Many people take supplements daily to support immunity.
If you walk through any health food store, you’ll see dozens of supplements claiming to boost immunity in various ways.
Unfortunately, not all immune-boosting supplements are made alike. Some supplements contain junk ingredients. Others are glorified multivitamins priced 10x higher than they should cost.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good supplements for immunity, including proven immune boosters backed by genuine scientific evidence.
Today, we’re highlighting some of the best supplements for supporting immunity.
You can find vitamin C in any multivitamin. However, some vitamin C supplements contain a much higher dose of vitamin C to support immunity.
Vitamin C is one of the most proven and popular immune-supporting supplement ingredients available today. People have taken vitamin C supplements for decades to support immunity.
Today, research shows that vitamin C does not actually prevent respiratory illnesses – like the cold. However, studies show that vitamin C could reduce the length of time you’re sick with the cold, flu, and other conditions.
In this Cochrane review, researchers analyzed evidence on vitamin C and immunity. They found people who took vitamin C regularly had 8% to 14% shorter cold and flu symptoms than people who did not get sufficient vitamin C.
Like vitamin C, vitamin D is crucial for immunity. Research has suggested a connection between vitamin D and immunity for decades. Studies show that people who are deficient in vitamin D tend to have weaker immune systems.
Your skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Some people also get vitamin D through food sources – like milk. If you live in a northern climate, then you may need to take a vitamin D supplement during the winter to support immunity during the colder, darker months.
This Cochrane review found that vitamin C reduced the number of colds people caught. The benefits of vitamin D supplementation were particularly powerful for those who were already deficient in the vitamin: it reduced the incidence of colds by half compared to a placebo.
The third and final vitamin on our list, vitamin E has a proven connection to immunity. Research shows that vitamin E can support immunity in all people – but particularly in seniors.
One study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found 200 IU per day of vitamin E supplementation over one year led to a significant reduction in respiratory infections, particularly upper respiratory infections, including common colds.
At any age, vitamin E is crucial for immunity and overall health and wellness. Consider taking a vitamin E supplement or a multivitamin with vitamin E to support immunity.
Zinc is a crucial mineral required for various body functions. Zinc has been used for decades as a natural immune booster, and modern research shows zinc can have a powerful impact on immunity.
This study showed that zinc reduced the risk of pneumonia in older adults, for example. Other studies have shown that zinc can have powerful immune-supporting effects on people who are deficient in zinc to begin with.
Approximately 12% of adults are deficient in zinc, although as many as 40% of elderly people are zinc deficient. If you aren’t getting enough zinc, then consider taking a zinc supplement for immunity.
Probiotic supplements have never been more popular. Studies show probiotic supplements can help with digestion, bloating, and other issues.
However, growing research shows probiotics can also impact immunity. Over half of your immune system resides in your gut. If your gut isn’t functioning normally, then it impacts immunity.
One review study found that probiotics could help reduce the length of a respiratory infection. Other studies show that probiotics could reduce your risk of developing a respiratory infection at all.
More research is needed to verify the effects of probiotics on immunity, although early research is promising.
Elderberry extract is popular in Europe, where it’s been used for centuries to support immunity. Today, recent research has confirmed with many people already knew: elderberry has genuine immune-supporting benefits.
In this 2004 study published in the Journal of International Medical Research, researchers found elderberry extract reduced the duration of flu symptoms in 60 people between ages 18 and 54.
Similarly, this 2020 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that elderberry syrup decreased the duration of influenza symptoms, leading to a better outcome in patients compared to a placebo.
Other studies have found elderberry extract could increase the risk of a cytokine storm – so be sure to talk to your doctor before taking elderberry extract or any other supplement on this list.
By taking supplements to support immunity, you could give your body a better chance to fight infections and illnesses – all while relying on natural vitamins, herbal extracts, and minerals found in any supplement store or grocery store.