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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 October 20, 2020

                How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                • (1) Research
                • (2) Deciding the topic
                • (3) Creating the outline
                • (4) Drafting the content
                • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                • (6) Revision
                • (7) etc.

                Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                2. Change Your Environment

                Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                6. Get a Buddy

                Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                Reality check:

                I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

                More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

                Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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