Nourishing Your Immune System: Vitamins and Supplements for Defense

The human body’s immune system is a vast, highly active system of cells and organic chemical compounds existing in a delicate environment. This system relies on essential nutrients to promote a healthy, stable environment for its various components to thrive, but the fact that most of the body’s immune system resides within the gut microbiome makes the requirements for proper immune function more difficult to meet on a consistent basis. In fact, researchers have stated that at least 70 percent of the body’s immune cells reside in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The volatile environment in the GI tract, where both supportive and harmful bacteria battle each other for dominance, increases the body’s need for certain essential nutrients that it cannot produce on its own.

Fortunately, nature provides a wealth of essential vitamins, minerals and organic chemical compounds that have the ability to support optimal immune function. Vitamin C has long been lauded for its support of proper immune function, but there is actually a wide range of nutrients that have been recognized for immune support. While these nutrients can be obtained from a variety of food sources, the harsh environment of the average gut microbiome makes it difficult for many of these nutrients to be absorbed and utilized effectively throughout the body. To help overcome these potential obstacles, the nutraceutical industry has developed a wide array of supplements that contain targeted nutrients with enhanced bioavailability (absorbability) and durability.

The Best Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Immune Support

Nutrients are classified as “essential” when the body does not produce them naturally. It is, therefore, essential to introduce these nutrients to the body either through food or the use of targeted supplements. Essential nutrients can support a variety of processes and functions that contribute to comprehensive wellness, including proper immune system function.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is probably the vitamin that is most often connected to immune support, even in marketing efforts. Just about every ad for orange juice mentions its potential to bolster the body’s defense against cold, flu and other germ-related illnesses. The ability of vitamin C to positively impact immune function can be attributed to its strong antioxidant properties. In boosting the body’s defense against oxidative stress and supporting a strong oxidative response, this water- soluble vitamin has shown a penchant for both preventing and addressing the proliferation of harmful bacteria throughout the body. Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin C include:

  • Oranges (and orange juice)
  • Grapefruits (and grapefruit juice)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green bell peppers
  • Red bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli (either raw or cooked)
  • Kiwi

Zinc

Zinc is an essential nutrient that is not only another strong antioxidant, but a powerful anti-inflammatory as well. Inflammation is a condition that can affect any area of the body, including the GI tract and other areas where immune cells reside. In addition to these supportive traits, zinc is also responsible for ensuring the proper function of the body’s immune cells themselves. Zinc can be found in a wide range of dietary sources, including:

  • Blue crab
  • Shrimp
  • Canned sardines
  • Oysters
  • Milk
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Turkey breast
  • Lean cuts of beef
  • Pumpkin seeds

Vitamin B6

This member of the B Complex of vitamins is needed for the production of immune cells like T-cells and white blood cells. Without these cells, the body would struggle to address harmful bacteria and viruses. The dietary sources that contain vitamin B6 include:

  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Beef and beef liver
  • Turkey
  • Chicken breast
  • Cottage cheese
  • Salmon, tuna and other cold-water fish

Selenium

Selenium, like vitamin B6, has been recognized for its effect on white blood cells. This essential mineral not only enhances white blood cell function, but it also supports optimal immune system function with its strong antioxidant properties. Selenium can be found in a wide variety of food sources, including:

  • Lean meats
  • Canned sardines
  • Halibut
  • Tuna
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Brazil nuts and other various nuts
  • Seeds

Bolstering Immune Defense by Supporting Optimal GI Function

With the majority of the body’s immune cells residing in the GI tract, any adverse symptoms or conditions in the GI tract have the potential to have a negative impact on immune function. GI-related inflammation, in particular, can often be the root source of reduced immune system function. Obtaining specific nutrients, especially antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, from either food or supplements is a great way to promote optimal immune function.

The GI tract is also home to a mucosal barrier that protects the gut from harmful external bacteria and environmental toxins. If not addressed properly, these toxins and bacteria can lead to a chaotic environment in the GI tract. That chaotic activity can then result in inflammation and reduced immune function. One specific type of zinc, known as zinc carnosine, has been recognized for its ability to support optimal immune function by protecting the mucosal barrier. L-glutamine is an amino acid that has long been known to help maintain the mucosal barrier. While there are many nutrients that can support optimal immune function with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, zinc carnosine and L-glutamine have the potential to provide further immune support by enhancing the mucosal barrier.

Support Healthy Immune Function with Essential Nutrients

While immune-boosting nutrients can be found in a wide range of dietary sources, it can be difficult to obtain all of the various nutrients that have the potential to support immune function through the many various avenues that exist. Many vitamins and nutrients can provide the body with the benefits of antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties, but only select nutrients protect the mucosal barrier or enhance immune cell function. To further complicate matters, the harsh conditions in the GI tract create an environment where supportive nutrients can struggle to survive.

Fortunately, the nutraceutical industry has developed a wealth of supplements that can deliver durable, highly bioavailable (absorbable) nutrients throughout the body. The experts at EVEXIAS Health Solutions have developed a wide array of professional grade nutraceutical products like Vita C 500, GI Mucosal Support, NAC 500, ADK and Active Probiotic ND that were designed to deliver immunoprotective benefits by supporting optimal immune function with specific nutrients. In addition to offering a wealth of professional grade nutraceutical products, EVEXIAS Health Solutions practitioners also provide a variety of integrative therapies for the support of optimal whole-body health, including lifestyle management guidance and hormone level optimization. Discover the nearest EvexiPEL Certified provider today to learn more about the best ways to bolster immune system function.

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