Immune Boosters: The Good, The Pointless and The Overpriced
So you want to boost your immune system? Join the club — we're going to talk about the best ways to do it. These days, immune-boosting has evolved, and it’s not just about megadosing vitamin C anymore. Think of this article like the E=Mc2 of immunity. There’s no magic pill for a stronger immune system, but there is an effective formula. It’s time to get smart about staying healthy. Let’s do this!
Immune Boosters: The Good, The Pointless and The Overpriced
Has the Internet Been Lying to You About Immunity?
The idea of “boosting immunity” is a popular one. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs can support immunity in several ways. The tricky part, though, is separating the good advice from the bad, and that’s easier said than done. In 2019, researchers for the journal Frontiers In Medicine did some in-depth online research — they searched Google using the term “boost immunity” and reviewed 185 different web pages, including blogs, commercial sites, government sites, nonprofits and scientific journals (1). What they found may change the way you look at immune-boosting forever...
EXHIBIT A: Most Recommended Immune Boosters
According to their research, the top-recommended solutions for boosting immunity are…
- Diet (77% of web pages)
- Fruit (69% of web pages)
- Antioxidants (53% of web pages)
- Probiotics (51% of web pages)
- Minerals (50% of web pages)
- Vitamin C (49% of web pages)
EXHIBIT B: The Most Warned-Against Immune Boosters
Several sites warned against popular immune-boosting remedies like probiotics, vitamin C, and certain types of diets. Probiotics get a lot of hype, but they’re also extremely expensive, and the quality of some brands is very poor. Sadly, the living cultures in probiotic supplements are often dead and rancid by the time they reach your belly. At worst, this is a health hazard, and at best it’s money down the drain — either way, you’re losing.
Vitamin C supplements can be a waste of money too, and that goes for low-quality versions of any kind of supplement. Next, we’ll take a closer look at the king of immunity-boosting hype: vitamin C.
EXHIBIT C: The Cult of Vitamin C
Raise your hand if you’ve ever downed Emergen-C packets like they’re going out of style. We’re all guilty of it, but did you know that too much vitamin C can cause overdose symptoms like digestive distress and kidney stones? With that said, low doses of vitamin C are just fine, but more on that in a sec…
“The high frequency with which vitamin C is mentioned in the context of boosting immunity raises the question of how it became so popular in this field and in the public understanding of science. This does not seem to reflect clinical evidence or research activity in terms of scientific publication” (3).
At the same time, the European Food Standard Authority (EFSA) approves the claim that vitamin C “contributes to the maintenance of the normal function of the immune system.” The bottom line is, the internet is full of contradictions, and there’s no quick fix to boosting immunity. Next, here’s a quick breakdown of how the immune system works so you can start making more educated immunity decisions on your own.
How the Immune System Works
The immune system is a collection of special blood cells and organs that fight disease and infection. It includes the following organs and cells:
- White blood cells
- Bone marrow
- Lymph nodes
- Thymus gland
The organs produce white blood cells, and when harmful germs attack, they spring into action to defend your honor (and wellbeing). Your immune system is a complex beast, and it relies heavily on hydration, minerals, and vitamins to function properly. Let’s find out how...
Immunity Starts with Hydration...Dude
When it comes to immune health, hydration is the foundation. It also wears a lot of hats, including:
- Aids digestion
- Flushes waste
- Converts food into energy
- Regulates body temperature
- Regulates the cellular life cycle
- Keeps mucosal membranes moist
- Helps deliver oxygen throughout the body
- Produces hormones and neurotransmitters
The body can crumble pretty quickly when it’s dehydrated, and the immune system is often the first thing to go. Here’s a closer look at why hydration is so important for immunity:
1. Waste Removal
Hydration helps remove toxins and disease. The first way is through sweat. Sweating removes contaminants from the blood, like harmful bacteria and environmental toxins. If you’re dehydrated, these toxins might linger and cause infections. Hydration also allows your lymphatic juices to flow properly. Lymph fluid is mostly water, and its job is to carry white blood cells throughout the body. When it comes down to it, a hydrated lymphatic system is a happy lymphatic system.
2. Nutrient Absorption
If you’re dehydrated, all your precious immune boosters are just going to pass through you and into the toilet. This is because the body needs plenty of water to produce stomach acid and digest food (4). Stomach acid also kills bacteria and viruses, including respiratory infections. First, your body flushes the infection from the lungs, then it travels to the gut where your stomach acid kills it off.
3. Mucus Production
Without proper hydration, your mucus might run dry. Mucus provides a barrier between your sinuses and airborne pollutants. At the same time, it contains enzymes and antibodies that fight infection (5). With that said, you can’t stay hydrated with just water alone — in order to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, you’re going to need the whole package..
The Ultimate Immune Boosting Formula
Electrolytes + Water = Immunity 101... But what about taking your immunity to the next level? Some of the best nutrients for immunity are:
- Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Magnesium, Zinc
- Vitamins: A, B1, B5, B6, C, D3, E
- Echinacea Purpurea
- Ginger Root
- Star Anise
Buoy + Immunity is a new product that puts all of these go-to immune boosters into one easy-squeezy immunity supplement. It takes Buoy’s original, all-natural electrolyte formula and adds a punch, including traditional immune boosters like vitamin C and herbal cold busters like star anise, rosemary, and acacia. Let’s take a closer look at this ultimate immune-boosting formula in action!
1. Electrolytes & Minerals
Electrolytes are minerals that support immunity, produce energy, and regulate fluid levels throughout the body. Studies show that electrolytes support white blood cell development (6). Let’s take a closer look at how key electrolytes work together to boost immunity:
Zinc: the gatekeeper of immune function. It fights inflammation and reduces the risk of infection and disease, including respiratory infections like pneumonia (7).
Sodium: controls inflammation and manages autoimmune conditions that can compromise the immune system. Studies show that sodium supplementation can fight infections in people who are deficient (8).
Chloride: works with sodium to support energy production and boost immunity. Immune cells thrive thanks to chloride. One study found that several types of immune cells have enhanced antiviral activity in the presence of chloride (9).
Calcium: what triggers the immune response. When the body is injured, a wave of calcium flows through the wound and attracts white blood cells. Without calcium, you’re more prone to infections and viruses (10).
Potassium: supports immunity by balancing digestive acids and strengthening the gut lining. Research shows that potassium may also improve white blood cell function (11).
Magnesium: supports immunity by regulating cell death and activating immune cells. Magnesium deficiency is strongly linked to inflammation, the root cause of most serious diseases (12).
Now that the foundation of your immunity pyramid is in order, it’s time to top it off with...
2. Vitamins: A, B1, B5, B6, C, D3, E
Vitamin A (Retinyl Acetate): Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient that supports immune function and cellular growth. Carotenoids are a type of vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables that may reduce the risk of several chronic illnesses, including heart disease (14). How does it work? Vitamin A fights oxidative stress, a key factor in most diseases. Oxidative stress is linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and plenty of other gnarly conditions.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine HCL): helps the gut produce stomach acid and supports metabolism in almost every cell in the body. The body can’t produce thiamine on its own, so you have to get it from food and supplements (15).
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): supports hormone and cholesterol production. Studies show that vitamin B5 may help balance blood sugar and lower blood pressure (16).
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL): strengthens immunity by boosting white blood cells. It also supports amino acid metabolism and red blood cell production. Lots of adults are vitamin B6 deficient (17).
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Yep, even after all that hate, we still recommend vitamin C. After all, a daily dose of 1-2 grams of vitamin C can shorten the duration of colds by an average of 8 to 14 percent (13). It can also help reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections. Just don’t take too much! Instead, get most of your vitamin C from whole foods and fill out the rest with a well-balanced multivitamin.
Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol D-3): Vitamin D3 is key for regulating calcium absorption and strengthening immunity. Ultimately, vitamin D3 supplementation may reduce your risk of catching the flu and developing heart disease. Plus, it supports mental health and fights depression.
Vitamin E (D-Alpha Acetate): Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It helps cells fight off infection by neutralizing harmful free radicals - molecules that can damage cells and may contribute to chronic diseases.
3. Echinacea Purpurea
Echinacea is a North American herb with antiviral properties. Studies show that it can fight upper respiratory infections and stimulate white blood cell activity. In fact, recent studies have found that echinacea can reduce the chance of catching a cold by up to 58 percent (18).
Elderberry is another plant-based medicine that’s been used for hundreds of years to treat infections. Early research shows that elderberry extract has strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, especially against the influenza virus. One medical review found that elderberry supplements can significantly reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections (19).
5. Ginger Root
It’s well known that chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system, but not if ginger has anything to say about it! Ginger root supports immunity thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It contains several antioxidants that fight inflammation, including gingerol and paradol. These compounds kill bacteria and other causes of bronchitis and pneumonia.
6. Star Anise
Star anise supports immunity in a variety of ways, including:
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces the risk of stomach ulcers
- Prevents the growth of fungus and bacteria in the gut
Inflammation and gut health are cornerstones of a strong immune system. One study found that star anise essential oil may reduce the risk of cholera infections by killing the pathogenic bacteria Vibrio cholerae (20).
Rosemary extract can help with:
- Liver and digestion
- Food poisoning
- Antibiotic resistance
- Antibiotic side effects
By supporting fat digestion, rosemary activates antioxidants that defend the body and protect the liver. At the same time, studies show that rosemary can weaken the cell walls of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (21). Plus, it may even increase the effectiveness of certain antibiotics. Woop, Woop!
Stuck with a pesky cough or sore throat? Acacia gum can help by coating the throat and protecting it from irritation. At the same time, it’s been shown to speed up wound healing and treat stomach ulcers (22). It’s all great news for immunity!
Immunity-Boosting Made Easy with Buoy + Immunity
Altogether, the immune-boosting nutrients in Buoy + Immunity can pack one hell of a punch. It can be hard to sort through all of the conflicting opinions on the internet, and it’s even harder to find quality sources of the best immune boosters. Luckily, we’ve done that for you...
Buoy + Immunity combines old-school eastern medicine with mainstream science — it’s a comprehensive immune-boosting blend of minerals, vitamins, and herbal extracts. The best part is, it is designed to be added to any drink of your choosing. Tea, smoothies, coffee, water… you name it! Basically, you become a magician that can turn any beverage into a robust, hydrating antioxidant blend. Abra-ca-drink!
Immune boosters, Boost immunity, Immune boosting, Immune health, How the immune system works, Best immune boosters, Supports immunity, Strengthening immunity, Boost your immune system, Stronger immune system