As the weather changes, many people begin to have cold and flu symptoms. Meanwhile, everyone else is wondering how to avoid getting a cold or the flu.

The easiest ways to avoid getting sick include washing your hands, sleeping well, and eating well. There are a number of supplements that may help with preventing the cold and flu, boosting your body’s defence, and even treating the cold and flu itself.

#1 – Stock up on Vitamin D

Many studies show that people with vitamin D deficiencies may be more susceptible to common colds and the flu, as well as upper-respiratory tract infections. The latest study of vitamin D involved 19,000 Americans, and the conclusion by lead author Dr. Adit Ginde claims;

“The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu. Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency.”

Therefore, measuring vitamin D levels and supplementing, if necessary, will go a long way to help treat and prevent the cold and flu. As an added bonus, vitamin D will also help improve metabolic functions.

#2 – Know Your Probiotics

A recent study that appeared in the British Journal of Nutrition, published by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in October 2012, selected 198 college students whose lives involved chronic stress, sleep deprivation, and living on-campus.

This study determined that the student population on probiotics had less severe symptoms of the cold and flu, and only missed an average of 15 days of school when compared to the population on placebos, who missed an average of 34 days.

Taking probiotic supplements as a preventative or treatment method of the cold and flu will reduce symptoms and will decrease your chances of becoming ill. Probiotics may prevent the virus from getting into the bloodstream easily as the probiotics form a barrier on your mucosa.

Make sure to select the right combination and concentration of probiotics as recommended by a medical professional for your needs.

#3 – Classic Vitamin C

According to an updated Cochrane Review on vitamin C and the common cold, vitamin C seems to be particularly beneficial for people under heavy physical stress. In five randomized trials, participants with heavy short-term physical stress halved incidents of the common cold.

Three of these successful trials studied marathon runners, one studied Swiss school children in a skiing camp, and one studied Canadian soldiers during a winter exercise. Furthermore, in a recent randomized trial carried out with adolescent competitive swimmers, vitamin C halved the duration of colds in males.

Regular daily doses of one gram or more of vitamin C reduce the average duration of colds in adults by 8% and in children by 18%. Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration and severity of colds in these studies, combined with the safety and low cost of vitamin C, the authors claim that it may be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test the potential benefits of therapeutic vitamin C.

There are other supplements that may also help with the cold and flu, like zinc, vitamin B complex, and herbal supplements. Just remember to consult a medical professional before you make any drastic lifestyle changes. Also, please remember to stay home if you become sick, as you will unavoidably spread germs to other people, which can make them sick too.

In Good Health,

Dennis Wong