Immune Support

A weakened immune system can make us more vulnerable to a host of nasty viruses and bacteria. Illness, injury and stress are examples of conditions that can affect our immunity. A good diet and appropriate levels of the vitamins and minerals that support the immune system are essential.

Those who are susceptible to infections or who need immune support may wish to consider additional vitamins A, B6, folate, B12, C and D, as well as the trace minerals zinc and selenium, which all contribute to the normal function of the immune system.

Other factors to consider in relation to immune function are sleep, stress and gut health – over 70% of our immune system is located in the gut!

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The environment we live in is full of potential threats to our health and our immune system is our first line of defence. Our immune system seeks to destroy or neutralize these challenges, be they viruses, fungi, bacteria, or environmental stressors and the effects of modern living, and by doing so can help us to maintain optimal health and ensure survival in our constantly changing environment. 

While a healthy immune system can respond swiftly to pathogens, often before we experience any symptoms, it can often become overwhelmed and work sub-optimally leaving us susceptible to illness. Supporting your immune system function through both nutritional and lifestyle interventions is one of the most important things you can do to ensure good health. 

A well formulated immune support supplement will provide therapeutic levels of the following key immune system nutrients: 

Vitamin A is an important immune system vitamin due to its role in the formation of immune cells such as antibodies and T Cells; the type of white blood cells that help identify pathogens. It also plays an important role in the maintenance and repair of the body's natural defences, which includes the mucosal barriers in the respiratory and digestive tract, which help to trap bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. 

Vitamin C supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection. It is a powerful antioxidant and has natural antihistamine properties. 

Vitamin D can profoundly strengthen our natural immunity, and several different immune cells have vitamin D receptors that affect their function. It plays an important role in modulating the immune system, ensuring its appropriate function and reducing the chance of developing allergies and auto-immunity.  

Selenium is a protective mineral and essential antioxidant, and adequate intake is essential for healthy immunity. Deficiency in selenium has been associated with increased susceptibility to several viruses. 

Zinc is involved in multiple aspects of immune function and is crucial for the normal development and function of our immune cells. Deficiency in zinc can increase susceptibility to infections. 

Quercetin has natural antihistamine properties - so an excellent immune system supplement for those who suffer with allergies such as hay fever.  

Beta glucans 1-3, 1-6, found in the wall of baker's yeast can have a potent effect on immune function. This immunity supplement is known as an immune system 'primer', getting our immune system ready to help fend off unwanted pathogens / bacteria / viruses. 

Omega 3 fatty acids are important nutrients to support immune system function. Found in oily fish, walnuts, flax and chia seeds, or in supplement form, can help to dampen down inflammation. Chronic inflammation activates the immune system, which over time can exhaust it, leaving it less able to respond and fight off infection. 

Your immune health is intrinsically linked to your general health, so ensuring you have the basics in place; a healthy, nutritious diet, 7-9 hours of sleep per night, regular gentle exercise and reducing your stress levels as much as possible will be the best steps you can take to strengthening your immunity. 

Digestive health is also hugely important - around 70%-80% of your immune system is found within the gut and is heavily influenced by your gut bacteria. You can support your bacterial balance by ensuring a wide variety of different plant-based foods to provide fibre and prebiotics, as well as probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and kefir, or a multi-strain live bacteria probiotic supplement. 

Cytoplan's immune support supplements will provide the most bioeffective forms of these key immune supporting nutrients, offering the best natural, gentle and effective nutrients to promote optimal health.

I seem to catch a lot of coughs and colds - what supplements can I take to boost  my immune system?

Your immunity is intrinsically linked to your general health, so ensuring you have the basics in place; a healthy, nutritious diet, 7-9 hours of sleep per night, regular gentle exercise and reducing your stress levels as much as possible will be the best steps you can take to strengthen your immunity.

It is also essential that you have great levels of key immune supporting vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and D, zinc and selenium, as well as nutrients such as quercetin and beta 1-3, 1-6 glucans. A well-formulated, gentle and bioeffective immune system supplement, using natural forms of nutrients can be an easy way to achieve optimal levels of immune supportive nutrients. 

Digestive health is also hugely important - around 70% of your immune system is actually found within the gut and is heavily influenced by your gut bacteria. You can support your bacterial balance by ensuring a wide variety of different plant-based foods to provide fibre and prebiotics, as well as probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and kefir, or a multi-strain live bacteria probiotic supplement.

How can I boost my child's immune system?

Children pick up coughs, colds and bugs very easily. The average adult will get 2-4 cold or flu viruses a year, whereas children are twice as likely to fall ill. This may be, in part due to their immature immune systems, or more close contact in a school or nursery setting - but the good news is that as parents, there are measures we can take to support their natural immunity and reduce the frequency and severity of them falling ill.

Cytoplan have a number of gentle and effective supplements to help support your child's immunity. From a chewy vitamin C with all natural colours and flavours from oranges, to an all round immune support capsule containing vitamin C, iron, selenium, zinc and beta glucans, both suitable from 3 years. We also have vitamin D3 drops, suitable from birth and a probiotic powder suitable from 3 months old.

What's the connections between gut health and immunity?

Our gut health is hugely important to the normal function of our immune system. 70% of our immune system is in fact found within our gut, in something referred to as "gut associated lymphoid tissue" (GALT). The GALT is strongly influenced by our microbiome (the bacteria residing in our digestive system). Therefore, supporting the health of the gut and the microbiome can directly influence our immune health.

Healthy digestive function can be supported by:

  • ensuring sufficient fibre is eaten with 6-8 portions of vegetables daily
  • eating prebiotic foods such as baked apples, chicory and artichoke (prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre which feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut)
  • eating fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi to support gut flora
  • taking a multi-strain live bacteria (probiotic) supplement

How does vitamin D affect my immunity?

Vitamin D can profoundly strengthen our natural immunity. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection, and as low levels are common in the UK, taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly over autumn and winter months could be a low cost and effective way to boost your immunity.  Our selection of vitamin D supplements include a vegan wholefood vitamin D3 tablet, vitamin D3 drops, suitable from birth but great for all the family, and vitamin D3 and K2 capsules, at either a high potency or daily dosage. 
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