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You know the feeling: you’re in line at the supermarket, sitting on the subway or ordering at a restaurant and the person next to you starts hacking away, sneezing or blowing their nose. You try to avoid it but it’s probably too late, their germs are in your vicinity and you’re praying you don’t pick up whatever it is their putting down, or expelling into the air in all directions.
We’re officially in cold and flu season, and it’s time to double down on our efforts to keep ourselves healthy. There are many ways to take care of ourselves once the sicknesses start to circulate a little more — including having a daily vitamin regimen, drinking plenty of water, chugging a green juice from time to time and getting enough sleep. We’ve all learned a little more about our immune systems and how they work during the past two years, and one thing is for sure: the more you care for every aspect of your wellbeing, the stronger your immune system is for fighting off infection.
Your immune system is your body’s primary defense against the illness-infused droplets floating haphazardly through the air at any given moment, and one of the best ways to boost your immune system, and body in general? Supplements.
Supplements and Overall Health
There are supplements for everything these days — from biotin supplements for hair and nail growth, to melatonin supplements for getting a good night’s rest. There are supplements that may help boost your energy, bulk up and gain muscle, and even grow a full beard. They’re designed to do exactly what they say they’ll do: supplement other vitamins and minerals that you may not be getting enough of from your diet.
According to the FDA, some supplements can help ensure your body gets enough of certain vital supplements it needs to survive, while others may reduce your risk of contracting certain diseases. However, unlike prescription drugs and medications given to you by a doctor, “supplements are not permitted to be marketed for the purpose of treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing diseases. That means supplements should not make disease claims, such as ‘lowers high cholesterol’ or ‘treats heart disease.’ Claims like these cannot be legitimately made for dietary supplements.”
Editor’s Note: We are editors, not doctors. Please consult your doctor or another licensed physician before adding anything to your routine, including and especially dietary supplements.
Supplements for Immune System Support
There are certain supplements that may help support a healthy immune system, that can be beneficial to add to your regular vitamin regimen during cold and flu season. Taking these, alongside other methods of taking care of yourself like sleep hygiene and proper nutrition, may lower your risk of contracting the flu, common cold or other ailments that are common this time of year.
We’ve highlighted the best supplements for your immune system below, and included a few product options that can easily be purchased on Amazon.
1. Vitamin C
You know her, you love her, she may have even popped into your mind upon reading the headline for this article. Vitamin C is known for its ability to help prevent infections altogether, or at least shorten their stay with you. You can get plenty of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables like spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, strawberries, citrus and papaya, and you can take it in supplement form for an added boost.
Nature Made Vitamin C 1000 mg
This bottle from Nature Made contains a 100-day supply of their vitamin C tablets, each of which contains 1000 mg of the supplement. The brand recommends that adults take one tablet per day with a meal. The supplement is formulated to serve as an antioxidant and support a healthy immune system. It also may support things like iron absorption and collagen synthesis.
NOW Supplements Vitamin C
NOW Supplements is another top notch brand that makes vitamin C supplements packed with antioxidant protection in an easy-to-swallow capsule. Their formula also includes bioflavonoids for supporting the immune system. Their supplement is non-GMO, kosher, soy, dairy, egg and sugar-free, and is GMP-quality assured.
Emergen-C 1000mg Vitamin C Powder
Emergen-C is not a capsule but a supplemental powder you can dissolve in water and drink as a preventative measure, or right at the onset of a cold to try to shorten its duration. This pack comes with 30 single-serve packets with a delicious tangerine flavor. The mix also contains B vitamins, electrolytes and other antioxidants, and is caffeine-free.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E, similarly to vitamin C is a super powerful antioxidant that may help your body fight off infection during the season of sickness. Vitamin E is a part of nearly 200 different biochemical reactions that happen in your body, and is critical for the function of your immune system. You can get vitamin E from foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter, hazelnuts, or from dietary supplements.
Nature Made Vitamin E 180mg
Each bottle of Nature Made Vitamin E comes with 300 soft gels, for a nearly 10-month supply for less than $20. The softgels are easy to swallow and can be taken daily by adults with food and water.
Sundown Vitamin E
Sundown creates a top-notch vitamin E supplement that’s formulated to fight cell-damaging free radicals and support a healthy immune system as well. It’s got nourishing, anti-aging properties and is non-GMO and free of artificial flavors as well.
Solgar Naturally-Sourced Vitamin E
Solgar also makes a vitamin E supplement that’s naturally-sourced and packed with antioxidants for free radical support and lowering oxidative stress in the body. The supplement is formulated for optimal absorption by the body and comes in oil-based softgel form that’s easy to swallow.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another crucial vitamin for supporting immune system function, and it’s estimated that more than 40% of American adults are vitamin D-deficient. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s made from cholesterol in your skin that’s produced when it’s exposed to the sun. However, too much sun exposure carries its own risks, which is why it’s best to boost your vitamin D levels with a supplement.
NatureWise Vitamin D3
This vitamin D supplement from NatureWise has a 5-star rating with over 100,000 (!) reviews on Amazon, and comes with a 1-year supply in every $15 bottle, a major bargain. NatureWise’s D3 vitamin supplement is made with certified organic olive oil for supporting teeth and bone health in addition to the immune support. The softgels each contain 5000 IU, or about 100 mcg which, according to the Vitamin D Council, is enough for average health adults to maintain optimal levels. NatureWise’s supplements are non-GMO and are third party tested for purity.
Nature Made Vitamin D3
Nature Made also makes a vitamin D supplement that comes in a jar with a 400-day supply. The supplement is formulated to support your immune system as well as your bone, teeth and muscular health. Vitamin D3 is the body’s most preferred form of vitamin D, and their softgels contain no added color or artificial flavors.
New Age Vitamin D3 Gummies
This vitamin D3 supplement from New Age comes in gummy form, with 5,000 IU per serving as well. Each gummy is formulated to help balance a healthy immune system, and each batch is third party tested for purity and potency as well. New Age’s essential D3 complex is formulated to boost your mood and energy, aid in red cell production, increase calcium absorption and promote stronger bones as well. The gummies are also 100% plant-based and vegan.