Why do some people not get COVID even though other people around them have it? Researchers are finding that a person’s immune system is a key factor for whether someone may get COVID. The immune system is a complex network of organs, tissues, and cells that work synergically to protect the body from diseases and infections. Beyond COVID-19 vaccines, proper supplementation can support your body for optimal immune function.
Best Anti-Viral Supplements to Boost Immunity
Whether it’s common colds, coronavirus, or other infections, supplementing with minerals, vitamins and herbs can help you to fight off certain infections and improve symptoms. Here are the common supplements that have positive effects on immune health.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in immune health and helps fight off infection. It functions as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your immune system against damage caused by oxidative stress.
Supplementing with vitamin C has proven to reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory infections. One study found that 1 to 2 doses of vitamin C per day can decrease the duration of colds by 8%.
Moreover, vitamin C can help prevent bacterial and viral infections by acting as an anti-inflammatory and natural antihistamine, which reduces the duration of cold symptoms.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient essential for a healthy immune system. It enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of macrophages and monocytes, which are the white blood cells that improve immune response and reduce inflammation.
Also, low vitamin D levels can increase the risk of upper respiratory tract infections like allergic asthma and influenza.
One study found that supplementing vitamin D drastically reduced the risk of respiratory tract infections for individuals who are either deficient or have adequate vitamin D levels.
Vitamin A supports the immune system by helping the body fight infections such as respiratory infections. Often, they are found in animal foods like dairy, meat, and fish.
It’s involved in the function and production of white blood cells, which aid in capturing and clearing bacteria along with other pathogens in your bloodstream.
Zinc is another great nutrient that helps to boost your immune system. It plays a critical role in the inflammatory response and immune cell development. Furthermore, zinc has immune-enhancing properties that block foreign pathogens from entering.
A zinc deficiency can significantly compromise your immune system, which increases the risk of respiratory infections and even pneumonia. 16% of respiratory infections are linked to zinc deficiency.
B Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B complex comprises eight different vitamins which are essential for the immune system. These vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid, and cobalamin.
These certain vitamins are critical so the body can produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Individuals with folate or B12 deficiency may have a weakened immune system since their bodies will struggle to fight off pathogens.
Selenium is a mineral that is crucial for a healthy immune system and can be obtained from foods such as the Brazil nut. It’s a potent antioxidant that strengthens the body’s defense against cancer cells, viruses, and bacteria. There is also some supporting evidence that selenium has antiviral effects against influenza strains.
Raw honey helps faster recovery, especially to help reduce symptoms related to the common cold. It relieves inflammation and minor pain of the mucous membranes and has antioxidant properties. Thus, it can be beneficial to those with sore throats and coughs.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is an antiviral plant used as a supplement for boosting one’s health. This strong antioxidant contains compounds that prevent the primal stages of viral infections. It does this by binding with viruses and preventing their entry into cells through the interference of viral membrane proteins. Green tea can be taken as a dietary supplement or tea.
Echinacea is a popular over-the-counter herbal remedy for infections and viruses like the common cold. It’s used to treat all types of health issues like inflammation, pain, and migraines.
Many studies have found that echinacea helps the immune system to prevent and fight off illnesses. Also, it has been proven to have antiviral activity against respiratory viruses.
Probiotics can be consumed through supplements or fermented foods. Many researchers are finding that the imbalance of bacteria within your digestive system is linked to disease. Probiotics help promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria to improve immune function and digestive health.
They can increase the production of natural antibodies in your body and boost immune cells. One review found that probiotics reduced the duration and likelihood of respiratory infections.
Elderberries are green citrus fruits that contain bioflavonoids. They have naturally occurring compounds that are best known for their powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. These berries can improve immune function through their ability to boost cytokine activity, which signals molecules that regulate inflammation and immune responses.
The elderberry is often sold as an elderberry syrup or dried fruits. One 2004 study has found that taking the elderberry syrup for people with cold symptoms may provide faster symptom relief.
Many medicinal mushrooms contain immune-boosting properties. Typically they are found in many forms, such as supplements, teas, and tinctures. They have been shown to decrease symptoms of conditions like lung infections and asthma.
Can Supplements Boost Your Immunity?
It’s important to remember that supplements shouldn’t be treated as a magic pill. Although supplements and vitamins can help fill the gaps within your diet, the most effective way to ensure you aren’t nutrient deficient is to get them from nutritious foods. That’s because your body absorbs and utilizes these vitamins when they come from a dietary source.
However, there is growing evidence that show that taking vitamins and minerals can help to improve immune function and fight inflammation. Additionally, probiotics provide healthy bacteria to the gut microbiome. A balanced microbiome has often been linked to a strong immune system.
Many supplements in the market can aid in improving your immune health. Vitamin D, C, Zinc, elderberry, and medicinal mushrooms are some of the best substances with immune-enhancing potential.
Are there supplements or medications to take to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?
Taking dietary supplements to help prevent or fight off COVID-19 may sound appealing. Many have wondered whether supplements like Vitamin C supplements and others can be used to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Since COVID-19 is a new illness, there haven’t been many clinical trials performed and so current evidence is not that strong. There are studies that have shown that individuals with lower blood vitamin levels have a higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19. However, that doesn’t necessarily prove that vitamin D can always protect people against infection.
There are some potential hazards of taking high doses of supplements. For example, high doses of vitamin D can result in severe symptoms like kidney injury, stomach upsets, and pancreatitis. High dosages of Vitamin C may cause upset stomach and diarrhea. Some supplements can also interact with prescriptions or medications that you’re already taking. Finally, certain supplements may not be suitable for people with certain health conditions.
It’s important to get your bloodwork done to find out if you have any nutritional deficiencies. About 92% of the U.S. population is deficient in at least one vitamin or mineral. Rather than guessing and overconsuming supplements, take time to identify which ones you might be lacking in and consider adding them to your nutrition supplementation regimen. For example, someone who consumes a diet with low dairy products and has little sun exposure may benefit from vitamin D supplements. Make sure to always speak with a healthcare professional before adding supplementation if you have other medication or have medical conditions.
Tips to Boost Your Immune System
Aside from supplementation, research suggests it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle to support and provide good immune health. Here are some tips to follow:
- Eat a healthy diet with a range of vegetables and fruits
- Get regular exercise of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity per week
- Take steps to lower the risk of virus and infection, such as engaging in social distancing and washing your hands
- Get quality sleep
- Reduce stress
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
Choose Fort Worth Pharmacy
Although these supplements for immunity listed are readily available in most commercial pharmacies, compounded medications offer many health benefits. Compounded medication involves combining ingredients to create a medication tailored to your specific needs.
These medications are accurately labeled, meaning you’re getting the exact ingredients mentioned in the bottle. They’re suitable for individuals who may be sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients in over-the-counter medications such as sugar, lactose, dye, and alcohol. If a patient needs reduced strength or a special dosage, our pharmacy can compound a custom medication to meet their requirements.
In addition to distributing your doctor’s prescriptions, Fort Worth Pharmacy offers custom compounding services to create drugs that physicians prescribe to patients who have needs that are difficult to meet by standard commercially available drugs.
Contact us or refill a prescription with Fort Worth Pharmacy and let us help you strengthen your immune system.