Chronic diseases are common health problem and have been associated with 60% of deaths worlwide (1). During the manifestation of a chronic disease, the human immune system plays a vital role in many processes of the body. Boosting Immunity is the body’s key defence mechanism ensuring a healthy life style. Although most of our food is tailored to help keep our immune system strong, we still do fall short with the excuse of busy schedules. Keeping this mind, taking supplements boosts your immune system whilst keeping its functioning to its potential. Mentioned below are some of the top supplements proven to help your immune sytem:
Probiotics: Maintaining a healthy digestive system is the role of Probiotics. However, they play other roles such as: keeping the immune system strong. With more than 70% of body’s immune cells located in the gut, probiotics help these cells get stronger making them more efficient to ward the pathogens off.
Vitamin D: In a paper published in 2011, Vitamin D and Immune System, the importance of Vitamin D in the immune system was clearly explained. The immune cells of the body have receptors which act like a doorway to the room. So in a cell receptors. would the door to get into the cell. Once a nutrient attaches to itself to the receptor, signalling pathways get activated in the immune cells bringing appropriate immune responses. Studies have also proved the need for sufficient amounts of Vitamin D in blood to fight off pathogens, infections and illness. The Institute of Medicine has recommended that every adult should get about 600 IU of Vitamin D every day to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, the recommended levels are not met by many, especially during the winter months. With Vitamin D deficiency flanked as a risk factor for diseases like breast cancer, its crucial to obtain the recommended levels (2).
Vitamin C: In order to fight against the common cold, many people pop Vitamin C pill. This Vitamin plays a vital role in keeping the immune system functioning at its best. An article published in 2017, explains the contribution of Vitamin C to the body’s immune system. Vitamin C is required by the innate and adaptive immune systems for various cellular functions that help keep the diseases at bay. The articles also highlights the need for adequate vitamins through diet or supplements for the proper functioning of the immune system, as epidemiological studies have revealed that vitamin C deficiency is common among the Western population. In the United States, Vitamin C deficiency is reported as the fourth leading cause of nutrient deficiency (3).
Zinc: Zinc is another important nutrient that is vital for the proper functioning of our defence system. However, many of us do not get enough zinc through our diet alone. Zinc deficiency is stated to affect around 25% of the world’s population with WHO reporting it to be the fifth amongst the most significant health risk factors in the developing countries and eleventh worldwide (4). These statistics don’t come off as a surprise since zinc has been known to help with immunity. The nutrient has the ability to help with colds and even duration of colds too. A meta-analysis performed in 2016 established that subjects who took zinc lozenges had their cold symptoms reduced in a matter of 3 days compared to other subjects who were receiving placebos. There is a saying that we have heard before ” An apple a day can keep the doctor away”. But rest assured, a supplement a day can keep the doctor away too!
1- Bagatini, M. D., Cardoso, A. M., Dos Santos, A. A., & Carvalho, F. B. (2017). Immune System and Chronic Diseases. Journal of immunology research, 2017, 4284327.
2-Shaukat, N., Jaleel, F., Moosa, F. A., & Qureshi, N. A. (2017). Association between Vitamin D deficiency and Breast Cancer. Pakistan journal of medicalsciences, 33(3),645-649.
3-Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211. doi:10.3390/nu9111211
4- Sharma, A., Patni, B., Shankhdhar, D., & Shankhdhar, S. C. (2012). Zinc – an indispensable micronutrient. Physiology and molecular biology of plants : an international journal of functional plant biology, 19(1), 11-20.