Individualized Nutrition, Pharmacy and Healthy Living


Recommended by Dr. Oz to Fight Colds and Flu: Echinacea, Zinc, Vitamin D

by Paula Gallagher | December 30, 2013

There are a lot of supplements that claim to boost your immune system and help fight colds and flu. Some work, some don’t... but these three supplements have a lot of research to back them up. Recommended by Dr. Oz to fight colds and flu (and we agree!), and to support your immune system, these supplements may even prevent colds and flu if taken correctly! (It is also a good idea to let your doctor know what you are taking to ensure there aren’t any interactions with medications or conditions.)

1. Echinacea: According to doctoroz.com, echinacea has a long history of use for treating respiratory infections and several studies show that echinacea can help you get over a cold faster and reduce symptoms.

You should start using echinacea at the first sign of a cold, taking a total of about 900 mg of extract divided into two or three doses per day, for 1 to 2 weeks. Echinacea should not be given to children under 12 and has not been well studied for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women. People taking immunosuppressants or with progressive systemic diseases like tuberculosis or multiple sclerosis, or autoimmune conditions, should consult a doctor before use.

Gaia Echinacea Supreme is highly recommended by consumerlab.com (an independent lab that tests quality of nutritional supplements).

2. Zinc: If you are deficient in this mineral, you may already be more at risk at catching a cold. Being deficient is not uncommon, particularly in the elderly. Taking zinc lozenges is one of the best ways to help treat a cold. According to studies, zinc has the best chance to ward off viruses when acting directly on your throat.

Start taking a zinc lozenge at the first sign of a cold and allow it to dissolve in your mouth (no chewing). Discontinue use after 1 week, to prevent getting too much zinc.

Zand's Elderberry Zinc Herbal Lozenges and Pathway Zinc Lozenges are great choices to have on hand. Remember that these are not candy, so make sure to follow the instructions on the package.

3. Vitamin D: Taking vitamin D can be especially helpful for those who are deficient, which in winter is the case for many. If you want to check your levels, you can ask your doctor for a test. Ideally, your blood plasma level of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) should be 20 to 30 ng/mL. Carlson Vitamin D3 drops are easy to take and can be added to food or drinks without changing the flavor.

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