Elderberry Capsules and Immune Support: What You Should Know
Elderberries are the fruits of Sambucus trees, which are native to Europe and grow across much of the northern hemisphere. Elderberries are also established in the New World, in North America, where they are a welcome sight and a relatively common fruit tree. These fruits are made into pies, confections, and even beverages.
However, in addition to their culinary uses, elderberries also have a wide range of medical applications as well.
Some who take elderberry capsules do so because of elderberries’ purported benefits to the immune system. Here are a few things you should know.
Elderberries Are Antioxidant Rich
Before we cover some of the popular suggestions associated with elderberry supplements and immune support, the first thing you need to know is that elderberries are loaded with antioxidants. This is vital because oxidative stress is implicated in a variety of immunological conditions and antioxidant supplements may be able to diminish them.
Specifically, the actions the immune system takes to neutralize invading pathogens result in the formation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) that result in oxidative stress. So antioxidant supplements may be able to allow the immune function to continue with diminished production of free radicals.
Elderberries are rich in a wide range of antioxidants, including vitamin C, phenolic acids, flavonoids (quercetin, isorhamnetin, and kaempferol), as well as anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are compounds responsible for the dark-blue, nearly black color of elderberries. Blueberries, another antioxidant-rich powerhouse of a superfood, are also rich in anthocyanins, hence their name. In addition to lending color, anthocyanins are powerful anti-inflammatory agents and rich antioxidants as well.
Elderberries Contain Compounds That May Bolster the Immune System Against the Common Cold, the Flu, and other Pathogens
Reducing the presence of ROS that results from a healthy immune function is only one potential way that elderberry capsules may support overall immune health.
Specifically, elderberry supplements may be able to diminish the length and severity that result from certain common conditions such as the cold and flu. Elderberry extract may even be able to directly counteract the activity of Influenza A and B along with certain bacterial pathogens known to cause respiratory distress.
A 2011 study even found that elderberry extracts had a noticeable inhibitory effect on Streptococcus pyogenes, Branhamella catarrhalis, and groups C and G members of Streptococcus.
Even were it not for the fact that elderberry extract may have a direct inhibitory effect on the proliferation of certain virile pathogens, some studies suggest that elderberry supplements may also directly counteract the manifestation of symptoms of the cold or flu.
For instance, a 2004 study involving 60 participants who received 15ml elderberry syrup supplements found that their symptoms began to improve in a shorter window of time. Those who received the supplements began to recover in 2 to 4 days whereas the control group took 7 to 8 days. While that initial study requires additional testing on a larger sample size, the results are promising.
Moreover, the immune system is modulated by many factors and processes, and one of them is inflammation. Elderberry extract is directly implicated in combating inflammation thanks to its high concentration of flavonoids, which inhibit select signaling pathways in order to down-regulate inflammation.
That’s not all. Elderberry extract may also boost the production of cytokines, which are compounds produced by the immune system which serve as cell signaling agents, mediate the inflammation response, and help determine the acquired immune response which is vital to pathogen control.
A separate study conducted on rats concluded that elderberry extract was capable of reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, and another that elderflower extract potentially diminished oxidative stress on salmon leukocytes. These are different test subjects from human study but do illustrate the chemical properties of elderberry and elderflower extract with respect to their abilities to support immune response.
Additional Benefits: Supporting Heart Health, Potentially Managing Stress
Elderberry capsules and other supplements are not only implicated in a number of potential benefits for the immune system. They may also be effective at helping individuals manage stress and they may support overall cardiac health.
Elderberry extract may help manage the levels of fat in the blood and keep cholesterol under control. Specific antioxidants such as flavonoids and anthocyanins may also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
One study seemed to indicate that a diet rich in anthocyanins not only decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease but might actually lower the incidence of comorbidities. Another study in mice suggested that anthocyanin intake improved the markers of HDL function and potentially even decreased cholesterol.
Elderberries Are Also Rich in Nutrients
Even if not for these supposed benefits that elderberries could offer for immune health and heart health, elderberries are impressively dense in nutrients.
Elderberries contain a number of minerals, such as calcium, iron, and potassium, and are rich in vitamins, too, including vitamins A and C. Additionally, elderberries are also rich in antioxidants, as detailed above.
What’s in Our Elderberry Capsules
If you’re interested in sampling elderberry capsules for immune support, try our Feel Younger Elderberry Immune Support Supplement. They contain Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) extract, and are free of sugar, antibiotics, corn, gluten, and hormones. They are also vegan-friendly and made in the United States.
We recommend taking one capsule with water, twice daily, and preferably 20 to 30 minutes before a meal.
In addition to these elderberry capsules, we also carry Emergency Immune Support (with Echinacea and Elderberry), which contains elderberry, echinacea, as well as L-Glutamine, garlic, turmeric, vitamin C and zinc along with vitamins E and B6. It also contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, a beneficial symbiotic bacterium.
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