As the weather gets colder, cases of cold, flu, COVID, and RSV increase significantly. People tend to spend more time indoors in closer contact with one another, making it easier for viruses to pass from one person to another. A great way to protect yourself from catching these respiratory illnesses is boosting your immune system so it can fight off viruses and other pathogens. Here are four vitamins and supplements you can take to support your immune health so your body can stay healthy this season.
1. Vitamin C
You’ve likely already heard that vitamin C can boost immune health. Research suggests that people who do not consume enough vitamin C are more prone to getting sick. That’s because this vitamin plays an essential role in immune health. Vitamin C supports the function of immune cells and acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect your body against oxidative stress, which can have a negative effect on immune health. Taking sufficient amounts of vitamin C before getting sick has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of respiratory illnesses, including cold and flu. Many individuals do not consume enough vitamin C in their diets, so it’s often necessary to take vitamin C supplements to reap these benefits.
Zinc is a mineral that is vital for immune health. This mineral acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in the body. Zinc plays a role in immune cell development and communication and also protects tissue barriers to help prevent foreign pathogens from entering the body. If you don’t consume a sufficient amount of zinc, your immune system will not be able to function properly to fight infection and disease. Research suggests that supplementing with zinc may even help reduce the duration of respiratory illnesses like the common cold.
3. Vitamin B6
B vitamins, especially vitamin B6, are very important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin B6 supports the biochemical reactions in your immune system. This essential vitamin helps your body produce white blood cells and T-cells, which fight off pathogens like viruses and bacteria that have invaded your body. Not consuming enough vitamin B6 can negatively affect immune health, so it’s important to make sure your body is getting the amount it needs. It may be necessary to take B6 complex supplements to maintain a healthy immune system.
4. Vitamin D
If you want to improve your immune health, you may want to increase your intake of vitamin D. This vitamin enhances the efficiency of white blood cells as they defend your body against pathogens. Vitamin D also helps promote immune response by decreasing inflammation. Vitamin D deficiency is common, and low levels of this vitamin are associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections. Research suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may improve immune response and help protect against respiratory infections like cold and flu. Studies also suggest that vitamin D supplements may improve the body’s response to antiviral treatments.
More Ways to Support Immune Health
These are some of the best vitamins and supplements that you can take to help improve your immune health and protect your body from getting sick. However, staying healthy involves more than just taking vitamins and supplements. Take a look at these tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season to further support your immune health and help you avoid getting sick from respiratory illnesses.