We all know which fitness supplements are best to take to help you achieve your dream body, but not everyone knows which supplements are best to fight off colds and flu and increase your immunity. Although it’s nearly impossible to escape exposure, you can take steps to stop those dreaded viruses before they hit. If you or someone in your family is prone to getting sick, then adding these supplements to your daily routine can make a big difference.
Probiotics play a key part in immune function through a variety of mechanisms. For example, they increase the number of circulating white blood cells or leukocytes, which defend the body against infectious disease. They also increase levels of antibodies or immunoglobulins, which are used to identify and neutralize foreign objects like viruses and bacteria. Probiotics have been shown to help fend off colds and the flu and can rebalance the bacteria we need in our bodies that can be destroyed by antibiotics. Probiotics come in pill form and a typical dosage is in the billions of CF units, but you can also introduce probiotics into your diet through yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi, coconut kefir and sauerkraut.
We recommend Healthy Origins Probiotic
2. Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil is a natural source of Vitamins A and D, two fat-soluble vitamins derived from the livers of selected codfish, caught for food. Vitamin A can help protect the mucous membrane linings of the respiratory tract and other membranes, increasing the body’s natural resistance to respiratory infections, including colds and flu. If you can find it, Fermented Cod Liver Oil is best.
We recommend Carlson Super 1000mg Cod Liver Oil
3. Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are known for their outstanding potential to ward off flu viruses and common cold symptoms. Elderberry can be helpful in cases of adrenal burn-out, exhaustion & chronic fatigue syndrome. The berries have a slight laxative as well as diuretic action so can be mildly detoxifying. Anti-viral properties can help to enhance immune function against viruses worldwide and are the subject of an increasing number of studies. One study showed that patients that consumed elderberry extracts showed a reduction of flu symptoms such as fever within two days of supplementation. By the third day about 90% of the cases were completely cured.
We recommend Nature’s Way Sambucus Black Elderberry Original
4. Vitamin C
More and more evidence is showing that vitamin C in the asorbic acid form can battle the flu and other viruses better than medication. Vitamin C acts as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory to help dry up a runny nose. It also improves immune function. For dosage while you have the flu, start with 500 mg chewable doses and continue until you reach bowel tolerance (the point that it causes diarrhea) and then reduce to half doses every hour. This amounts to almost 5,000 mg by the time you are symptom free.
We recommend Nature’s Way Vitamin C 1000 with Rose Hips
5. Vitamin D
The risk of suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if you take vitamin D, doctors in Japan have found. The finding has implications for flu epidemics since vitamin D, which is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight, has no significant side effects, costs little and can be several times more effective than anti-viral drugs or vaccines according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Flu vaccines, according to the latest scientific evidence, achieve a 1 percent reduction in influenza symptoms. This means vitamin D appears to be 800% more effective than vaccines at preventing influenza infections, especially in children. Of course, the easiest way to make sure you’re getting adequate vitamin D is to get out in the sun. I recommend getting at least 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on any part of your body at least three times a week.
We recommend NOW Foods Vitamin D-3 1000 IU
Echinacea activates the immune system so that it does a better job of fighting off both viruses and bacteria. Echinacea can also help to reduce fevers, particularly low-grade fevers. In addition, it helps with allergy symptoms, inflammation, lymphatic congestion, measles, mumps, chickenpox, and even scarlet fever and anthrax. As if this weren’t enough, echinacea also helps the body to eliminate poisons.
We recommend Nature’s Way Echinacea Organic
7. Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano, which is distilled from the flowers and leaves of the oregano plant, could be one of nature’s most powerful antibiotics. This natural and versatile oil can be used in multiple ways to help defend you from infection by dangerous bacteria. Oil of oregano contains a compound called carvacrol, which has been shown to help break through the outer cell membranes that help protect bacteria from the immune system. Studies have shown that oil of oregano is effective at killing bacteria, and could also help the immune system take action against viruses, fungi and parasites.
We recommend Super Strength Oil of Oregano
8. Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract acts to prevent the onset of colds and flu by acting as a powerful immune booster. It fights a range of viruses, bacterial infections and parasites that cause infections and disease. In addition to treating coughs and sore throats, olive leaf extract is said to fight disorders such as cystitis, fever and gout. Poultices from olive leaves are also said to be effective in treating boils, rashes, warts and other skin problems. Olive leaf extract is also useful in boosting energy levels and assisting with chronic fatigue as well as helping with allergies. In addition, research into the ability of olive leaf extract to counter elevated blood pressure is positive.
We recommend Nature’s Way Olive Leaf
In order to help prevent colds and the flu, also remember to:
1. Build up your immune defenses with a healthy diet high in vitamin C (think kiwi, citrus, and broccoli), stay hydrated and drink green or black tea, both shown to aid the immune system.
2. Wash your hands and wipe down kitchen and office surfaces as often as you can.
3. Be sure to get plenty of rest; chronic stress and sleep deprivation are both known to wear down your immunity.