This article was written by Lisa Turner and originally published in Amazing Wellness magazine.
Whether you’re looking to support your immune system for lifelong health or simply want to avoid falling under the weather this winter, these immune-boosting supplements can help keep your system rock solid.
1. Vitamin C
This powerful antioxidant and water-soluble vitamin is crucial for immune health, as well as skin, bone, and connective tissue health. Vitamin C protects cells from free radical damage we face every day, and some studies show it can benefit those dealing with seasonal issues.
Reishi, maitake, cordyceps, and other mushrooms contain immune-enhancing compounds like lentinan, among others, which bolster the body’s defenses against unhealthy offenders and support immune function long-term.
More than 300 enzymes—including those involved in antioxidant protection and immune response—depend on zinc to function. In fact, this trace element is crucial for the development of white blood cells that destroy bacteria and viruses, and even mild deficiencies can increase the risk of infection.
Studies further suggest that zinc is absolutely crucial to the body’s ability to respond to colds.
Used for hundreds of years in herbal medicine, echinacea (purple coneflower) is a go-to during the change of season. Echinacea contains substances called alkamides, which have been shown to stimulate the immune system—particularly white blood cells. Research suggests the herb can be helpful when you’re feeling under the weather, especially during the colder months.
Also known as Sambucus, elderberry is famous for its antioxidant punch. The tiny black berry contains lots of vitamin A and vitamin C, along with antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids and carotenoids. It’s a fan favorite for staying healthy all winter long, boosting your immunity when you’re feeling fine and when you’re already facing trouble.
The beneficial bacteria that live throughout our digestive system are not only crucial for proper digestive function, but for our immune health, too. (After all, 70 percent of your immune system resides in your gut.) Studies suggest that people who take probiotics regularly have a stronger immune system and better immune response.
Extracted from the oregano plant, oil of oregano is rich in carvacrol, a phytochemical that packs major antioxidant benefits. Research has shown that taking oil of oregano extract can bolster the body’s ability to respond to seasonal challenges. It may even support respiratory health, which often falls victim during the winter.
Rich in polyphenols, olive leaf extract is another Mediterranean immune-loving, antioxidant powerhouse. It also combats oxidative damage and supports cognitive function, healthy blood pressure, and healthy blood sugar.
Found in seafood, nuts, and seeds, the trace mineral selenium is most known for its roles in growth, development, and metabolism. However, the mineral is also a necessary component of antioxidant enzymes, making it important for immune health, too.