With winter in full swing, that means we are also smack dab in the midst of cold and flu season. Even though you can get sick virtually any given month of the year, it is in the colder months we always see a spike. With that said, it is the perfect time to provide you with our Top 5 Immune Support Supplement list.
But not so fast! Before we get to the list, I think it is really important that you also understand how your diet and gut health also play a part in the bigger picture here. Our diets can help or hinder our overall health, including our body’s immune response to colds and flu. Same for our gut health. Depending on the source, it is believed that 60-80% of our immune system comes out of our gut health. In other words, the better your gut health, the better your immune system will be! I bring up diet and gut health so you can see that on the natural path to well being, there is more to it than just than just popping some herbs or vitamins. Herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc. are great SUPPLEMENTS, meaning they should be SUPPLEMENTING a good rounded wholesome diet and gut health, respectively! So, before we get to the immune supplements, here are some quick tips for your diet and gut health:
Diet and Gut Health Tips:
- Drink plenty of water every day (at least 64 oz.)
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (five to ten servings/day)
- Make sure and limit dairy, sugars, and alcohol (these inflame our bodies and compromise our immune systems)
- Get on a good probiotic and take it daily
- I'd recommend at least 10-15 strain and 25-50 billion cultures
- Both refrigerated or shelf-stable, respectively, are great
- Don’t forget to get some daily fitness/activity – even a brisk 20 minute walk is helpful!
Ok, let’s get to the natural supplements list!
Top Five Natural Immune Support Supplements
1. Elderberry: The common name is Sambucus nigra. The tree is native to Europe but is grown in many parts of the world today. Has been used for thousands of years as a health supplement. The entire plant has health benefits but for this article we are just going to focus on the actual berry. Elderberries are high in Vitamin C, flavanonols, phenolic acids and dietary fiber. Study after study have demonstrated that elderberries provide tremendous immune support to our bodies. They do this in part by increasing our white blood cell counts. Adults should look at dose ranges on the small side of 90-250 mg range. Larger doses are in the 500 mg to 1000 mg range.
2. Vitamin C: Our bodies can’t produce Vitamin C. It is a water-soluble vitamin found in many fruits and vegetables. Among many other things, Vitamin C is great for immune system support. It does this by encouraging the production of white blood cells. It also helps protect our white blood cells against damage from free radicals. The daily recommended dose for adults is 90 mg to 250 mg but during cold and flu season many people take 1,000 mg a day or more.
3. Vitamin D3: Found in fortified foods and/or supplements, D3 (Cholecalciferol) is an animal-based vitamin. (D2, though not as potent, is a plant-based D). You can get Vitamin D3 from animal-based foods, supplements, or sunlight. This vitamin offers many health benefits, including bone and muscle support, mood support, weight loss support, and immune system support. D3 is a great immune support option and given all the other benefits it offers, make sure you are getting enough of this key supplement! Typical daily dose is in the 1,000 IU to 5,000 IU per day level for adults.
4. Zinc: Plays multiple important roles in our bodies. We do not produce zinc naturally, so it must be obtained in our food or supplements. It is known to provide immune system support and aid metabolism support. Zinc is also very helpful in supporting wound healing. The daily recommended dose for adults is 11 mg. During times of flu spikes, some folks take as high as 25-50 mg per day.
5. Astragalus: a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine herb), Astragalus has been used for centuries and is believed to provide immune support and also provides inflammation support. As such, it is particularly good against fatigue, allergies, and the common cold. Typically, adult daily dose range is 1.5 g – 3 g per day.
Honorable mentions: Echinacea, Cat’s Claw, Andrographis, Propolis and Monolaurin.
We will wrap it up here folks. Make sure and take a look at your diet, watch your gut health and make sure you have one or more of the above supplements on hand! You can make a positive impact on your body’s immune system response!
Thank you for joining us on the natural path to well-being and remember, the best wealth is your health!