The Best Supplements for Boosting Your Immune System
If you’ve been feeling stressed out and run-down, you might be looking for the best immune system booster supplements to strengthen immune system function. This article provides detailed, science-based information on which vitamins, minerals, and herbs are the most effective for boosting immune system health in the shortest time possible.
First, it’s crucial to note that while many supplements can assist your body with achieving optimum health, there is no single pill you can take for overnight improvement. In addition, there is no substitute for eating a balanced diet, engaging in physical activity, and getting enough sleep to keep your immune system healthy.
However, enhancing the body’s immunity does require adequate amounts of several essential vitamins and minerals, and sometimes it’s hard to get all you need from diet alone.
To overcome deficiencies in your diet, you can often speed up your immune response by taking vitamin and mineral supplements, but be sure to check with your health care provider before doing this.
Besides vitamin and mineral supplements, there are also several powerful herbs that research-based evidence confirms have healing potential for strengthening immunity and fighting harmful bacteria and viruses. Read on to find out what they are.
5 Essential Vitamins for Boosting Immune System Function
The best natural source of vitamins and other nutrients is a balanced diet. However, our bodies can sometimes benefit from getting higher levels of critical nutrients, especially for stimulating the immune response.
The vitamins with the most scientific research backing their ability to boost immune function are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
Vitamin C is at the top of the list for its ability to support the immune system in doing its crucial job. Vitamin C plays multiple roles in good health, including:
- Removing damaged cells from the body
- Providing antioxidant chemicals that fight free-radical damage
- Keeping the skin healthy, providing the first line of the body’s defense against infection
- Reducing the severity of upper respiratory infection
Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and broccoli. However, if you want to give your immune system a quick boost, taking a vitamin C supplement can be an effective way to do this.  The maximum recommended dose of vitamin C is 2,000 mg. per day. 
Our bodies do not store excess vitamin C, and any amount that the body cannot absorb flushes out through the bowels. So if you take a vitamin C dietary supplement and it leads to diarrhea or stomach aches, you’re taking too much. Reduce the dose until these symptoms go away.
Many people have low vitamin D levels, and this nutrient is crucial for optimum immune system function. For example, adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of respiratory illness and infection. 
Our bodies store vitamin D, so it is possible to get too much of this nutrient from dietary supplements and high vitamin D foods, so caution is advised when supplementing with this nutrient. The recommended daily intake for people between the ages of 1 and 70 is 600 IU. 
If you think you need a vitamin D dietary supplement, consider getting a blood test to determine whether or not your levels are low. Also, talk to your health care provider first to make sure you take the proper form and the correct amount.
One of the best sources of vitamin D is from exposing the skin to intense sunlight. If you live below the 40th parallel, getting out into the sun for 10 to 20 minutes at midday during late spring, summer, and early fall is an excellent method of boosting vitamin D levels. 
People who live above this latitude have the most challenging time getting vitamin D from sunlight, especially in the winter months especially if they have dark skin. In this case, a UV sunlamp is another option for boosting this vitamin from light exposure.
There are eight B vitamins, and three are particularly important for immune system health: B6, B9, and B12.  
Vitamin B6 is crucial for producing new immune cells such as T-cells and the body’s production of antibodies. In addition, B6 works to support immune cells in communicating with each other to fight infections and ward off invading pathogens.
Vitamin B9 is also called folate or folic acid, and it also plays a vital role in the production of new immune cells, production of red blood cells, and repair of DNA. Pregnant women are especially at risk for folic acid deficiency and need more of this crucial nutrient.
Vitamin B12 is also essential for the creation of new immune cells. Unfortunately, this nutrient difficult to obtain from anything but animal proteins. So people who eat a vegan diet need to pay special attention to getting adequate amounts of B12 from a supplement.
Taking a B multivitamin is a good way to get adequate amounts of all of these essential nutrients in one daily dose.
Vitamin A is essential for the production of white blood cells called T cells. These immune system cells identify infectious bacteria and viruses and prompt the immune system to respond to the invasion. Vitamin A is also central to the functioning of the thymus gland and bone marrow cells which are central to immune system health. 
The maximum safe limit of vitamin A intake is 3,000 micrograms. 
Vitamin E is another potent vitamin for keeping the immune system working at optimum levels. Like vitamin C, it has an antioxidant effect that promotes resistance to infections. Vitamin E is essential in dozens of metabolic functions in the body. 
You can get vitamin E from foods like nuts and seeds and cold-pressed olive oil. However, you can also use vitamin E supplements to boost immune system function. According to Harvard School of Public health the daily recommended intake for vitamin E is 15 mg. 
Essential Minerals for Strong Immunity
Several minerals are also essential for the optimum functioning of the immune system. These include:
Much recent research supports that zinc is crucial for a healthy immune response. According NATURE (European journal of clinical nutrition) Zinc is essential for the production of immune cells, especially the natural killer cells that attack invading pathogens. 
In addition, zinc assists in anti-inflammatory response that reduces respiratory and other infections, and taking a zinc supplement can help speed up healing from a cold or flu.
However, taking too much zinc can interfere with the absorption of other minerals, so it’s crucial to take the right amount and not overdo it. According to Harvard School of Public Health the recommended zinc intake for men is 11 mg and 8 mg for women. 
Copper is a metal that the body needs in minute amounts for a healthy immune system. It works with iron to form red blood cells that transport all nutrients throughout the body.  The recommended daily allowance of copper for most adults is o.9 mg. 
Iron is another metal the body needs to stay healthy. Every red blood cell has a molecule of iron at the center, which attaches to oxygen and transports it to organs and tissues.
Low iron levels in the body lead to anemia and a reduced ability to fight harmful bacteria and infections.  The recommended daily intake of iron for adult men is 8.7 mg. For women ages 19 to 50, the daily recommended intake is 14.8 mg, and for women over 50, 8.7 mg. 
Recent research has shown the importance of the mineral selenium in immune functioning. This trace mineral is vital for protection against influenza and other viruses. It also plays a crucial role in the production of immune cells. 
The maximum safe daily dosage of selenium for adults is 0.4 mg. 
Magnesium is another mineral that is crucial for the proper functioning of the immune system, and many people do not get enough of this nutrient from food sources. Magnesium plays multiple roles in metabolic processes, including the regulation of vitamin D and zinc levels. Adequate magnesium levels are especially important for older adults and athletes. 
The recommended daily allowance of magnesium for most adults is 400 mg for men and 320 mg for women. Pregnant and lactating women need slightly more of this nutrient. 
7 Powerful Herbs for Quickly Improving Immune Health
Certain herbs are well-known for having a beneficial effect on immune system health, and scientific research is now backing up this claim. Here are seven of the most effective and well-researched herbs for strengthening your body’s response to infection and disease.
Turmeric is a root that is dried and ground into a powder, a main ingredient in curry and Indian cuisine. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which can fight inflammation. 
You can take turmeric in capsules as a supplement or add this spice to foods in the form of curry powder. You can also find curcumin supplements to gain the benefits of this powerful herb.
The roots of the Astragalus plant have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Research into the health benefits of this plant supports its usefulness for increasing white blood cell production and improving disease resistance. 
You can take Astragalus supplements in liquid or capsule form or use it for making tea.
Ginseng is another herb with a long tradition of use in Chinese medicine. This powerful herb provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that support a robust immune response, which is especially helpful for preventing respiratory illnesses. 
Echinacea is a flowering plant that resembles a daisy. Multiple studies confirm that extracts of Echinacea root have antiviral effects.  Echinacea is available in capsule and extract form.
Elderberry is a flowering shrub with a long history of use to prevent and heal disease. The berries are loaded with powerful antioxidant and antiviral compounds and vitamin C. Drinking elderberry tea or taking an extract can help relieve the symptoms of colds and flu, especially when taken at the onset of symptoms. 
Research confirms that garlic stimulates the production of white blood cells and macrophages, which are essential cells in the immune system.  Raw garlic provides the most benefit, but cooked garlic also has health benefits.
If you don’t like cooking with garlic or eating this herb raw, consider a supplement form that does not contain the powerful garlic odor.
Ginger root is another herb with well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Ginger is easy to incorporate into cooked foods like stir fry and soups, and you can also chop it up and steep it in hot water to drink as tea.
If you’re looking for quick results in boosting your immune system with supplements, the vitamins, minerals, and herbs listed here have a lot of scientific evidence supporting their use.
However, supplements alone cannot make you healthy, and eating a varied diet, exercising, and getting sufficient sleep is also crucial for boosting the immune system.
The best ways to boost your immune function are by eating healthy foods that are right for your body, getting sufficient high-quality sleep, and living a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, supplements can fill in the gap if you have health conditions or deficiencies that increase your need for certain nutrients. Alcat blood testing can help determine if certain foods and other substances interfere with your optimum health. It’s always wise to consult with your health care provider before taking any supplements or herbal remedies. → More information
German version of this article: Diese Nahrungsergänzungsmittel helfen dem Immunsystem
Foods & Supplements – Popular Test Packages
Discover the best foods for boosting your immune system: What to eat and what not to eat – targeted nutrient recommendations and supplementation
With the Alcat Test you may avoid pro-inflammatory food reactions and unburden the immune system. The Cellular Nutrition Assay provides information regarding your nutrition status and with which foods and exact nutrients you can strengthen your body and immune system.
Cellular Nutrition Assay →
Price € 299
Cellular Nutrition Assays CNA (100 micro/macro nutrients)
Cell-metabolic blood test for optimal
nutrient supply and cell protection
Nutrients & Metabolism →
Price € 594
100 Alcat Food Intolerance Test + 100 Micro/Macro Nutrients
Combi Food Intolerance Test and Cellular Nutrition Assays
Literature / Sources