Whether it’s flu season or there’s some pandemic like the coronavirus (COVID-19), you want to ensure you have a strong immune system at all times.
You already know the basics, like taking your vitamin C, multis, and eating plenty of greens. But bodybuilders and athletes need more due to the stress we put our bodies through in the gym and intense training.
In this post, I’m going to cover the not-so-basic supplements that can help you boost your immune system. These supplements will help you build muscle as well, so it’s a 2-for-1 bang.
You’ll also learn the interesting details of how these supplements strengthen immunity. I’ll include reliable references so that you can dig deeper, as it’s fun learning about the things that impact our bodies.
Transparency: I will also tell you where you can get each supplement mentioned below. The Muscle Program does get rewarded if you purchase through these links to support this site. I only provide recommendations on products I have personally taken.
ZMA to Boost Immunity and Hormone Production
ZMA is a patented and specific ratio of zinc, magnesium, and B6. It promotes deeper sleep, triggering an anabolic response, naturally increasing both testosterone and growth hormone.
This formula was created by Victor Conte for athletes to help with muscle recovery and promote muscle growth. When you’re training hard you deplete your body of zinc and magnesium.
So, we see that ZMA is perfect for supporting bodybuilders, weight lifters and high-performance athletes. But how exactly does ZMA boost immunity?
The primary way ZMA can strengthen your immune system is through zinc, per WebMD’s article ‘What is ZMA?’ We also know that deep, restful sleep increases immunity and that’s one of the key benefits of taking ZMA before bed.
Background: Victor Conte founded SNAC Nutrition (Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning) which carries the original ZMA supplement. He’s known for helping many athletes enhance their performance through his supplement line.
There’s quite a history prior Victor creating SNAC Nutrition. In the mid-80s, he founded the nutrition center BALCO, which had some allegations in developing a banned substances for professional athletes.
You can read more about Victor Conte and SNAC Nutrition here.
Where to Get ZMA
You can get the original ZMA formula by SNAC Nutrition on Amazon.
*You’ll save a little by getting the 2-pack.
Natural Testosterone Booster to Strengthen Immunity
You might not have thought of taking a testosterone booster to boost immunity. But the fact is that many ingredients that elevate testosterone also increase immune response.
Specifically, a product called TestoFuel contains the below ingredients (the ingredients in bold are the ones we’ll elaborate on more for immunity):
- D-Aspartic Acid
- Vitamin D
- Oyster Extract
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin K2
A manuscript published on the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) provides evidence that “Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses” in the article ‘Vitamin D and the Immune System.’ Cynthia Aranow, MD goes on to state that a deficiency in vitamin D increases susceptibility to infection.
Oysters are high in zinc, which activates and helps create white blood cells that are crucial for a healthy immune response. These facts are included in WebMD’s article ‘16 Foods That Boost Your Immune System.’
The reason oyster extract is more effective than zinc alone is that oyster extract also contains other trace elements, one of these being vitamin B12, which are important for immune support. Oyster extract is also a pure and natural way to get zinc.
According to Dr. Sara Kayat, vitamin B6 is needed to absorb B12, which we just discussed above. In her article ‘Doctor’s Note: Can you boost your immune system?‘ B6 and B12 are needed for the creation of red blood cells and immunity health.
Zinc is known to be an important “micronutrient” for the immune system, and a deficiency of it can result in an impaired immune response.Doctor’s Note: Can you boost your immune system? – Dr. Sara Kayat
Magnesium is another factor to consider for boosting immunity, especially for bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes. When you exercise you deplete magnesium. Per the US National Library of Medicine article ‘Exercise, Magnesium and Immune Function‘ magnesium has a direct impact on strengthening immunity.
So now you can see all of the benefits of taking a natural testosterone booster like TestoFuel. Of all the related supplements, this is the one I personally recommend for its purity and ability to produce results.
Where to Get TestoFuel
Creatine Monohydrate for Muscle Gains and Immunity
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most well-known and probably most-taken supplement in the bodybuilding and fitness community. There’s a good reason for that; it works for building muscle.
*If you need a muscle-building workout routine to follow, read my post: 9 Bodybuilding Workouts for Mass Gains
What you may not realize is that taking creatine has an impact on your immune system. Here’s an exert from an article on the Science Daily website, referenced by the University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences:
Creatine, the organic acid that is popularly taken as a supplement by athletes and bodybuilders, serves as a molecular battery for immune cells by storing and distributing energy to power their fight against cancer, according to new UCLA research.Creatine powers T cells’ fight against cancer – ScienceDaily.com
Further research shows that creatine intake is necessary for the types of cells that fight cancer. So the benefits of taking creatine expand much further than just helping you build muscle size and strength.
*It’s also worthy to note that plain creatine monohydrate is the least expensive yet most effective muscle-building supplement you can take. Just make sure you go with a reputable brand for purity (I’m recommending Optimum Nutrition below).
Where to Get Creatine Monohydrate
BCAAs Fortify Your Immune System
BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are another common supplement amongst the gym crowd. They’re known to help us promote protein synthesis to spare muscle while training and for muscle recovery. And they also provide muscle energy during both intense and long-duration exercise.
According to the article ‘Metabolic and Physiological Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acids’ on the Hindawi Advances in Molecular Biology website, BCAAs are essential to the functioning of our immune cells. The article goes on to say:
Immune cells (i.e., lymphocytes, neutrophils, etc.) express dehydrogenase and decarboxylase enzyme and can effectively oxidize BCAAsMetabolic and Physiological Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acids – Hindawi.com
The most common way to consume BCAAs is through a powder mixing it with water. You can drink this during before, during and after your workouts. You can also take BCAAs between meals.
The brand I’m recommending below is Scivation Xtend BCAAs. This product also contains the amino acid l-glutamine, which is essential for muscle recovery.
Where to Get BCAAs
Turmeric to Boost Immunity
Turmeric supplements are not specific to muscle-building. However, many bodybuilders and athletes take it because of its ability to protect and repair joint tissue from strenuous training.
The WebMD article ‘Is Spice Rack Staple Turmeric a Health Star?‘ suggests that studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric changes the way the immune system responds, blocking the enzymes that cause inflammation. There’s a long list of other diseases and even cancer-fighting benefits to turmeric in this article.
Turmeric is an Indian spice used in curries. Although you may not eat curry-based foods every day. So taking it as a supplement is ideal to ensure you’re getting the adequate daily dose to boost immunity and of course, get the other benefits.
*You may also be interested in my post: Meal Plan to Boost Your Immune System
There are several brands of turmeric. There are a few things you want to look for in turmeric supplements:
- Is it tested by an accredited third-party?
- Are the ingredients from natural sources (non-GMO)?
- Does it contain fillers or binders on the label?
BioSwartz is one of the brands that meet these criteria for turmeric. This specific supplement also contains Bioperine, which increase the bioavailability and absorption.
Where to Get Turmeric
Boost Your Immunity and Build Muscle
Building muscle and exercising is in itself an immune booster, as is eating healthy. But it’s also reassuring to find that these muscle-building supplements also had immune-boosting benefits.
Again, these are outside of the common immunity boosters like vitamin C and taking daily training packs (vitamin complexes). Those are what most everyone should be taking.
But what we went over in this article is the additional support that we need because of our intense lifestyle of training hard and pushing ourselves in the gym. We need that extra layer boosting recovery and immunity, and these supplements will certainly help us stay healthy.
If this article helped you, please feel free to share it.
*And don’t forget to check out my premium program and more on my shop.
Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,