Best Vitamins To Boost Immune System Health
Our immune system is a powerful and complex system that constantly guards us against anything that tries to invade our bodies, whether viruses, bacteria, or chemicals. The cells that make up our immune system, such as white blood cells, T cells, and macrophages, all work overtime to fight off colds and flu, and keep us healthy.
All this guarding and defending uses a lot of raw materials and fuel, and we are always in need of vitamins to boost immune system function, along with minerals and other food chemicals. Provided our immune systems get what they need, they can keep protecting us for a lifetime. Most of us in the modern world don’t always get the most nutritious food, however, so our immune systems are often weakened.
We will only have enough of the right fuels and building blocks for robust health if we take them in from our diet and from sunlight. Ideally, we will be eating good, wholesome foods that naturally contain a rich, balanced array of all the right vitamins and minerals.
What we should be getting includes vitamin A, preferably in the form of beta-carotene, the different forms of vitamin B (B1, B5, B6 and B12), vitamin D, and vitamin E. In addition to biochemical nutrients like vitamins, we also need minerals like zinc, potassium, selenium, magnesium, copper, manganese, sodium and chromium.
Each of these minerals and vitamins is crucial and plays its own role in the great and endless campaign being waged by our immune system. It’s up to us to give our bodies the quality foods they need. Fresh vegetables and fruits will provide most of the vitamins we need, while lean meats raised in a natural way supply some B vitamins and iron as well as protein.
Antioxidants are an important part of our protection, and producing them requires zinc and selenium. Zinc is especially important, occupying a central position in the synthesis of dozens of essential enzymes.
In case our diet falls short and we need to pay special attention to it, here are some of the most important vitamins to boost immune system health, which includes minerals and other key nutrients.
One of the key vitamins, Vitamin A keeps foreign invaders out of your body and helps produce white blood cells and lymphocytes. Without Vitamin A we would be wide open to opportunistic infections. We can find it in carrots and other vegetables, but we may need supplements if our diet is less than perfect.
As one of the prime antioxidants and linchpins in fighting off viruses and other invaders, vitamin C is critical for boosting the immune system. Being water-soluble, it doesn’t stay in the body very long and has to be replenished regularly. Vitamin C is available in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, and in berries.
This is another fat-soluble vitamin, and safeguards our delicate cellular machinery against random damage from free radicals. It also helps defend against viruses and bacteria. Vitamin E can be found in oils, avocados, and nuts as well as in supplements.
Another significant immune function booster, Vitamin B in its various forms helps produce white blood cells, fights infections, and supports the spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes. Meat is a good source of these vitamins, and is almost the only source of vitamin B12 in particular.
Like plants, we need sunshine to flourish, because it is almost the only source of vitamin D, formed in our skin in response to sunlight. Every tissue type in the body has special receptors for vitamin D, showing how central it is to every bodily function including cell growth and controlling inflammatory responses. Outside of sunlight, we have to turn to supplements to find vitamin D.
Zinc is worth mentioning separately because of its major role in fighting cold and flu symptoms, especially if taken in the first day of symptoms. It is a key ingredient in many immune cells and makes the skin a strong line of defense against invaders. For fighting colds, supplements are probably the best source of zinc.
A trace mineral, selenium is beneficial but often hard to get. It helps to regulate the thyroid as well as other immune functions, and is found in mushrooms, Brazil nuts (one per day is safe, more could cause overdose), and supplements.
Vastly underrated, sleep by itself is probably more important than all the other vitamins combined. Few other inputs to our health have such an immediate adverse effect if we don’t get enough of it, and few can match its healing benefits if we do. As far as sources go, we all know where to find sleep.
With a knowledge of the vitamins to boost immune system activity, we can take steps to protect our health and get enough of the nutrients we need. Let us make sure we take care of our health, because it is much easier to keep it strong than to get it back. All we have to do is take our vitamins!