Our immune system is a collection of cells, processes, and chemicals that constantly defend our body against harmful pathogens, including viruses, toxins, and bacteria.
Making healthy lifestyle choices is equivalent to keeping your immune system healthy all-year-round. You can prevent yourself from various infections and diseases by consuming nutritious foods and getting enough sleep and exercise are the most important ways to bolster your immune system.
In addition to this, research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances can also bolster the immune response and potentially protect you against illnesses. However, it is equally important to note that no supplement will cure or prevent disease.
With the proliferation of the coronavirus pandemic, it's especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or any lifestyle modification other than social distancing and practicing proper hygiene can protect you from COVID-19.
No research supports the use of any supplement as a means to protect against COVID-19 specifically. But we have enlisted some information on well-researched supplements that may strengthen immune system defenses if consumed regularly.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient essential for a smooth-functioning immune system. This vitamin enhances the pathogen fighting capabilities of white blood cells that form an important part of your immune system. Many people are found to be deficient in Vitamin-D, which may negatively affect immune function. In fact, low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections. Healthy levels of this vitamin can help lower your risk of respiratory infections.
Zinc is a mineral that is commonly added to supplements and other healthcare products that are meant to boost your immune system. Zinc is needed for the development of immune cells and plays a crucial role in the inflammatory response. Supplementing with zinc can help protect against respiratory tract infections and reduce the duration of these infections.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is vital for immune health. Supplementing with this powerful antioxidant can reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold. This vitamin supports the function of various immune cells and is helpful in clearing out old cells and replacing them with new ones.
Selenium is an essential mineral for maintaining immune health. Research demonstrates that selenium supplements may boost antiviral defense against influenza strains, including H1N.
Garlic is full of anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. It has been shown to enhance immune health by stimulating protective white blood cells like macrophages.
Licorice is full of various compounds including glycyrrhizin, that may help protect against viral infections. According to the study, glycyrrhizin exhibits antiviral activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV).
7. B complex vitamins
B vitamins, like B12 and B6, are important for a healthy immune response. Many adults are deficient in them and it may negatively affect immune health.
Curcumin is the main active compound in turmeric. It is a potent source of anti-inflammatory properties, and animal studies indicate that it may help improve immune function.
Although these supplements offer a lot of benefits for immune health, they should not and cannot be used as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, engaging in physical activities, and not smoking are some of the most important ways to help keep your immune system healthy and reduce your chances of infection and disease. No scientific evidence suggests that these supplements protect against COVID-19 even though some of them may have antiviral properties.
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