The peak cold and flu months are December through March. Adults in the US average two to four colds per year, while children get sick 6-10 times a year. Unsurprisingly, parents of young kids get sick more often than other adults. Luckily, there are ways to support your immune system so that it is more resistant to viruses. Eat a balance of lean protein, omega-9 oils, fruits and vegetables, take a good multivitamin, then exercise and sleep enough. Below are some of the recent studies involving natural substances and nutrients.
NAC reduces the Odds and the Severity
A trial of 262 elderly patients tested whether the potent antioxidant precursor NAC might affect the incidence of influenza infection and flu-like symptoms. Experimenters gave active subjects 600mg NAC twice daily. Over the course of 6 months, those in the NAC group had 43% lower incidence of flu-like symptoms than those in the placebo group. In fact, in those subjects infected with influenza, only 25% of the NAC group experienced symptoms, whereas 79% of the placebo group had symptoms.
Vitamin D May Drastically Reduce the Incidence
A recent scientific review concluded that seasonal cold and flu epidemics may be related to seasonal deficiencies of Vitamin D. It enables the creation of several proteins known as antimicrobial peptides. A randomized control trial showed that supplementing 2000 IU per day of vitamin D nearly eliminated the self reported incidence of colds and flu.
Elderberry Speeds Recovery
Elderberry extract has also been shown to help with flu symptoms. In one study, the majority of the group receiving elderberry experienced “pronounced improvement” within 3 to 4 days, whereas the placebo group took 7 to 8 days to improve to that degree.
Olive Leaf Active Against Influenza, Other Viruses
The components of olive leaf extract, such as oleurepein, have demonstrated considerable anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory invitro and animal studies. Oleurepein has been shown to be active against many viruses including influenza. Researchers have shown olive leaf constituents to inhibit the replication and diminish the infectivity of viruses, including those responsible for cold and flu. Published anecdotal reports indicate that olive leaf extract taken at the beginning of cold and flu symptoms can prevent the full onset of the illness or significantly shorten the duration.