Immune health is one of the biggest segments of the UK’s supplement market. Immunity is a critical issue for consumers across the UK, especially during certain times of the year, such as when cold weather is at its peak and we are vulnerable to sickness and flu.
Science has long acknowledged the relationship between nutrition and immunity, and new research continues to reveal more positive effects of supplements on the immune system.
Immune boosting supplements appeal to a diverse range of demographic groups; families with children, athletes, and people with busy, stressful lifestyles. In addition to this, there’s the senior consumer, for whom immune protection has always been a priority. As the UN 2015 World Population Ageing report notes, the global population over aged 60 is expected to grow by 56% by 2030, “and products with immune benefits for this group represent a prime opportunity”.
This is where the right immune boosting ingredients come in. There are effective health supplements that can help:
Zinc is an essential mineral that helps to promote skin and immune health. It plays an active role in healing. A number of studies have proven that Zinc can help decrease the duration of a person’s cold. And in general, it can help boost our immune response, which helps us fight off colds in the first place. Zinc is essential for cell proliferation, and for this reason, highly proliferating cells, like immune cells, are dependent on an sufficient supply of zinc.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble micronutrient which can be found in some fruits like oranges and lemons. While it may not prevent us from getting ill altogether, many studies have shown that people who take Vitamin C recover from colds quickly. Vitamin C also aids wound healing. It is essential for the production of collagen and enhances iron absorption. As the body is not able to make vitamin C on its own, it is recommended to take a Vitamin C supplement all year round.
Although many Brits are taking active steps to improve their health and diet, it’s estimated that around 70% of us are still deficient in Vitamin D3. A lack of Vitamin D3 can have a huge impact on our health, both physically and mentally. It can result in a lowered immune system, tiredness and depression. Low levels of vitamin D are not the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease, but low levels of vitamin D can make autoimmune disease states worse. Recent research has shown that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defences and that without sufficient intake of Vitamin D, the killer cells of the immune system – T cells – will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body.
Contemporary studies have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids from Fish Oil can help to boost the immune system by enhancing the functioning of the immune cells. A study, published by the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests that DHA and EPA rich fish oil can enhance the function of immune B cells. B cells are a type of white blood cell that stimulate antibody production.
Our immune strength is totally dependant on an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals. Taking a Multivitamin containing all essential Vitamins from A-Z is one of the best ways we can help support our immune system. Most Multivitamins contain a blend of vitamins including Vitamin A, which helps to maintain the integrity of the digestive tract, lungs, and all cell membranes, preventing foreign agents from entering the body and viruses from entering cells. Vitamin C, which is most commonly known for its immune boosting properties. Vitamin E, which improves B and T cell function. Lastly, Zinc, which is vital for immune cell production and proper functioning of B and T cells.
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*Claims for food supplements mentioned in this article are not meant for general public, but are purely for information of food supplement industry professionals. Please note that the claims are not authorised by European Food Safety Authority for use on labels or marketing materials.