Sadly there really are no tricks to be had here! You can’t beat the basics! Sleep, adequate water, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and moderate movement are really the keys to immune health. There is no one supplement that can take the place of these key, essential practices. There are, however, some herbs, plants, vitamins, and minerals that can be taken to support and strengthen your foundation.
Many of the following supplements are safe for general use. However, it is important to always consult with your health care provider before you begin.
Probiotics are live, active bacteria that have real benefits to your health. Taken to support or improve a person’s gut microbiome (the presence of all living microorganisms within a person’s digestive tract), probiotics can have a significant impact on mood, digestion, and immunity. Renew Life’s Extra Care probiotics provide 50 billion live cultures from 12 different probiotic strains, designed to re-establish digestive balance. Ensuring quality and potency through expiration, these capsules are designed to be delayed release, making sure the contents get past the acidic environment of the stomach. As an added bonus, these probiotics do not need to be refrigerated, a plus when shipments might be delayed, routines are disrupted by travel, or in emergency times when there isn’t refrigeration.
Research examining the use of elderberry for immunity has provided us evidence that there is real health benefit to be had here. Elderberry has been proved to reduce cold symptoms and their duration, although not prevent them. Elderberry extract seems to work by helping the production of inflammatory cytokines, proteins that are released in the body to fight infection. According to Consumer Labs, an independent product testing company, “New Chapter Elderberry Force contains the highest amount of anthocyanosides compared to the ten other popular products tested”. Anthocyanosides are the compounds that give elderberries their purple color and also seem to stimulate immune system functioning. These capsules are also vegan, gluten-free, non-gmo, and free of artificial colors and flavorings.
Many studies show that supplementing with zinc, specifically in lozenge form can reduce cold symptoms such as muscle aches, runny nose, congestion, and cough. It is important to note that excessive intake of Zinc can lead to copper deficiency, so frequent use of lozenges should be limited to a few days. In addition to reducing symptoms, zinc supplementation has been shown to shorten the duration of colds. Zand’s Herbalozenge has been third party tested by Consumer Labs and contains five milligrams of zinc gluconate per lozenge. This product also contains a blend of other herbs known to soothe and help with cold symptoms such as licorice and eucalyptus.
This supplement combines two potent immune nutrients in one: Vitamin D3 and the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. Vitamin D is a critical part of a health diet and Vitamin D deficiency, which has been associated with increased infections, is common during this time of year. Fish oil has been researched for a wide variety of uses such as improving mood, supporting heart health, slowing cognitive decline, decreasing cancer risk among many others. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it can only be adequately absorbed when it has fat molecules to travel with it through the body. Nordic Naturals Omega 3D pairs 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 with omega 3 fatty acids from wild, sustainably sourced fish making each capsule primed for efficient digestion and absorption. In addition to 1000 IU of Vitamin D3, this product provides 745 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 500 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per serving; both of these amounts are at the higher end of suggested daily intake. The combination of Vitamin D3 and EPA/DHA packs a potent punch to support overall immunity.
The efficacy of vitamins and minerals depend on one another for their absorption and activation. When taking a multivitamin you take various nutrients all at once, which leads to optimal processing in the body. Multivitamins contain potent immune supporters such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Iron and B Vitamins. Kirkland’s supplements are one of a handful of brands on the market that feature the seal of approval and quality from United States Pharmacopeia (USP). A USP Verified seal means that the product contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared strength and amounts.
Sydney Greene is a Registered Dietician and Clinical Nutritionist who works with MYND MVMT supporting clients with mindful eating and nutrition for mind and body health.