Winter is here and it's time to turn on the heat, pull out the scarves and gloves, and boost up your immune system for the chill that is to come.
Whether you stick to tried-and-true immunity supplements or sample the latest trendy products, it is important to understand what you are taking and why it is beneficial.
Products that boost immunity can work in several different ways. Some are antioxidants that help reduce the damage of free radicals in the body. Some work by supporting a healthy gut, which in turn helps bolster the immune system. Others help support the production and efficacy of blood cells,which contain the body’s first responders. All these ingredients work together with the body to offer full-body wellness.
Immunity supplements can be taken on their own, in the forms of capsules, gummies, drink mix powders, or increasingly, supplements are being added into functional foods and beverages to add extra nutrients.
The immunity consumer spans income, household composition,and generation. We do see a slight skew toward city dwellers and families with school-age children, due to the extra exposure to germs and communicable pathogens. It’s not something for the uber-trendy, its appeal resonates across consumer segments to anyone who cares about their full-body health.
So, what products should you be on the lookout for if you want to boost your immune system? There is no doubt that Vitamin C and Zinc are the staples of immunity, but recent studies have revealed that there is more interconnectivity within the body, resulting in a whole new line of immunity powerhouse items.
Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin helps our immune system stay in balance. Low levels of vitamin D are very common and have been shown to result in more frequent illnesses. Making sure your levels are high enough is an easy way to help support the immune system.
Vitamin B12: Red blood cells are an essential component of your body's immune response, and vitamin B12 is an important part of their production.
Postbiotics: Probiotics are relatively new on the scene but are already showing evidence of their immune-boosting properties. They help support a healthy gut, which in turn supports a healthy immune system. Additionally,postbiotics can be added to products more easily because, unlike probiotics,postbiotics survive high heat and do not need to be refrigerated. This means they can be added to products that are shelf stable or added to things you hot brew, like coffee.
Ginger: Gingeris a staple in many Eastern medicines for immunity, due to its high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is often juiced and sold as wellness shots that are sweetened with honey to counter some of the pungency of straight ginger.
Turmeric (Curcumin): Turmeric or more specifically Curcumin,has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are said to boost immunity and also boost the performance of white blood cells. Turmeric lattes came on the scene as a more recent health trend but owe their origins back to India, where the drink has been around for centuries.
Elderberry: Elderberrysupplements are commonly found in the cold and flu aisle at the pharmacy, but the jury is still out on whether elderberry actually affects the severity and duration of colds or the flu. Research on the performance of elderberry has been conflicting.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms like reishi, lion’s mane, chaga,and cordyceps are powerhouses in general, and have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries. They are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and immunomodulation agents.
Licorice Root: Licorice rootis another from Eastern medicine that has been used for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties and is thought to help ease respiratory problems, ward off colds,and boost the immune system.
Camu Camu: Camu Camu are berries from the Amazon that are naturally high in vitamin C and antioxidants, and typically added to products to help punch up the vitamin content.
Check out our Flu (Fighting) Season: Functional Beverages & Immunity report to find out how brands are addressing immunity in their products.