It's official, Winter is here, which means coughs and colds are rampant, sick leave numbers are higher and doctors waiting rooms are full. As the temperature drops we spend more time inside, daylight is shorter, our bodies are covered in layers meaning any sun we are exposed to is not absorbed and exercise may take a back seat because getting out of bed when it's freezing is no fun - all of these factors can lead to a higher risk of catching a cold. No one likes being sick, it's the pits; Your nose runs, coughing, sore throat, fever, no appetite and depending on how sever it is you can get delirious! As a child I would spend days and days off school with chest infections and during my early adult years I would get sick every single winter. As I started exploring food and supplements I now make sure when the cold snap hits to have vitamins and minerals on hand to supplement my diet and provide me with extra nutrients.
There are certain winter supplements we can take that are more essential than others. Lots of herbal and nutritional options you have at your disposal, but what ones are right for you? It is advisable to approach winter supplement taking from a prevention standpoint. You want to stop yourself from getting sick in the first place. Not try to attack your flu once it has crept up on you. Getting good sleep, exercise, staying hydrated (especially if you get sick) and nutrition are also important factors when thinking about how you can stay well this Winter. Taking supplements alone while still eating processed junk every day is not going to help your cause.
Remember, the immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony.
I take a mixture of vitamins, minerals and herbs. Here is a round-up of what is in my medicine cabinet.
BioBalance Lipsomal Vitamin C A vitamin that we should be taking year round is Vitamin C. It helps to reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system, it has antioxidant effects which helps protect against free radical damage, pollutants and toxins. It is easy to obtain Vitamin C through the diet, however, I like to supplement year round and double dose during Winter to ensure my insides are fighting fit. Readily absorbed by the small intestine, Liposomal Vitamin C is the most effective preparation to deliver Vitamin C to the body at 1000mg per serving. Mix with water or add into a smoothie. It is free from Soy, GMO's, gluten, lactose, fillers, binders, and artificial sweeteners (something to look out for if you are taking supplements in liquid form). $44.95 | More info
Lifestream Natural Vitamin C This Lifestream Vitamin C is made from Certified Organic Acerola Berry - that's right, no synthetic vitamins in this pot of gold. Your body will recognise the acerola berry as food and it will be absorbed quicker. 1 serving is 340 mg so you may want to double dose during the colder months and take 1x serve in the morning and 1 at night. *this no longer comes in powder form, it is now in capsules. NZD$44.60 | More info
BioCeuticals Ultra Potent-C Chewables If you are not able to get your little ones to take capsules or liquid supplements or if you do not like them yourself you may want to give these a try. Super high dosage of 1000mg per serving and they taste delicious! BioCeuticals is a practitioner only brand that you will be able to find in a local health food store. Due to the travel I do I love this product as it is easy to take away with me and is a product you can have at work sitting on your desk. More info
Comvita Olive Leaf Extract Olive Leaf extract is traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to relieve symptoms of coughs, colds and flu. It can help support the immune system and promote general wellness. Liquid or capsules, you take your pick. This particular brand of Olive Leaf is grown and then processed in Australia and are priced really well. Comvita also make products for children! More info
BioCeuticals D3 Drops There are two types of commercially available Vitamin D: D2 and D3. The latter is the better type, as it is exactly the same as what our bodies produce when in contact with sunlight which is why BioCeuticals is my go to Vitamin D supplement. Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnicities and age groups! The immune system defends the body from foreign, invading organisms, promoting protective immunity while maintaining tolerance to self. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. There have been multiple cross-sectional studies associating lower levels of vitamin D with increased infection. One report studied almost 19,000 subjects between 1988 and 1994. Individuals with lower vitamin D levels (<30 ng/ml) were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for variables including season, age, gender, body mass and race. Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D so you can see why it can be important to supplement during Winter. AUD $34.99 | More info
Herbs of Gold Ultra Zinc Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system, and zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens which is what you want to avoid. Zinc is also responsible for the production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), which plays an important role in protecting our bodies from free radical damage. Zinc is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymes influencing various organ functions having a secondary effect on the immune system so you can see how important this mineral is. I love this brand as it is high strength and organically bound .AUD $25.95 | More info
BioBalance Herbal Chest CareHerbal Chest Care is a formulation of 5 herbs traditionally used to support chest and lung health. I love love love BioBalance products as they are formulated in NZ and the company are extremely passionate about the products they produce. Each 10ml Serve Provides: Lavender 0.3ml, Thyme (organic) 0.3ml, Ginger (organic) 0.25ml, Horseradish 0.2ml, Cayenne 0.042ml - all herbs that are indicated for respiratory conditions affecting the lungs and bronchial system. This product is safe to use on children and when mixed with a tiny bit of apple juice and water it is a lot more palatable. NZD $22.70 | More info
That is my Winter Wellness medicine cabinet overview - what products do you find work to prevent and combat colds?