Did you know that 80% of colds are contracted during the cold and flu season, lasting from September to March? Cold and flu viruses account for more doctor’s visits and missed days of work and school than any other cause. With the right natural support, you can beat the odds and have a healthier winter. Here are some recommendations to help you stay healthy:

1) Vitamins
The easiest way to strengthen your immune system is to boost your vitamin D levels; if getting more sunshine isn’t an option, try increasing your vitamin D intake. Equally important is vitamin C; research shows that 1000mg of vitamin C every day can reduce risk of the common cold by 50%, enhancing the body’s natural ability to fight off bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, vitamin C is rapidly eliminated from the body, so you have to take it frequently.

2) Probiotics
Be sure not to overlook your gut, where the majority of the immune system resides. Taking a high-quality probiotic can reduce the chance of catching a cold while also helping to fight off pre-existing infections. While finding the right probiotic can feel intimidating, but any natural health and wellness retailer can talk to you about the benefits and strains to look for that are right for you!

3) Combating a cold!
But what if you’re already sick? This is the time to really ramp up your immune system with powerful, plant-based compounds called phytonutrients. My favourites include echinacea, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and andrographis. Among the most popular immune boosters, echinacea enables your immune system to react faster and stronger against bacteria and viruses. NAC has a special affinity for the upper respiratory tract, alleviating infections in the throat or chest. It’s also known to have anti-viral properties and boost antioxidant levels. A less well-known option is andrographis, an ancient ayurvedic herb with cooling and bitter properties that provides rapid relief of symptoms while addressing the root cause.

Suffering from seasonal cold and flu viruses may seem inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As winter approaches, trust proven natural health products to prevent and fight off infections and keep feeling your best.

By Dr. Frank Silva, ND
References:
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H.Clay Gorton, Kelly Jarvis. The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. In Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 22, Issue 8, 1999, Pages 530-533.
Maren S. Mayhew. Treatment of the Common Cold: the Evidence. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 61-63
Mitmesser, S., M. Combs, and M. Evans. Determination of plasma and leukocyte ascorbate concentrations in a randomized, double-blind trial. The FASEB Journal, 2014. 28(1 Supplement).
Puri, et al. Immunostimulant Agents from Andrographis paniculata. Journal of Natural Products 1993 56 (7), 995-999
Van Straten, M. and P. Josling. Preventing the common cold with a vitamin C supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther, 2002. 19(3): p. 151-9.

About the Author: Dr. Frank Silva, ND

Frank Silva

Dr. Frank Silva, ND graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and holds an Honours degree in Health and Society from York University. He designs individualized treatments for various conditions and works with patients to realize their health potential. Learn more about Dr. Frank at mypurebalance.ca