Fall is fast approaching, and with it comes the increased likelihood of your coming down with a cold or the yearly flu. In this article, we take a brief look at why you're more susceptible to these infections in fall, and we suggest supplements that can bolster your body's defenses against them.
Why Cold & Flu Come On in Fall
There are two common ailments which crop up every fall: the common cold and the flu. Both of these are contagious, upper respiratory, viral infections. They are present year-round, but you are more likely to contract them in colder months. There are two reasons for this. First, many viruses tend to thrive in lower temperatures. Second, viruses are more likely to spread from one person to another in close quarters indoors. When you spend more time indoors, such as in a ventilated building with many people, then you're more likely to contract a viral infection. Symptoms of a cold can include sneezing, runny nose, cough, headache, and fever in children. The flu often presents with the same symptoms, but to a greater degree, along with an increased likelihood of fever, chills, and body aches.
Supplements That Can Prevent Cold & Flu
Taking steps to prevent getting sick in the fall is worth the effort. Colds are irritating, and the flu can put you down for days at a time, or worse. Fortunately, a range of vitamins, nutrients, and herbs can support the body's ability to defend itself against these infections. Here's a look at six supplements which can prevent, stymie, or reduce the course of a cold or flu this fall. Please be sure to discuss your use of any of these with your personal physician.
Vitamin C has a general purpose effect on the immune system, and taking it regularly can set the body up to handle the cold or flu infection better if you get one. Vitamin C supports cells in the innate (immediate) immune system, as well as the adaptive immune system. While it's not recommended to specifically treat infections after they set in, vitamin C can prepare the body to handle a cold or infection if it occurs, by reducing the course and severity of symptoms.
Garlic is a potent herb that can help combat cold and flu infections. Studies have shown that taking garlic extract both reduces the growth of the flu virus in the body as well as the symptoms of both cold and flu.
Zinc supports the immune system by supporting the production of white blood cells. This helps to combat both cold and flu. While zinc is present in some foods, it is recommended that you fortify your intake with a zinc supplement during flu season.
Probiotics: Studies show that taking in probiotic bacteria benefits gut health, and this can in turn support the respiratory system in battling infections. Research shows that probiotics can protect against cold and flu. It can shorten the duration of these infections and similarly lessen the number of sick days you might take due to symptoms.
Vitamin E is supported as an immuno-modulatory vitamin, which proves useful in reducing the risk of infectious disease. Vitamin E has multiple immunomodulatory effects, including directly supporting the interactions of different immune cells.
There is a great chance of experiencing a cold or flu in the colder fall months. Don't go through this time unprepared. Having a handful of the above supplements on deck can support the body in preparing for the possibility of cold or flu, and/or treat them if they occur.