Winter Essentials for your Medicine Cabinet
The holidays are here and that means cold and flu season is too. And there are ample opportunities to catch and share germs at work, school, and holiday gatherings.
As I am sure you’ve noticed, there are some brutal viruses going around right now.
Despite precautions, sometimes it seems unavoidable that you’ll catch what’s going around. Perhaps you work with children or you have kids or grandkids who like to use you as their personal tissue. Maybe you are immuno-compromised at the moment, or just have adults in your life who are not so conscientious about hygiene when they are sick. Whatever the reason you may need additional prevention power, we’ve got you covered!
I like to make sure that I’m a terrible host for any viruses that may be lurking. The following supplements are items that I always keep at the ready in my medicine cabinet this time of year, and often take at the first sign of symptoms.
Daily prevention favorites
These are the supplements I take on a regular basis to keep my immune system strong. They are especially helpful during the holiday season of indulgence when you might be overloading your system with sugary treats and celebratory cocktails.
1. D3 2000
Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with an increased susceptibility to infection. 1 Keep your levels up through the dark winter months by taking a good quality supplement. D3 is the best kind of vitamin D to supplement with, as it is used most effectively by the human body.
In a healthy person, bad bacteria cannot do a lot of harm because of the existence of good bacteria. Good bacteria takes up prime real estate in the body, keeping bad bacteria in check. However, our lifestyle choices and diet often change the conditions of the body’s environment towards the benefit of bad bacteria, and bad bacteria begin to outnumber the good, causing health to suffer. To prevent that, good bacteria are needed to compete with the bad microbes, take their place, and decrease them to the minimum safe amount. 2
I love Orthobiotic for this purpose. It's also shelf stable, so it's not tucked away in the fridge where I will forget to take it.
NAC boosts immune function, thins mucous, and helps keep the lungs clear. This means it can keep a head cold from becoming a chest cold. It is also great to take after a night of too many champagne toasts to help prevent or lessen the damage that acetyladehyde (a byproduct of alcohol metabolism that causes hangovers) does to your liver. 4
At the first sign of symptoms
1. V Clear
This stuff is a godsend! Taken preventively, it has allowed me to fight off and avoid catching so many of the colds and viruses that my friends seem to pass back and forth. V Clear an upper respiratory treatment containing a homeopathic preparation of Pelargonium sidoides extract (also known as African geranium). It has been the subject of over 20 clinical studies involving more than 9000 patients. Over 3‚800 patients have participated in controlled double-blind studies and over 5‚400 patients in open-label and non-interventional studies. It has been an effective‚ well-tolerated‚ leading European medicine for more than a decade, proven to shorten the duration and reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract irritations. It helps relieve congestion‚ hoarseness‚ cough‚ sore throat‚ and headache.
I swear by this stuff. It is available as an extract or as an alcohol-free, cherry-flavored syrup for kids (or kids at heart-- no judgment!).
2. ProbioMax ENT
About a month ago, strep throat was circulating, and I started to get a sore throat. Along with the usual supplement suspects, I decided to add in ProbioMax ENT, an interesting oral probiotic I had recently learned about that inhibits the bacteria that causes strep throat. After brushing my teeth and drinking my last sip of water for the night, I chewed 2 of the strawberry-flavored tablets right before going to sleep.
It felt a little weird to be chewing something before bed without brushing my teeth after, but that is how you are meant to take it so the good bacteria stays in your mouth and does not get brushed away or washed down with water.
As you chew, ProbioMax ENT releases the ENT-12 strain of Streptococcus salivarius, a beneficial bacterium that normally occurs in a healthy oral cavity. S salivarius adheres to cells in the cavity and positively affects the bacterial population and natural immune defenses therein. Once established, S salivarius ENT-12 also naturally counteracts the production of volatile sulfur compounds that can cause bad breath. 5
I woke up in the morning, and my sore throat was gone.
3. Throat Spray
When my throat is dry from our heat being on all night, or a tickle has progressed to feeling like flames, the Urban Moonshine throat spray is my absolute favorite. It works immediately to numb your throat, but also goes a step further.
It contains sage, which has been shown to have antioxidant and antiviral effects. 6
It also contains spilanthes, a cool little herb that is not only an effective local anesthetic and pain reliever, but also exerts antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic (fever-reducing) activity. 7
And it doesn’t contain the food coloring, artificial flavors, sugar, and synthetic antimicrobials in drug store throat sprays. I’m sure you remember them— they tasted like poison mixed with fake cherry flavoring.
I highly recommend this stuff instead. I have actually come to enjoy the flavor of the herbs in it, and it works fantastically well.
With these supplements in my arsenal, I hardly ever get sick, and if I do, it is rarely for more than 24 hours, even when others around me have the same miserable symptoms for weeks.
Other than supplements, I also tend to drink a ton of tea with honey and lemon, and add broth based soups and plenty of water. And of course, I am incredibly fortunate to work here, as Myer’s Cocktails and Vitamin C infusions are also fantastic allies. I highly suggest them if you are starting to feel under the weather.