Your immune system is constantly working to keep you healthy and strong. Sometimes it needs a little help—especially during back-to-school and winter seasons when germs run wild. Give your immune system some support with these simple but effective tips and products. And always drink plenty of fluids—staying hydrated is a key ingredient to staying healthy.
What they are: The best offense is a good defense. Immunity-supporting products are formulated and packaged to support immune function at times when your system is under threat. Most commonly, these products contain vitamin C or zinc, and come in a variety of forms that make it easy to take at the earliest sign of cold symptoms, or other common infections that strike when you’re feeling run down.
Why use them: Studies have shown the positive health and immune benefits of taking vitamin C and zinc, especially at the first signs of sickness, and these types of nutritional products are safe and easy to take. They’re available in a variety of formulas such as chewables, quick-dissolving tablets, nasal sprays (except zinc nasal sprays, which have been associated with loss of smell), lozenges, and effervescent drink powders you add to cold or hot water.
Things to consider: Before adding supplements to your diet, make sure you consult your doctor and do your homework.
Immunity Products for Children
What they are: Similar to adult products, but formulated in lower, kid-friendly dosages to best support their kid-size immune systems.
Why use them: A safe and easy way to boost their defenses, children’s immune products are usually available as gummies or chewables in a variety of fun flavors, making it easier to get your little ones to take their vitamins.
Things to consider: Look for supplements formulated for your child’s age range. If your child has never taken supplements before, it is best to talk with their pediatrician first, especially if they’re taking medications.
Probiotics: Digestive Support
What they are: To keep your immune system strong, probiotics like acidophilus support healthy digestion and naturally boost your body’s defenses.
Why use them: Research suggests probiotics may help prevent colds and can help to balance the good bacteria in your digestive system to keep it on track.
Things to consider: Not all probiotic formulas have the same effects on the body, and some products contain more “friendly bacteria" than others. Refrigerated probiotic products, including those that are added to yogurts and other foods, are often a good bet, as the colony-forming units are likely to be preserved. However, probiotic powders are also available in capsules and packets.
Enhanced Waters & Drinks
What they are:These beverages often include a mix of vitamins and minerals for overall vitality, such as B-complex and vitamin C.
Why use them: Vitamin-enhanced waters and drinks have not been well studied, but as long as they are not laden with sugar, they may provide some extra vitamins—and at the very least they can help you stay hydrated.
Things to consider: Pay attention and read labels so you don’t get more than you bargained for, as many may also include sugar and stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, and ginseng. And make note of how many servings are in the container, as calories from enhanced beverages can add up fast—or try one of the low- or no-calorie varieties.