Health is something we often take for granted without really appreciating how important and fragile it is. If you’re young and active, you might think that just working out and eating a healthy diet can protect you from any and all ills, but it’s not true: much of today’s modern lifestyle, including long working hours and high stress, can wear away at your immune system even if you are otherwise taking great care of yourself.

Our immune system is a powerful defender with agents in nearly every body system: it relies upon blood cells, mucus membranes, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and several organs to perform its work. This complex network alerts to any foreign agents and determines how strong of an assault it should launch, relying upon any previous knowledge of infections that it can use to develop a plan of attack. You can thank your immune system for your ability to survive the routine pathogens you come into contact with, like colds and stomach bugs.

But if you’re healthy and your immune system works fine, why would you need supplements? Let’s take a look at why everyone, no matter their health level, can benefit from these helpful immune-boosting complexes.

Our immune systems aren’t always in peak condition, especially if we’re undergoing stress

While your immune system may be chugging along pretty well, it’s vulnerable to life’s stresses just like all of your body systems – maybe even more so, given that it’s a diverse group of cell types that all interact with one another. If you’re cramming for an exam, working long hours, or juggling multiple responsibilities that all take your attention, your immune system might be feeling a little frazzled too; this can make you prone to minor illnesses that, while not life-threatening, are incredibly annoying. To ward these off, an immune support supplement is a great addition to your regimen, especially when you’re having a particularly hectic time of life.

Even happy changes, like travel or a wedding, can disrupt our immune system

The above statement goes for any busy time, including those you’re greatly looking forward to! Your immune system can’t tell if you’re stressed because of something wonderful, such as getting married, or something terrible, like your village being under siege. Though we enjoy travel, large parties, and working toward lofty goals, they do cause stress, and this stress impacts our immune systems too.

Travel specifically can be a major problem for your immune system, as it exposes you to allergens that you may rarely or never encounter at home; this is especially true when you’re going to an entirely different climate, such as visiting Japan from the United States. While you’re having fun eating sushi and touring castles, your immune system is struggling to identify which new particulates are friend and which are foe, which leaves it open to attack from genuine threats. Using a supplement while abroad can greatly reduce the likelihood of coming down with a minor ailment, ensuring you can really enjoy your vacation.

Nutritional gaps are common even in the healthiest diet

The best diet in the world is one that you can stick to – but that means it might not have everything that you need to live a healthy life. If you’ve been on any diet, you’ll realize just how hard it is to cram in all the nutrition you need every day without going over your calorie limit or feeling so stuffed you can barely move. This is exactly why so many people take multivitamins and supplements: it ensures that you’re not missing out on any integral vitamins or minerals.

Supplements are especially important for anyone who follows a restrictive diet that cuts out whole food groups, like keto or vegan, or on which limits food intake entirely, like intermittent fasting. If you’re trimming carbohydrates, you might miss out on the fibers that whole grains provide; some of these, known as beta-glucans, are essential for both your heart and immune system. By using an immune system supplement, you can limit the amount of carbs you ingest in order to reduce your weight, but continue to enjoy the many benefits of dietary fiber and other essential minerals, like zinc.

Even if you’re in great shape, make sure to clear any new supplement with a doctor

Most immune support formulas are completely safe to take for any healthy person, but it never hurts to get a second opinion. Ask your doctor to double-check that it’s safe for you to take this supplement by providing them the ingredients list from the particular supplement. If you don’t have a primary care physician, this is a great time to start that relationship! Be sure to always take the supplement as suggested on the label and never double up on doses, as this can be dangerous. With a little extra help, your immune system will be locked and loaded to eliminate any ailments that come your way.