Many people, especially recently with the coronavirus pandemic, are talking a lot about how to ‘boost’ your immune system. This article will give you some simple tips to strengthen your immunity and better understand what lifestyle habits and nutrients may be helpful.
However, it is important for us to be honest with you as there is notone specific thing that is going to ‘boost’ your immune system overnight.
The immune system is a very intricate, complex system that takes time to develop. Many people don’t realize the immune system actually has two parts :
Innate Immune System - Includes our skin, the linings of our lungs and gut, all of which create physical barriers to keep anything that causes disease (pathogens) from entering the body. It also includes cells that recognize pathogens and produces molecules to attack the invader (this could be bacteria, the flu, or COVID).
Adaptive Immune System - Consists of T and B cells, which fight off specific pathogens and other types of microorganisms that can cause disease.It’s “adaptive” because these cells only evolve once you’ve encountered and recovered from a pathogen. So your body develops specific T and B cells so it will be able to respond in a much stronger fashion the next go around.
How Can You Influence Your Immune System?
Genetics obviously play a role in the strength and make-up of our immune system, but what impacts immunity even more is our lifestyle and that is most definitely something wecan and should control.
So what can we do to ‘boost’ the immune system?
Sitting has been shown to actually increase markers of inflammation, so the more we get up and move, the healthier and stronger our immune system will be! Exercise is known as nature’s ‘anti-inflammatory’. This obviously has its limits and as we know, more is not always better, so make sure you keep your rest days in every week, and listen to your body if it is feeling run-down!
Sleep and food consumption are the ONLY two anabolic (repairing) processes the body has. Everything else we do induces stress on the body (working out, staring at a computer, relationship stress, etc.), and so it is no surprise that quality sleep is a necessity!
When you sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines . These not only help sleep, but sleep deprivation has shown to decrease the overall production levels of these proteins. They are protective in nature, and they are necessary to increase when you are stressed or need to fight off certain infection or inflammation. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods where you don’t get enough sleep.
A diet high full of mostly whole, unprocessed foods including lots of vegetables, fruits, good fats, and a variety of protein sources is going to be your best bet. It will give you the largest variety of beneficial vitamins and nutrients that help support our immune system.
- With that being said, there are a few certain vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that specifically support our immune system and sometimes getting them from foods isn’t always the easiest. Anyone eating oysters and organ meat on the regular? Yeah...we didn’t think so.
Here are some of THE best immune-supporting nutrients you can add to your routine:
- Vitamin C
- Necessary for building the structural components of the body and for maintaining levels of glutathione (the master antioxidant of the body).
- Vitamin C deficiency is quite common and is water soluble, meaning we need to replenish it daily (its estimated 34% of men and 27% of women don’t get enough) .
- It’s difficult to obtain adequate levels from food (acerola cherries and red peppers are the highest natural sources).
- It is recommended to get about 500mg-1g per day, and you can take up to several grams a day with no toxic effects (space out the doses though to avoid diarrhea).
- Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division .
- Zinc supplementation has also shown to help increase levels of Vitamin A in the body, indicating an interaction between these two nutrients.
- Researchers have hypothesized that zinc could reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms by directly inhibiting rhinovirus binding and replication in the nasal mucosa and suppressing inflammation .
- Dietary sources of zinc are best absorbed from red meat, organ meats, and shellfish. The reason that we do not absorb zinc from plant-based sources is because it is bound to phytates and makes it harder for our body to obtain the benefits.
- Elderberry Fruit Extract
- Elderberry is one of the most effective botanicals for strengthening immune function and preventing colds and flus.
- Specific research was done on Influenza A and B viruses and the group who received elderberry recovered 4 days faster than the group who received a placebo. 
- Elderberry is both a safe and cost-effective way to combat the germs we face.
- Copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for survival. It is found in all body tissues and plays a role in making red blood cells and maintaining nerve cells and the immune system .
- It also helps the body form collagen and absorb iron, and plays a role in energy production.
- NAC (N-acetylcysteine)
- N-acetylcysteine is the supplemental form of cysteine, which is an essential amino acid which works as an antioxidant in the body and also is extremely important in Phase 2 detoxification of the liver.
- Cysteine also plays an important role in the communication between our immune system cells.
- Lastly, cysteine is used to help create glutathione, which is another very important antioxidant in the body.
- You can find cysteine in broccoli, brussel sprouts, egg yolks, garlic, onion, oats, poultry, wheat germ, and yeast - BUT it is important to note that those with Vitamin B deficiencies (one of the most common deficiencies) can lead to a deficiency in cysteine.
- Plays an immunoregulatory role in the body and many people do not get enough Vitamin D in their day from food or from sunlight.
- If you have high levels of inflammation (auto-immune, obesity, or cancer), then your ability to convert sunlight to Vitamin D is decreased.
So there is quite a bit that goes into supporting our immune system! Which is why we wanted to make it easy for you to get ALL of this in a simple form so that you don’t have to have a crazy checklist of foods to eat daily.
Like we said, we know most people aren’t regularly including shellfish, organ meats, and cherries in your daily intake. This is why we created our supplements to help you understand what you need, reduce the effort needed, and still get all the great benefits!
Rather than taking SIX different supplements to get those top nutrients to help support your immunity, we’ve got you covered with just two amazing products!
Our IMMUNITY product includes all of the best quality and most absorbable forms of Vitamin C, Zinc, Elderberry Fruit Extract, Copper, and NAC in one simple capsule to help get you what you need to make your immune system bulletproof. This product launches on May 28th!!
And our Vitamin D3 should be a staple for most, especially through the cold months, or if you are aware of any systemic inflammation caused by auto-immune conditions, or other inflammatory diseases.
Brittany Risher (2020)The Truth About ‘Boosting Your Immunity’,Available at:https://thepapergown.zocdoc.com/the-truth-about-boosting-your-immunity/ (Accessed: 15th May 2020).
Ignacio Perez-Pozuelo, Bing Zhai, Joao Palotti, Raghvendra Mall, Michaël Aupetit, Juan M. Garcia-Gomez, Shahrad Taheri, Yu Guan, Luis Fernandez-Luque (2020) 'The future of sleep health: a data-driven revolution in sleep science and medicine',NPJ Digit Med,3(42)
Am J Public Health. 2004 May; 94(5): 870–875. doi:10.2105/ajph.94.5.870 Vitamin C Deficiency and Depletion in the United States: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 to 1994 Jeffrey S Hampl, PhD, RD,Christopher A. Taylor, PhD, RD, andCarol S. Johnston, PhD, RD
Prasad AS. Zinc: an overview. Nutrition 1995;11:93-9. [PubMed abstract]
Hulisz D. Efficacy of zinc against common cold viruses: an overview. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2004;44:594-603. [PubMed abstract]
J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. Zakay-Rones Z1,Thom E,Wollan T,Wadstein J. Copper. (2015, January 2) http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/copper