Here we go again…cold and flu season is back, waiting to wreak havoc on unsuspecting victims!
Every year, doctors, pharmacies, and the media go through the same song and dance, telling us that the best way to prevent influenza is to get the flu vaccine. But that’s not necessarily true!
Yes, vaccines can protect you to a certain degree. And if you do get sick, the antibodies you develop from vaccination can make symptoms of illness a little more bearable.
But there are plenty of other things you can do—in addition to, or instead of, shots—to stay healthy and well protected this winter.
Before getting into those, let’s review how you get sick in the first place.
How Viruses Spread & How to Stop Them
On the micro level, viruses infiltrate and replicate inside the cells of healthy organisms. There are countless ways they can spread. Commonly, when infected people sneeze or cough, virus-infected droplets project several feet from their mouths. If you breathe the air shared by these droplets, there’s a good chance that the virus will enter your body.
Viruses also live on commonly touched things like door handles, phones, hand towels, and remote controls. They can spread these germs days after original contamination.
In short, viruses are everywhere. And they move faster during cold and flu season because more people tend to stay indoors, in enclosed spaces, breathing recirculated air.
Prevention is fairly simple, however, when practiced consistently and with the understanding of how viruses spread.
You probably already know some of the basics when it comes to illness prevention. But it’s always good to refresh your memory:
- Avoid close contact with others who are or might be sick. If you’re sick, stay home until you’re better.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue with sneezing or coughing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into the bend in your elbow rather than your bare hands.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
It’s important to note that healthy immune systems don’t just happen. You need to provide the right environment for all of the functions in your immune system to work as they should. This can be accomplished by maintaining a healthy lifestyle year round:
- Eating a wholesome diet
- Managing stress appropriately
- Getting plenty of good-quality sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Taking immune system-boosting supplements
Luckily, by practicing these habits, you fortify your immune system and help prevent many of the common viruses that circulate every winter from entering your body. And on the off-chance that they do, the same habits and supplements that boost your immunity also can help you fight an illness if you do succumb to one.
Here are the top supplements to prevent and fight viral illnesses like colds and flu.
Vitamin D is increasingly being recognized as a major player in not only bone health, but immune health.
Several studies have shown vitamin D can serve as a potent preventive. In one study of 167 children, those who took vitamin D3 had a significantly reduced risk of catching the flu. The researchers concluded that “vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren.”1
Another study, a meta-analysis, found that vitamin D protects against acute respiratory infections.2 You can get a high-quality vitamin D supplement, with Micellized Vitamin D3. Vitamin D deficiency is a highly prevalent and is present in approximately 30% to 50% of the general population. A growing body of data suggests that low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels may adversely affect many health aspects. Supplementing is a safe way to support your body through the winter months.
You’ve probably heard that up to 80% of your immune system function is in your gut. All this is thanks to the robust environment of beneficial microbes that live there. Probiotic supplements help to support these living, thriving microorganisms.
When supplementing probiotics, it’s also important to include prebiotics. Prebiotics are fiber-like compounds that feed probiotics and help them thrive. You can get prebiotics by eating onions, leeks, garlic, and asparagus. Or you can look for a probiotic supplement that includes prebiotics.
Brainchild Nutritional's High Support Probiotic is one high-quality brand of probiotics that meets these criteria.
Elderberries have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat the flu. They work by binding to viruses before they have a chance to penetrate cell walls and infect them.
According to a clinic review, elderberries can reduce the duration and severity of colds and cold symptoms (fever, pain, congestion, and cough).
Elderberry Comfort from Brainchild Nutritionals is an excellent organic, alcohol-free elderberry extract.
Olive Leaf Extract
You hear a lot about the benefits of olives and olive oil, but olive leaf extract doesn’t get much attention.
Olive leaf extract contains concentrated doses of the nutrients found in olive tree leaves. It contains potent high levels of antioxidants—mainly polyphenols—that support optimum health and immune function.
One of the most potent polyphenol in olive leaf is called oleuropein. Research shows this compound has significant anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties.
In one study involving 32 high school studies who played sports, those who supplemented for 9 weeks with olive leaf had 28% less sick days.3
Brainchild Nutritionals Olive Leaf Extract is a high-quality brand worth trying this winter.
Save With Our Bundle
You can buy all these supplements on their own, or they’re available as a bundle. You'll also get Brainchild Nutritionals’ Lung Support in this bundle. Lung Support contains herbs that support the body’s natural defense against lung and respiratory tract infections.
Wintertime illnesses are no fun, but taking charge of your health—and bolstering your immunity with targeted supplements—can go a long way in keeping you healthier and happier this upcoming season.