The 5th Season: How to Outsmart Cold + Flu

The 5th Season: How to Outsmart Cold + Flu

Mother Nature may have plotted out only four seasons, but our modern calendar includes a few more than that – and we are now barrelling full-steam ahead into cold and flu season! Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to stay ahead of the impending storm.

Sleep

With the shortened daylight hours, sleep comes easier for some – and that’s a good thing. Research shows that during sleep, your immune system releases protective proteins called cytokines which need a boost when you have an infection.[1],[2] For example, research shows that interleukin-6 plays an important role in the protection against influenza virus infection.1,2 So, how much sleep is necessary? Adults benefit from 7-8 hours of nightly sleep. School-aged children (even your teen!) need ten or more hours of sleep because they are both growing and defending their bodies against pathogens.[3]

Stress less

With back-to-school activities, Hallowe’en and the approach of the holiday season – another season Mother Nature didn’t plan on! – you might be burning the candle at both ends. A recent review shows evidence that psychological stress has been linked with dysregulation of the immune system.[4] Plus, when we’re stressed, we might choose coping mechanisms like carb-bingeing or daily alcohol consumption. When possible, chop your to-do list by car-pooling with other parents, suggesting pot-luck for get-togethers and agreeing to holiday activities only if they excite you. Despite your best efforts, though, stress is going to happen, so try strategies like gentle exercise and quiet time to support your body through it.

Skip sugar

Speaking of Hallowe’en, it’s likely not a coincidence that we get more colds and flu as we dip into fun-sized candy bars at this time of year, and then it’s a slippery slope to those sugar-laden holiday buffets. Filling up on those sugary treats means you may not be eating foods that provide the antioxidant vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. Aim to eat 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day before you allow yourself a sugary snack.

Stop a cold in its tracks

Perhaps you know it’s coming because of the tell-tale tickle in your throat. Or maybe you recognize the pressure in your sinuses as a warning signal of what’s to come. However it hits you, there are some important nutrients that can help you get in front of an impending cold or flu, and to reduce its hold on you:

Echinacea purpurea is traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, to help relieve sore throats and to maintain immune function to support health.[5]

Ginger is traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help with cough relief and as an expectorant to help relieve bronchitis as well as coughs and colds. 6

Vitamin C stimulates immune cells but is rapidly used up during stress and infection.7,8 Because it is a water-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin C must be consumed daily.

Zinc research shows that deficiency of zinc impairs innate immunity by reducing the activity of natural killer cells, macrophages and neutrophils.9

Supplemental Support with Cold Fighter

For simple support when you start to feel under the weather, reach for Jamieson’s Cold Fighter. You can enjoy this one-a-day blend of echinacea, ginger, vitamin C and zinc in soothing, chewable tablets or as an easy-to-swallow softgel.



[1] Imanishi, J. (2000). Expression of Cytokines in Bacterial and Viral Infections and Their Biochemical Aspects. Journal of Biochemistry127(4), 525–530

[2] Majde, J. A., & Krueger, J. M. (2005). Links between the innate immune system and sleep. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology116(6), 1188–1198.

[3] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. Accessed October 23, 2019. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep

[4] Morey, J. N., Boggero, I. A., Scott, A. B., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2015). Current directions in stress and human immune function. Current Opinion in Psychology5, 13–17. 

 

5 Health Canada. Echinacea purpurea Monograph. Accessed October 23, 2019 http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=echinacea.purpurea&lang=eng

6 Health Canada. Ginger Monograph. Accessed October 23, 2019 http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=ginger.gingembre&lang=eng

7 Padayatty, S. J., Doppman, J. L., Chang, R., Wang, Y., Gill, J., Papanicolaou, D. A., & Levine, M. (2007). Human adrenal glands secrete vitamin C in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (1), 145.5

8 Wintergerst, E. S., Maggini, S., & Hornig, D. H. (2006). Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 50(2), 85-94.

9 Health Canada. Multi-vitamin and Mineral Supplements Monograph. Accessed October 23, 2019 http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=multi_vitmin_suppl&lang=eng#a421

 

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