By Dr. Laura Belus ND
With the colder weather in full effect (and here to stay for a while), it’s the perfect time to support our immune system with a natural boost. Keep in mind, the most effective strategy is to act at the first signs of getting sick. That’s why stocking your medicine cabinet, desk drawer, or purse with a couple of these items can save you from those body aches, runny noses and hacking cough.
1. Vitamin C: Everyone knows that vitamin C helps with the immune system, but most of us are unaware of how to take it for the most benefit. For long term prevention of colds & flus, taking 1000mg every day during the fall and winter months is always advised. However, when you start to feel that sore throat or the sniffles, taking 1000mg up to 4-5 times per day can pack a powerful immune punch (which is why I love a powdered version like Innate Response)! However, vitamin C at higher doses can cause digestive upset in some people, so always stop at a dose that feels comfortable for you.
2. Vitamin D3: Great for our bones, mood and hormonal system, but ALSO great to boost our immunity! Since most people in North America are deficient (get your levels tested!), this vitamin should be a staple in everyone’s routine. Having said that, increasing your dose of vitamin D3 for a couple of days at the start of an infection can make a dramatic difference in how long you stay sick. Some practitioners advise 5000-10000IU for 3-5 days, but always speak with your primary healthcare provider first before increasing your dosage. To make dosing simple, choose a liquid formula like Thorne’s with little to no additives for the most impact.
3. Echinacea: This natural plant can be a powerful protector against colds & flus. It has been shown to be safe for children, pregnant women and adults of all ages for up to 4 months of continued use. Always be sure to choose a formula that is pure and potent for maximum effect. I like A. Vogel’s Echinaforce tablets while travelling for fast relief of symptoms.
4. Zinc lozenges: I have been using these for years when I start to feel those first pings of a scratchy throat coming on. Zinc is excellent to use for the short term, and lozenges that are naturally sweetened can give you targeted support where you need it most. I always keep a bottle of Douglas Labs in my desk drawer and a roll of Thera Zinc lozenges (with added elderberry) in my purse.
5. Herbal deep immune support: Some herbs have been used in traditional eastern cultures for thousands of years– so they must know something about how to support the immune system! This is why I love Cold Q oral spray. 5 sprays at the back of the throat a few times per day has been shown to prevent the flu, and it helps even if you’re already sick!