There are many advertisements directing the public to vitamin and mineral supplements for the prevention and decreased duration of seasonal colds and flu. But these advertisements are often for products that are neither effective nor scientifically researched. In my arena, Public Health Nutrition, we place great emphasis on longitudinal studies that have great statistical significance. A longitudinal study tracks people and their use of products for a great number of years and if over that time period, science proves a product to be useful, safe and effective, statistical significance is provided. Only then do we recommend a product to the public.
When I go about my day helping people obtain optimal health, I rely on science proven research and base my recommendations strictly on what is proven to be effective and safe. Here are my three hype-free science-based top choices to stock your home with this cold and flu season.
Start with Vitamin C. Vitamin C has amazing anti-viral properties and, in high dosages, has been shown to decrease viral infections, destroy free radicals and increase immunity (1). Vitamin C has been proven useful for both the prevention of and the decreased duration of seasonal colds and flu (2). A high-quality Vitamin C will include Rose Hips and will be purity tested and free of all allergens.
My second recommendation is Vitamin D. Science has linked Vitamin D deficiencies with an increased risk of cold and flu (3). The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight and during the winter months when our sun exposure decreases, Vitamin D supplementation becomes critical to our health. The best sources of Vitamin D include Cod Liver Oil, Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Fortified Orange Juice, Fortified Dairy and Liver (4). For many, adequate dietary intake of Vitamin D is difficult to maintain and a supplement is needed. When you go to purchase Vitamin D, look for Vitamin D 3 and make sure that it is of superior quality, purity tested and free of allergens and fillers.
Third, go out and get some Zinc. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements and from my own experience, Zinc boosts immunity and effectively works as a cold and flu remedy. Furthermore, the NIH reports that Zinc is required for immune function and is needed by the body in a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system (5). Natural food sources of Zinc include Oysters, Beef, Crab, Pork, Baked Beans, Fortified Cereals, and Nuts.
Look for the supplement Zinc-Carnosine. Zinc-Carnosine has a very slow disassociation rate which allows the Zinc to meander throughout your body for an increased time prolonging the protection it provides.
With these three supplements, you will have an effective, natural and safe solution to the prevention and diminished duration of seasonal flu and colds.
Stay warm, take your supplements and have a healthy season!