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The human body is a collection of multiple organs and systems. All work together in unison to make it a success. Among these systems, the immune system is the most important and the most critical for human survival. This is the system in our bodies that fights off disease-causing pathogens and other microbes, bacteria, and viruses. The stronger the immune system, the better a person can ward off diseases and can stay healthy.
The overall health and wellbeing of the body are dependent on the immune system whereas there are certain factors upon which the health of immune is premised. Certain ways and means are using which the optimum function and strength of the immune system can be improved. In this post, we'll look into essential supplements to help boost your immune system.
What is the Immune System?
We have always heard about immunity and the immune system, but most of us have no idea what is meant by the human immune system and where it is located in our bodies. Therefore it would be wise to talk first about the immune system itself.
The simplest way of the understanding the immune system is to consider it as a force that exists in our bodies. This force is housed in our blood and consists of a special type of blood cells. These particular cells are called white blood cells. These cells constitute human immunity as they fight foreign microbes, bacteria, and viruses. The system performs all the immunity-related functions and is the first line of defense against the foreign microbes. The stronger the force of these white blood cells, the stronger would be the humans. The weaker these cells, the weaker would be the immunity, and hence the human would be susceptible to fall prey to various diseases. There are two types of white blood cells: White blood cells can either be innate immune cells or adaptive immune cells.
Immune System Boosting Supplements
Before jumping into the list, keep in mind that HaskaPower offers all these vitamins and more nutrients in a single tablet. Learn more about HaskaPower Immunity & HaskaPower Immunity Plus supplements.
Vitamin B6 is one of the eight vitamins in the Vitamin B complex. Vitamin B6 is associated with boosting human immunity and a deficiency of this vitamin in the body makes us vulnerable to fall prey to disease, bacteria, and viruses. The major dietary requirements of Vitamin B6 are taken in from the food that we eat. But some people also develop a chronic deficiency of this essential vitamin and resultantly it compromises their immune activity.
Our body needs Vitamin B to make cells of our immune system. A deficiency in Vitamin C is associated with the reduced production of white blood cells, including T cells. These are the very cells that regulate immune responses in the body. Vitamin B6 is associated with helping the body make a protein called Interleukin-2 which is directly responsible for the function of white blood cells. People with autoimmune disorders, a disease in which the cells in the immune system turn against itself, report increased destruction of Vitamin B6 and that necessitates the intake of this Vitamin.
Having established the fact that Vitamin B6 is a component in the formation of white blood cells and T cells, let’s look at the other important functions performed by Vitamin C in the body. There are multiple enzymes in the body and they perform dedicated tasks. Vitamin B6 acts as a cofactor for various enzymes that stimulates their activity and helps them actively perform their respective functions. Vitamin B6 regulates the levels of Homocysteine, an amino acid present in the blood, the higher levels of which are associated with heart diseases. The body needs Vitamin B6 to absorb Vitamin B12 and then the latter can perform its respective functions after it is available in the body.
Vitamin B6 helps the body to make several neurotransmitters like serotonin. These are the chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another. Building upon this, Vitamin B6 helps to improve immune response to the production of antibodies that lock and destroy the invading microbes.
Hence Vitamin B6 supplements are very important for optimizing the immune system.
No supplement boosts our immunity more than Vitamin C. This vitamin is involved in many immunity-related functions. These include a very long list and are described here only briefly. Vitamin C is the active component of the white blood cells. White blood cells have reported higher levels of Vitamin C, 80 percent higher than their concentration in blood plasma. This vitamin signals the production of interferons in the body whenever a pathogen is detected by it. Interferon signals the cells to initiate protective cellular defenses against the invading foreign microbe. Vitamin C enhances the production of B – Lymphocytes and T – Lymphocytes, both of which are different white blood cells that lock and attack the invading microbes.
Vitamin C helps Phagocytes to function better. Phagocytes are the soldiers in our immune system that surround and attack the microbes once they are identified. Later the microbes are neutralized by the action of enzymes. Vitamin C helps in cellular communication between the cells of the immune system. It increases the production of Cytokines which are communication proteins and transmit information to other cells and helps the immune system coordinate its responses. Vitamin C improves the longevity of white blood cells.
Many other functions are being performed in the body by this versatile vitamin and are helping in the defenses and strengthening of the body. Vitamin C supplements must be included in any diet that needs to target the immune system for increased efficiency.
Vitamin D, sometimes also called the sunshine vitamin, is another necessary supplement that should be focused on boosting the efficiency of the immune system. Our body produces Vitamin D whenever it is exposed to the sunlight but there are other sources of this essential vitamin as well. In countries where winters are harsh and the sunlight is scarce, people develop a deficiency of this essential vitamin and this deficiency compromises the activity of their immune system.
Vitamin D has an established role in the immunity of the human body. The white blood cells have vitamin D receptors and activating enzymes. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with autoimmune diseases. A deficiency of Vitamin D does not itself activates autoimmune diseases but it can make these symptoms worse.
A deficiency of Vitamin D is associated with frequent infections such as common cold and influenza attacks multiply particularly in the winter season. Vitamin D has been known to maintain a balance in the functioning of the immune system.
Hence, Vitamin D supplements should be considered for boosting the immune system.
Selenium supplements are very essential for immune function. Selenium plays a major role in immune activity. It contains powerful antioxidants that help the body overcome oxidative stress while also play an active role in reducing inflammation and body stress. Inflammation is a direct response of the body against any imbalance in the equilibrium of free radicals and antioxidants. When there are several free radicals in the body, produced by any activity, these radicals harm the delicate organs and their functions and cause benign to chronic inflammations. But if your diet contains selenium, these free radicals would be neutralized and the overall functioning of the body would improve.
Some studies also show that higher levels of selenium in the blood are associated with increased immune efficiency. Other studies have found that lower selenium levels increase the risk of hospitalization, intensive care, and death in HIV patients. Selenium supplements strengthen the immune system in people with influenza, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C.
|Supplement||Best Dietary Sources|
|Vitamin B6||Sirloin steak, Skinless chicken breast, Skinless Turkey Breast, Banana, Baked Potato with skin, Avocado, Sweet red pepper slices|
|Vitamin C||Kakadu Plums, Guavas, Lemons, Lychees, Papayas, Strawberries, Oranges, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli|
|Vitamin D||Salmon, Sardines, Egg yolk, Shrimp, Milk, Cereal, Yoghurt|
|Selenium||Haskap Berries, Oysters, Brazil Nuts, Yellowfin Tuna, Eggs, Sardines, Sunflower Seeds, Chicken Breast, Shiitake Mushrooms|
The Immune System is the most important system in the body upon which it depends on the overall health and resistance to myriad diseases. The health of the immune system should be the prime focus of any diet or dietary supplement. A healthy diet and exercise keeps the body healthy and fulfills all the lost vitamins and minerals. But the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream depends also upon age and other factors and therefore a dedicated action is required to keep the immune system healthy.