Nobody likes being under the weather, and that’s why especially during the winter months we search for miracle supplements to boost our immunity and help our bodies get through the toughest of conditions.

Immunity is a two part system that involves a series of very complex mechanisms incorporating different organs and biological functions.
Innate Immunity – Your fast acting immune response, which increases your temperature and blocks your airways with phlegm in an attempt to quickly kill the invading bacteria or virus.
Acquired Immunity – Your slow acting immune response, which identifies the bacteria or virus and builds antibodies to destroy and prevent future attacks on your body.

The only proven way in which you can ‘boost’ your acquired immune system is by a vaccine. Vaccines contain harmless versions of the bug you want to protect yourself against so that the acquired system can remember them and act more quickly the next time it meets them. Supplements are not vaccines, and that is why they cannot activate or further enhance the function of such a complex system.

Now all that we have left to work on improving is the fast acting innate immune system. If a supplement stimulated your innate immunity it would leave you feeling constantly unwell, with a fever and constant lethargy.

The only time when a vitamin or mineral supplement can boost your immune system is if you present nutrient deficiencies (identifiable by a blood test) in nutrients which do play a role in immunity such as zinc, vitamin A, or vitamin C. However, once your body reaches baselines of these vitamins taking more does not equal more benefits.

So what can you do to support the healthy functioning of your immune system? Sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly can boost the number of antibodies in your body. 80% of our immune system is located in the gut, which is why what you eat has huge benefits to your immune system, and is much more effective than popping a daily pill that promises to prevent you getting a cold. It’s important to note that an overuse of antibiotics can also damage your gut balance and negatively effect your immune system by causing your body to become imbalanced and incapable of fighting off disease naturally. Luckily, this imbalance can be improved by probiotics and a clean, healthy diet.

Reducing psychological stress has also been proven to protect your immune system and improve your body’s natural defenses. Similarly, there is a strong link between sleep patterns and the function of your immune system. Focusing on lifestyle changes like these to protect yourself from cold and viruses is a much more effective way of ‘boosting your immunity’.