Immune-system supplements are becoming more popular because many people see them as a quick and easy option for preventive health care when it comes to conditions such as the common cold and the flu. Of course, you want to encourage a healthy lifestyle among your workforce, and preventive health care is one aspect of that. These products, such as Airborne or Emergen-C, tend to be high in Vitamin C and other nutrients, and they promise to keep sickness at bay by boosting immune-system function. But are they really a good way of achieving this goal and ensuring your staff remains productive?

Do Immune-System Supplements Work?

Many immune-system supplement products line store shelves and promise to help people stay healthy, but most of these claims remain unproven, according to Harvard Medical School. That’s not to say that these products can’t offer positive results, but investigating them is only a preliminary step in understanding how to maintain immune-system health. This is in part because of our immune system’s intricacies; a variety of factors are required to maintain good health. Researchers don’t fully know how the immune system works, so measuring its function isn’t easy.

While there is no research-backed information that supports using supplements in our diets, there are some documented risks to using them. As Harvard Medical School explains, these products often work by boosting the number of immune cells in the bloodstream, which can create complications and isn’t necessarily beneficial overall.

It Comes Down to Lifestyle

While the jury is out concerning whether or not these types of over-the-counter supplements help keep us healthy, there are other steps employees should take to maintain a healthy lifestyle. None of them should be a surprise, and they aren’t quick and easy solutions to better health. However, adopting healthy-living strategies in the workplace is proven to reduce missed time at work and lost productivity. Here are some basic ideas to promote this thinking throughout your company:

  • Encourage a nonsmoking workspace through smoking-cessation programs.
  • Educate employees on the value of quality sleep.
  • Provide health care screenings and checkups to monitor for common health problems, such as high blood pressure or weight gain, as well as screenings for individuals at various age groups based on risks for heart disease, cancer and other health problems.
  • Teach employees about healthy meal selection with a concentration on high-fiber foods, vegetables and low levels of saturated fats. Provide on-location meals that feature these benefits.
  • Enforce rules for proper handwashing and food prep to minimize illness transmission.

You can’t promise that over-the-counter supplements will work to keep your employees healthy, but you can encourage them to eat a well-balanced diet, get regular exercise and boost nutritional intake through high-quality vitamin supplements. Ensuring employees have access to high-quality insurance plans that offer preventive health screenings is also beneficial. Ultimately, a diet rich in nutrients will provide the body with far more benefit than immune-system supplements.

Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and Internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.