Cold and Flu Vitamins and Supplements
The flu, common cold and RSV viruses are contagious respiratory infections. There are subtle differences in the symptoms and treatments for each virus. Discover the best vitamins for cold and flu to boost your immune system and combat infections.
Cold, Flu and RSV
The flu season is here with a bang. This Winter, Ireland has been hit by the flu, Covid-19, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). The 3 viruses are contagious respiratory infections. They are causing significant illness across the country, and putting a strain on the Irish hospital system.
The Flu Virus
Influenza is a virus commonly known as the flu. It causes a respiratory infection. The contagious infection occurs in your lungs, nose and throat.
Flu infection is spread through droplets from infected people. It is usually passed by infected people breathing, coughing, sneezing and talking.
Flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, high temperature, sore throat, dry cough, headache, poor sleep, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, weakness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms generally appear quite quickly after infection.
The flu affects different people differently. For some people, it can be a very serious illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) state that up to 650,000 people die each year as a result of the flu. People at risk of a more serious illness include those who are elderly, pregnant, asthmatics or have heart conditions.
When is Flu Season?
While you can catch the flu all year round, peak flu season is during the Winter months.
The flu season runs from the start of October until the end of April. In Ireland, it generally peaks between December and February.
As influenza is a virus, antibiotics do not work for flu. However, there are anti-viral medications available. Also, the flu vaccine acts as a preventative measure.
It is generally recommended to rest, drink lots of liquids to stay hydrated, eat healthy and ensure that you get sufficient nutrients in your diet. Also, supplements for cold and flu may help reduce the severity of the virus.
The Common Cold
The common cold is regularly mixed up with the flu. A cold is an upper respiratory tract viral infection. It occurs in your nose and throat.
Symptoms of a Cold
The symptoms of the common cold generally come on gradually. These symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose, sore throat, cough, headache, body aches, pressure in your ears, reduced sense of taste, reduced sense of smell and a higher than normal temperature.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a contagious virus that causes a respiratory infection. Similar to cold and flu, RSV is spread from droplets omitted by infected people coughing and sneezing. There is no vaccine for RSV.
The symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) include runny nose, cough, sore throat, sneezing, fever, wheezing, headache and reduced appetite.
While most people recover from RSV within a couple of weeks, older adults and infants are considered at risk. It has the potential to become a serious virus causing acute respiratory illness and pneumonia.
How to Prevent Catching a Cold or Flu
While there is no magic want to prevent catching a cold or the flu, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of infection, and that may help with better outcomes from both viruses.
- Take the flu vaccine each year.
- Reduce contact with infected people.
- Practice good hygiene and hand washing.
- Improve general health and fitness.
- Boost your immune system.
- Take recommended vitamins and supplements to ensure that your body has sufficient nutrients to combat illness.
Immune System and Viruses
The immune system is our body’s defence system. It helps fight viruses by battling the impact of infections on our bodies. We all need key nutrients and vitamins for the immune system to function properly.
Antigens are harmful substances that trigger immune responses. Bacteria and viruses are antigens. Immune system responses help prevent or limit illness from toxic antigens. It does this by producing antibodies to protect our bodies.
Immune-boosting vitamins and supplements can help fight off the flu and cold.
What are the Best Vitamins for Cold and Flu?
Which supplements can help against colds and the flu? The best vitamins for cold and flu season contain nutrients that boost your immune system. Supplements for cold and flu include Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, Elderflower, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Probiotics and Ginseng.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and key antioxidant to repel colds and flu viruses. The benefits of Vitamin C including supporting a properly functioning immune system and helping reducing fatigue.
For decades, Vitamin C has been used to help treat influenza and the common cold.
Vitamin C helps arm the body with a defence system to defend against infections from cold, flu and other viruses. As our bodies cannot produce or store Vitamin C for any length of time, it must be consumed through our diet and dietary supplements.
Zinc is an essential mineral. It helps the body’s natural defences fight respiratory tract infections. The benefits of zinc include supporting a healthy immune system, reducing inflammation, and being a vital component for the proper functioning of hundreds of enzymes that carry out essential chemical reactions within our bodies. Zinc helps fend off cold and flu viruses, while speeding up the healing of infections.
3. Vitamin D
The benefits of vitamin D include fighting infections, supporting the immune system and contributing to good lung health.
Vitamin D is recommended by many governments as a key vitamin for reducing the impact of Covid-19. It is also important for reducing the risk of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. Vitamin D has also been shown to help combat the flu virus.
There are clinical trials and observational studies stating Vitamin D supplements could help reduce risks of serious illness from flu and Covid-19. A review article by Grant et al. on “Evidence that Vitamin D supplementation could reduce risk of Influenza and COVID-19 infections and deaths” highlights the importance of Vitamin D for reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections.
Elderflower contains some of the most potent naturally occurring antioxidants. These antioxidants support the immune system, and can help ease common cold or flu symptoms.
5. Vitamin B6
The benefits of B Vitamins include supporting energy levels, a good metabolism, a healthy nervous system and the immune system.
Vitamin B6 helps our bodies to produce red blood cells. These blood cells transport oxygen around the body to provide key nutrients for our vital organs and muscles to function properly. This supports our body’s immune system to protect against illness.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant effects. It boosts the immune system to defend our bodies against attack from free radicals.
A study conducted by Harri Hemila from the Department of Public Health in the University of Helsinki found a 28% reduction in common cold incidence with Vitamin E supplementation.
The benefits of magnesium are felt across the body. This essential mineral supports many bodily functions. It also contributes to other minerals working effectively. The benefits are felt in our bones, muscles, energy levels, teeth, nervous system, heart and immune system.
Magnesium helps fight infections. The nutrient is required to transport vitamin D around the blood of our bodies. This helps activate the benefits of vitamin D to support a properly functioning immune system.
Magnesium also helps regulate body temperature, which is important for treating cold and flu symptoms.
A study by James DiNicolantonio and James H O’Keefe, St. Luke’s Hospital Missouri USA, investigated Magnesium and Vitamin D deficiency as a potential cause of immune dysfunction in Covid-19 patients. It highlights that low magnesium levels can reduce antioxidant defence systems. Magnesium deficiency contributes to depressed immune system responses, which are needed for warding off cold and flu symptoms.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that support good health. They contribute to a healthy immune system. According to Dr Abinash Virk in Mayo Clinic, probiotics may be effective in helping prevent the common cold. They do this by improving the body’s immune response to the virus.
Research by Sang-Moo Kang in Georgia State University studies whether or not Korean red ginseng has preventive effects for the flu virus. The study concludes that Ginseng can help treat and prevent the flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Red ginseng was shown to improve the survival of human lung epithelial cells, which were infected with the flu virus.
Red Ginseng is the key ingredient in Beeline Healthcare’s Ginseng supplements.
Cold and Flu Supplements
What supplements are good for cold and flu? Fight off the flu with immune-boosting vitamins and nutrients.
Beeline Healthcare offers a range of immune system boosting supplements. These can help with recovery and reduce the effects of cold and flu viruses.
The recommended supplements for cold and flu include:
- Beeline Vitamin C and Zinc Effervescent Tablets provides double action immune system support to help maintain a healthy immune system, fight off infections, combat cold viruses and reduce fatigue.
- Beeline Vitamin C and Zinc Time Release Tablets help support a healthy immune system, fight infections, reduce tiredness, combat cold and flu.
- Beeline Vitamin D Tablets provide the recommended daily intake of vitamin D. This supports a healthy immune system, muscles, bones and teeth.
- Beeline Elderflower, Vitamin C and Zinc Effervescent Tablets provide triple action immune support with potent naturally occurring antioxidants to boost your immune system and help combat viruses such as cold and flu.
- Beeline Healthcare’s Vitamin B Complex supplement is a zest multi-nutrient supplement. It helps release energy and provides key minerals for a healthy immune system.
Questions Cold and Flu Supplements
Supplements that are good for cold and flu include Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, Elderflower, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Probiotics and Ginseng.
These two essential minerals help support a healthy immune system. This helps fend off, reduce the severity, and speeds up the healing of cold and flu infections.