The immune system is functioning at all times, working hard to protect us, heal and repair us, it's even our main cancer surveillance system. But we probably don't think about it day-to-day. It’s only when the cold and flu season sets in that we thank our immune system as we scramble for vitamin C supplements. Or at unprecedented times like now, amidst the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. With the worry and anxiety that grips our world against this silent enemy, caring for our immune systems has firmly been given immunity a seat at the conversation table of most households around the globe. It’s no wonder then, in times of such uncertainty, we want a sense of agency over our health.
Abundance of nutritional supplements, old wives remedies and fortified foods all with the promise of ‘boosting’ your immune system and, by doing so, to stave off colds and flu are everywhere. But is there any scientific truth in these claims? Google search results of ‘immune boosting’ reveal the majority of products/articles are rooted in false claims and misleading info which could result in you not only parting with money with the hope of becoming invincible to germs (1). True, many supplements do have studies to support that they help the immune system to do its job. But how robust is the evidence? How applicable is it to humans? Do they interact with any medications you may have to take? And is there any risk? You get the picture.