Keeping your immune system healthy in the new normal
Keeping your immune system healthy in the new normal
09 Jan 2022

Frequent handwashing and social distancing are just a couple of the many safety measures the world has taken on to ensure our safety during the pandemic. Living with a pandemic has taught us many things, including improving our sense of hygiene. Studies show that handwashing practices in both male and females have increased by 8 times or more per day (24).

However, good hygiene practices can only do so much in preventing illness. It is important to ensure that our immunity remains strong. This can be done through healthy lifestyle practices, and making sure your body gets the nutrients it needs to shore up its immune system.

Good hygiene supports immunity

Frequent handwashing is an important measure against the possible spread of infectious diseases (24). Handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is our first line of defense in stopping the spread of infection (25).

Boost immunity

Nowadays, it’s important to be aware of what you’re coming in contact with, and what your body is being exposed to. Aside from frequent handwashing, practicing social distancing and masking up can help support your immune system’s defenses in the new normal.

On top of these safety measures, keeping our immune system healthy is vital in making sure we’re protected from the pandemic.

How does your immune system work?

The immune system is a network of cells and proteins that are tasked to defend the body against any infection1. It is a complex system among whose components are white blood cells, antibodies, and the bone marrow (1).

The best way to boost your immune system is to make healthy lifestyle choices: getting enough sleep with the right balance of physical activity, a healthy diet and sticking to a vitamin and mineral-rich diet can keep your immune system in great shape (2).

You can support your daily diet by taking supplements to help maintain a functioning immune system. If you need some ideas on where and how to start choosing the right vitamins and minerals to suit your body’s needs, read on.

Supplements to help boost immunity

Zinc

This mineral is essential in our body’s many functions, including the production of energy, and fighting infections and healing wounds (3). Benefits of including zinc supplements in your diet include additional support and maintenance of your immune system through its antioxidant properties (4). Zinc deficiency can lead to the deficiency of T and B cells, which are essential to our immune system (5).

Iron

Iron is an important mineral that helps the body transport oxygen to different parts of the body (6) and is a component of enzymes critical to immune cell functions (7). Iron contributes to maintaining the immune system functions of the body by taking part in the proliferation and maturation of immune cells, generating specific responses to any infection the body might encounter (8).

*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (9) that can help boost and maintain a healthy immune system. Due to its soluble state, astaxanthin’s structure makes it a potent carrier of antioxidant enzymes that can help promote healthier immune system functions (10).

Probiotics SB

Probiotics are made up of live beneficial bacteria and yeasts that naturally live in our bodies (11). This collection of good bacteria makes up the body’s microbiome, which is a diverse network of organisms that work on keeping the body healthy (11), helping boost our immune system’s health.

Vitamin B complex

Vitamin B complex is a collection of water-soluble vitamins that are essential for a lot of bodily functions, including detoxification (12). These vitamins can help maintain a healthy immune system as the combination assists in the proper activation of the body’s adaptive immune responses, and boosting healthy immune functions (13). Most of these immune system booster vitamins can’t be stored in the body, making regular consumption through food or supplementation is important (13).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that is involved in keeping the body healthy. It boosts the process of generation and repair of body tissues, as well as preventing the body from getting infections (14). Vitamin C benefits include maintaining and supporting a healthy immune system by promoting various cellular functions in the body, such as wound healing and microbial killing (15).

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has various roles in the body, ranging from bone and muscle-building to reducing cancer cell growth (16). Vitamin D benefits include maintaining healthy immune system functions by boosting our immune cells: B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells (17). If you feel that you are not getting ample amounts of vitamin D through your diet or exposure to sunlight, you can consider supplementation.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is an essential water soluble vitamin that is important in maintaining healthy cells (18). It takes part in the production of DNA and RNA, our body’s genetic material. Vitamin B12 assists in healthy red blood cell production which can lead to sustaining healthy immune system functions in the body (19).

Fish oil

Fish oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed by the body for many functions, including cell growth and muscle activity (20). These fatty acids cannot be manufactured in the body, and must be obtained from food (20). Omega-3 fatty acids boost immune functions in specific immune cell types (21).

Biotin

Biotin, or vitamin B7, is a crucial vitamin due to its role in cellular metabolism and survival (22). Biotin helps maintain the immune system by taking part in the immune system functions, boosting the maturation and responsiveness of immune cells (23). While biotin naturally occurs in the body, biotin supplements can help make sure you increase your intake of the nutrient.

These are just some of the vitamins and minerals that you can incorporate into your everyday diet. It’s important for our body to be able to adapt to the new normal. While the world may be practicing frequent handwashing and social distancing, our bodies still need a combination of consistent hygiene habits, exercise and a balanced diet.

You can help complement your healthy diet with subscription vitamins from Vitable vitamins. You can personalise your daily vitamin packs according to your needs, including immune health. Vitable offers door-to-door vitamin delivery in Australia.

Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:

Zinc | Iron | Astaxanthin | Probiotics SB | B complex| Vitamin C | Vitamin D | Vitamin B12 | Fish oil | Biotin

*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:

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  2. Nutrition Australia Content Team. “Supporting your immune system”. Nutrition Australia: NutritionAustralia.Org. Published on https://nutritionaustralia.org/division/qld/supporting-your-immune-system/. Accessed November 6, 2021.
  3. Health Direct Content Team. “Zinc”. Health Direct: Healthdirect.Gov.Au. Published on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/zinc. Accessed November 6, 2021.
  4. Shakoor, H., Feehan, J., al Dhaheri, A. S., Ali, H. I., Platat, C., Ismail, L. C., Apostolopoulos, V., & Stojanovska, L. “Immune-boosting role of vitamins D, C, E, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids: Could they help against COVID-19?” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published August 9, 2020 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7415215/. Accessed November 6, 2021.
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  9. Davinelli, S., Nielsen, M., & Scapagnini, G. “Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published April 22, 2018 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946307/. Accessed November 6, 2021.
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  12. Better Health Content Team. “Vitamin B - Better Health Channel”. Better Health Channel: BetterHealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published May 14, 2020 on  https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-b#vitamin-b-supplements. Accessed November 6, 2021.
  13. Shakoor, H., Feehan, J., Mikkelsen, K., al Dhaheri, A. S., Ali, H. I., Platat, C., Ismail, L. C., Stojanovska, L., & Apostolopoulos, V. “Be well: A potential role for vitamin B in COVID-19”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published August 15, 2020 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428453/. Accessed November 6, 2021.
  14. Health Direct Content Team. “Vitamin C”. Health Direct: HealthDirect.Gov.Au. Published March 2020 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/vitamin-c. Accessed November 6, 2021.
  15. Carr, A., & Maggini, S. “Vitamin C and Immune Function”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published November 3, 2017 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/. Accessed November 6, 2021.
  16. Harvard School of Public Health Content Team. “Vitamin D”. Harvard School of Public Health: Hsph.Harvard.Edu. Published March 2020 on https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/. Accessed November 6, 2021.
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  19. Tamura, J., Kubota, K., Murakami, H., Sawamura, M., Matsushima, T., Tamura, T., Saitoh, T., Kurabayshi, H., & Naruse, T. “Immunomodulation by vitamin B12: augmentation of CD8+ T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cell activity in vitamin B12-deficient patients by methyl-B12 treatment”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published April 1999 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10209501/. Accessed November 6, 2021.
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