While it’s true that eating a healthy, balanced diet can meet most of your body’s vitamin and mineral needs, there are times when your immune system could use some extra help. Stressful periods at work, inadequate or interrupted sleep, depression, lack of exercise, smoking, or even just eating too much sugar — any of these situations can take a toll on your immune health and hamper your body’s ability to fight off disease.
Thankfully, nutritional supplements can help give our immune systems an extra boost when we need it.
Who Should Take Supplements
In addition to folks living with chronic stress or other lifestyle-related immune inhibiting factors, a recent Mayo Clinic article suggests that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, adults over 50 years old, vegans and vegetarians, and people with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications can all benefit from supplementation.
Invest Wisely: Get Proof of Potency and Quality
With so many bottles lined up along the shelf, it can be difficult for a consumer to know whether a particular brand of supplement is of good quality … or whether it actually contains the amount of ingredients stated on the label.
To ensure that you’re getting what you pay for when purchasing supplements, look for the words “third party tested” or “potency guaranteed” printed on the bottle. These phrases indicate that an independent third-party lab has tested the product for purity, ingredients, strength and quality.
At Apollo Chiropractic, we recommend USANA® supplements because they are third party tested and we have found the product quality to be outstanding.
Immune Boosting Superstars
A healthy immune system helps to ward off invaders like bad bacteria, viruses and even rogue cancer cells. But as we’ve discussed, stress and other lifestyle factors can inhibit or sidetrack your immune system and prevent it from functioning at its best.
Below are our top 7 recommended supplements to help give your immune system the support and protection it needs.
#1. Vitamin E
A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E helps the body fight off infection by protecting T cell membranes from damage, so they can multiply and successfully fend off viral infections.
#2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids appear to have a regulatory effect on the immune system, although as recently as last year, researchers have yet to figure out exactly how and why. Regardless, what we do know is that DHA-rich fish oil enhances the activity of B cells, a specific type of white blood cell which helps to support the immune system.
#3. USANA Booster C 600™
Formulated as a delectable, lemon-berry flavored powder, USANA Booster C 600 supplies a powerful blend of ingredients shown to support immune defense, including:
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is necessary for the development and function of many white blood cells (leucocytes), which protect the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. Even a slight deficiency in vitamin C can make you more susceptible to illness.
When taken at the first sign of illness, zinc effectively pumps the brake on your immune system and prevents it from overreacting. In this way, it reduces excess inflammation that can be potentially deadly. It’s best absorbed when taken in the form of zinc amino acid chelate.
- Black Elderberry
Like zinc, black elderberry works best when taken at the first stage of a cold or flu. Studies performed by the National Institutes of Health confirm that black elderberry is an effective all-natural antiviral that is proven to shorten the length and duration of sickness.
Studies have not conclusively proven whether Echinacea helps in preventing colds, but research does show that Echinacea successfully increases the number of white blood cells, which fight infections throughout the body.
#4. USANA Probiotic
With 80% of your body’s immune cells living in your gut, probiotics are often your first line of defense against illness. Probiotics stimulate the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut and also boost the number of immune cells located in the mucous membranes of the intestines.
Made with a whopping 12 billion colony-forming bacteria per serving, USANA Probiotic is a carefully selected blend of probiotic bacteria that can survive the harsh environment of your stomach.
#5. USANA Proglucamune®
Combining antioxidant-rich, organic reishi and shiitake mushroom extracts and a unique strain of baker’s yeast, USANA Proglucamune stimulates your cells’ natural protective responses to help them successfully fend off attacks from cell-damaging free radicals. Also includes zinc to support healthy signaling between your immune cells.
#6. USANA Vitamin D
You may be under the misconception that vitamin D only affects bone health, but the truth is, vitamin D works throughout your body by helping to regulate immune system cells and controlling your body’s immune response by optimizing inter-cellular communication.
USANA Vitamin D provides 50 mcg (2000 IU) of vitamin D per tablet—more than four times the amount of the current recommendation. It’s also high in vitamin K2, an important nutrient for cardiovascular health.
#7. USANA Proflavanol® C 100
This immune boosting formula combines premium Grape Seed Extract (GSE) — a broad-spectrum antioxidant with antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties — with concentrated bioflavonoids and Vitamin C.
This potent combination in USANA Proflavanol C 100 has the power to:
- Neutralize free radicals
- Support cardiovascular and circulatory health by helping to retain healthy, normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Help maintain strong veins, blood vessels, and capillaries
- Support balanced immune function
- Help maintain joint, muscle, and skin health
When to Take Supplements
In general, most supplements are more easily absorbed by the body when taken with food … with a few notable exceptions.
The following supplements actually work better when taken on an empty stomach:
- B-12 (if taking it as a solo supplement)
*If at all possible, avoid taking both zinc and iron at the same time because they compete for absorption. Space them out by taking one in the morning and the other at night.
When taking vitamins and minerals along with your meal, it’s important to know whether your supplement is water-soluble or fat-soluble. Water-soluble supplements like Vitamin C, calcium and potassium can be taken with any type of food, but multivitamins and Vitamin D absorb better when combined with naturally fatty foods like avocado or fish.
Not sure where to start? Apollo Chiropractic is an official USANA distributor. If you’re interested in learning more or trying USANA supplements, contact us today to set up a free consultation with Dr. Eric.