We use 100% natural ingredients in all of our products to ensure that you get the essential vitamins and minerals needed to support your immune system. Each of these ingredients is backed by scientific studies that prove their importance and effectiveness in supporting your immune health. Here are just a handful.
Diets contain naturally occurring antioxidant compounds that can stabilize highly reactive, potentially harmful molecules called free radicals.
Free radicals are generated during normal cellular metabolism and result from the metabolism of certain drugs or xenobiotics.
Exposure to UV light, cigarette smoke, and other environmental pollutants also increases the body’s free radical burden. The harmful activities of free radicals are associated with damage to membranes, enzymes, and DNA. The ability of antioxidants to destroy free radicals protects the structural integrity of cells and tissues.
This review focuses on data indicating that the functions of the human immune system depend on the intake of micronutrients, which can act as antioxidants. Recent clinical trials have found that antioxidant supplementation can significantly improve certain immune responses.
Specifically, supplementation with vitamins C, E, and A or beta-carotene increased the activation of cells involved in tumor immunity in the elderly. Supplementation with the antioxidant vitamins also protected immune responses in individuals exposed to certain environmental sources of free radicals. Supplementation with vitamin A, a relatively weak antioxidant, decreases morbidity and mortality associated with measles infections in children.
The immune system is highly reliant on accurate cell-cell communication for optimal function, and any damage to the signalling systems involved will result in an impaired immune responsiveness.
Oxidant-mediated tissue injury is a particular hazard to the immune system, since phagocytic cells produce reactive oxygen species as part of the body’s defence against infection.
Adequate amounts of neutralizing antioxidants are required, therefore, to prevent damage to the immune cells themselves. Many antioxidants can be obtained directly from the diet (e.g. ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol, carotenoids and polyphenolic flavonoids) or require micronutrients as integral components (e.g. Se in the metalloenzyme glutathione peroxidase (EC 18.104.22.168)).
Numerous epidemiological studies have found strong associations between diets rich in antioxidant nutrients and a reduced incidence of cancer, and it has been suggested that a boost to the body’s immune system by antioxidants might, at least in part, account for this. Although more striking effects have been observed in the elderly, there is also evidence that antioxidant nutrients can modify cell-mediated immune responses in younger individuals.
Indeed, it might be essential to have an adequate intake of antioxidant nutrients from an early age in order to help prevent the development of, or at least delay the onset of, several degenerative disorders. The present paper will review the effects of specific nutrients on immune function in young to middle-aged human subjects, focusing on the antioxidant vitamins C and E, and on Se. A further review, dealing more specifically with the effects of carotenoids on human immune function, will be presented at a forthcoming meeting of the Nutrition Society.
Background: The common cold is one of the most widespread illnesses and is a leading cause of visits to the doctor and absenteeism from school and work. Trials conducted in high-income countries since 1984 investigating the role of zinc for the common cold symptoms have had mixed results. Inadequate treatment masking and reduced bioavailability of zinc from some formulations have been cited as influencing results.
Objectives: To assess whether zinc (irrespective of the zinc salt or formulation used) is efficacious in reducing the incidence, severity and duration of common cold symptoms. In addition, we aimed to identify potential sources of heterogeneity in results obtained and to assess their clinical significance.
Search methods: In this updated review, we searched CENTRAL (2012, Issue 12), MEDLINE (1966 to January week 2, 2013), EMBASE (1974 to January 2013), CINAHL (1981 to January 2013), Web of Science (1985 to January 2013), LILACS (1982 to January 2013), WHO ICTRP and clinicaltrials.gov.
Selection criteria: Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials using zinc for at least five consecutive days to treat, or for at least five months to prevent the common cold.
Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed trial quality. Read More
New research suggests that zinc helps control infections by gently tapping the brakes on the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation that can be damaging and even deadly.
Scientists determined in human cell culture and animal studies that a protein lures zinc into key cells that are first-responders against infection. The zinc then interacts with a process that is vital to the fight against infection and by doing so helps balance the immune response.
Zinc plays an essential role in many biochemical pathways and participates in several cell functions, including the immune response. This review describes the role of zinc in human health, aging, and immunosenescence. Zinc deficiency is frequent in the elderly and leads to changes similar to those that occur in oxidative inflammatory aging (oxi-inflamm-aging) and immunosenescence. The possible benefits of zinc supplementation to enhance immune function are discussed.
Vitamin C is often touted as a natural cold remedy. The nutrient is featured in supplements promising to boost the immune system. Nobel laureate Dr. Linus Pauling famously claimed that taking large doses of vitamin C helps thwart a cold.
Is there something to these claims? “The data show that vitamin C is only marginally beneficial when it comes to the common cold,” says Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The most convincing evidence to date comes from a 2013 review of 29 randomized trials with more than 11,000 participants.
Researchers found that among extremely active people—such as marathon runners, skiers, and Army troops doing heavy exercise in subarctic conditions—taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C every day appeared to cut the risk of getting a cold in half. But for the general population, taking daily vitamin C did not reduce the risk of getting a cold.
More encouraging: taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C per day did appear to reduce the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 8% in adults and 14% in children, which translated to about one less day of illness. “That could be important for some people, since the common cold causes 23 million lost days of work each year,” says Dr. Bistrian.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. Because your body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods you eat every day. >
Research shows vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin and cartilage — a type of firm tissue that covers the bones. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body which may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease, and promote healthy aging. Vitamin C from foods also seems to reduce the risk of cartilage loss in those with osteoarthritis.
Though it may not keep you from catching a cold, there is some evidence that high doses of vitamin C may decrease the length of cold symptoms by as much as one to one-and-a-half days for some people. However, other studies did not result in the same findings, and the risk of side effects is greater with high doses of vitamin C supplements, so check with your doctor or dietitian before taking.
The health benefit of fruit juices have been ascribed, in part, to phenolic antioxidants. The antioxidant potential of a range of fruit juices was assessed by measurement of their ability to reduce a synthetic free radical, potassium nitrosodisulphonate, and also by their ability to reduce Fe(III).
Vitamin C was found to account for 65–100% of the antioxidant potential of beverages derived from citrus fruit but less than 5% of apple and pineapple juice. The contribution of carotenoids to antioxidant potential was negligible.
Although phenolics appear to be major contributors to the antioxidant potential of the non-citrus juices, their identity and bio-availability requires further investigation.