There is No Magic Immune System Booster

The word “boosted” also wrongly implies that we might want to multiply the number of immune cells we have, says Dr. Knoedler. “We do not want more immune cells. We just want those we need to be able to function normally and fulfill their main roles, ”says Dr Knoedler. And the idea that we want to boost our immune response doesn’t make sense since overactive immune responses can cause excessive amounts of inflammation that make people feel terribly sick, says Kaplan. So, “What you really want is competent immune response, “says Kaplan.

OK, so semantics aside, is there anything that has proven to make your immune system more competent? Better in his profession? The truth is that there is a serious lack of data behind most of the things that you see being touted as immune boosters. “Many of these advertisements for supplements and overloaders and quick fixes … these things have never been tested in clinical trials,” says Kaplan. (The FDA does not assess or regulate supplements as it does for drugs.)

“When we look at the data on vitamins and herbal supplements and their effects on viral infections as a whole, most [have an] impact, “says Dr. Knoedler. At best, “Sometimes something shows a very small benefit in one study, but not in another [study]. “(An example is Vitamin D.) There are also many variations in dosage, formulation, brand, frequency. In addition, although the duration of studies varies, they are most often carried out over weeks or months, says Dr. Knoedler. Not exactly instant.

Certain vitamin and mineral supplements can be absolutely beneficial in correcting deficiencies caused by malnutrition, a health condition or aging, says Kaplan. In this case, supplements can bring them back to the basic level that their immune system needs to function properly. But for someone who gets enough of these micronutrients – most of whom are on a reasonably healthy diet, says Van Oers – there is no solid evidence of an “extra boost.” In general, “if you are not deficient, adding more above the normal level does not improve your immune response,” says Kaplan. (There are also health risks due to interactions or potential side effects. Talk to your doctor if you are thinking about taking something.)

The best ways to support your immune health

“Since there are so many components and intricacies of the immune system, we just want to help it function as a whole as it is supposed to,” says Dr. Knoedler. This means providing basic but important support to keep the whole system running smoothly.

While there are no pills or magic foods here, there are general principles and basic healthy habits that have been shown to support a well-functioning immune system in the long run, says Dr. Knoedler . That means eating well, sleeping seven to nine hours a night, exercising moderately, and managing your stress levels, says Dr. Knoedler. You will notice that these are the same habits recommended to support most facets of good health.

Above all, all of these behaviors are cumulative and should be consistent habits in the long run, says Van Oers. Take your diet, for example. When we talk about a diet that supports a healthy immune system, it’s not about pounding celery juice for a few days in a row to “boost” your immunity (or, on the contrary, rampage your immune system after three slices of cake). “Generally, these are long-term dietary changes,” says Van Oers. A varied, nutrient-rich diet consistently supports your long-term immune system in a number of ways, including helping you maintain the right balance of vitamins and minerals as well as the microbiota (good bacteria in your gut) including your immune system. needs to function properly, says Van Oers.

So, as appealing as the idea of ​​giving your immune system an instant boost, the truth is that, as with many aspects of your health, slow and steady victory wins the race. “There is no overnight solution,” says Van Oers.

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