The Best Supplements to Boost Your Family’s Immune System
We know that social distancing, hand washing, and face masks are the best ways to protect ourselves against COVID-19, but having a strong immune system can’t hurt either. I’ve always been a big believer in supplementation and once it became clear that the coronavirus outbreak was going to become a pandemic, I called my doctor, Dr. Drew Francis, OMD, L.Ac to find out the best supplements to take for immune support. Drew has been my doctor for about ten years now. I appreciate how he combines both Eastern and Western medicines to provide integrative support to his patients. That combination is what has kept me youthful but most importantly the healthiest I’ve ever been.
What follows is a rundown of the supplements recommended by my doctor and our pediatrician. If you’re considering supplements, it’s important to talk to your own doctor first. No supplements have been found to prevent or cure COVID-19, but the products listed below are backed by research when it comes to supporting immune function.
Supplements I’m Taking for Immune Support
I try to eat a well-rounded diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy whole grains, and high quality plant-based proteins to get all the vitamins and minerals I need for immune support. But, like most busy mamas, it doesn’t always work out that way—especially lately with the shelter-at-home order and trying to balance two kids at home all day while running a business. Using supplements helps me get all the nutrients I need to stay healthy.
This supplement contains broccoli seed extract, which metabolizes glucoraphanin into sulforaphane, a substance that protects cellular DNA and promotes healthy cell replication. Broccoli-derived sulforaphane can set into motion the Antioxidant Response Element, which supports the body in cellular defense. There’s also some research showing that sulforaphane may improve gut bacterial flora—and we know that a healthy gut is important for the immune system.
Smoky Mountain Nutrition DIM Complex
Di-indolyl methane, or DIM, has been used to support hormone balance and the metabolization of excess estrogen for menopause, PCOS, cystic acne, and weight loss, but it’s also showing promise in immune support. Scientists at UC Berkeley have discovered that DIM acts as a modulator of the body’s innate immune response system and it is currently being studied as a potential treatment for viral and bacterial infections.
Microbiome Labs MegaSporeBiotic
Probiotics have been shown to regulate immune response, but the problem with most probiotics is that they only offer a temporary fix—a spore-based probiotic like this one reconditions the gut and promotes the colonization of good bacteria. I’ve also used Designs for Health’s Probiotic Synergy Spheres, which is another high-quality probiotic option.
LivOn Labs Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C
Vitamin C is probably the first supplement you think of when it comes to immunity, but when you take a typical vitamin C supplement, much of it passes through the body unabsorbed. This vitamin C supplement is wrapped in liposomes, which protects the vitamin through the digestive system and transports it into the bloodstream where it can be better absorbed by cells.
Thorne Vitamin D + K1 + K2
Early research has shown an association between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 mortality rates. Vitamins D and K work as a team, so it’s important to use a supplement that contains both. Using a vitamin D supplement without vitamin K can increase the risk of calcium deposits in the arteries and joints and have a negative impact on blood vessel elasticity. I take my vitamin D + K supplement with a fatty food like a spoonful of almond butter or half an avocado to optimize absorption.
Thorne Zinc Picolinate
You can purchase this in a 30mg or 15mg formulation, but I stick with the 30mg version. Zinc picolinate is the best absorbed form of zinc, which is necessary for the development and function of cells related to immune response.
Supplements I’m Giving the Kids for Immune Support
Because young children can’t swallow tablets and capsules easily, all of the supplements Lennox Mae and Dries take are in liquid form. Most of these are flavored, so the kids take them without any problems, but if your littles need a little coaxing, mix their immune boosting supplements into their morning oatmeal, a smoothie, or fruit puree.
Nordic Naturals Baby’s DHA
I started using DHA shortly after Lennox Mae was born because her pediatrician recommended it for supporting brain development, but DHA is also important for a healthy immune and inflammatory response. Fatty acids like DHA are converted into molecules that are used as part of the body’s natural healing process.
Carlsons Kid's Super Daily D3 + K2
Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving children vitamin D supplements? Vitamin D supports immune function, the growth of healthy bones, the respiratory system, and even heart health—I give the kids this one usually after dinner because almost all of our meals involve green leafy vegetables and a healthy fat.
Premier Research Labs Liquid Zinc Assay
This is a new immune boosting supplement that I incorporated into their regime after COVID-19 hit. A highly absorbable liquid zinc; zinc deficiency causes immune dysfunction that makes it difficult for the body to discern between its own cells and those of invaders and zinc supplementation has been shown to decrease the amount of colds children get.
Designs for Health Liposomal Vitamin C Liquid
In addition to its immune system benefits, vitamin C is important for growing kids because it supports the formation of collagen, muscle, blood vessels, and neurotransmitters.
A Note About Shopping for Supplements
Buying immune boosting supplements online can be a risky proposition. That’s why I only purchase brands recommended by my doctor. Remember, supplements are not tested by the FDA, so when you go online and choose the cheapest option you can find, you have no idea what you’re actually getting or where and how it’s made—and there are a lot of sketchy supplements out there. Spend the extra money to get a high quality supplement from a brand you can trust.
**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health practitioner.