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Published on April 2, 2020

Best 7 Supplements to Boost Immune System

Best 7 Supplements to Boost Immune System

As you are likely well aware, keeping your immune system in optimal condition is now more important than ever.

Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain a healthy immune system. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals should be a top priority, along with regular exercise and plenty of sleep.

But it is not always possible to eat perfectly every day, especially if you have a busy schedule. This is where dietary supplements can come in handy. There are plenty of supplements to boost the immune system, from probiotics for your gut microbiome to zinc for proper DNA replication.

And if you are confused about which supplements to choose, do not fret – we have compiled a list of the top 7 supplements to boost your immune system.

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that support the health of the bacteria already living in your gut. Aside from helping your body digest and absorb nutrients from food, they also help ‘crowd out’ harmful bacteria and yeasts. Probiotics also help your body to absorb important vitamins and minerals.

Your gut microbiome plays a major role in the health of your immune system. In fact, up to 70 percent of your immune system cells are located in the walls of your gut.

Research has shown that probiotics can help promote the production of bacteriocins (bacteria-killing agents) and short-chain fatty acids, lower gut pH, and compete for binding sites on the cells of the gut lining. All of these measures prevent harmful bacteria from establishing themselves in your body.

More importantly, taking probiotics has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of upper respiratory infection and flu-like symptoms when a patient’s temperature is higher than 38 °C.[1]

Boosting your immune system should begin with supporting your gut microbiome. As Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut” – which means that if your gut isn’t healthy, neither are you.

My favorite immune-supportive probiotic is from Balance One. It’s made with a patented time-release technology called BIO-tract, which gets the probiotic bacteria safely past stomach acid and into your gut. These tablets deliver 15 times more bacteria to your gut than regular probiotics in vegetable capsules. This supplement also contains 12 probiotic strains and 15 billion CFUs of probiotic bacteria.

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    Learn more about Balance One.

    2. Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is one of the most well-known vitamins, but few people realize how vital it really is. It’s an essential micronutrient and potent antioxidant. Vitamin C is crucial for proper immune function, contributing to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems.

    Vitamin C can accumulate in phagocytic cells, such as neutrophils, where it can perform several important immune activities. It is involved in chemotaxis (the movement of important microorganisms) and phagocytosis, which essentially means that it helps to remove harmful pathogens and cell debris from your body.

    Vitamin C also has a role in killing harmful microbes. It has also been found to enhance differentiation and proliferation of B- and T-cells, which can significantly improve overall immune defenses. Supplementation with vitamin C can help in both preventing and treating respiratory and systemic infections.[2]

    Vitamin C has been demonstrated to reduce the length and severity of the common cold.

    An excellent source of Vitamin C is Life Extension Vitamin C with Bio Quercetin Phytosome. This immune-booster delivers 1000mg of vitamin C and quercetin encased in a plant-derived phytosome delivery system to boost bioavailability.

      Learn more about Life Extension Vitamin C with Bio Quercetin Phytosome.

      3. Cod Liver Oil

      Cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamins A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids. It not only provides important nutrients for your cells and bones but for your immune system, too.

      Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system, bone growth, eye health, and cellular growth. It is also an important antioxidant that helps ward off harmful free radicals that can damage your cells.

      Vitamin D is vital for the healthy function of your immune system cells. In fact, the high content of vitamin D in cod liver oil was the reason it was originally used to treat tuberculosis. More recently, in-vitro studies have suggested that vitamin D in cod liver oil plays an important part in activating human macrophages in the defense system, helping ward off serious diseases including mycobacterium tuberculosis.[3]

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      At the same time, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in cod liver oil demonstrate powerful anti-inflammatory effects while also supporting cellular growth and repair.

      Check out Nordic Natural Arctic Optimal Wellness Cod Liver Oil, which is made from fresh, omega-3-rich fish caught in clean waters.

        Learn more about Nordic Natural Arctic Optimal Wellness Cod Liver Oil.

        4. Garlic

        Garlic is one of the greatest natural immune-boosters on earth. It is not only proven to help reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, but it is also great for warding off the pathogens that cause colds and flu.

        One of garlic’s most important antifungal agents is ajoene, an organosulfur compound that has been shown to kill off a variety of fungal and bacterial infections. Ajoene is formed from a compound named allicin and an enzyme named alliinase. When garlic is chopped or crushed, allicin and alliinase come together to form ajoene, the powerful antimicrobial agent.

        These compounds work alongside garlic’s other powerful antioxidants to fight off infection and support the immune system. A study by the University of Florida found that taking aged garlic helped participants reduce the severity of their cold and flu symptoms, as well as shortening the duration of those symptoms.[4]

        Aged garlic has also been found to support digestion and detoxification while reducing inflammation.

        Kyolic Original Garlic is made from organically-grown garlic that has been aged up to 20 months. This optimizes its nutritional content and reduces its pungent odor while also being easier on the digestive system.

          Learn more about Kyolic Original Garlic.

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          5. Vitamin D

          Because the vitamin D receptor is expressed on your immune cells, vitamin D supplements boost your immune system function. Studies have shown that they can improve the response of your innate and adaptive immune systems, which helps to protect your body from invading pathogens.

          In fact, Vitamin D was used to treat infections such as tuberculosis before the advent of effective antibiotics.

          Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to autoimmune diseases. Low levels of vitamin D are not the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease, but low levels of vitamin D can make autoimmune disease states worse.

          Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with a higher risk of infections. In 2010, the National Institute of Health warned that low vitamin D levels can predispose you to frequent colds and influenza.[5]

          A good choice for your vitamin D supplement is Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3, which provides 1000IU; the amount recommended for maintaining maintain optimal blood levels. It is free from artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives and comes in easy-to-swallow soft-gels.

            Learn more about Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3.

            6. Oil of Oregano

            Oregano oil contains several healing compounds including carvacrol, thymol, and terpinene. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory problems for centuries and can also be an effective way to shorten and reduce cold and flu symptoms.

            A study by the University of West England found that oregano’s active ingredient carvacrol was a more effective antimicrobial than 18 different pharmaceutical drugs. The study showed that even a small amount of carvacrol was enough to sterilize septic water, kill giardia and treat fungal infections.[6]

            The researchers concluded that oregano’s ability to kill microbes was even more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics such as streptomycin and penicillin. This can help you to maintain a healthy gut microbiome as well as support overall immune function.

            Oregano oil has been shown to inhibit the growth of clinical strains of serious bacteria such as E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, even when the bacteria had developed different patterns of resistance. This action is likely due to carvacrol, one of the main compounds in oregano oil.

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            Look for Gaia Herbs Oregano Liquid Capsules, an herbal immune support supplement that is made only with non-GMO ingredients that are rigorously purity-tested.

              Learn more about Gaia Herbs Oregano Liquid Capsules.

              7. Zinc

              Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for healthy immune function. It plays a role in several aspects of the immune system, from your skin to the way your lymphocytes work. It is also required for the healing of wounds. It helps your body metabolize many important vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients required for everyday health.

              Zinc is vital for the healthy development and function of your immune cells, including neutrophils and natural killer cells. People who are deficient in zinc may suffer poor immune function, particularly when it comes to T lymphocytes, cytokine production, and B lymphocyte help. Low zinc levels may also impair the development of B lymphocytes and antibody production.

              Some studies have shown that zinc lozenges may reduce the duration of a cold by up around 1-2 days. Other zinc supplements may also reduce the number of upper respiratory infections in children.[7]

              More importantly, zinc has major roles in basic cellular functions such as DNA replication, RNA transcription, cell division, and cell activation. Zinc is also an important antioxidant and helps to stabilize membranes.

              You cannot go wrong with Pure Encapsulations Zinc Picolinate – a hypoallergenic, research-based dietary supplement that is bioavailable and generally very well-tolerated.

                Learn more about Pure Encapsulations Zinc Picolinate.

                More Supplements for a Healthier Body

                Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Prospective study of probiotic supplementation results in immune stimulation and improvement of upper respiratory infection rate
                [2] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Vitamin C and Infections
                [3] Science Direct: Cod Liver Oil
                [4] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds
                [5] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Vitamin D Deficiency- An Ignored Epidemic
                [6] The Telegraph: Oregano could help eradicate MRSA superbug
                [7] National Institute of Health: Zinc

                More by this author

                Lisa Richards

                Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

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                Last Updated on June 2, 2020

                8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

                Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

                Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important”.

                1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

                It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

                But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

                Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

                Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

                “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

                And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

                Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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                So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

                2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

                Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

                You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

                Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

                Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

                So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

                3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

                A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

                But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

                Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

                Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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                So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

                4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

                This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

                Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

                What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

                This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

                If you want to learn about some of the golden rules for goal setting that will help you set and achieve your goals successfully check out this article: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

                So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

                5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

                This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

                What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

                The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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                Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

                So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

                6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

                Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

                For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

                A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

                Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

                So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

                7. Goals Make You Feel Good

                Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

                Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

                Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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                If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

                So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

                8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

                I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

                Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

                Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

                There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

                Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

                So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest!

                Final Thoughts

                These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

                If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

                Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

                More Tips About Goals Setting

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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