The first cold snap hits, and you walk into a pharmacy or health food store with the goal of buying vitamins that will help get you through the winter season unscathed by colds and flu. Here’s a shopping list of simple, effective and safe formulas — to keep you feeling your best this year.
Vitamin D: Good things come from the sun. Well known for its role in supporting calcium absorption to maintain strong bones and teeth, vitamin D also boosts the immune system to help prevent major diseases. In addition, vitamin D increases seratonin, which will help thaw your frosty winter demeanour. For maximum benefit, go for a high dose of 2,000 IU daily from September to April.
Vitamin C: Taken daily, vitamin C supports a healthy immune system and offers superior prevention of and treatment for colds. This classic vitamin influences many vital functions, making it an important nutrient for everyone in your family. Studies show that people feel energized after taking 1,000 mg of effervescent or powdered vitamin C in a glass of water.
Omega 3: Omega-3 oils offer many metabolic benefits. They help reduce inflammation, improve mood, alleviate dry skin, reduce the symptoms associated with stress and increase mental clarity and neurologic function. If you are eating fish more than once a day, your dietary intake may be adequate, but you may be exposing your body to marine toxins. The smarter approach is to take a 1,000 mg daily dose of purified fish oil or krill oil. These provide a safe, clean and healthy source of omega nutrition.
Magnesium: A magnesium deficiency affects the health and vitality of every area of your body. Yet North Americans are chronically deficient in this important mineral that helps : maintain strong bones, support healthy heart function, lower elevated blood pressure and increase the production of enzymes that boost energy and promote cell repair. If you experience muscle tension and disrupted sleep — the first signs of magnesium deficiency — take 200 mg to 300 mg daily.
Vitamin B: From managing stress and fueling energy to strengthening your immune system, the B vitamins support optimal health. This complex family works together to regulate a variety of vital body functions and must be replenished daily, especially during times of physical or mental stress. If fatigue is your main complaint, take a B complex or a multivitamin containing a high dose of vitamin B (50 mg to 100 mg) each morning.
Echinacea: Of all the echinacea species studied to date, only one — Echinacea angustifolia —has been proven effective in preventing colds and flu due to the purified extracts from the plant roots that show potent immune-boosting properties. I recommend taking a proprietary formula, such as FluShield, throughout the winter season.
Probiotics: Half of the body’s immunity comes from a healthy lower intestine. A probiotic formula not only boosts the stomach’s “good” bacteria to help digest food, but it fortifies the healthy balance of microflora so you can naturally fight infection. Stress and excess consumption of alchohol and caffeine can inhibit these important allies to immune-defense, so be sure to boost your body each day with a multi-strain probioitic supplement.
And before you buy, follow these important tips:
- Always select products manufactured by a reputable manufacturer who ensures quality, potency and raw-ingredient traceability
- Get ahead of the season by increasing your supplement intake
- At the first sign of a scratchy throat, gargle with warm salt water, which serves as an astringent to help clear mucous
- Open up your nasal passages and breathe easier with periodic treatments of gentle steam inhalation
- Oregano oil is a natural anti-viral — gargle first, then swallow
- Soothe virus symptoms by adding a couple of spoonfuls of honey (the darker the better) to a hot drink before bed to help reduce coughing at night