by Matt Weik
When looking for ways to boost your immunity or improve your overall health and wellness, you heard about elderberry and elderberry supplements. This incredible berry is primarily used to support the immune system and aid with maintaining health. The news and media have put elderberry supplements up on a pedestal as something everyone should be using to improve immunity and prevent sickness. But does it actually work, and if so, what are the benefits?
Let’s dig into the details regarding elderberry supplements, what the benefits are, who should supplement from them, and who should avoid them. Let’s get started!
What is Elderberry?
People have been using elderberry as an immune booster for hundreds of years.
Elderberry is a flowering plant that is native to Europe and North America and is basically used for medicinal purposes. It is derived from the black elder tree, also known as Sambucus Nigra, which is widely known for its bluish-purple berries.
The Health Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberry supplements are found at just about any retailer that sells health and nutrition products — including wholesalers and grocery stores. This supplement is famous for its incredible health benefits. On the other hand, finding actual elderberries at a grocery store may be a little more challenging.
Let’s dig into some of the benefits you can achieve through its use.
1. Elderberry is Packed with Nutrients
A cup of elderberries contains 106 calories, 26.68 grams of carbohydrate, and various other vitamins and minerals. Elderberries are rich in fiber, as a cup contains around 10.8 grams of dietary fiber. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended amount of daily fiber intake is 34 grams for men and 28 grams for women.
This helps to protect against cardiovascular diseases, prevent constipation, reduce blood pressure, and improve bowel function.
If you aren’t taking in enough fiber during the day, including elderberry supplements to bridge the nutritional gap may be a wise choice.
2. Elderberry Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Apart from the impressive micronutrient content, elderberries also contain antioxidant properties that are extremely beneficial for your health. They are a great source of flavonoids and phenolic acids. As per a study, elderberry can reduce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by 22% and oxidative DNA damage by 46%.
3. Elderberries Support the Immune System
Elderberry may improve white blood cell activity, which is the powerhouse of the immune system. This, in turn, helps boost immunity and fight off sickness. A 2019 meta-analysis found that elderberry supplements can effectively treat upper respiratory symptoms like a cough, cold, flu, nasal congestion, etc.
Studies show that people with low levels of vitamin B6 have poor immune systems. And elderberries are rich in vitamin B6 to help compensate. Also, the presence of vitamin A helps maintain the body’s natural defenses that protect from various infections. Vitamin C also comes into play as it helps produce white blood cells and is an important part of the skin’s defense system.
If you’re worried about getting sick throughout the year or during the colder months, it may make sense to use elderberry supplements to help boost immunity.
4. Elderberry Supports Cardiovascular Health
As per research, a diet rich in flavonoids helps support overall heart health. Also, elderberries are rich in potassium that can aid in regulating blood pressure, as it helps the blood vessels relax.
The presence of anthocyanins from elderberry helps to protect blood vessels from oxidative stress. This helps to protect the cells from inflammatory stress, improves blood circulation, and ultimately improves heart health.
5. Elderberry Boosts Mood and Improves Brain Health
Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin B6, which are excellent for brain function. It is because the brain cannot produce “happy chemicals” like serotonin and dopamine in the absence of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in reducing the risk of depression.
6. Elderberries Promote Skin Health
Elderberry contains vitamin A, flavonoids, and antioxidants that help keep your skin healthy. Plus, the compounding effect present in elderberry provides a natural glow and improves the skin’s overall health.
Are There Any Side Effects of Taking Elderberry Supplements?
Of course, overconsumption of anything is harmful, and the same can be said when using elderberry supplements. If consumed in moderate quantities, it is considered safe. But in case you eat too many elderberries or take an extremely large dose through supplements, you may suffer from diarrhea, stomach ache, or abdominal cramps.
Raw elderberries do contain a poisonous compound, and for that reason, you’ll want to stay away from consuming any elderberry or elderberry supplement that hasn’t been processed properly. This compound also makes digesting the elderberry incredibly difficult. But syrups, juices, and all forms of which are made from processed elderberries are completely safe and easier to digest.
Who Should Not Use Elderberry Supplements?
If you are suffering from any auto-immune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, you should research out and speak to your doctor before consuming any product containing elderberry, including elderberry supplements. Also, if you are pregnant, consult your doctor before using elderberry.