The immune system is designed to protect us from infectious diseases, and it needs essential nutrients to function properly. Many new supplement formulations and functional beverages include ingredients that support a healthy immune response.
Vitamin C: Importance to the immune system
Vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients to strengthen the immune system. For several decades the importance of this vitamin for the prevention of infectious diseases, especially respiratory diseases, has been studied.
It can be said that a lack of vitamin C can lower our body's defenses against various immune diseases. Research has shown that vitamin C improves the production and function of phagocytes, which are the white blood cells responsible for ingesting and absorbing pathogens or releasing enzymes to kill them. 
Vitamin C is also a highly effective antioxidant that protects cells in the body against reactive oxygen species (ROS). Reactive oxygen species are the cause of various degenerative diseases.
The beneficial effects of Vitamin C to strengthen the immune system are:
· Protect cells from free radicals
· Improve the phagocytic function, which is the body's mechanism to eliminate viral particles and bacteria.
· Stimulate the functions of leukocytes. Vitamin C increases the apoptosis process so that dead cells are removed and stimulate cell renewal.
Vitamin D: Benefits for the immune system
Vitamin D also plays a key role in activating the immune system and preventing infectious diseases or autoimmune diseases.
The favorable effects of Vitamin D have been extensively investigated for decades, especially for its ability to modulate the activity of the immune system under various circumstances. This vitamin can stimulate the immune system to fight infections or to modulate it in case of chronic autoimmune diseases. 
This modulating effect was confirmed by discovering that cells of the immune system such as monocytes, macrophages, and T lymphocytes have a special receptor for the Vitamin D metabolite 1,25 (OH) 2D. This means that Vitamin D can modulate the activity of these cells if needed.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with autoimmune diseases and with recurrent infectious diseases that can be easily prevented just by eating properly and getting enough sunlight.
Echinacea: Natural Treatment to strengthen the immune system
Echinacea is a plant native to North America used for centuries by natives to treat various ailments and was quickly adopted by settlers for its great therapeutic properties.
Therapeutic properties of echinacea
Echinacea is a natural remedy that has immunostimulatory, antiallergic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antifungal and healing properties. 
Its antibiotic function strengthens our defenses because it activates the production of leukocytes that block the action of viruses and bacteria. This property, together with the anti-inflammatory, makes its most widespread use is to prevent the cold, as well as relieve its symptoms (fever, mucus, and cough) and prevent relapses.
Echinacea is popular for treating respiratory problems such as bronchitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, or the flu. Being a virus and bacteria blocker, echinacea is also applied to treat infectious processes. As it also has healing properties that regenerate the skin, it is used topically to treat epidermis problems, such as eczema, wounds, burns.
Vitamin C, D, and Echinacea are just some functional ingredients that are being increasingly used in ingredient premixes, supplement formulations, and beverage formulations. Our food scientists at BevNutra Solutions, are familiar with these ingredients in food, beverage, and nutraceutical applications. Whether you are looking to private label supplements or have a custom formulation in mind for an immune-boosting supplement, contact our team today!