With the many viruses present in our world today, it makes sense to do all we can to protect ourselves by strengthening our immune system. Dr. Hunter Greenwood, your Naturopathic Doctor in Springfield, MO wants you to know 6 supplements you can take daily to boost your immune system so that it can more effectively resist disease and illness:
Immune response begins in the gut. Taking a good probiotic daily will improve your gut flora and help keep your immune system at its peak performance. A strong gut response can keep pathogens from affecting your body through your digestive system and allow your body to absorb vitamins and minerals more efficiently. Additionally, probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation, which can lead to disease.1
Probiotics are especially important after taking a course of antibiotics, which destroy microbes, disrupting the immune response. A good probiotic helps to re-establish proper gut flora.
I recommend Mega Sporebiotic, a pharmaceutical grade probiotic that includes Bacillus Indicus. It bypasses the stomach acid to work more effectively, producing 100% survivability in the GI tract.
Vitamin A is another necessary building block of a strong immune system. A 2018 study found that vitamin A both increases immune function and provides “an enhanced defense against multiple infectious diseases.”2,3
Vitamin A works in the gut and helps the gut regulate properly.
B vitamins help increase energy and strengthen immune response.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine),, B9(folic acid) and B12 are vital for proper immune function. These vitamins are necessary in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body and are an essential part of the body’s immune response.
Furthermore, vitamin B deficiencies can result in depression, anxiety, mood swings, and pernicious anemia.
The standard vitamin that everyone knows for increased immune response is vitamin C. Vitamin C supports both the innate and adaptive immune system, meaning it works as a preventative against illness and as an immune booster during illness. A vitamin C deficiency causes weak immune response and greater susceptibility to infections.
Studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation “appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections by enhancing various immune call functions.”4
High dose vitamin C supplementation has been shown to make a positive shift in gut flora, although high dosages should not be taken daily, but reserved for times of illness or stress, and should not exceed 2,0000 mg/day.
Vitamin D3 is essential in maintaining the body’s defense and keeping the immune system well balanced.
Low or decreased vitamin D levels have been shown to contribute to frequent colds and flus5, and though not the cause of autoimmune diseases, can cause them to worsen.6
A recent study found that for individuals with low vitamin D levels, taking daily supplements can reduce the chances of developing a respiratory infection by about 42%.6 However, researchers have found that only taking a high dose of vitamin D once a month does not help to prevent acute respiratory infections in older adults who have low vitamin D levels.7
A regular, daily supplement provides the best protection.
I recommend High Potency Omega Plus, containing a natural concentrate of selected marine oils, which provide a source of EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids, along with vitamins D and K.
Recent studies have shown that zinc supplements can be effective in helping your body resist colds (caused by a virus called rhinovirus). Studies have further shown that, if taken within 24 hours of the first symptoms, zinc can reduce the length of a cold by up to 24 hours.
Though the reason for its effectiveness is not completely understood, zinc may work by preventing the rhinovirus from multiplying or lodging in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
I recommend Zinc Citrate, which is effective and palatable.
Daily supplementation of Probiotics, vitamins A, B, C and D3, along with zinc, along with a healthy diet, exercise, and sufficient restful sleep, can strengthen your immune system to fight off colds and viruses.
Erika Isolauri, Yelda Sütas, Pasi Kankaanpää, Heikki Arvilommi, Seppo Salminen, Probiotics: effects on immunity, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 73, Issue 2, February 2001, Pages 444s–450s, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/73.2.444s
Dong P, Tao Y, Yang Y, & Wang @ (2010) Expression of retinoic acide receptors in intestinal mucosa and the effect of vitamin A on mucosal immunity. Nutrition (Burbank, Los angeles County, Calif.) 26(7-8), 740-5 PMID: 19932006
Carr, Anitra C, and Silvia Maggini. “Vitamin C and Immune Function.” Nutrients vol. 9,11 1211. 3 Nov. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9111211
National Institutes of Health, Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Colds and Flu. NIH website. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/low-vitamin-d-levels-associated-colds-flu. Published March 9, 2009. Accessed September 14, 2019
Szodoray P, Nakken B., Gaal J, et al. The complex role of vitamin D in autoimmune diseases. Scand J Immunol. 2008 Sep;68(3):261-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.2008.02127.x. Epub 2008 May 29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18510590. Accessed September 20, 2019.
C A Camargo, JSluyter et al, Effect of monthly high-dose vitamin D supplementation on acute respiratory infections in older adults: A randomized controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis. https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/cid/ciz801/5550911?redirectedFrom=fulltext. Published August 17, 2019. Accessed September 20, 2019.
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The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Hunter Greenwood DC ND. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. Dr. Greenwood recommends that patients make their health care decisions carefully after doing their own research and consulting with a licensed health care professional.