Immune Health: Supplements
to Support Your Body’s Defense

Lynn Laboranti, M.S., R.D.

No, it’s not just vitamin C--there are a number of nutrients that support a healthy immune system. And a healthy immune system helps to keep your body’s health strong!


Here are some nutrients that can support the health of your immune system and keep it going strong: vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, Echinacea and probiotics.


Vitamin C
Vitamin C supports the body’s defense system by protecting the integrity of cells, and affecting the production and function of white blood cells.1 Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight against free radicals in the body. (Free radicals are molecules that can harm your healthy cells and negatively impact the way those cells function in the body.) View all NatureMade Vitamin C products.


Vitamin D
Vitamin D has received widespread coverage in the media for good reason--vitamin D is a necessary nutrient for good health, including a well-functioning immune system. You may be most familiar with vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption and bone health, however, researchers have found vitamin D receptors on most immune cells suggesting immune-supporting properties of this nutrient2,3. In fact, when we're not getting enough vitamin D, our immune system appears not to function at its best. In addition to affects on immunity, a low levels of this nutrient may impact bone health, muscle health, heart health and other conditions.4,5 View all NatureMade Vitamin D products.

Vitamin E
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant in the body. Many studies show that Vitamin E plays an important role in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Even a slight Vitamin E deficiency can negatively affect the body’s immune function.6 Vitamin E also protects against free radical damage. Make sure you have the extra protection you need to counteract the normal, everyday attacks on your body by adding antioxidants nutrients, such as vitamin E and C, to your diet. View all NatureMade Vitamin E products.


Zinc
Did you know that zinc works to support a well-functioning immune system? 7 Indeed, zinc is needed for your body to carry out its normal immune response to protect the body. You can find zinc in throat lozenges and dietary supplements to support your quest for immune health. View all NatureMade Zinc products.


Echinacea   
Echinacea is an herb thought to benefit your immune health8, which may be especially helpful during the winter months. View NatureMade Echinacea.

Probiotics
Most people are not aware that 70 % of the body’s immune cells are found in our gut; therefore, the health of our digestive system has an impact on immune system health. Some probiotics, or healthy bacteria, can help maintain the health of gastrointestinal tract and, in turn, help maintain healthy immune function. Certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifobacterium bacteria are two common types of probiotics that can help maintain immune system health.9 View all NatureMade Probiotic products.


Nutrient Dosage Chart

REMEMBER: Please consult with your doctor before beginning any dietary supplement program or for specific concerns regarding your health condition or prescription medication.

Nutrient

Suggested Use

Vitamin C

 

500-1000 mg per day

Vitamin D

 

600 IU per day for adults per Institute of Medicine.

Higher amounts may be taken under doctor supervision, especially if deficiency is present

400 IU per day for infants, children and adolescents as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics2

Vitamin E

 

200-400 IU per day

Zinc

 

8-30 mg per day

Echinacea

 

350 mg aerial parts, four times per day

Probiotics

 

10 million CFU daily

 

References:

 

  1. Jariwalla RJ, Harakeh S. Antiviral and immunomodulatory activities of ascorbic acid. In: Harris JR (ed). Subcellular Biochemistry. Vol. 25. Ascorbic Acid: Biochemistry and Biomedical Cell Biology. New York: Plenum Press; 1996:215-231.
  2. Von Essen MR, Kongsbak M, Schjerling P, et al. Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells. Nat Immunol. 2010;11:344-349. This work clearly implicates Vitamin D/VDR signaling in regulation of T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells.
  3. Kamen DL, Tangpricha V Vitamin D and molecular actions on the immune system: modulation of innate and autoimmunity. J Mol Med. 2010;88:441-450. A recent review on Vitamin D and immunoregulation.
  4. Wagner C and Greer F, 2008. Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children and adolescents. American Academy of Pediatrics.
  5. Holick, M. F. (2004). Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. American Journal ofClinical Nutrition, 80, 1678-1688.
  6. Beharka A, Redican S, Leka L, Meydani SN. Vitamin E status and Immune Function. Methods Enzymol. 1997;282:247-63
  7. Prasad AS. Zinc and Immunity. Mol Cell Biochem. 1998 Nov;188(1-2):63-9.
  8. Linde K, Barrett B, Bauer R, Melchart D, Woelkart K. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 1.
  9. De Vrese M, et al. Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri PA 16/8, Bifidobacterium longum SP07/3, B. bifidum MF 20/5 on common cold episodes: A double blind, randomized,controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition 2005;24:481-491.

 

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