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Can vitamins help you boost immunity?

Since the covid pandemic knocked on our door, immune boosting has been a trending topic. It's completely understandable. Everyone wants to be protected from covid. So, if there are products that can boost immunity, people will be interested. We are sure you have at least heard, if not looked at it online by yourself, the phrase: "how to boost immunity." 

But the real question stands…Can you even boost your immune system?

Well, spoiler alert. You cannot. To explain why… You need to understand what is an immune system and how it works. 

Watch our experts explain how the immune system works and how it protects our body.

How does our immune system work?

The immune system consists of a vast network of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues throughout the body. It includes B cells, T cells, macrophages, spleen, white blood cells, bone marrow, thymus, and much more. It protects us from bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from harming our bodies. 

Innate Immunity

Generally speaking, you can separate immune systems in two ways. The first one is Innate immunity. It is the protection we are born with. This includes skin, eyelashes, nose hair, mucus, and vaginal discharge. All of these prevent the entry of pathogens into our bodies. Therefore, it is also known as the first line of defense.

Adaptive Immunity

The second type is Adaptive immunity. It comes into action when pathogens cross our first line of defense. Adaptive immunity can separate foreign substances and cells from our body's cells. 

Every cell, whether from humans or the virus, has a protein on its surface called an antigen. Think of them as name tags. And your immune system is always on the lookout for these antigens so it can read them and identify outsiders. 

Whenever it detects a foreign substance, it sends signals to initiate an immune response to protect the body from invaders. Through this action, antibodies are produced. But, like a targeted missile, these antibodies hurt only that pathogen with that particular antigen. 

The best part is that our body remembers this process, so the same pathogens enter our body the next time. Our immune system will quickly produce antibodies to neutralize the threat.

This is how our immune system works.

Why can't we boost immunity?

The immune system comprises thousands of cells and elements working together in harmony. If we try to boost one of these components, this sacred consonance will crumble. There has to be a balance. We want to avoid getting into details here cause it's too complex and will take hours to explain. 

But in simple terms… Humans are like donuts. Donuts, just like us, are made up of a lot of ingredients. Flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, yeast, milk, vanilla, etc. And they all have to be in a particular proportion. So if you add more sugar than required, your donuts will turn out cut-rate. 

Similarly, try to boost or over-power one component of your immune system; the result could be terrible. For example, if you boost your B and C cells, you could attack your organs. 

Therefore, while the immune system can be suppressed or weakened (due to poor diet, genetic disorders, environmental toxins, autoimmune disorders, smoking, old age, etc.), we cannot boost it. 

We cannot eat something and turn it into Captain America. We can only make sure that our immune system functions optimally in balance. 

Is there any evidence suggesting vitamins can boost immunity?

The national health foundation of NHI published a report suggesting that there is not enough evidence to support recommendations for or against using any vitamin, mineral, or other dietary supplement ingredients to prevent or treat infections. 

While this study talks about viral illnesses, it is enough to prove that immune boosting is just a marketing gimmick. 

So, should you stop taking vitamins?

If you have a poor lifestyle and are not receiving a properly balanced diet. Or your doctor suggests you include vitamins in your diet. In that case, taking vitamins supplement can be helpful. Because our immune system does require some minerals and vitamins like zinc, Vit D, Vit C, etc., to work. Otherwise, there is no point in pouring down your money on supplements.

 

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