Americans spend more than $30 billion each year on vitamins and dietary supplements. Globally, the vitamins and supplements industry is valued at over $132 billion.
Supplements for immune system support lead the way, despite lingering skepticism about their value. So what is the truth? Are Americans wasting billions of dollars every year, or do those vitamins genuinely help?
Keep reading now to learn whether science backs the use of immune booster supplements and if supplementing might be right for you.
What Are Immune Booster Supplements?
Immune booster supplements are vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other natural substances that support healthy immune system function. Common ingredients in immune-boosting products and formulas include:
- Vitamins A, C, D, and E
- B Vitamins
Most immune booster supplements boast large doses of these “powerhouse” substances. They may also contain any number of additional ingredients intended to help the body function at its best.
One of the biggest claims that opponents of vitamins for the immune system make is that we shouldn’t need to supplement at all. They aren’t entirely wrong. In an ideal world, we would get all the nutrition that we need simply by eating a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, the real world is far from ideal. Thanks to soil depletion, for example, today’s vegetables have 20 to 30 percent fewer vitamins and minerals than the same vegetables did in the 1970s.
Struggling Immune Systems
Depleted diets aren’t the only problem. Millions of Americans also suffer from health conditions that leave them immunocompromised. Functionally, this means that no matter how healthy their diets, there is no way they can get everything they need to stay healthy just from clean eating.
Even otherwise healthy people can find their immune systems taking hard hits from hidden attackers like sugar, stress, and lack of sleep. Sugar, for example, suppresses your immune system. Stress and lack of sleep can burn through key vitamins and minerals at an accelerated rate, leaving you deficient just when you most need them.
Do Immune Booster Supplements Really Benefit Health?
Okay, you may wonder. So what? Even if millions of Americans are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, that doesn’t prove that taking vitamins for immunity actually does any good.
To prove that immune booster supplements really work, we need hard science. Fortunately, we have that science. Lots of it, in fact.
To keep things manageable, let’s look at just a few of the best vitamins for immune system support.
Almost every cell in your body needs Vitamin D to work properly. Insufficient Vitamin D levels can put you at risk for:
- Osteoporosis and bone fractures
- Neuromuscular issues
- Immune dysfunction
- Heart attacks
At proper levels, Vitamin D has what the NIH calls an “antibiotic effect.” Put simply, getting adequate Vitamin D helps your immune system fight off nasty viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant in your body. Think of antioxidants as scavengers that run around scooping up dangerous substances like free radicals and escorting them out of your body before they can do any damage.
Experts estimate that around 30 percent of Americans don’t consume enough Vitamin C to get these protective benefits. This results in a sluggish immune system, slower healing times, and a higher risk of illness or infection.
Importantly, it is very challenging to get enough Vitamin C in your diet even when eating well. Supplementing is often crucial to keeping your immune system at its best.
You need more than just vitamins to help immune system functioning stay strong. Key minerals play equally important roles. Chief among the protective minerals you may need to supplement with is zinc.
Zinc is critical to proper nervous and endocrine system function. It also keeps your immune system functioning properly, helps you heal after illness or injury, and fights inflammation.
Yet many of the same stressors that deplete your vitamin stores also burn through your body’s zinc, such as stress and lack of sleep. These leaves many Americans needing to supplement to get enough to stay healthy.
Who Should Take Vitamins for Immunity?
As you can see, the science behind immune booster supplements is solid. Good supplements can provide your body the support it needs to keep your immune system strong.
Vitamins for immunity can:
- Fill the gaps in your diet
- Replace essential nutrients being depleted by stress and other assaults on your health
- Protect people with weakened immune systems
- Help shorten and reduce the impacts of illness or injury
Even knowing these benefits, many people still have questions. Should everyone take vitamins? Or only persons who are immunocompromised?
Realistically, we all need to be taking vitamins to help the function of our immune systems. Even the healthiest of us are likely to fall short in getting what we need every day and supplements can pick up the slack.
That said, it is doubly important to supplement if you are:
- Feeling unwell
- Under significant stress
- Eating poorly
- Suffering from a weak immune system or chronic illness
- Over 65 years of age
Supplements for immune system health are safe and appropriate for almost everyone. If you have complex medical conditions or concerns, however, speak to your doctor about finding the best supplements for your needs.
Protect Your Health
Good quality immune booster supplements are a powerful and affordable way to protect your health amidst the stress and demands of life. They can keep your immune system at peak functioning and help you compensate when your diet isn’t enough. Protect your health by picking up some top-notch supplements today and browse around our site for other hot tips on easy ways to protect your health.