My daughter, Jackie is gearing up for the cold and flu season in Taiwan without subjecting herself or students to the potential dangers of the flu vaccine, but too late as most of the kids in the photo, including Jackie came down with the flu bug just before Christmas.
But there are natural ways to boost our immune system and reduce our risk of getting sick. Here are a few to discuss with your doctor.
Vitamin C: A study of 715 people showed that flu symptoms were decreased by 85 percent when people took 6 grams of vitamin C as a one-time loading dose, then continuing with 1 gram three times a day, compared with people taking only the 3 grams daily. The message here is to take a lot of vitamin C the first day you feel symptoms or the first day people around you are getting sick, and then take 3 grams daily after that. Keep in mind that vitamin C can loosen stools, so be careful if you are predisposed to this.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D has exploded in research and popularity the past few years. Most of us are familiar with its bone-building properties, however new research suggests it improves the immune system as well. Have your doctor test your vitamin D levels before supplementing. Research suggests 2,000 IU daily is safe for most adults and children. Higher doses are safe and effective, but must be monitored by your doctor.
Elderberry: Elderberry (Sambucus) was researched in a group of 60 people and found to alleviate symptoms four days earlier compared with controls. Elderberry helps boosts the immune system and is great-tasting for kids. Start taking as soon as symptoms manifest.
Gingseng: Panax quinquefolium (ginseng) was studied in a large group of 323 patients as a preventive natural medicine. The group that took panax experienced 30 percent less colds compared with the placebo group (people who didn’t take ginseng), and average number of sick days were 11 compared with 16 in the non-treatment group.
Oscillococcinum: Last, but not least, the well-known oscillococcinum is a homeopathic flu treatment that is created new every year. Tough to pronounce, but effective; a Cochrane review of all oscillococcinum studies showed that it reduces the length of illness compared with placebo.