It takes an all-star team to keep your immune system strong, beefy, bulky, and resilient. But it can be hard to get all of the best nutrients for immunity just from the food you eat. Take magnesium, for example...up to 50 percent of the U.S. population is deficient (1)! Luckily, you can find many of the top immune boosters in one easy-squeezy supplement, including: electrolytes, vitamins, echinacea, elderberry, and ginger root.
In this article, we break down the most important nutrients for staying illness-free. It’s time to get healthy AF! Let’s dive in...
All The Best Immune Boosters In One Supplement
Electrolytes, like potassium, magnesium, sodium and chloride are the foundation of cellular health. They support immunity, help prevent cancer and produce energy. Without enough electrolytes, you’re more likely to feel sluggish and foggy-headed. Five of the most important electrolytes for immunity are:
Let’s take a closer look at these powerful minerals, including zinc, the king of immune-boosting electrolytes:
Potassium is found in literally every cell in the body, and it supports immunity by neutralizing digestive acids. At the same time, potassium strengthens the gut lining and protects the bloodstream from inflammation. Research shows that potassium may even improve white blood cell function and attack colon cancer cells (2).
Sodium regulates inflammation and treats autoimmune conditions. It has a big impact on immune cells in the skin, intestines and kidneys. In a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Nephrology, researchers found that increasing sodium may help fight infections in people who are deficient (3). When it comes down to it, sodium is a team player and has a MASSIVE impact on other electrolytes in the body. Without it, you can suffer from widespread electrolyte imbalances and inflammation.
Chloride works closely with sodium to support immunity and energy production. Without adequate amounts of chloride, immune cells can struggle to function. On the flipside, research shows that a chloride-rich body allows immune cells to thrive (4). Chloride can help fight several kinds of viruses, including herpes, influenza and coronavirus 229E.
Magnesium plays a major role in mental health and immunity. For starters, it regulates the cellular life cycle, letting them know when it’s time to die and regenerate. At the same time, magnesium activates immune cells, like neutrophils and macrophages. But even more importantly, studies show that magnesium deficiency is strongly linked to inflammation, the root cause or most serious diseases (5).
Zinc acts as the “gatekeeper for immune function” and is a key player in the inflammatory response (6). What happens when you’re low on zinc? You’ll have a higher risk for infection and disease, including pneumonia (7). Zinc deficiency affects 2 billion people worldwide and is most common in the elderly (8). People with malnutrition, alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and other digestive disorders are also more likely to be zinc deficient. Recent findings suggest that zinc can help treat various conditions, including (9):
- Common cold
- Lower respiratory tract infection
- Hepatitis C
Fortunately, supplementing with zinc can help protect against respiratory infections year-round. A 2019 study involving 64 hospitalized children with respiratory tract infections found that 30 mg of zinc per day can decrease hospital stays by an average of two days (10).
Your average American is vitamin deficient. Vitamins A, B, C, and D are some of the most critical nutrients that we could all benefit from supplementing in our diets to keep our immune system running on all cylinders. Let's take a look at some of these vitamins and find out why they are so dang good for us:
Vitamin A supports immune function, cell growth and eyesight. Most people think of vitamin A as a single nutrient, but it’s actually a group of fat-soluble compounds, including preformed vitamin A in animal products and provitamin A carotenoids in fruits, vegetables and oils. Carotenoids, like the beta-carotene in carrots, fight oxidative stress, a key component of disease. Oxidative stress is linked to many chronic illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline and diabetes. Luckily, research shows that carotenoids may lower the risk of these conditions (11).
What happens if you’re deficient in vitamin A? For one, vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of dying from infections like measles (12). It can also contribute to:
- Poor fetal development
Vitamins B1, B5, B6
There are eight different B vitamins, and they’re all important for making energy in the body. Although B vitamins aren’t as important for immunity as vitamins C and D, they’re still a major piece of the immunity puzzle.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine HCL): used in nearly every cell in the body to support healthy metabolism. By helping the gut secrete hydrochloric acid, thiamine helps maintain muscle tone in the digestive tract (15). Ultimately, this allows the body to extract immune-boosting nutrients from food. The body can’t produce thiamine on its own, so you have to get plenty of it from supplements and foods like pork and sunflower seeds.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): closely involved in hormone and cholesterol production. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B5 helps prevent heart disease and diabetes by reducing bad cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and balancing blood sugar (16).
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL): supports neurotransmitter activity, amino acid metabolism, and red blood cell production. Research shows that it can also strengthen immunity by increasing white blood cell levels (17). Unfortunately, many adults are deficient in vitamin B6. This is especially bad news for the elderly because B6 protects against cognitive decline.
It’s no secret that vitamin C is vital for immune health. For starters, supplementing with vitamin C can reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold. How exactly does vitamin C work its magic? It functions as a powerful antioxidant that reduces cellular stress and helps clear out old cells. In a meta-analysis of 29 studies involving 11,306 people, a daily dose of 1-2 grams of vitamin C shortened the duration of colds by 8 percent in adults and 14 percent in children (13).
If you’re an athlete, vitamin C is even more important... The same review found that regular supplementation can reduce the occurrence of colds in marathon runners by up to 50 percent. At the same time, high doses of vitamin C can improve symptoms in patients with severe respiratory infections.
Vitamin D3 is another immune system rockstar. It’s produced naturally in the skin in response to sunlight. But in much of North America, sunshine can be hard to come by during much of the year. Other factors that can affect your Vitamin D3 levels include:
- Using high SPF sunscreen
- Spending too much time indoors
- Living in an area with a lot of air pollution
- Having darker skin (because melanin reduces sunlight absorption)
If this sounds like you, then it absolutely pays to take Vitamin D supplements. The best form of vitamin is Vitamin D3 — the most bioavailable form when taken orally.
Vitamin D has several important functions in the body, including supporting immunity and regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption. It also grows healthy bones and teeth and keeps you resistant to disease. Vitamin D supplementation can decrease your chance of developing heart disease and catching the flu. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that vitamin D can significantly reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis (14).
Echinacea is an antiviral herb that has been used for hundreds of years by the Great Plains Indian tribes. Studies show that it can stimulate the immune system and be an effective antiviral against respiratory infections (18).
How effective is it? In a meta-analysis of 14 studies, researchers found that echinacea can reduce the chance of catching a cold by 58 percent and cut the average cold duration by almost 1.5 days (19). According to the U.S. The Department of Agriculture, echinacea is most effective when taken every day for a ten-day period (20).
Elderberry refers to several different types of the Sambucus tree that grow in Europe and North America. Like echinacea, it’s been used for hundreds of years to treat infections and boost immunity. Early research indicates that elderberry supplements may alleviate flu symptoms. In test-tube studies, elderberry extract displays antibacterial and antiviral properties against multiple strains of the influenza virus (21). Human studies are promising as well… In a review of 4 control studies involving 180 people, researchers found that elderberry supplements can greatly reduce upper respiratory symptoms caused by infections.
Ginger is a flowering plant that’s closely related to turmeric (another potent immune booster). The plant’s root, or rhizome, is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Although inflammation is healthy in short doses, chronic inflammation can weaken immunity. Fortunately, ginger contains several antioxidants that are proven to reduce inflammation, including:
In addition to fighting inflammation, ginger can kill harmful bacteria and other common causes of pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and bronchitis. At the same time, ginger helps soothe intestinal irritation and relieve nausea (22).
A New Way to Boost Your Immune System
The best part is, you can find all of these immune-boosting nutrients in one squeezable liquid supplement: Buoy + Immunity!
Some supplements have a gnarly taste — others you need to swallow whole or mix as a powder. Or...you could squeeze Buoy right into the beverages you’re already drinking. You won’t even know it’s there, but your immune system will, and it’ll thank you for it. Immunity matters (now more than ever) and with the right electrolytes, vitamins and organic compounds, you can give your immune system the edge it needs to feel groovy, funky, fresh, and virus-free.
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