the market. It holds numerous health benefits but the one we are here to discuss is effectiveness on supporting and boosting the immune system. 

Vitamin C can perform cellular death which keeps your immune system healthy by killing and clearing out bad cells and pathogens, then replacing them with new ones. 

A study tested on over 11,000 individuals concluded that a daily dose of vitamin C, around 1-2 grams, reduced colds by over 8% in adults. In addition to that, the same test showed that the daily dose reduced the occurrence of common colds and flus by up to 50%. 

5 – Medicinal Mushrooms: increase activity of killing bad cells

This is a medicine that has been around since the ancient times and is one commonly dismissed as effective. However a study shows that medicinal mushrooms can increase the activity of natural killer cells by up to 38%. These are the white blood cells that protect against infections. 

There are over 270 types of medicinal mushrooms, which all hold immune system enhancing properties. The most common ones are Cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, reishi and turkey tail. They are often sold as teas and supplements. 

They are prescribed to help with many immune deficient conditions such as asthma and lung infections. Their ancient history and studies conclude how powerful and safe they are to take. 

6 – Garlic: holds antiviral properties 

Garlic has very powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties known to enhance the immune system and stimulate white blood cells. 

By enhancing the immune system’s white blood cells, garlic can be regularly used to help protect the body against common colds and flus, as well as infections. These cells work to fight off any bad bacteria and prevent infections and colds from affecting the body. Garlic can be taken as a daily supplement and it holds many other health benefits such as improving cholesterol. 

7 – Licorice: stimulates the immune system 

Glycyrrhizin is a triterpene glycoside, which is found in Licorice and has been studied for its immune system benefits. In Licorice it is used as a sweetening compound but it is in fact a great immune stimulant

It has been tested for its ability to help recover hepatitis and protect the liver due to its antiviral properties. 

Licorice was once consumed as a root extract but it is now available as a supplement and holds the same benefits and properties. 

8 – Curcumin: helps fight off bad pathogens 

Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric and has been used as a medicine for centuries due to its health benefits. It’s main use is as an anti-inflammatory and in the immune systems case, inflammation fighting properties are useful to protect you against any viral infections. 

In recent years curcumin has been studied for its immunomodulatory benefits. Curcumin has been found to modulate the activation of natural killer cells, T and B cells, all of which work to fight any bad pathogens that attempt to enter the immune system and cause infection. It is a powerful ingredient that can be taken as a daily supplement to boost your immune system and help fight off viruses. 

=> You can read more about Curcumin and its many health benefits in our article here

9 – B Vitamins: increases the immune systems response 

Seeing as most people are deficient in the necessary B vitamins, such as B6 and B12, taking a daily supplement can help improve your immune system and protect you against regular common colds and immune deficient infections. 

B vitamins are needed to alter the immune systems response and help fight off any bad bacteria. They encourage the body to not make any antibodies, which are what can cause immune infections. 

Many of the B vitamins are found in meat and animal produce, meaning it is not easy to access if you are vegetarian or vegan. However, the B12 vitamin supplements are safe to take and work effectively for boosting the immune system. 

10 – Omega 3: boosts cell activity 

Omega 3 are natural parts of the cell membranes and help protect cells from becoming damaged. There are certain forms of omega 3 which can only be consumed and not made by the body naturally, known as fatty acids. 

Taking a daily omega 3 supplement like Omega XL can provide the body with all the fatty acids it needs to boost cell activity, which is an important cycle of a health immune system. 

FAQ

How can you test the strength of your immune system?

There is only one easy way to test your immune system and that is through a blood test. They can determine whether or not the body has a healthy level of infection fighting proteins such as immunoglobulin. A blood test can also assess the level of blood and immune system cells. An abnormal amount of certain cells can indicate a weak immune system. 

Proteins such as immunoglobulin are essential for defending the immune system against harmful bacteria that cause these immune deficient infections. 

If you receive a blood test back with a concerning level of abnormal cells, your doctor will provide you with an immune boosting solution, like supplements and lifestyle changes. 

What types of immunity are there?

Everyone’s immune system is different and as you age, your immune system typically gets stronger. However, the infections you incur throughout your life will affect your immunity. Every person is born with a level of immunity which can fight foreign invaders.

There are 3 types of immunity found in humans, which are: 

  • Innate immunity: this refers to the external barrier of the body as is the first barrier of defence. This includes the skin, gut and throat which is where pathogens typically invade first. When a pathogen manages to pass through the innate immunity barrier, that is when it becomes adaptive. 
  • Adaptive immunity: once pathogens manage to dodge the body’s natural external barrier, the internal barrier becomes exposed to the potential damage. This type of immunity protects us from pathogens throughout everyday life. The body creates a library of antibodies to help fight any recurring pathogens. This is also known as immunological memory as it memorises past enemies.
  • Passive immunity: this type of immunity does not last a lifetime like adaptive immunity. In fact, this is most common in unborn babies. The way it works is the baby borrows the immunity from its female carrier to protect it against infections whilst in the body and also during its first few years of life. 

Which supplement offers the most benefits?

Supplements that contain a combination of vitamins and minerals are the most beneficial as you provide your body with multiple antiviral properties. Immune Defence Zinc Lozenges are a prime example of a supplement that offers a multitude of benefits. The lozenges contain zinc, vitamin C, rosehip and acerola which work to support the immune system. A combination of critical nutrients will best help protect the body and boost immunity. 

When looking for the best supplement, try to find one that contains many vitamins and minerals from the list as you will attain the most benefits

Where is your immune system?

The immune system is found in more than one organ across the body. It’s most common locations are in the primary lymphoid organs, such as bone marrow and the thymus gland. 

The thymus gland is a small organ found behind the breast bone which is essential for the immune system to function properly. This is where T cells mature, which are cells viral for protecting the immune system against infections and foreign invaders. 

What role does bone marrow and thymus gland play?

There are many important parts of the immune system. All of which play different roles in protecting and boosting the immune system. The bone marrow and thymus gland stand out due to their team like behaviour. 

Both are part of the lymphatic system, which produces two types of lymphocytes, B and T. Lymphocytes are white blood cells with a nucleus that are a crucial part of the immune system as they work to protect and fight. 

Lymphocytes that live and stay in the bone marrow are type B. These help target the pathogens and lock onto them. Type T are found in the thymus gland and are the lymphocytes that destroy the foreign invaders. The two types of lymphocytes work together as a team to fight the bad bacteria. 

Can you live without a thymus gland?

You can live without a thymus gland, it is not an essential organ to keep the body alive. However, it will deteriorate the immune system and increase the risk of regular colds, flus and infections. 

If a thymus gland is removed in the young or the elderly, it can have a more harmful impact. When the T cells are depleted it can cause failure of the immune system, which can cause gradual fatal disease. 

Can water help boost your immune system?

Water is effective and beneficial for many areas of the body, especially the immune system. Water helps carry oxygen to cells and helps remove dangerous toxins. Imagine in this instance those toxins are bad bacteria and pathogens. Water would help remove the bad bacteria, preventing impact on the immune system

It can not prevent immune deficiency illnesses, but it can help cleanse and detoxify the body to wash away bacteria and viruses. 

Conclusion

Keeping your body well nourished and topped up with essential nutrients is key for fighting off any unwanted illnesses, especially immune deficient infections. Many supplements found in the market can help boost your immune system and some are more effective than others. A combination or single use of the supplements provided in this article will encourage recovery of a weak immune system and therefore maintain a strong immunity. 

Combining both the lifestyle steps and supplements will help enhance your body to fight off harmful pathogens and protect your immune system against foreign invaders. Keep this up daily or as often as you can to build your immunity, keep it strong and powerful against bad germs and viruses. 

If you enjoyed this tutorial then please let us know. Also, if you try or have any recommendations of supplements then leave us your feedback. 

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