Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on July 20, 2022
The first pharmaceutical medicine did not come around until the 1800s. For centuries before that, our ancestors relied on sound knowledge of natural derivatives to effectively heal themselves of diseases.
They laid the foundations for some of the most versatile natural solutions that we use today, such as vitamin C and zinc. Similarly, folk medicine also highly regards the bioactive properties of elderberries for immune support.
But, what would happen if we bring the three natural antioxidants together? What are the health benefits of elderberry with zinc and vitamin C? Let’s find out.
Elderberry With Vitamin C and Zinc
An antioxidant is a powerhouse nutrient for the human body. The bulk of diseases and bodily impairments derive from oxidative stress and cell damage. Antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals responsible for these phenomena and improve the working of the immune system.
Therefore, the use of elderberry with vitamin C and zinc is famous for its potentially groundbreaking results. Each of the three products brings essential nutrients to the table, along with the ability to heal wounds and eliminate foreign invaders, quickly.
Before we look into the research to further understand this combination, let’s review the nutrients separately.
What is Elderberry?
Elderberries are the dark, purple fruit of various varieties of the Sambucus tree known for its anthocyanin and flavonoid-rich composition. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is native to Europe, but different kinds of elder trees are found in North America, Asia, and Africa.
Elderberry is best known for being used as a natural treatment for COVID-19 as well as cold and flu symptoms. But, these berries bring much hype and folk medicine theories along with them. They were thought of as a cure-all elixir centuries ago and regarded with spiritual significance.
Today, science has much to say about these claims that we shall dissect further in the article. Elderberry’s healing tendencies are legitimate, and research shows a positive influence on many respiratory and chronic diseases.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a nutrient that plays an important role in the functioning of the body. It is a natural antioxidant, allowing it to block the systemic damage caused by free radicals.
The need for vitamin C for the human body is for various functions, including but not limited to the following:
- Enhances immunity
- Assists in the absorption of iron
- Accelerates healing of wounds and scars
- Lowers inflammation
- Reduces risk of chronic diseases like cancer
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning the body cannot produce it for itself. It requires dietary intake through foods or supplements. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, especially citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, and berries. (1)
What is Zinc?
Zinc is a nutrient found in all cells throughout the body. Its central function concerns modulating immune response and the health of the body. Apart from that, it also stimulates cell division and growth, DNA function, and the breakdown of nutrients.
The body does not produce zinc on its own. Diets rich in zinc, such as meat, dairy, nuts, and berries, supply the necessary zinc to the body.
It is a trace mineral, only required in small amounts but for pivotal life processes. Therefore, taking supplements can also help fulfill this requirement. (2)
Elderberry with Vitamin C and Zinc Benefits
Elderberry’s usage in immune support dates back centuries. Over the years, scientists have researched the emerging claims of the berry’s cure-all properties and reached many prospective results.
A recently published 2020 report presents the findings of a randomized trial for using black elderberry against respiratory infections. It reports that elderberry manages to produce an immunomodulatory effect and fights off viruses effectively. (3)
A 2011 animal study also discusses the influence of elderberries on the body’s immune defense. Elderberry polyphenols reportedly increased the number of white blood cells and activated an efficient immune response. (4)
It is also important to note that the bulk of elderberry usage as a home remedy is associated with its antiviral properties. Several research studies have evaluated the positive influence of elderberry’s immune support on the common cold and flu. (5, 6)
Vitamin C and zinc are both essential nutrients controlling many aspects of human health. Together with antioxidant-rich elderberries, they can work at their maximum potential.
In a 2009 study, vitamin C’s role as an antioxidant proved highly beneficial for immune-enhancing properties. It emerged with a multitude of benefits, including the treatment of various respiratory and systemic illnesses. (7)
Similar results were also later reached in a 2017 study. It addressed the need for adequate vitamin C supplementation to cater to the body’s requirement for nutrients. (8)
A different 2017 study analyzed the contribution of zinc to the immune function of the body. Results portray the innate dependency of the body on zinc for immune support.
However, the study also found that excessive zinc provokes impairment of immune function similar to that of a deficiency. Therefore, the study stresses the need for balanced zinc homeostasis. (9)
Another 2012 study observed the effect of high doses of vitamin C and zinc on the common cold. Results showed that the product was well-tolerated and managed to alleviate most of the severe cold symptoms. (10)
A published 2018 study at Hindawi also presents a comprehensive report of the pivotal role played by dietary supplements, such as vitamin C and zinc, in treating viral infections. It concluded that regular supplementation of the nutrients, especially 24 hours after the contraction of the disease, could be highly efficacious for treatment. (11)
Other Benefits of Elderberry
- Supports Digestion: Elderberry extract can increase the growth of good bacteria and improve overall gut health. Studies have also shown that it may inhibit the working of harmful digestive enzymes and also alleviate bowel stress in the form of constipation or IBS.
- Reduces Bodily Inflammation: Natural antioxidants occupy a reputable position in anti-inflammatory therapy, as well. Elderberry shows much potential for inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis or allergies. When paired with herbs like turmeric, anti-inflammatory benefits are amplified.
- Improves Heart Health: Elderberry is known to improve good cholesterol. Moreover, supplementation also lowers and controls blood pressure. It also exhibits a similar modulatory effect on blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for diabetics.
- Fights Chronic Diseases: Elderberry’s bioactive properties are effective against chronic problems such as cancer. Its cancer-inhibiting properties make it eligible for chemopreventive use in conjunction with other traditionally prescribed therapies.
- Enhances Skin Health: Elderberry supplementation can help improve skin health, reduce photoaging, and prevent acne. It may also be useful for promoting the healthy growth of hair.
How to Take Elderberry for Immune Support
There are three ways you can take elderberry for immune support.
Elderberry gummies combine the best natural antioxidants in a single supplement. They complement the elderberry extract with additional vitamin C and zinc for enhanced immunity. The three ingredients together provide superior immune support and health benefits.
Gummies are also a delicious option, and an easy way to make elderberry part of your daily routine without the need to consume pills.
Elderberry syrup is readily available as off-the-shelf supplements at health stores. However, most of them lack the extra immunity provided by vitamin C and zinc while also being slightly more pricey, on average.
Elderberry tea comes with mild immunity that can help relieve initial cold symptoms or constipation. It’s also a nice way to warm up when dealing with irritating cold and flu symptoms.
But, like the syrup option, tea will not be as effective in providing immune support since it often lacks the extra boost that you’d get from zinc and vitamin C.
How much elderberry should I take for immune support? Supplementing 150-300 mg of extract per day is a safe and effective elderberry dosage. Preferably, use a supplement that also contains vitamin C and zinc to fulfill the body’s nutrient requirements adequately.
Your product should also contain 100 mg of vitamin C and 10 mg of zinc, fulfilling about 100% of the daily value requirement for each.
What are the side effects of elderberry? You are not likely to face any side effects if you consume elderberry in supplement form following the dosage recommendations above. However, raw elderberry fruit may trigger gastrointestinal problems.
Furthermore, reports have also shown that elderberry lowers blood sugar levels. Therefore, diabetic patients should be cautious of the quantity they consume.
Who should not take elderberry? We advise women to avoid consuming elderberry while pregnant due to the lack of research on the matter. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease related to the thyroid, you’ll want to consult a physician before taking elderberry.
- Learn More: Is Elderberry Safe for Kids?
Final Thoughts on Elderberry with Zinc and Vitamin C
Is elderberry with zinc and vitamin C good for you? The answer appears to be a solid yes. The three natural derivatives are powerhouses on their own. It only makes sense that they will provide unparalleled immune support and health benefits together.
Having said that, it is still important to stick with the optimum dosage. We hope there will eventually be direct research analyzing the combination as a whole. Until then, we can safely rely on their individual properties and use them together for boosting immunity.
- Our Picks: Best Elderberry Gummies