Taking supplements won’t necessarily prevent you from getting a cold, but here’s how vitamins and minerals can affect your health.
First of all, I strongly encourage getting your micronutrients through a healthy diet vs. relying on supplements. If you have a true deficiency or health condition speak with your physician about supplementation. Be careful when buying any supplement because label fraud is common and the amounts of vitamins and minerals can be inaccurate. There is such thing as taking too many vitamins and minerals as well. If you’ve been chugging the Emergen-C, slow down.
Here’s a few popular supplements I get asked about:
Multivitamins are one of the most commonly used supplements in the world. It may be helpful for the elderly, vegan and pregnant women who have increased nutrition needs. While vitamins can be beneficial, there is still scant evidence they can actually prevent chronic disease. I consider it more as a safety net vs. an essential need.
Although vitamin C can help maintain a healthy immune system, aid in white blood cell production, and repair tissue, it does not cure the common cold. Studies have shown it may help shorten the time you have a cold but more research is needed. There is also such thing as too much vitamin C, it’s best to eat adequate amounts through food and to avoid large doses. Add some strawberries to a spinach salad, pack a few cuties for snack or have some cauliflower rice for dinner!
Vitamin C Food Sources:
Cauliflower & Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts, Try this roasted brussel sprout bowl!
Bell Peppers, Fajitas are a great way to sneak these in!
Vitamin D3 also known as the “sunshine vitamin” has known health benefits such as preventing disease, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and may play a role in reducing flu symptoms. A recent study showed it can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu, especially among people who don’t get enough of the vitamin from diet or exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D3 Food Sources:
Zinc has become a popular treatment for the common cold. Recently an analysis of several studies showed that zinc lozenges or syrup reduced the length of a cold by one day, especially when taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of a cold. But don’t bother taking it just to take it; there’s no evidence it’ll actually prevent a cold.
Zinc Food Sources:
Legumes, nuts and seeds
Eggs, this enchilada egg bake is full of zinc!
Garlic has been used for many years as a food ingredient and medicine. Garlic is high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. Garlic supplements have some research showing it may help prevent and reduce flu and common cold severity. You don’t have to ask me twice to add garlic to everything! It’s a great way to add flavor!
Most of us mistakenly cook garlic immediately after crushing or mincing it. You should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.
Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants consisting of berries, flowers and leaves. It’s important to know the quality of this supplement because the berries, bark and leaves are also known to be poisonous if not processed or cooked properly.
Elderberry is high in vitamin c, fiber and antioxidants. Some research shows it has helped reduce the symptoms and length of the flu virus, however a larger population study needs to be done. Other research has shown it may help fight cancer, support the immune system and fight harmful bacteria.
Micronutrients are important to prevent disease, the common cold and the flu. It’s important to wash your hands, get the flu shot and eat a balanced diet. There is not enough research for most supplements and it is difficult to assess quality since most are not regulated. Always speak to your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.
If you are currently on a supplement regimen, create an account on my FullScript Dispensary for professional grade supplements!