BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The human body's immune system is a multi-level series of defenses designed to fight the germs that can make you sick. But poor diet, stress and even pollution can weaken those defenses, making you more vulnerable. Increasingly, smart consumers are taking steps to improve their odds of staying in good health by choosing high-quality supplements that help boost their body's immune functions.
"Ideally, we should all be able to reduce the stress in our lives, live in a pristine environment, get plenty of exercise, drink at least two liters of water and consume at least five to six servings of brightly colored fruits and vegetables every day," says Anita Boddie, RD, LD/N, PhD, senior scientist for Rexall Sundown, Inc. "However, most people fall short of those goals. That's why supplementation can be so important."
Boddie stresses that it is important to know which supplements will yield the most benefits. "You don't have to buy everything in the store," she says. "For many people, an all-in-one multivitamin formula is the most convenient form of daily nutritional supplementation. Look for high-quality formulas that supply a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants."
"Others may want to add one or more key supplements that have been shown to improve our body's defenses against infection," she adds. "Again, you can help narrow the selection process by choosing reputable brands that have been around for a long time and can be trusted to provide quality ingredients in effective dosages."
Some supplements known to help support a healthy immune system include:
* Vitamin C is a general antioxidant and immune system booster that may
also have antiviral properties. It is recommended during times when the
body's Vitamin C levels are compromised, such as when a person is not
eating well due to illness, stress, or surgery.
* Zinc helps support a healthy immune system and is needed for wound
Other immune system boosters include:
* Echinacea, a plant native to North America, supports natural resistance.
* Garlic, a culinary herb, has been used traditionally for its mild
antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
* CoEnzyme-Q10, also called CoQ10, is required for normal cellular energy
metabolism. The body uses extra energy when fighting off infection.
Additionally, Boddie advises, "Besides a good nutritional defense, do not forget the importance of frequent hand washing. Soap and water also offer a good defense strategy to avoid catching those 'bugs' that get passed around at public places and even at home."
Source: Rexall Sundown, Inc.