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Cold and Flu Supplements

When cold and flue season strikes, we all want to be prepared—immunologically speaking—for what is to come. During the winter months, and those chilly months surrounding it, the viruses that cause the common cold and flue are more prevalent. There are a number of running theories as to why this is the case, some of which are:

 

  • More time spent indoors, breathing the same air as others
  • Less daylight hours and spending less time outdoors, leading to lower vitamin D levels (an important immune-regulatory nutrient)
  • Viruses tend to survive better in colder climates and in cold bodies (after all, we do develop a fever [heat] in order to slow down viral replication)

 

 

So, apart from keeping warm, spending more time outdoors and ensuring that our vitamin D levels are optimum, what else can we do? This is where the fields of nutritional medicine and herbal medicine can be helpful. There are many natural compounds that have direct anti-viral activity, such as extracts from garlic, zinc and interestingly, iodine. These compounds work directly against the virus, helping to slow down replication which allows the immune system a better chance at overcoming the invader. Additionally, anti-bacterial compounds are usually helpful during more serious viral infections, when a secondary bacterial infection can occur. Such compounds are, once again, extracts from Garlic, and Manuka Honey (or any raw untreated honey).

 

 

There are also a host of natural supplements that assist with maintaining general immunity. Specifically, many nutrients are needed for leukocyte (white blood cell) production in the bone marrow, and for the healthy functioning of these cells. Such nutrients are vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium and the not to be forgotten, Vitamin A or retinol. There are many immunoregulatory herbs, such as andrographis, echinacea and cat's claw, that assist with general immunity and may improve host deefence against viruses and bacteria.

 

 

Though don't forget, a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise and stress management are essential to improving general health and maintaining a healthy immune system. 

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