How can I stay healthy during the cold and flu season? And what should I take to boost my immune system? These are common questions as we approach the cooler seasons.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I suspected that taking all the precautions and measures that we are taking to avoid COVID-19 should help lessen the spread of the flu virus. If there's one good thing that may have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be a reduction in the number of cold and flu illnesses. Close to two years later we have the data to support the theory. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “In the United States, influenza virus circulation declined sharply within 2 weeks of the COVID-19 emergency declaration and widespread implementation of community mitigation measures, including school closures, social distancing, and mask wearing, although the exact timing varied by location. The decline in influenza virus circulation observed in the United States also occurred in other Northern Hemisphere countries and the tropics, and the Southern Hemisphere temperate climates have had virtually no influenza circulation”. But now that some of us have become relaxed about wearing masks and observing social distancing or handwashing, we can expect a surge in the prevalence of these common illnesses. Now, it is time to take measures to boost our immune system. Here are some natural supplements to help us along the way.
The analysis of multiple studies has shown that people on daily vitamin C were significantly less likely to get a cold. Vitamin C is present in high concentrations in citrus juices, fruit, and a variety of vegetables. I usually recommend Buffered Vitamin C, which tends not to cause an increase in stomach acid.
There is evidence showing that taking Echinacea can reduce the relative risk of catching a cold by 10-58%. It can also lessen the number of sick days with symptoms by 26%.
Based on a meta-analysis of three studies zinc acetate lozenges reduced the duration of illness by almost three days when administered to individuals with the common cold. To get the most benefit from taking zinc you must start it within the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Avoid zinc nasal products as they may cause permanent loss of smell.
Beta-glucans sourced from Mushrooms (e.g., maitake, shiitake) have been shown to improve the immune system. One study showed that supplementing with beta-glucans from brewer’s yeast (a type of fungi) for 16 weeks reduced the number of cold infections by 25%, and symptom severity scores (for those who got a cold) by 15%.
This is the thick, yellow milk produced by mammals in the first 72 hours after giving birth. Colostrum plays an important role in strengthening the immune system of recently born offspring. Bovine (from cows) colostrum is available as a supplement in capsule, tablet, and powder form.
Colostrum supplements may be especially useful for reducing the severity of symptoms and the length of a common cold or flu.
A good probiotic may reduce the incidence of colds, as well as improve the effectiveness of influenza vaccination. To get the most benefit, choose a probiotic with a variety of strains and a high CFU count. For more information on probiotics, contact us for specific recommendations based on your individual needs.
Other natural immune boosters
Green Tea Extract
To stay healthy, it is important to reduce stress, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Allow us to assist you with choosing a high-quality supplement by clicking here.
And remember to use caution with supplements as the ingredients can interact with medications that you may be taking or medical conditions you may have.