The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Immune Health
The human immune system relies on a number of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds to do its job effectively.
When it gets sufficient quantities of these materials, it can quickly respond to new threats, identify them, and eliminate them—ultimately keeping us healthier.
As a result, many people regularly take immune support supplements, multivitamins, and other compounds.
The are meant to keep their immune system healthier.
Which vitamins and minerals are best for better immune support? Read on to discover the best vitamins and minerals to help you immune system.
First, there’s vitamin C. It’s one of the most commonly taken supplements during cold and flu season. It remains commonly recommended as a way to improve the strength of your immune system.
If you aren’t getting enough vitamin C in your diet, it can actually increase your risk of getting sick.
Fortunately, vitamin C is common, and there are many foods that are rich in this vitamin. These include all citrus fruits (like oranges and grapefruits), spinach, kale, and broccoli.
The body can’t make or store vitamin C, but it’s such a common vitamin that most people don’t require an additional supplement to hit the minimum required levels.
Vitamin E is another essential vitamin. It can’t be produced or stored by the human body. It functions as an antioxidant, which means it reduces oxidative stress that can damage the cells of your body.
It’s also used by the immune system, and in insufficient quantities, it can make your immune system weak.
You can find vitamin E in foods like nuts, seeds, spinach, and vegetable-based oils; you can also take a supplement to ensure you’re getting enough of it.
Zinc is a mineral, and it’s another essential component for the responsiveness of your immune system.
It’s required for both the development of new immune cells and in executing the inflammatory response.
Zinc is especially important to consider because it’s estimated that up to 30 percent of older adults are deficient in zinc.
You can find zinc naturally in meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products, and eggs. You can also supplement it—just make sure not to exceed the maximum recommended daily dose.
Your immune system also requires vitamin B6 to function properly. It plays a role in supporting and managing various biochemical reactions within the immune system.
Fortunately, it can be found in a wide variety of foods, including chicken, salmon, tuna, chickpeas, and leafy, green vegetables.
You’ll also find it in most fortified cereals.
Vitamin D is most commonly recognized due to its functionality in helping the body absorb calcium. It also serves a number of other functions in the body. For example, vitamin D increases the effects of monocytes and macrophages.
They are specific types of white blood cells designed to fight off infectious diseases. If you’re low in vitamin D, it could weaken your immune system and make your infections last longer.
Vitamin D is a bit rarer to find in everyday foods, but it’s present in fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks. As well as a variety of foods that have been fortified with vitamin D (like dairy products).
Though not technically a vitamin or a mineral, elderberry is backed by an increasing amount of evidence as a way to boost immune system health.
Black elderberry compounds are capable of supporting antibacterial and antiviral functions. It may shorten both the severity and duration of colds.
You can find elderberry supplements in liquid and capsule form.
Additional Tips to Support Your Immune Health
These vitamins, minerals, and compounds can all improve the health and functionality of your immune system. It’s also important to engage in other habits that can keep your immune system strong.
For example, if you’re overly stressed, or if you’re not getting enough sleep, the functionality of your immune system can take a hit.
It’s important to spend time conditioning your environment so you can get ample sleep and reduce your stress.
Additionally, while it’s possible to increase your intake of all these micronutrients with the help of supplements, it’s also important to maintain a healthy diet.
Make sure you’re eating a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean sources of protein on a daily basis.
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This will help you round out your intake of necessary compounds and keep you at a healthy weight at the same time.
If you’re interested in reducing your risk of getting sick, there are a few important steps you’ll need to take beyond merely boosting your immune system.
Get vaccinated when you can.
Wash your hands regularly. Disinfect the commonly touched surfaces of your home and/or work environment.
During heightened periods of infection, try to avoid cramped or heavily trafficked public areas when possible.
I hope this information can help you work towards better health. Maybe you’ll discover a little tidbit that you didn’t know.