Don't forget this list of minerals if you want to keep illness at bay.
To go directly to the one that interests you, click on it.
A lot of the time only vitamins come to mind when people think about supplementing their diet. If you are looking to boost that immune system, you definitely want to keep the following list of minerals in mind.
The list is small, but don't let that fool you. These nutrients are immune boosting powerhouses.
There's a good reason why natural health professionals say to "think zinc."
Beyond knocking out cold and flu viruses (if you catch them early enough), this mineral is vital in keeping every cell in our body fit. Without enough of it, our cells have trouble maintaining healthy function.
Less than healthy function = a less than healthy you.
So a mineral deficiency here is certainly not in your health's best interest.
Unfortunately, most people ARE deficient in this mineral. To see if you are one of them, try the zinc taste test.
Take a small sip of zinc sulfate heptahydrate and swish it around in your mouth. This liquid can be found in most health food stores - or purchased through Amazon.
If you immediately get a bitter taste in your mouth, then you are not deficient (lucky you).
If you can't taste anything, or taste it only after a little while, then you will need to add this to your list of mineral supplements.
Easy, right? A test that you can do at home that is completely safe.
It works because zinc is directly tied to how well we can taste. When we are deficient in this mineral, our sense of taste suffers.
So if any of the above apply, I bet you won't taste that liquid zinc.
So how much of a zinc supplement should you take? Since you already bought the zinc sulfate heptahydrate (you did, didn't you?), take 15-25 mg per day. If you can't taste it, let that be your guide. Work your way up to 150 mg or until you can finally taste it. Then drop back down to the 15-25 mg.
This liquid absorbs easily and is a great way to test your zinc levels. For daily supplementation I recommend a zinc complex from New Chapter. It's a whole food complex that ensures maximum absorption and easy digestion.
Also, for those battling a cold or flu (and looking for an immediate boost to the immune system) try sucking on zinc lozenges. They'll work much better for you than tablets.
Zinc supplementation is very safe in these small doses. Just be aware that it will compete with other minerals for absorption.
Taking a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (like these organic whole food supplements) will ensure you get a balance of nutrients.
This list of minerals for boosting immune health would not be complete without magnesium.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and every organ depends on it (especially the heart and kidneys).
Yet deficiency in this critical mineral is incredibly common considering the average American's diet of processed and sugary foods.
Granted, you might not need to supplement if your diet is filled with LOTS of magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, wheatgrass juice, fresh vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Most of us can't say that that's the case though.
Optimal daily intake is around 500-700 mg. Most Americans are consuming about half that amount.
Common signs of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, muscle spasms, tics, trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, anxiety, hyperactivity, migraines, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, PMS, osteoporosis, and much more.
One extra critical role you need to be aware of - magnesium is vitamin D's most important co-factor. All of the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium. Simply put, magnesium deficiency substantially reduces vitamin D's effectiveness.
More about magnesium and vitamin D.
Why is iodine included on a list of minerals that support the immune system?
Because this mineral will support proper thyroid function...and this gland plays a critical role in your immune system.
A deficiency in iodine will wreak havoc on your thyroid, which is why it was added to salt back in the 1920's.
But salt does not provide us with enough protection from deficiency. Also consider that many people buy salt without the added iodine.
You do need to be careful about supplements though, as high amounts of iodine can be detrimental. But too little is more of a concern that getting too much.
I am currently working on a section on iodine.
In the meantime, look into adding kelp to your diet, which will give you plenty of the nutrient safely.
Selenium is our final nutrient on this immune system list of minerals.
It is the most important trace mineral in regards to our antioxidant defenses.
It enhances certain elements of our immune system that keeps viruses and other pathogens at bay, so a deficiency in selenium leaves our immune systems vulnerable to attack.
Viruses especially become much more virulent when selenium isn't around to stand guard.
To make sure you are protected, supplements of 200-400 mcg can be taken quite safely.
It's a good idea to take this immune system supplement with a natural vitamin E supplement as well. These two antioxidants complement each other and work very well together.