THE BEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR IMMUNE SUPPORT
By Rebecca Paredes
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy
Taking care of your immunity starts with taking care of yourself, and this year is no exception. And because we can’t always get enough sleep or manage our stress (not even a little), immune support supplements fill in the gaps.
The best supplements for immune support don’t just shove doses of vitamin C into a bunch of multivitamins and call it a day—they provide targeted support to help strengthen your immune function, protect your cells and bolster your energy levels. Keep reading for our top picks and find out how to use them in your immune support routine.
NATURAL IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT SUPPLEMENTS
If you’ve ever enjoyed chicken soup when you’re feeling lousy, you already know how good whole foods can make you feel. (Grandma’s medical advice was right!)
Natural remedies can help you feel strong and nourished, thanks to nutrients that make a big difference year-round. Here are a few of our top recommendations:
- Garlic and ginger: These tried-and-true superfoods help support your immune response, thanks to natural bioactive compounds. Add extra garlic to your soup, sip ginger tea or get the best of both worlds when you make a big batch of Cardamom Ginger Bone Marrow Broth.
- Turmeric: You’ve probably seen this vibrant root in curries and golden milk, but the real star of the show is turmeric’s active compound: curcumin. This compound works to support a healthy inflammation response and helps regulate your immune system.
- Colorful vegetables: If immune benefits are what you’re after, load your plate with the green stuff. And the orange stuff. Actually, eating a variety of brightly colored vegetables will help your body get plenty of good-for-you vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C in citrus fruits, glutathione in brussels sprouts and zinc in dark leafy greens.
- Gut-friendly foods: A surprising amount of immune activity starts in the gut (more on this later). Bulletproof InnerFuel Prebiotic contains a blend of plant-based prebiotics to nourish good gut bacteria and support healthy digestion. Bonus: Its ingredient list includes Larch Arabinogalactan, a natural immune booster.
Get the full list of natural supplements to support your immune system.
HOW A HEALTHY GUT SUPPORTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Here’s another reason to trust your gut: A strong immune system starts with a healthy gut microbiome. It might seem strange to think about your stomach playing a role in how you feel, but a growing body of evidence illustrates that your gut bacteria are a key part of your body’s immune response.
Among other roles, your gut bacteria are responsible for:
- Breaking down food into nutrients, which help fuel your cells and power your immune response.
- Sending warning signals to your immune system when they sense the presence of not-so-good microorganisms.
Researchers are uncovering more details about that latter responsibility. We know your gut bacteria play a role in helping your body stay in balance—a state called homeostasis. Under the hood, your body is constantly trying to maintain a sense of homeostasis because it’s the most efficient state for your systems to function.
When the bad guys start to take over, that’s when your immune system kicks into high gear to get things back to normal—and if you have a healthy gut microbiome, the cavalry is better equipped to help defend the kingdom. Or your body. Same thing.
FOODS THAT SUPPORT GUT HEALTH
So, how do you support a healthy gut? We’ll take any opportunity to shout this from the rooftops: eat your vegetables! A diet rich in diverse, nutrient-dense whole foods gives your entire body access to the vitamins and minerals it needs to work like a well-oiled machine.
For even more support, add these to your routine:
- Bone broth: This is a rich source of collagen, which helps keep your connective tissue strong—including the connective tissue found in your digestive system. Try this easy bone broth recipe next time you need something savory and sippable (or the base for a delicious soup).
- Bulletproof InnerFuel Prebiotic: InnerFuel Prebiotic is a go-to part of our immune support checklist because it contains a natural immune-booster (Larch Arabinogalactan) and ingredients to support healthy digestion. It mixes nicely with coffee, smoothies and your favorite beverages.
- Fermented foods: Kimchi, sauerkraut and other fermented foods are great for overall health because they’re a reliable way to get probiotic bacteria in your diet. This Gut-Friendly Mango, Orange and Vanilla Slushie features two sources of probiotics: coconut water kefir and Bulletproof Gut Health Collagen Protein. Plus, slushie!
- Antioxidant-rich foods: Antioxidants help your body fight free radicals caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. Studies show that anti-inflammatory polyphenols (plant compounds with antioxidant properties) may help support the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Another reason to enjoy antioxidant-rich foods like berries and dark chocolate, along with your morning coffee or tea? Hey, you don’t have to tell us twice.
VITAMIN, MINERAL AND ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENTS FOR IMMUNE SUPPORT
Over-the-counter supplements like vitamin D and zinc help ensure you’re getting meaningful amounts of important nutrients to keep your immune system humming. We say “meaningful amounts” because it can be hard to get enough of the nutrients you need from food alone.
The benefit of these immune support supplements is that they make it simple to get reliable doses of targeted nutrients. So, what supplements should you add to your routine? Start with these picks to support an immune system that punches above its weight.
Spoiler: Bulletproof supplements are made with science-backed ingredients, and they’re gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO.
THE BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D
Getting more vitamin D in your life is an easy win. That’s because the benefits of vitamin D are impressive for your entire body. In terms of your immune system, vitamin D supports your immune system’s T-cells, white blood cells which help protect your body against disease. But the sunshine vitamin is also essential for strong bones and teeth because it helps your body absorb calcium and maintain bone tissue. A deficiency in vitamin D is also associated with weaker muscles and poor muscle function.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 600 IU (15 micrograms) for adults, per the Mayo Clinic. So, how can you hit that number? When it comes to upping your vitamin D levels, make sure to:
- Get some sun exposure—when it’s nice outside! While 20 minutes per day is optimal, winter months or crummy weather don’t always lend to a comfortable climate setting. So, whatever you can handle, as often as possible, is ideal.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver, fortified cereals and milk (if you’re friends with dairy).
- Take a vitamin D supplement so you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin daily. Bulletproof Vitamins A-D-K softgels contain vitamin D3, the form that is more easily absorbed by your body, and pairs it with complementary vitamins A and K2 for triple support for your bones, heart and immune system. All in one pill! Talk about efficiency.
WHY ZINC IS ONE OF THE BEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR IMMUNE SUPPORT
You might have heard that zinc is great to have in your toolkit when you want to bolster your immune system. But why is it so good? Zinc supplement benefits are pretty impressive, because:
- They support a strong immune system that can respond to intruders like a pro.
- They play a role in your body’s mucous membranes and skin tissue cells, supporting healing and repairing cell membranes.
- Studies suggest some forms of zinc, most especially zinc gluconate, can even reduce the length of a cold.
You can get zinc in foods like oysters, pumpkin seeds, beef and cashews, but it’s tough to get enough zinc-rich foods in your diet—unless you’re a baller and have fresh oysters daily. Go you!
The best way to make sure you’re hitting your daily zinc goals is to take a zinc supplement. You’ll see different forms of zinc available as chewable lozenges and pills. We like zinc orotate for its bioavailability. But whatever you use, make sure you pair it with another essential mineral: copper.
Zinc can actually compete for absorption with copper in your body. However, copper helps with vital functions like making energy and blood cells. That’s why you want to make sure your zinc and copper supplement contains balanced doses of both essential minerals. Psst—that’s exactly what you get in Bulletproof Zinc with Copper.
A few final notes: We recommend taking Zinc with Copper with meals to avoid any side effects like stomach upset. Also, make sure you take zinc away from alcohol or antibiotics. Alcohol can make it more difficult for your body to absorb zinc. And when you take zinc and antibiotics too close together, you might interfere with their effectiveness.
GLUTATHIONE TO STRENGTHEN IMMUNE HEALTH
If you were to poll Bulletproof employees and ask what our favorite supplements are, chances are pretty good that you’d hear “Bulletproof Glutathione Force” several times over. That’s because glutathione is one of the best supplements for immune support, period.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant. It helps your body get rid of toxins, protect your cells from free radical damage and supports a healthy inflammation response—all key parts of a healthy immune system that holds its own in the face of bad guys, whether we’re talking about stress, a stress-induced diet or your environment.
Your body naturally produces glutathione, but you can help make more of it. It’s found naturally in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts. Foods rich in the amino acid cysteine, such as whey protein, can also help your body produce glutathione. There’s even evidence that exercise can boost glutathione levels.
To help make sure you’re helping your body produce glutathione, here’s one easy thing you can do daily: take a glutathione supplement.
Glutathione Force features a proprietary liposomal delivery system to make glutathione readily available for use by your body. Make it one of your go-to immune support supplements, or take it whenever you start to feel worn down. Simple.
Want to learn more about supplements to support your immune system? Check out these ways to boost immune health and wellness. Did you know that your nightcap might be distracting your immune defenses? Find out how alcohol affects your immunity. And remember, stay in communication with your healthcare provider before you add anything new to your routine.