Can taking supplements support your immune system? Here’s what you need to know

Supplements can be a bit of a tricky subject to get your head around.

What might benefit one person, might not be suitable for another but there’s one vitamin supplement that everybody in the UK should be taking during the autumn and winter months.

Here’s what you need to know about these immune-boosting vitamins…

Can taking supplements really boost your immune system?

Lesley White, a pharmacist advisor at Boots, tells Metro.co.uk. that a healthy balanced diet should provide the nutrients to ensure most people to stay healthy.

‘The exception to this is vitamin D,’ she adds.

‘Unlike other nutrients, it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone, although it is present in some foods like oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), red meat, egg yolks and in fortified foods including some fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

‘The main source of vitamin D is from the action of direct sunlight on our skin when outdoors.’

During the autumn and winter months, the sun isn’t strong enough in the UK for us to make enough vitamin D. 

So, between October and early March, Lesley advises that the NHS recommends that we should all take a daily supplement of 10mcg vitamin D to support our bones, muscles and, you guessed it, our immune systems.

‘Some groups of people,’ she says, ‘including those with dark skin and those who cover most of their skin should take a daily vitamin D supplement all year round.

‘With busy lives, it can be difficult to always eat as healthily as we know we should and if you feel your diet may be lacking in certain nutrients, it is a good idea to take a supplement. 

‘Vitamin C and zinc, found in many supplements, provide good support for the immune system.’

But it’s important to know which supplements might be useful for you.

‘If you are considering taking more than one supplement containing the same nutrient or are currently taking any medicines,’ says Lesley, ‘always speak to your pharmacist before doing so to ensure the level of this is safe.

‘Also, speak to your pharmacist if you want general advice about any food supplements.’

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