Strengthening the immune system with medication: information and tips

Immunsystem stärken mit Medikamenten: Infos und Tipps

Who doesn't know it, as soon as the cold winter days are just around the corner, our nose suddenly runs, we feel weak and drained. These symptoms can be a sign of a weakened immune system, which normally protects us from pathogens.

In this article, we will explain to you exactly how our immune system works and whether we can use appropriate medication to rebuild and strengthen a weakened immune system. Finally, we give you valuable tips and tricks on how you can support your immune system in the long term.

the essentials in brief

  • The immune system consists of a non-specific and specific defense system that ensures that our body is protected against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. As a result, we get sick less and stay healthy.
  • Taking medicines or dietary supplements can support the immune system. Taking zinc or vitamin C preparations, for example, is suitable for this.
  • However, the best remedy for a healthy immune system is a holistic approach. This includes a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and little to no stress.

Definition: What is the immune system?

Every day we are exposed to millions of fungi, bacteria, viruses or other particles such as dust, animal hair or pollen. To protect us from this, our body has an immune system. Put very simply, the immune system is a kind of protective wall that protects us from diseases. However, when this defense is weakened and no longer works properly, we become ill.

There are pathogens such as the childhood disease chickenpox , from which we only suffer from an illness when we first come into contact with it. If we come into contact with these pathogens again, our body is already immune to it.

Man blows his nose with a handkerchief

If the immune system is weakened or not working properly, then we are much more susceptible to viruses, bacteria and diseases.

The immune system is a highly complex defense system that can be divided into two components:

  • the congenital (non-specific) part
  • the acquired (specific) share

Below we explain in detail how the immune system works and what exactly differentiates the two components and what their function is.

Background: What you should know about the immune system

In order to be able to give you insightful tips and tricks for strengthening your immune system, you should have certain basics and background information beforehand.

For this reason, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions for you and made them easy to understand.

Why do humans need the immune system?

The immune system protects us from external "invaders" such as viruses, bacteria or other pathogens. This prevents us from getting infections or suffering from diseases. However, when the immune system fails, it can lead to serious consequences, including death.

How exactly does the immune system work?

The two components, innate (non-specific) and acquired (specific), are closely linked so that together they can protect the body from unwanted pathogens. On the one hand, cells and, on the other hand, humoral substances, ie substances dissolved in the body fluids, work together.

Our immune system is not limited to just one organ or one specific location in the body. Rather, it is distributed throughout the body. The most important transport routes for immune cells and messenger substances are the bloodstream and the lymphatic vessels, which run through the entire body. The lymphatic fluid transports oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and carries away the damaged or dead cells, foreign substances or pathogens.

The innate (non-specific) immune response

This part of the immune system supports us from birth and thus fends off germs and foreign bodies. The skin is one of the first protective barriers for potential pathogens. Together with our mucous membranes from the mouth, nose and gastrointestinal tract, it has a surface area of ​​up to two square meters. But probably the most important and largest immune organ is our intestine, which is around eight meters long and has a surface area of ​​400-500 square meters.

The following parts are technically referred to as the cellular immune system:

  • White blood cells or leukocytes
  • macrophages
  • granulocytes
  • dentric cells
  • mast cells
  • monocytes
  • natural killer cells

In addition to the immune cells, the body also has its own messenger substances, which are formed in the cells of the immune system - these are called humoral immune defences. In addition, the immune system can also fall back on the so-called complement system with over 30 proteins. This is activated by antibodies or bacterial components and thus repels microorganisms.

Acquired (specific) immune system

The specific immune defense is also referred to as adaptive because it is characterized by great adaptability to changed or new pathogens. We acquire this immune response over the course of our lives and thereby form an immunological memory. In short, our body can remember the first contact with germs, fall back on this memory in the event of further infections and thus react much faster.

The cells of the specific immune defense can distinguish special structures (antigens) from foreign substances (cell components, foreign bodies, etc.) and thereby activate targeted defense mechanisms. So-called B-cells and T-cells are needed for this.

  • B-cells: Can form specific antibodies, resulting in the creation of corresponding memory cells and reacting directly if the disease recurs.
  • T cells: Are able to kill pathogens directly. They can also control other cells in the immune system, such as phagocytes or B cells. (1)

We have put together the following overview so that you can get an idea of ​​where the immune system is located in our body.

organ function
mucous membranes (nose, mouth, gastrointestinal tract) First barrier that keeps pathogens from entering. This barrier acts like a mechanical protective wall.
almonds Stop pathogens entering through the mouth or nose. The tonsils contain many white blood cells that kill pathogens.
bone marrow This is where most of the defense cells are formed, which eventually spread throughout the body via the bloodstream.
thymus This gland imprints the T cells and coordinates the innate and adaptive immune systems.
spleen The spleen stores various immune cells. The scavenger cells in the spleen also serve as a kind of filter for pathogens that have entered the bloodstream.
lymph nodes Are like small filter stations that catch pathogens and promote the formation of antibodies in the blood.
Colon More than half of our antibodies are located here. The cells recognize foreign substances and can destroy them.
skin Like the mucous membranes, the skin is one of the first protective barriers for potential pathogens.

How do I know if my immune system is weak?

Humans normally have a strong or well-functioning immune system, but various factors can lead to a corresponding weakening. This includes the following reasons:

  • autoimmune disease
  • stress
  • Too little movement
  • Too less sleep
  • Poor diet
  • alcohol and nicotine consumption

So the points mentioned above are all influencing factors for the weakening of the immune system. Now, of course, the question arises as to which symptoms ultimately indicate that the immune system is weakened.

The most common signs include frequent tiredness and exhaustion. In addition, frequent infections such as flu or bladder infections are also an indication. A weak immune system also increases the risk of minor infections such as a cold, cough or hoarseness.

Symptoms of memory lapses and difficulty concentrating should also not be neglected. These signs are particularly common in older people because the body becomes more fragile and cognitive function decreases as a result (2).

When should I boost my immune system with medication?

Scientists are still arguing about the effectiveness of drugs that help strengthen the immune system. In pharmacies, however, countless medicines and dietary supplements can be found that are supposed to strengthen our immune system.

According to doctors, optimal immunity depends on proper nutrition to keep any infections at bay.

For example, adequate protein intake is crucial for optimal antibody production. Studies have linked a low micronutrient status, such as vitamin A or zinc, to an increased risk of infection.

Poor nutrient status is often associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, which in turn can compromise the immune system. The food components with a particularly high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity include vitamin C, vitamin E and phytochemicals such as carotenoids and polyphenols.

Dietary fiber, which is fermented by the gut microbiota into short-chain fatty acids, has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects (3).

Various studies have shown that, in addition to a balanced diet, herbal medicines can also have a positive effect on the immune system. Echinacea purpurea, also known as purple coneflower, supports our immune system and ensures that it is boosted long-term and effectively (4).

So it can be said that science has not yet come to an agreement on the effectiveness of drugs to strengthen the immune system. What is certain, however, is that herbal medicines have a positive effect on our immune system.

How does our gut affect the immune system?

The intestine is the largest organ in the human body and thus makes an important contribution to our general health. The huge surface of the intestine absorbs nutrients and liquids, but also represents a large area for the penetration of microorganisms. To prevent this, the intestine has what is called an intestinal barrier, which is made up of the following:

  • gut microbiota
  • intestinal mucosa
  • Gut-associated immune system (gut-associated lymphoid tissue, GALT)

The GALT contains the largest accumulation of immune cells in our body, namely about 70% of the immunologically active cells. The role of the GALT is to ward off disease-causing microorganisms while being tolerant of food antigens and beneficial microorganisms in our gut microbiota (5).

Since the intestine plays an enormously important role in connection with the immune system, it should also function as perfectly as possible. The adequate supply of nutrients such as protein, glucose, polyunsaturated fatty acids and secondary plant substances as well as vitamins and trace elements contribute to this.

However, there is often the problem that our GALT has a disturbed intestinal microbiota. If this is the case, measures to promote lactobacilli and bifidobacteria should definitely be taken. For this purpose, for example, probiotics can be administered in the form of tablets. Probiotic yogurts can also produce an improvement (6).

What medications can I use to boost my immune system?

As you have read a few times now, the right diet plays an important role in a healthy and strong immune system. If you still want to support your immune system with supplements, then we would be happy to show you the options below.

There are very few preparations on the market that are declared as medicinal products. It is often rather a question of dietary supplements that do not have to be proven to be effective or harmless before they are launched on the market.

Zinc is an important part of our metabolism and thus also has an influence on our immune system. Our body cannot produce this vital substance itself, which is why it often has to be ingested through food. Normally we absorb enough zinc this way. However, if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or vegan, you can also support your immune system with supplements containing zinc (7).

However, it is best to discuss taking zinc with your doctor. Excessive intake of zinc can lead to undesirable side effects such as anemia.

Vitamin C is known as a vitamin bomb, especially in the colder months of the year. Many people swear by appropriate vitamin C supplements. While doctors don't always agree on its effectiveness, they agree that it certainly won't hurt. Studies, on the other hand, have found that vitamin C deficiency can have a major impact on the immune system and even weaken it (8).

It is recommended that men consume 110 milligrams of vitamin C daily and women 95 milligrams. If you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you shouldn't have any problems getting enough vitamin C. However, care should be taken not to overdose. Because then unwanted side effects such as diarrhea or headaches can occur.

How useful is an intestinal cure to strengthen the immune system?

We have already explained to you above the important role the intestine plays in our immune system. If the intestines are not properly intact, then our immune system also suffers as a result. Colon cleansing is ideal for this.

The intestinal cleansing supports the so-called symbiosis in renewing itself and rebuilding the intestinal flora. This is why it is also technically referred to as symbiosis steering.

The more diverse the composition of the bacterial species in the intestinal flora, the better it can work and keep us healthy. Too much sugar, protein or too many empty carbohydrates such as white bread or pasta have a negative impact on the intestinal flora. As a result, our intestinal bacteria can produce too few necessary nutrients.

In order to get your immune system going again, it is advisable to carry out an intestinal cleansing. You can easily make these at home. The following instructions should help you with this.

clean bowel

  1. The cleansing frees the intestines from harmful ballast and detoxifies the body so that the beneficial bacteria can regenerate and renew themselves.
  2. Before defecation, do a detox day of eating only easily digestible foods like rice, vegetables, and fruits. Coffee, sweets, nicotine and alcohol should be avoided at all costs.
  3. Colon cleansing can be done with either natural laxatives such as Glauber's or Epsom salts. You can also easily buy an enema at the pharmacy.
  4. During defecation, the body loses a great deal of water. Therefore, make sure that you drink at least 3-4 liters of water during the entire colon cleanse.

Rebuild intestinal flora

  1. One day after the colon cleansing, the intestinal flora should be rebuilt naturally. Probiotics and prebiotics are suitable for this.
  2. Probiotics are supporting microorganisms that are contained in lactic acid bacteria, for example. You can think of them as "desirable bacteria".
  3. Prebiotics are fibers that help the "good bacteria" to multiply.
  4. In the pharmacy you will find powders or capsules that help to build up the intestinal flora. However, these are often very expensive and controversial in science. Rather, you should use appropriate foods.

In the following overview we have put together foods that can support you in building up the natural intestinal flora.

Foods with probiotics Foods with prebiotics
yogurt chicory
kefir Jerusalem Artichoke
sauerkraut Leek
Miso soup onions
Kombucha (fermented tea) Garlic
Cheese salsify
tempeh artichokes
Apple Cider Vinegar Bananas, mango, papaya

Strengthening the immune system with medication: The best ways to strengthen your immune system

Up to this point you have learned a lot about the human immune system and have been able to acquire some background information. Now we would like to summarize again which means can help you to strengthen your immune system.

Strengthen the immune system with medication

There are very few drugs on the market to strengthen the immune system, as most of them are food supplements. From a scientific point of view, two main components have so far emerged as effective, although they are partly controversial.

Zinc-containing supplements can provide your body with enough zinc that the body cannot produce itself. This supports your metabolism, which also has a positive effect on your immune system. However, too much zinc in the body can cause side effects.

To avoid this, you should first have your zinc level determined in your blood and then discuss the exact dosage with your doctor. This will ensure that you are giving your body enough support and not putting unnecessary strain on it.

A vitamin C deficiency can demonstrably weaken the immune system. Therefore, an adequate intake of this vitamin is definitely a good idea. There are many dietary supplements that contain vitamin C on the market. If you are not exactly sure which one to choose, you are welcome to ask the pharmacy for advice.

Probably the best support for your immune system is a healthy intestinal flora. If this is disturbed, an intestinal cleansing is recommended. To do this, you should first cleanse your intestines and then strengthen the intestinal flora again with a regeneration treatment. You can find detailed instructions above or in the following video.

Strengthen the immune system with other means

In addition to strengthening through specific medication or dietary supplements and rehabilitation cures, you cannot avoid a healthy lifestyle in the long term. With a balanced, vitamin-rich diet combined with regular exercise and a few other tips, you can support and strengthen your immune system.

Below we show you the most important influencing factors and the corresponding tips.


You've probably heard it often that sufficient exercise is essential for our body. However, we often only associate sport with a slim and fit body image. But exercise is also an important factor for a strong immune system.

Make sure you get about 45 minutes of exercise three times a week. To increase your success, we recommend that you exercise outdoors. Because the fresh, cool air stimulates blood circulation and thus supports the immune cells.

Which sport you choose is completely up to you. However, endurance sports such as swimming or jogging have proven to be the best so far. After that, you should give your body a recovery period of 24 to 36 hours.

people jog

Sufficient exercise supports our immune system. Endurance sports such as running are a real booster.

If you have signs of the flu or a cold, rest is the order of the day. Exercising in this state of health can only weaken the body further.


Good nutrition strengthens the immune system in the long term and can thus protect us from pathogens. Therefore, you should definitely invest in a healthy and balanced diet.

Often, however, you stand in front of the supermarket shelf and have absolutely no idea which foods are real superheroes for our immune system. To make your next purchase a little easier, we have put together an overview of the most important foods for you below.

component Groceries remark
Trace elements: iron, magnesium and zinc Red meat, wheat bran, lentils, nuts, oatmeal, green vegetables, whole grains, bananas A glass of organ juice with food can improve absorption of the components.
Secondary plant substances Garlic, tomatoes, artichokes, acai berries, pomegranate seeds -
lactic acid bacteria fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, parsnips, rye bread -
Vitamin D fatty fish like salmon or mackerel A walk in the sun is and remains the best source of vitamin D.
antioxidants Spices like turmeric and ginger, berries like blueberries or raspberries -


If we suffer from lack of sleep, then our immune system works much worse. This is because our T cells, which are responsible for the immune system, can no longer work properly. Normally they circulate in the blood and look for pathogens. The T cells can then attach to the infected cells and eliminate them. But with too little sleep, the immune cells lose these abilities.

This loss of ability means that our body no longer has sufficient protective mechanisms and is therefore unable to fight off pathogens adequately. The result: we get sick.

You should therefore make sure that you sleep at least 7 hours a night. Of course, sleep needs vary from person to person. However, you will notice for yourself whether you feel rested in the morning and fit for the day. If not, you should increase the sleep duration.

A lot happens in our body while we sleep. During this time, our cells regenerate and thus also contribute to a strong immune system. If you sleep too little, the body does not have enough time to carry out all the necessary processes.

stress relief

We all know stressful times such as during exam phases. During this time, the body increases the non-specific immune defense and prepares for unforeseen and "life-threatening" situations. At the same time, he shuts down the specific defense. This allows the body to react much more quickly to potential damage. However, this short-term stress does not have a bad effect on our immune system.

The situation is different when we are exposed to chronic stress. Because with long-lasting stress, both the non-specific and the specific immune defense is throttled. The result is a significantly weakened immune system, we get sick faster and the healing process slows down.

It is therefore important that we reduce chronic stress as sustainably as possible. This includes more sleep, a healthy diet and exercise. Exercises that involve the body and mind are particularly effective. These include, for example, yoga, meditation, Qi-Gong or progressive muscle relaxation.

If the cause of your constant stress is a psychological trauma, then psychotherapy is advisable. It is best to talk to your family doctor beforehand and you will determine the next steps.


You have learned that our immune system is a highly complex system that is influenced by various factors. In order to sustainably support this protective mechanism, taking medicines or dietary supplements alone is not enough. Rather, it is a holistic approach.

For this reason, you should definitely pay attention to a nutritious and balanced diet, combined with sufficient exercise and enough sleep. If you are exposed to long-term stress, you should try to reduce it as quickly as possible.


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