It's that time of year when "immunity boosters" are in prime position in supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores, and ads are cropping up everywhere for the latest cold and flu remedies. But what actually works?
We've selected five top-quality, science-supported supplements to fire up your immune system, prepare you for the the cold and flu season, and help keep winter ills at bay.
Optimized Garlic, $18.71
www.lifeextension.com; tel: 888-895-4771
Garlic has various immune-supporting properties, and taking it as a supplement can significantly cut the number, duration and severity of colds and flu.1 This vegetarian-friendly garlic supplement contains 1,200 mg garlic extract, standardized to 10,000 ppm allicin potential (a measure of the potential yield of allicin—considered a key health-promoting component of garlic) and is made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Good Health Naturally
Probiotic14, $25 (120 capsules)
Some 70 percent of your immune system lives in your gut,2 so probiotics—those gut-supporting bacteria—can help to keep your immune system healthy. In fact, clinical trials show that taking probiotics can help stave of colds in both adults and children.3 This shelf-stable, vegan formula is a potent blend of 14 probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, providing nine billion colony forming units (CFUs) and suitable for all ages.
Andrographis, $9.75 (30 capsules)
Widely used in traditional medicine, the herb Andrographis paniculate, also known as green chireta, has proven immune-boosting properties and can even reduce the symptoms of a cold when one strikes.4 Pukka's Andrographis is a whole-leaf formula that's organically grown (certified organic by the Soil Association) and ethically sourced. It's also vegan and free of dairy, soy and gluten.
Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C, $32.95 (30 packets)
www.livonlabs.com; tel: 877-725-1015
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for a healthy immune system; not getting enough of it can lead to impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections.5 And taking it as a preventative has been found to reduce the severity and duration of a cold when one hits.6 This high-potency liposomal formula uses microscopic healthy fat particles to deliver vitamin C straight to the bloodstream and the cells that need it. Each packet provides 1,000 mg of the vitamin—an ideal daily dose to help fend off seasonal sniffles—and is free of sugar, gluten, yeast, dairy and anything artificial.
Force of nature
Echinaforce Echinacea Drops, $5.49 (0.5 fl oz/15 mL)
One of the most famous herbal immune boosters, echinacea is many people's go-to for fending off winter ills—and its use is backed up by scientific studies.7 Make sure you opt for preparations made with Echinacea purpurea, though, the variety most widely researched and consistently found useful for the common cold.8 This tincture from A. Vogel—also available in tablet form—is made from fresh, organically grown extracts of Echinacea purpurea herb (95 percent) and root (5 percent).