With winter comes the sniffles. Cold weather has a way of dampening down our immune systems in such a way that allows these nasty little buggers to gain a foothold.
Taking steps such as getting the vaccinated against influenza, using anti-viral medicines, and constantly washing your hands are all great tips for avoiding the flu. Taking measures to help support and strengthen the immune system is important as well.
Dietary supplements aren’t miracles. Don’t ever expect them to offer the same ability to treat an acute condition as prescription medication. Where they shine is their ability to help our bodies’ natural defenses stay as strong as possible. You can still get sick despite taking all the immune-boosting supplements you can find. To narrow down the hunt we’ve compiled a short list of the best immune system supplements out there.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant compound that can help repair damage caused by infections. Science suggests that this compound can accurately predict the progression of certain diseases and negative health conditions. In other words, lower Vitamin C levels equate to worse health (at least in many cases.) The ideal range of Vitamin C to maintain in one’s body is 60-80mmol/L.
Astragalus is an herbal remedy having been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s attributed to boosting white blood cell production, increases growth hormone production, and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This compound is found in many immune-boosting blends and is also available as an herbal tea.
L-Lysine is an essential amino acid found in high concentrations among foods such as meat and fish. It’s used by our bodies for a myriad of purposes but plays a pivotal role in the production of white blood cells and immune responses. L-Lysine is commonly recommended for those with viral infections such as Epstein Barr but also serves as a general-purpose immune system booster.
Mushrooms have been realized to contain many immune-boosting compounds. This wide-range of fungal species have become a focal point of modern research into preventing and treating chronic diseases. Reishi, in particular, has shown the ability to modulate the immune system. That means boosting it when you need a boost and calming things down when you don’t (like in autoimmune reactions.)
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
The family of B-Vitamins is renowned for offering immune support. Vitamin B5 is among the most important to supporting robust immune responses to viral and bacterial infections. This compound is commonly-available in the Calcium Pantothenate form, sold in most health food stores and online supplement retail websites.
Quality Supplement Brands
So now that we’ve helped better elucidate which supplements can help boost the immune system let’s consider which brands are the best. All supplements should not be considered of equal quality (or even comprable quality in some cases).
The FDA offers guidelines for manufacturers to follow to ensure consumer safety and trust. These are called the Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) guidelines. These “guidelines” define how supplements are produced, checked for potency, and safeguarded against contaminants like bacteria and heavy metals.
Many brands, especially store brands, have been discovered to contain contaminants, inefficacious ingredients (spoiled), or to be flat-out mislabeled. Imagine, buying a Vitamin C supplement only to find out it contains nothing more than rice powder—it happens.
The Best Vitamin & Supplement Brands
There are several companies that are considered to offer trustworthy and potent supplements. They’re GMP compliant but they also go above what is legally required and assert their products to be free of GMOs, unnecessary fillers, and to contain only ingredients listed on the label. Below is a list of some of the highest quality vitamin and supplements on the market. For a full list, check out the OrganicNewsroom’s article The Best Supplement Brands: A Buyer’s Guide and Review:
- Thorne Research
- Pure Encapsulations
- Standard Process
- Klaire Labs
- Biotics Research
Winter Time Wishes
Winter can seem to last forever. Nothing makes the time move by slower than being sick. Headaches, nausea, upset stomach and … sore muscles (fooled you yeah?) are all part of the package when hit with a cold. The vitamins and supplements listed here can help stave off the common cold as well as other infections such as the flu. Make sure you only buy from the best supplement brands to ensure that you’re not wasting your money!