Supplements to Prevent the Flu

We all know the flu this year is bad.

In this case, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

So how can you prevent the flu?

First off, there are some easy and free things you can do (see this post).

There are also natural products that help prevent flu.

How do you know which supplements actually prevent flu versus those that claim to prevent flu, but don’t really work?

You can tell the difference between what works (and what doesn’t) by reviewing the scientific evidence.  But my guess is you don’t really have the time to sift through dozens of scientific articles.

So I’ve done the research for you — I’ve read and assessed the studies so you don’t have to.

Here are the details on the most popular supplements used to prevent flu — I’m telling you if they are effective and safe.


American Ginseng

American ginseng (Panax ginseng) is used for various medical purposes.

Studies show American ginseng may decrease the risk of developing the flu or common cold in adults. Evidence also suggests American ginseng may reduce symptom severity if you get the flu or common cold.


American ginseng is considered likely safe when used orally and short-term. The most common side effect is headache. American ginseng can decrease blood glucose and those with diabetes; high doses are associated with insomnia and schizophrenia. American ginseng can interact with prescription medications — especially warfarin — so be cautious.

Bottomline: American ginseng may keep you from getting the flu or common cold. However, you need to make sure you discuss using ginseng with your healthcare provider due to drug interactions and medical condition reactions.


Echinacea

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Echinacea is used for treating and preventing the flu, the common cold, and other respiratory infections.

There is plenty of evidence for echinacea in treating colds (see this post for more info). 

However, there is less evidence to support using echinacea to prevent flu. In fact, the most compelling evidence suggests echinacea may improve immune response to influenza vaccine.


Echinacea is considered likely safe when taken orally and used short-term.

Echinacea species are related to the ragweed family. If you have a ragweed allergy, echinacea is not for you. Because echinacea stimulates immune function, it may not be appropriate for those with autoimmune diseases.

Bottomline: Echinacea may help you once you get sick. However, it’s effectiveness in presently flu is questionable.

Garlic

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You are likely most familiar with garlic as a culinary herb. However, garlic is also used medicinally for conditions such as blood pressure, dyslipidemia, and infections.

Garlic has evidence to show it reduces illness severity if you get a cold or flu. There is also evidence to suggest garlic helps prevent colds. The evidence for influenza is less compelling.

Garlic is considered safe when used orally and appropriately.

Bottomline: If you get sick with a cold or flu, garlic may reduce your illness severity. As of now, there isn’t strong evidence to suggest garlic will prevent flu. Garlic may prevent the common cold.


Now You Know

You are armed with the evidence behind the most popular supplements to prevent the flu and common cold.

Now you can navigate the supplement aisles with confidence and make an evidence-based decision that is right for you.

In health,

Skye

 

Thank YOU! And 2017’s Best Of List.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you for being part of A Better Way Wellness. Thank you for helping me share real, truthful, and action-oriented health information. Thank you for making living a happier and healthier life a priority.

It’s been a year for the books and I wouldn’t be doing what I  am truly passionate about without you.

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So THANK YOU!

And as a small token of my appreciation, I am giving you a list of my most popular posts this last year.

It’s A Better Way Wellness’ Best Of 2017 List. It’s short, sweet, and full of health boosting tidbits. So have at it!

1. How to Use Supplements to Boost Happiness

If you want to be happier and want supplements to give you a boost, this is the post of you.

2. Healthy Happy Hour Part I and Healthy Happy Hour Part II

Do you love happy hour? And love feeling great? If so, click the links above to find out how.

3. How to Burn Fat in 15 Minutes

Who doesn’t want to burn fat fast? I know I do . . . if you do, too, check out this one.

4. How to be Happier at Work

Do you want to feel better and happier in the workplace? If this is you, I have actionable tips to help.

5. The Smoothie that Tastes Like Dessert, But Feels Like Medicine

Yes, please! Recipes that taste rich and luxe, but make you “feel like a million bucks” are my favorite. This one is easy-peasy. Give it a try!

6. My Fall Beverage Secret: The Sunshine Latte (Recipe Included)

I know it’s not technically fall anymore, but the Sunshine Latte will still please your mouth, mind, and body.

7. The Truth About Chocolate (& the Best Way to Eat It)

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Chocolate is GOOD for you and I show you the best ways to have it in this post.

8. 5 Products to Change Immediately to Decrease Exposure to Carcinogens and EDCs

Consider a New Year's resolution around this one. Swap out one (or all!) of these products to protect yourself from carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

My Favorite Multivitamins

I normally NEVER do this.

But since last week’s post (5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Multivitamin), I’ve received so MANY questions about which specific multivitamin you should buy.

Without knowing your personal health history, I cannot recommend you use a specific product. If I knew all about your health conditions, allergens, health goals, and sensitivities, I could tell you the product that would best suit your needs. (If you are interested in working with me privately and getting a personal recommendation, contact me here.)

However, what I can do is provide you a list of multivitamins I have personally used and am happy with. The caveat is companies can change formulations and ingredients at any time. But as of today, my list is current.

Keep reading for four of my favorite multivitamins that I have personally used.
Please note: As usual, I DO NOT have any financial relationships to any of the brands/companies listed below. Please discuss starting a multivitamin with your healthcare providers.

Smarty Pants Prenatal Complete

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Smarty Pants multivitamins are chewable gummies and contain high quality vitamin forms. I personally used this during my pregnancy. Please note, this product does NOT contain iron. If you need to supplement iron, this is not the best option.

Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy often has sales on Smarty Pants vitamins. So does Vitacost.


Thorne Research Laboratories Basic Nutrients 2/Day

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If swallowing horse-pills isn’t for you, this multivitamin may be a good option. It comes as a capsule that is easy to swallow. This product contains calcium - which may be a pro or a con. It also contains beta-carotene which is not a good choice for smokers or those with asbestos exposure.

It’s rare to find Thorne Research on sale. If I find a source or sale, I’ll be sure to post it here.

mykind Organics Multi

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The ingredients in these multivitamins are certified USDA organic and non-GMO. Most ingredients are food derived, which some people like. These multivitamins contain calcium and an organic food blend- which may be a pro or a con depending on your personal needs. They also contain beta-carotene which is not a good choice for smokers or those with asbestos exposure.

mykind multivitamins often go on sale at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy. I suspect they will have a special Thanksgiving sale as well.

Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Multivitamin

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Pure Encapsulations makes a high quality multivitamin for adults. Fact: many multivitamins contain common allergens (like gluten, soy, or eggs). If you are gluten-intolerant, the Pure Encapsulations multivitamin may be a good choice for you as they are gluten-free. And if you avoid animal products you can rest easy knowing they are vegetarian. Please note, this multivitamin contains beta-carotene which is not a good choice for smokers or those with asbestos exposure.

Pure Encapsulations has 30% off friends and family discounts throughout the year so be on the watch for sales.

Recap


There you have it! Four multivitamins that I have personally used and happy with. Please remember, picking a multivitamin is an individualized process and depends on your specific health history and needs (which may be different from mine). And be sure to check with your healthcare providers before starting a multi.

In health,
Skye