Browsing hundreds of pages of supplement options online can feel like an overwhelming exercise in sensory overload, with bright packaging exclaiming puzzling phrases like “chelated!” or “bioavailable!” And if you’re shopping for immune-support supplements with the aim of staying healthy? Just pile on the confusion.
With that head-scratching feeling in mind, we asked nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table, for some guidance in the supplement shopping department.
“I always believe in food first, but there are times when we may need more of a certain nutrient than we can get from our diets,” Taub-Dix says. “Certain supplements like vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc can help support a healthy immune system.”
Oh, and re: bioavailability, that’s the rate at which the supplement enters your system, Taub-Dix says. “This is important because some supplements could be digested and absorbed more slowly, and therefore are less readily available to be used by your body,” she says.
Ready to learn what else to keep when in mind when you’re shopping for immune-support supplements? Keep reading for her tips, plus some supplement picks from The Vitamin Shoppe®.
Keep scrolling for the 4 traits Taub-Dix focuses on when shopping for immune-support supplements.
1. The nutrients
When trying to boost her immune system, Taub-Dix focuses her efforts on vitamins C, D, and E, which are some of the key nutrients that welcome immune support, she says. According to Taub-Dix, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against damage from free radicals, plus it can help promote the production of white blood cells.
If you’re in the market for a vitamin C supplement to have on hand, check out Aurora Nutrascience Mega-Liposomal Vitamin C, which has 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C per serving encapsulated into lipospheres to increase bioavailability (there’s that key buzzword again).
2. Serving size
Contrary to how you probably feel about eating an entire pint of ice cream (who isn’t tempted to dig into the whole container from time to time?), no one wants to have to consume half a bottle of supplements every time they’re looking for a boost.
Taub-Dix agrees: “I want to be sure that the serving size doesn’t require that I take four supplements each day to be sure I get what I need.” The Mega-Liposomal Vitamin C has a small serving size going for it—just one spoonful (plain or mixed into yogurt, juice, or water).
Ginger is another helpful immune-supporting ingredient with a small but mighty serving size. Just one Prince of Peace 100% Natural Ginger Chews is a full dose (though thanks to their delicious taste, you might want another). “Not only can ginger support the immune system, but it is also helpful in preventing nausea and can calm an upset stomach,” Taub-Dix says.
And when it comes to serving sizes, Taub-Dix also recommends doing your research (read: label reading) to make sure those serving sizes make sense. “I check to see that I’m not getting an excessive or inadequate amount of the particular nutrients I’m taking,” she says.
Nature’s Way Sambucus Gummies contain exactly 90 milligrams of vitamin C—the recommended daily value for adults, according to the FDA—in just two gummies, plus 50 milligrams of elderberry extract, which may help shorten colds according to research.
4. Unwelcome ingredients
A supplements no-no, according to Taub-Dix? “‘Other’ ingredients like dyes, sugar, fillers, and additives.” Look for supplements that feature the ingredients they promise (and no others), like Trace Minerals Liquid Silver Spray, which is made from colloidal silver and water—that’s it.
Keep this checklist handy the next time you’re shopping for immune-support supplements (or any time you’re stocking your medicine cabinet, tbh) and all of a sudden, the supplement aisle won’t seem quite so overwhelming.
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