Now more than ever, you’re probably thinking about what you can do to support your immune system and specifically searching for supplements to boost immune system. But in your search for a great immune system booster, it’s important to remember that getting proper nutrition and maintaining healthy habits are key to setting the stage for an optimally-functioning immune system. After all, high-quality supplements to boost immune system help to fill nutritional gaps and work with your body to support optimal function, meaning you need to have a solid dietary foundation to get the most out of them.
So, I want to share with you some of my top dietary and lifestyle advice for how to boost your immune system and then discuss the best supplements to boost your immune system so that you can arm yourself through the cold and flu season and even beyond!
4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
During cold and flu season, and especially in anticipation of upcoming holiday gatherings, it’s common for people to wonder how to boost immune system quickly—perhaps even in 24 hours. Here are a few ways you can start reinforcing your natural defenses today!
1. Eat immune boosting foods.
One of the best things you can do to support your immunity is to begin eating foods that boost immune system. Eating foods high in certain vitamins and minerals by consuming plenty of antioxidant-rich plants is a great foundation for a healthy immune system because research has shown time and time again that the state of your immune system is strongly influenced by your consumption of nutrients and antioxidants.
So, if you’re looking “sick-proof” your diet, begin by eating lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Some of my favorite foods that boost immunity include citrus fruits, berries, red peppers, and broccoli—all of which are rich in immune-supporting vitamin C, one of the best vitamins for immune system health because it’s an antioxidant known to increase your resistance to pathogens.
I also recommend consuming plenty of vitamin A (often called the “anti-inflammation vitamin) and beta carotene-rich foods, the latter of which converts to vitamin A in your body, including yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Cod liver oil and eggs are also great vitamin A-rich foods.
Finally, make sure to consume plenty of red superfruits such as cherry, pomegranate, and elderberry (the source of a highly popular immune health-boosting elixir), as they contain a variety of antioxidants including polyphenols, resveratrol, anthocyanins and lycopene.
2. Support your gut health.
If you’re looking for other ways on how to strengthen immune system, consider this: Research has shown that 75 percent of the immune system is comprised of gut flora—the trillions of live microorganisms that live in your gut. These flora not only promote GI function and digestion and help synthesize key vitamins such as vitamin K and biotin, but they’re essential for optimal immunity.
Simply put, when your gut lacks the right balance of healthy bacteria, your ability to fight infections is compromised, leaving you at risk of catching airborne illnesses. Unfortunately, stress and poor diet can disrupt this delicate balance, too. But you can strengthen your natural defenses by eating prebiotic-rich food such as garlic, asparagus, bananas, apples, and even cocoa, all of which feed the good bacteria in your gut, and also taking a quality probiotic supplement. Just make sure to choose one with live, active cultures that are shelf-stable to help repopulate your intestinal flora.
3. Sleep well and stress less.
A top immune system booster is perhaps an obvious one, yet one we often struggle with: getting enough sleep. The truth is that there’s a strong correlation between sleep and the immune system. When you’re at rest, your body produces protein cytokines—an army of antibodies that help combat health invaders. But without adequate, high-quality slumber, your infection-fighting defenses become weakened.
If you couple this with prolonged stress (which is becoming more common by the day), this can leave you even more susceptible to getting sick. Why? Stress often triggers a flood of “fight or flight” chemicals that lower your immunity and even make it more difficult to not only fall asleep but stay asleep!
If you’re having trouble calming your “fight or flight” state before bedtime, consider taking some calming adaptogens, such as ashwagandha, and even performing some deep breathing exercises or meditation shortly before bed. It will help to quiet your mind and body, thereby promoting a state of calm that will make it easier to drift off to sleep.
4. Take Supplements to Boost Immunity.
In case there’s any question in your mind regarding taking supplements to boost immunity, here’s the unabashed truth: No single supplement is designed to replace whole food nutrition or any other healthy habit.
An active, strong immune system is more effective at guarding against—and attacking—destructive bacteria, viruses, and disease-triggering microorganisms. And clinically-backed supplements to boost immune system can be powerful allies because they’re designed to deliver potent ingredients at daily doses that are difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to consume through food alone to experience real benefits. Plus, some of the most potent sources featured in the best supplements to boost immune system are either inedible or unpleasant to eat.
Keep reading to learn about my top five supplements to boost immunity.
The Top 5 Supplements to Boost Immune System
“What supplements should I take to boost my immune system?” It’s a common question that’s not often met with a straightforward answer, so keep reading to get a list of the top supplements to boost immune system and learn why they’re so effective.
Vitamin C is notoriously boasted as one of the vitamins for immune system for adults. And while there’s certainly a place for taking a quality vitamin c supplement, if you’re searching for how to boost immune system naturally, astaxanthin is my top recommended immune system booster.
In fact, I try to give my immune system a little boost every morning by taking astaxanthin, as it's been shown to contain 6,000 times more antioxidants than vitamin C! And this power alone makes it a must-have during the cold and flu season.
I refer to astaxanthin as a “superstar antioxidant,” and it’s known to support everything from skin health to energy while fighting inflammation and supporting immune health. But because it can be hard to get enough astaxanthin in your diet to really reap the benefits, I recommend taking it in supplement form and ensuring you’re getting the full research-based dose of 12 mg to maximize all the health benefits that astaxanthin has to offer.
Another one of my top supplements to boost immune system is quercetin, which is a plant-based flavonoid known to help cool inflammation and support overall health. While it doesn’t get as much “air time” as more well-known nutrients, quercetin has been shown to support gut health as well as help regulate the immune system. In fact, some studies have even shown that taking 1,000 mg of quercetin for eight weeks resulted in a markedly lower incidence of developing an upper respiratory tract infection!
While you can certainly take quercetin alone, I prefer to take it conjunction with vitamin C (we’ll discuss more on that below) because it’s been shown to aid in the absorption of the ascorbic acid in vitamin C. That’s why I recommend my Immunity Boost with Vitamin C, which features the studied dosage of quercetin (1,000 mg daily) along with immune-supporting vitamin c, zinc, selenium, and N-acetyl cysteine, the last of which is known to support both health and respiration.
Another one of the best supplements to boost immune system is the amazing compound resveratrol, which is at the heart of the famous “French Paradox.” Essentially, resveratrol is featured in many of the health-promoting foods that support true health from the inside-out—including everything from the health of your heart, gut, skin, and even your metabolism! And thanks to its inflammation-cooling properties, resveratrol is also known to serve as a great immune system booster, with research showing it actually helps to stimulate the immune system.
Just as with astaxanthin, though, it can be difficult to get enough resveratrol through your diet alone, which is why I recommend consuming the exact therapeutic dosages cited in numerous studies by taking a quality resveratrol supplement. Just remember that when you’re choosing a resveratrol supplement, look for resveratrol-trans for optimal stability and effectiveness.
Turmeric is one of the supplements to boost immune system that I use year-round, mainly due to its vast health benefits. A bright orange spice popularly used in curry dishes, turmeric’s incredible benefits stem from its primary active compound known as curcumin, which promotes skin, joint, digestive, and even respiratory health!
Amazingly, these effects are largely due to curcumin’s inflammation-cooling and antioxidant properties, which are especially profound in your gut. And as we’ve already discussed, having proper gut health with a healthy flora is critical for optimal immune health. You see, curcumin tends to concentrate in your gut and fight the inflammation that can occur there, resulting in improved intestinal barrier function and greater healthy gut bacteria.
If you’re considering including turmeric as one of your preferred supplements to boost immunity, note that turmeric doesn’t remain in an absorbable state beyond one to four hours. As such, I recommend trying Advanced Turmeric Gold to reap maximum benefits because its advanced technology enables the turmeric to remain in your blood for up to 24 hours, making it up to 24 times more bioavailable than other choices. Plus, it’s free of black pepper, which makes it easier on your stomach than many alternatives.
5. Vitamin C
Finally, vitamin C definitely has its place in the top supplements to boost immune system. While astaxanthin is clearly the winner in terms of antioxidant prowess, vitamin C is an essential nutrient for more than 300 metabolic functions in your body, and that includes everything from supporting your immune system to supporting the biosynthesis of collagen (the protein that helps to keep your skin looking supple and youthful).
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C varies from 180 to 270 mg, and while it is certainly possible to get this in your diet each day, there are certain times when you may need some extra support in the form of a supplement. So, if you’re wanting to provide extra immune support or if you’re entering a time when hormonal shifts are more likely to occur and result a greater likelihood of nutritional deficiencies, such as menopause, taking a high-quality vitamin C may help to fill any nutritional gaps you could experience.
Precautions for Supplements to Boost Immunity
As always, speak with your physician before starting any new diet or supplement, especially if you have a preexisting health condition, specific allergies, or are taking prescription medication. While many of the above-listed supplements to boost immune system are generally regarded as safe, it’s always best to exercise caution and review your specific health situation and circumstances with a qualified medical professional.