Supplements & diet tips to help support your immune system
Your immune system is an important part of keeping your body healthy. As the winter draws in and we try and dodge that dreaded cold weather, it can be a good time to think about how you can give your immune system that extra support.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is one of the key ways the body maintains normal health. It's a complex collection of cells, tissues and organs that work together to help defend against foreign bodies like germs. Nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc can play an important role in supporting the normal function of the immune system.*
Six tips to help support your immune system
Wash your hands
We’ve all seen the ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ signs trying to help prevent germs from spreading. Washing your hands regularly, remembering the 20 second rule, before touching your mouth, eyes or face is a simple yet effective way to protect yourself from catching germs spread by others.
Create a rainbow on your plate
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. The more colour on your plate from fruit and veg, the more variety of nutrients you are likely to get. Vitamin C, D and zinc are great for supporting a healthy immune system.* Read about our healthy hacks to help support your immune system.
Get your eight hours
Research has shown that sleep deprivation can affect the immune system and increase your chances of getting ill, so make sure you get plenty of shut eye. Check out our top sleep tips to help you drift off to the land of nod.
Regular exercise has been shown to give a little boost to your immune system. Try moderate exercise a few times a week with activities such as walking, cycling, or yoga. Read more about the benefits of exercise in our article on why it’s good to get moving.
If you’re doing exercise outside, make sure you stick to well-lit areas and wear bright clothing when it’s dark outside.
Reduce everyday stress
Stress is something we’ll all feel at some point in our lives. Prolonged stress can have negative health effects, but learning to take control of your stress has been shown to help the immune system.
When a stressful situation arises, try taking a five-minute break to focus on your breathing. Aim to relax for at least half an hour each night, whether that’s reading your favourite book in the bath, watching television or listening to music. Take a look at our other tips on how to cope with stress.
Consider supplements to support your diet
Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements may be a good idea if you feel you’re lacking vitamins from your diet.
How can supplements help support your immune system?
There are a variety of supplements that come in the form of effervescent (dissolvable) tablets, chewable tablets, tablets that you swallow with a glass of water and gummies – all of which help support a healthy immune system.
All of the following nutrients contribute to a healthy immune system:*
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B12
• Vitamin B6
• Folic acid
Which supplement is right for me?
Boots Vitamin C & Zinc
Zinc can also help support the immune system.* You can find supplements that incorporate both vitamin C and zinc, available in all forms. The dissolvable and sustained release products provide the highest levels of vitamin C and zinc, but all the tablets provide you with more than your daily NRV.**
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for your immune system. It can’t be stored in the body, so a regular intake is important for supporting a healthy immune system.
How much vitamin C do I need?
The current recommended daily amount of vitamin C from all food sources is 80mg for the general adult population.
The body is unable to store vitamin C, so any excess will pass out in your urine. Due to this, it’s safe to take higher doses than the recommended daily amount** when taking a food supplement – up to 1000mg per day for adults. Find our range of vitamin C products here.
Natural sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C rich foods include:
• Dark leafy greens
• Kiwi fruit
• Green peas
Vitamin D is recommended to help maintain healthy bones, but also plays an important part in keeping a healthy immune system.
According to government advice, it’s very hard to get the required levels of vitamin D in autumn and winter due to the low UK sunshine levels. It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone, so it’s therefore recommended that most adults, and children, take a vitamin D supplement between the months of October and March.
It’s recommended that children under five and certain adults in vulnerable groups take a vitamin D supplement all year round.
How much Vitamin D do I need?
All adults and children aged five and over should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10ug vitamin D in the autumn and winter months, and children aged one to four years old should take one all year round.
Visit our vitamin D guide or our vitamins for kids guide for more advice.