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Supplements to Help You Survive Cold and Flu Season

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Cold and flu season is in full swing.

If there’s any time of the year when it’s important to be alert and do your part to strengthen your immune system, it has to be cold and flu season. With so many people around us getting sick, getting infected with a cold or the flu can almost seem like an inevitability, but the good news is that there are lots of things you can do to prevent yourself from getting infected, and in our last blog, we touched on a few of them. One of the cold-prevention tips we covered was taking supplements to help to keep your immune system strong and healthy, and today, we are going to cover which supplements may help you survive the cold and flu season this year:

Echinacea

Many experts are confident that taking echinacea could help to treat colds. But the evidence is mixed on exactly how much echinacea helps, with some studies showing that echinacea provides little to no help as a treatment option and other studies showing that taking echinacea could reduce the severity and length of a cold by up to 30 percent.

Although echinacea is considered to be a widely safe supplement, it does have a couple of mild risks. If you are allergic to flowers in the daisy family or ragweed, talk to your doctor before taking echinacea. It’s also wise to talk to your doctor before taking echinacea if you have an autoimmune condition, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been used for both treating and preventing colds for years; however, the evidence is unclear as to how much it could actually help. As far as prevention is concerned, vitamin C has been shown to help prevent colds in people who undergo intensive exercise or who have been exposed to cold weather. And as a treatment, some studies have found that taking vitamin C could help to reduce a cold’s duration by up to 36 hours.

The one caveat when taking vitamin C is to remember that taking high doses could upset your stomach or even cause diarrhea.

Garlic

Believe it or not, garlic is good for more than just bringing life to spaghetti, pizza and other mouth-watering Italian dishes. Garlic may also help you stay healthy this cold and flu season. According to preliminary evidence, garlic could help to lower your risk of catching a cold and may help to fight off viruses. Although garlic is most effective when consumed raw, cooking it too much can destroy the enzymes and compounds that keep you healthy, which is why a garlic supplement may be a great choice for you.

If you are on a blood-thinning medication, talk to your doctor before consuming a garlic supplement.

Elderberry

Although it’s the result of a small study, there is some evidence that has found that you can take elderberry to help treat the flu. According to the study, elderberry works by boosting the production of certain immune cells, which may also help to block the ability of the virus to spread. It may also help to reduce symptoms of the flu, such as the fever.

Zinc

Research has found that, by taking zinc throughout the first several days of a cold, you can shorten the duration of the cold. Additionally, at least 15 previous studies have also found that taking zinc could help to prevent a cold in those who have taken it for around five months.

Taking since for extended periods of time may lead to a copper deficiency in your body, so make sure you talk to your doctor before starting a zinc regimen.

Ginseng

Ginseng is most commonly used to give a mild energy boost, but some species could also help to prevent and/or treat the cold or the flu and boost the immune system. One species in particular — Panax ginseng — could help to increase the effectiveness of a flu vaccine. One study found that taking ginseng could help to lower the risk of being infected with the flu or a cold, and another found that it may reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

There are many supplements that may help you to survive the cold and flu season this year, and we offer a wide range of vitamins and supplements at our health store online. Shop with us today!