Immunity essentials: Vitamins to support immunity

Immunity essentials: Vitamins to support immunity

09 Mar 2022

How do you avoid or reduce the frequency of illness to your body? Vitamins could be the extra support you need to increase your body’s immunity.

There's no doubt about it, the health and wellness industry has boomed in the last few decades where people’s attitudes towards their own health have drastically changed. As the population grows and the average person's lifespan increases, it's becoming increasingly important to maintain health at all ages. Some of the most common health practices include exercising more, eating better, paying more attention to physical and mental health, and even seeing doctors and naturopaths more regularly as a preventive, rather than simply a reactive, measure to health (1).

One pathway to strengthened immunity is catching up with these traditional health-guarding practices: including adding supplements into your daily health regimen that include vitamins to support immunity.

The focus of this article is to tackle how to make the most of vitamins to support immunity, especially if you are new to supplementation, and how it can support your current health practices. Read on to discover more about immunity-support vitamins and how to choose the best combinations for you.

Vitamins to boost immunity

Understanding immunity, first and foremost

Before we get into the specifics of vitamins to support immunity, it’s important to first understand what immunity is in the first place.

Our immunity, otherwise known as the body’s immune system, is your first line of defence against infections and illnesses. In the most basic terms, the immune system is composed of several parts including organs, tissues and cells (also known as white blood cells), that all work together to fight off threats to our health when disease-carrying substances enter the body. Our immune system protects us from bad bacteria, viruses, parasites and never stops working (2).

The body is usually able to maintain a strong immunity on its own, but there are environmental and lifestyle factors that can weaken our immune system.

For example, a lack of quality sleep is a common culprit of compromised immunity. It’s through sleep that the body recovers and repairs itself from the day’s stresses, and if we’re unable to clock in enough hours of quality nighttime sleep, our body starts a new day still being tired, stressed, and less resilient. The immune system needs to refuel its resources during sleep to be able to fully protect us.

Other factors such as excess body weight, chronic stress, psychological pressures, a nutrient-deficient diet, and excessively stressful work, school or social environments can also contribute to the depression of our immune system (2).

Fortunately, there are ways to push back against the potential causes of a compromised immune system. There are conscious choices one can make to put immune system care at front and centre, the most recommended of which are adjusting one’s diet and exploring proper supplementation that is focused on providing you with vitamins to support immunity.

Getting vitamins to support your immunity from a healthy diet

Most of us are familiar with citrus fruits as a staple food group when it comes to getting your daily source of immunity-strengthening Vitamin C. But apart from your oranges, lemons and grapefruit, did you know that you can also get Vitamin C from dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts (3)?  Additionally, strawberries, potatoes, bell peppers and tomatoes are also excellent food sources for immunity-building (3).

As you can see, food sources of Vitamin C are plentiful. Keeping your pantry well-stocked with at least one or two of these foods and regularly incorporating them in your meals can make a big impact on your immune system strength.

However, despite the ubiquity of Vitamin C as the body’s number one vitamin necessary in immune system health, it may be difficult for many to get their daily dose of this superhero of immunity support vitamins for two reasons.

The first is that although eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet is ideal, the reality is that many people eat more unhealthy or processed foods for meals, for a variety of reasons such as time restraints and the high cost of quality produce. Secondly, Vitamin C-rich foods may exacerbate existing health conditions in some, the effects of which may be deterring them from eating a Vitamin C-rich diet. For example, citrus fruits can make acid reflux worse, or how some Vitamin C-dense veggies can cause bloating or indigestion in some (3).

If you relate to these concerns, worry not as eating a healthy diet is not the only way to get enough vitamins to support immunity.

Vitamins to boost immunity

Taking vitamins to support immunity

There is also supplementation, a daily health practice that is easy to maintain and personalise. In order to fill in the gaps left behind by diet and to safely address concerns about adverse reactions to eating certain foods, taking supplements of immunity support vitamins is a sustainable option.

We’ve only talked about Vitamin C so far as the go-to vitamin for supporting immunity. In truth, there are more than 10 vitamins and minerals that can all contribute to immune strength, and all of them can be taken in the form of supplements (3). Vitable Australia is a company that is trusted by Australians to fulfil their growing need for vitamin and mineral supplements.

We list down the most recommended minerals and vitamins to support immunity provided by Vitable Australia below.

Zinc

Zinc is not naturally produced by the body, which means we do have to consume it in food or through immunity support vitamins. This mineral is found primarily in animal meats and shellfish, but it can also be found in vegetarian-friendly sources like beans and yogurt (3). Zinc is known to play a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system (5).

Iron

Iron is needed for the rapid increase of all cells in our body, this includes those in the immune system (6). You can find iron mostly in red meats but it’s also present in poultry, sardines, mussels, beans, broccoli, and kale (3).  The role of iron in our bodies extends to supporting the immune system as it protects us from illness hence ensuring that it maintains this function for the entirety of our lives (3).

Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes from both food sources like salmon and tuna plus other Vitamin D-fortified foods, as well as healthy sun exposure. However, with Australia being a country of four seasons and with the concerns of maintaining a healthy diet as explained above, it’s easy to see how an immunity-related Vitamin D deficiency can be a common concern for Australians. Vitamin D supplements comehelp maintain healthy immune system function in case of a lack of sun exposure or dietary deficiencies (3, 4).

Supplementation is probably the best approach to take to ensure that you get all of the essential vitamins to support immunity. Along with vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and iron, here are some other supplements that support optimal immune system function: astaxanthin, ashwagandha, probiotics, vitamin B complex (including vitamin B12 and biotin), and fish oil.

Vitable’s vitamin subscription allows you to customise your own personalised vitamin packs to help you reach your health goals. With this, it’s easy for you to get the supplements you need to support your immune system’s health. Oh, and you can also have your personalised vitamin packs delivered right to your door in Australia and surrounding territories!

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

1. Houston Methodist. “6 ways to boost your immune system”. Houston Methodist. Published December 14, 2021, on https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/mar/5-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system/. Accessed February 18, 2022.

2. Harvard Health Publishing. “12 ways to keep your brain young”. Harvard Health Publishing. Published February 15, 2020, on https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity/. Accessed January 12, 2021.

3. Cleveland Clinic. “8 Vitamins & Minerals You Need for a Healthy Immune System”. Cleveland Clinic. Published December 4, 2020 on https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cognitive-health-and-older-adults. Accessed January 12, 2021.

4. Gisela Valencia. “Three vitamins, minerals to boost your immune system and fight COVID-19”. Florida International University. Published November 23, 2020 on https://news.fiu.edu/2020/three-vitamins,-minerals-to-boost-your-immune-system-to-fight-covid-19. Accessed January 12, 2021.

5. Vitable. “Zinc”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/zinc. Accessed January 12, 2021.

6. Vitable. “Iron”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/iron. Accessed January 12, 2021.