Unfortunately we all know winter is filled with sniffles and colds and the epidemic of low energy levels. That’s why in Nourish we see certain types of product fly off our shelves this time of year—namely immunity support supplements.
When you work on the shop floor, you learn a thing or two about the products on hand. You hear stories and recommendations, give advice and talk with your suppliers. You also look at what’s selling and find out what gives that particular product its zing of popularity.
Rather than keeping all these gems of knowledge in my own head, I’ve decided to share a few of the top supplements on our shelves, from the best sellers and staff picks to the ones that are backed by good ol’ science.
Vitamin C and Zinc
Numerous studies have proven time and time again the effectiveness of Vitamin C in high dosages for prevention and relief of cold and flu symptoms.
Vitamin C is an ideal preventative and curative when supplemented at 1000-2000mg per day as shown in studies.
According to Patrick Holford, taking 1000mg or 2000mg of Vitamin C every day will shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms and severity of a cold or flu, but what’s really advised is to keep blood levels of Vitamin C high until the cold of flu has gone. This means taking 2000mg immediately when you get the first sign of any symptoms and then 1000mg every hour until the cold has gone. (usually within 24 hours and often within 12). Please be aware of your bowel tolerance when it comes to supplementing large doses of Vitamin C as it can cause loose bowels in some individuals.
Remember that Vitamin C is water soluble, so it’s easily flushed out the body, especially if you’re drinking your recommended fluids or sweating a lot due to fever. This is why it needs to be replenished at regular intervals.
Also, make sure to include plenty of Vitamin C from healthy food sources – see our post on <Top Foods for Staying Healthy This Winter here> along with other health-boosting antioxidants from fruit and vegetables. This not only makes the vitamin C more effective, but also offers you a range of other health benefiting nutrients to conquer that cold!
Zinc helps to fight infection, and if taken within the first 24hours from the first sign of symptoms, it has been shown to significantly reduce both the symptoms and severity of the common cold. For optimum anti-viral effects, 50mg in the first 24 hours of symptoms can be highly effective at banishing or drastically shortening that cold or flu.
Increasing your Vitamin D, especially in the winter is a good idea. Vitamin D is a great immune supporting and boosting vitamin that is often something we’re deficient in. Itpromotes a healthy, balanced immune system through its key role in regulation and differentiation of immune system cells.
Deficiency in Vitamin D can reduce immune function which can increase the likelihood of you picking up any infection or virus going around.
It can be worth taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement all through the year, though especially throughout winter, as although the body does manufacture vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight, for people living in northern latitudes where there is less sunshine, it is recommended to supplement with the nutrient to prevent deficiency.
Those prone to SAD (seasonal affective disorder), this one is a must have!
I would recommend getting your Vitamin D levels checked with your doctor or naturopath first to ensure you are not getting more than you need if you do decide to supplement with high doses.
Echinacea is a traditional herbal remedy for colds and flu. It helps the body fight the symptoms of these infections by supporting the immune system and helping to maintain the body’s resistance.
Echinacea has been traditionally used to relieve symptoms of the common cold, influenza type infections and seasonal allergic reaction thanks to its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions.
It’s a fantastic herb for supporting the immune system and can be easily added to your winter wellness routine.
Simply follow the instructions listed on the packet, in this case we’ll take A. Vogel Echinaforce.
Adults, elderly and children over 12 years: 15 drops (0.6ml) of tincture in a small amount of water, 2 to 3 times daily.
It’s safe to use long term and alongside other natural remedies.
The blackberries of the elder tree have been used for centuries and have direct antiviral effects.
Elderberries are not only a rich source of vitamins A and C, which are crucial for helping the body maintain optimal health, but they also contain bioflavonoids to help boost the body’s immune system.
These fantastic health boosting berries can even help reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu when taken at the first sign of symptoms as well as reducing the duration of the sickness.
Elderberry syrup makes colds and other upper respiratory symptoms more tolerable by reducing mucous secretions and thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, it can also help fight swelling of the respiratory passages. This means less discomfort and difficulty breathing.
Available in a syrup form, this supplement is also a wonder for sore throats.
P73-Oreganol Oil of Oregano
P73-Oreganol contains between 70-78% carvacrol (depending on harvest) which is the active ingredient in oregano, known to be antiseptic and antifungal. It can be used topically and is also edible, taken either straight from the bottle (via a dropper) or added to water.
Thanks to its antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiparasitic and antiviral properties, Oregano oil is absolutely fantastic at fighting and conquering colds, flus, viruses and infections.
It is very potent so only a small amount is needed and it’s recommended that you follow the directions on the bottle.
Taken on the first sign of any symptom, this potent remedy will help knock anything unpleasant on the head that’s trying to invade your system
Should you already be suffering with these symptoms, a couple of drops taken at intervals throughout the day should help shorten the duration and ease the symptoms.
Each bottle contains steam extracted oil from wild mountain-grown oregano which is emulsified in extra virgin olive oil. No chemicals of any kind are ever used in the processing.
This is my all time favourite supplement for dealing with colds and flus so this gets a big thumbs up from me!
For more information and advice on keeping your immune system strong and healthy this winter, keep an eye out for our sister posts as part of the Winter Wellness Series:
5 Lifestyle Choices to Boost Your Immunity
Top Foods for Staying Healthy This Winter
Twitter – @nourishstores
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication