The body’s immune system is its way of protecting and defending against potential threats and infections. The immune system detects and responds to antigens, which are usually in the form of proteins found on the surface of bacteria, fungi, viruses and normal cells. Synthetic antigens are also present in foreign bodies, toxins, chemicals and drugs in the human organism.
Your immune system is constantly fighting disease-causing microorganisms, and for the most part it manages to defend against them without you even realizing. But occasionally it fails and you become sick from the successful invasion of a germ.
Fortunately, there are ways to intervene and give your immune system a boost so it can fight bacteria and other invaders more effectively. Some people turn straight to pharmaceuticals when they feel ill, but others prefer to take a natural approach with vitamins and supplements to boost immunity.
Natural ways to improve immunity
Certain natural supplements can boost immunity and counter the effects of illness while our bodies fight back:
Garlic: Tests have shown that garlic has the ability to stop infections, especially when fighting against viruses, fungi and bacteria.
Ginseng: The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is encouraging more research on the effects of ginseng but a few studies have already documented its immunity-boosting properties.
Echinacea: This supplement can give you an energy boost when you most need it.
Probiotics: Our bodies produce probiotics in our intestines, and these help increase the production of T-cells, which are essential for immunity.
There are also various vitamins and minerals which play an important part in keeping the body’s immune system functioning well:
Vitamin A: Vitamin A encourages production of T-cells, B-cells and cytokines, all of which are needed to keep infections at bay. It also helps maintain mucosal areas and reduce the risk of infection.
Vitamin B2: Lab tests have shown that this vitamin increases the body’s resistance to bacterial infections.
Vitamin B6: Studies have linked vitamin B6 with the production of T-cells and B-cells. However, it’s wise to take a moderate dose since higher levels may lead to tumor growth.
Vitamin D: Exposure to natural sunlight gives us a dose of vitamin D, and it has long been known that this vitamin helps fight tuberculosis. Claims that it boosts immunity in other areas still need more research.
Vitamin E: An increased dosage of vitamin E for patients aged 65 and over has been shown to increase production of the antibodies which protect against tetanus and hepatitis B.
Selenium: Various studies are currently underway to examine the links between low selenium levels and an increased risk of cancer of the prostate, rectum, bladder, colon and lung.
Zinc: T-cells can’t function properly without enough zinc, so it’s an essential part of your immune system. However, keep to the recommended daily dose of 15-25mg as exceeding this may actually weaken your immune response.
If you want to increase your body’s natural immunity you can pick up any of these supplements at OTCDeal’s online store. View our full range of immunity-boosting vitamins and supplements here.