There's a constant war taking place in our bodies, and the immune system serves as our body's "First Line of Defense." It protects the body from bacteria, disease, infection, viruses, fungi, and more. It even has the potential to target and destroy abnormal cells.
Too often, however, the complexity and value of the immune system is often underestimated...until it's compromised.
History of Immune Health
During the 10th century, people who had never contracted smallpox would have dried smallpox scabs blown into their noses. They would then contract a mild case of smallpox, followed by being immune to the disease. Exposure, therefore, created immunity.
We've come a long way since the 10th Century, and there are more known ways than ever before to support and help boost the immune system.
In fact, physicians and natural living enthusiasts alike are commonly promoting the use of vitamin supplements to strengthen and improve your immune health, particularly through vitamin supplements, probiotic supplements and dietary intake.
The Importance of Taking Vitamin Supplements to Boost Immune Health
Researchers have long been studying how different factors influence immune responses, such as a person's diet, physical activity, emotions, age, and more. Studies have found a vast array of nutritional deficiencies significantly result in negative immune functions, including those related to vitamin A and C, zinc, and copper deficiencies.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states a person's nutrition habits are crucial to strengthening positive immune responses. This association also agrees the consumption of probiotics can boost immune health.
Vitamin C Supplements
A vitamin C deficiency often results in getting sick more often than normal. In addition to taking a supplement to counteract a lack of this nutrient, you should incorporate a variety of foods into your diet that are rich in vitamin C, like spinach, oranges, kale, tangerines, bell peppers, and grapefruits. Your body does not produce this vitamin, making it vital to follow a diet that’s high in vitamin C intake.
Vitamin C supplements are not known to reduce symptoms once you have already contracted a cold, but according to the National Institute of Health, a daily intake of this nutrient in an amount of 250 mg/day to 1 g/day can reduce the onset of colds by 50%.
When researching vitamins to boost the immune system, you will quickly notice a plethora of resources noting the importance of vitamin A. Commonly referred to as retinoic acid, this vitamin plays a superior role in your immune health by nourishing the gut mucosal immune system.
The human body's immune system works on two levels -- innate and adaptive. You are born with innate immunity while adaptive is developed as you age. At the gut mucosal level, your innate immunity serves as an ultimate soldier against pathogenic microorganisms. It also produces biological signals that communicate back and forth with your adaptive immune responses.
Without appropriate levels of vitamin A, the body can't maintain mucosal tolerance, meaning your gut can't tell the difference between good and bad bacteria. As a consequence, the immune system unintentionally lets bad bacteria through the gut and into the bloodstream where it makes its way to your organs, which is commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome, or the immune system turns against itself, also known as autoimmune disease.
If you have a lack of vitamin A, various supplements are available to neutralize this deficiency. As with many other types of vitamins, though, supplements should only be taken to correct a lack of the nutrient. In fact, too much vitamin A in your body can counter-intuitively lead to a poor immune response.
Vitamin B and Vitamin B12 work in tandem with one another to boost the immune system. Vegetarians are often advised to take a B12 supplement because this nutrient is only found in animal products.
Anyone lacking adequate vitamin B12 intake should consider taking a supplement. Without proper levels of this nutrient, the body will experience a reduced white blood cell count, which increases your chances of developing an infection.
Vitamin D is particularly effective in keeping colds, flu, and pneumonia at bay. While there are several ways to get vitamin D -- including sun exposure, fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon), fortified dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, as well as beef liver, cheese and egg yolks -- you may still need a supplement to achieve Recommended Daily Allowances.
Recommended intake levels vary from one source to the next, with the majority typically recommending 5,000 i.u. per day. However, those who are obese will need to up their daily intake to about 8,000 i.u. per day.
This should be discussed with a doctor, rather than being self-diagnosed, as megadoses of vitamin D supplements (not by diet or sun exposure) can cause a buildup of calcium in your blood, which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination, or worse. In fact, too much vitamin D and a lack of vitamin K2 can quickly lead to calcification of arteries and tissues, making it especially important to take a K2 supplement any time you are taking vitamin D supplements.
Taking probiotics that recondition the gut can boost the immune system quickly. This helps the gut not only remove pathogens and bad bacteria, but it flourishes good bacteria throughout the body. The benefits are numerous when you recondition the gut, including improved immune health, better digestive health, enhanced mental health, and more.
When shopping for vitamin and probiotic supplements, make sure to look for probiotics that contain the patented strain Bacillus Indicus HU36. Probiotics containing this strain are clinically proven to survive harsh conditions found in the gut, arriving 100% alive to the intestines and going to work to create good health, giving you optimal immune health quickly. They also boost the gut’s ability to carefully identify pathogenic organisms, which is paramount to producing natural antibiotics that kill off bad bacteria.
A healthy body is the foundation of a happy and healthy life. Although there is no cure for the common cold or many of today's immune disorders, taking vitamin supplements is a great starting point for improving your overall health. When combined with a balanced diet and regular physical activity, maintaining a strong immune system becomes much simpler.