How to boost your immune system with nootropics

As the pandemic still sweeps across the globe, the strength of your immune system is more vital for your health than ever before.

Your body’s ability to fight off incoming pathogens rests on the effectiveness of your immune response. The immune system is your body’s main defence against harmful microbes, including the virus known as Covid-19.

At this critical time, a weakened or malfunctioning immune system can leave you at greater risk of infection. Fortunately, there are several lifestyle choices you can make to boost your immune system and protect your body from COVID-19.

Lifestyle choices for the support of a healthy immune system

If you’re worried about the strength of your immune system, there are several things you can do to improve its function. The following lifestyle choices are key for supporting your immune health[i] and protecting yourself from infection:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid drinking alcohol (or drink alcohol only in moderation)
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice good sleep hygiene
  • Find ways to avoid or minimize stress
Nootropics for immune support

Nutrition plays a key role in maintaining immune health. What you put into your body can have a profound effect on the function and efficacy of your immune system. The following nootropics all have scientifically tested properties that can help to support the immune system in fighting off infection:

Vitamin B6

Found in poultry, pork, banana and sweet potatoes, Vitamin B6 contributes to the healthy function of almost all bodily systems[i] – including your immune system.

Studies have shown that, while a deficiency in B6 can harm immune function, taking a Vitamin B6 supplement can benefit your immunity.[ii] Taking vitamin B6 regularly may, therefore, give your immune system the pick-me-up it needs to safeguard your overall health.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is another nootropic that vital for maintaining healthy immune function. B12 is found only in animal products (like meat, eggs and other dairy products) but is widely available as a dietary supplement.

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to a dramatically altered immune response[iii] that could harm your body’s ability to fend off incoming viruses. Taking a daily B12 supplement may be essential for maintaining a healthy immune balance, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a key player in bodily health and is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. It is crucial for maintaining your muscular, nervous and cardiovascular health, and is also vital for keeping your immune system strong.[iv]

Magnesium is found in dark, leafy greens, fish, whole grains, legumes and nuts. If you suspect you are getting less than the recommended daily intake of 420mg, you might consider taking a magnesium supplement to keep your immune system on top form.

Zinc

Zinc is one of the most important micronutrients out there when it comes to immune function. Described by some as the ‘gatekeeper of immune function,’ zinc plays a vital role in immune signalling [v] and is, therefore, essential for keeping the immune system strong.

Zinc supplementation can come to the rescue of a malfunctioning immune system, especially if you don’t eat red meat or oysters (the richest dietary sources of zinc).

Panax ginseng

The health benefits of Panax ginseng have been known to the human race for thousands of years. This ancient adaptogen is a cornerstone of Chinese and Korean traditional medicine, where it is commonly used to improve cognitive function and increase energy levels.

Numerous scientific studies have also found that Panax ginseng may effectively improve immune function,[vi] improving your ability to resist infection. When taken daily, Panax ginseng has the potential to boost your overall health and protect you from illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes.

Rhodiola Rosea

The adaptogenic properties of Rhodiola Rosea have been known for centuries. More commonly known as golden root, roseroot or Arctic root, R.rosea features heavily in Chinese traditional medicine as a means of relieving stress and fatigue.

More recently, Rhodiola has also been found to produce antiviral activity[vii] in people who take a herbal extract of the plant as a daily supplement. This can help to improve the immune response, boosting your immune health and making you less likely to get sick.

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri has anti-inflammatory effects[viii] that can also help to improve the overall health of your immune system. Reducing inflammation in the body can help restore your immune system to its ‘normal’ level of function, so it is better able to fight off invading germs when it needs to.

Conclusion

The health and function of your immune system have never been so important. Your immune system is responsible for fighting off harmful microbes (such as viruses, bacteria and parasites) which, if left unchecked, can multiply in the body and make you very sick.

In light of our current global medical situation, making sure your immune system is working effectively is vital for staying safe and healthy. Certain lifestyle choices (such as exercising regularly, sleeping well, eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking and alcohol) can all help to keep your immunity in good shape.

If you want to take your immune function to optimal levels, however, nootropics could elevate your health status even further. Vitamins and minerals (such as B6, B12, zinc and magnesium) and adaptogens (like Rhodiola Rosea, Panax ginseng and Bacopa monnieri) are all scientifically-backed immune boosters. Taking a daily nootropic stack that contains one or more of these potent, natural medicines can give your immune system the edge it needs to overcome Covid-19.

 

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References

You can find external sources referenced in the article below:

[i] Publishing, H. (2020). How to boost your immune system – Harvard Health. Retrieved 30 March 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

[i] 9 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency. (2020). Retrieved 30 March 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b6-deficiency-symptoms#section3

[iii] Mikkelsen, K., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2020). Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, and the Immune System. Retrieved 30 March 2020, from

[iv] Publishing, H. (2020). What you should know about magnesium – Harvard Health. Retrieved 30 March 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/what-you-should-know-about-magnesium2

[v] Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. (2017). Nutrients9(12), 1286. doi: 10.3390/nu9121286

[vi] Kang, S., & Min, H. (2012). Ginseng, the ‘Immunity Boost’: The Effects of Panax ginseng on Immune System. Journal Of Ginseng Research36(4), 354-368. doi: 10.5142/jgr.2012.36.4.354

[vii] Ahmed, M., Henson, D., Sanderson, M., Nieman, D., Zubeldia, J., & Shanely, R. (2015). Rhodiola rosea Exerts Antiviral Activity in Athletes Following a Competitive Marathon Race. Frontiers In Nutrition2. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2015.00024

[viii] Nemetchek, M., Stierle, A., Stierle, D., & Lurie, D. (2017). The Ayurvedic plant Bacopa monnieri inhibits inflammatory pathways in the brain. Journal Of Ethnopharmacology197, 92-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.073