Dr. Kristin Woodward tells us some natural ways to prevent the cold and flu.
Vitamin C can help prevent colds in endurance athletes, for example marathon runners. It is always best to try to get your vitamins through the diet. It is a water soluble vitamin and is generally thought to be safe. Toxicity can occur and symptoms are gastrointestinal upset.
Echinacea has been used for years. It is thought it may increase the number of white blood cells and possibly decrease the incidence of infections. Research has been mixed. Do your homework when buying echinacea. It has been shown there is varying amounts of echinacea in the products sold in the US.
Studies on elderberry are small however one study looking at 50 people showed taking elderberry decreased flu symptoms by 1-2 days. Elderberry has been shown to prevent the flu virus from binding onto human mucosa in the lab. More research is needed before overall recommendations can be made. If you think you have the flu it is important to talk to your doctor.