It’s that time of year again - the days are shorter, the weather is colder, and you’ve caught a cold. You are not alone. The common cold attacks the average adult two to four times per year and children are even more susceptible, contracting 6 to 10 colds per year. In fact, 80% of all colds are contracted during the cold and flu season, which lasts from September to March. The risk of catching a cold is much higher during this time for several reasons: the cold weather makes the inside of the nose dry and more vulnerable to infection, we spend more time indoors and are less active, the lower levels of sunshine translate into lower levels of vitamin D, which weakens our immune system, and kids are back to school where they are exposed to a variety of viruses and bacteria that they bring home. Cold and flu viruses account for the leading cause of doctor’s visits and missed days of work and school. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Ensure your immune system is strong and ready to fight off viruses by getting quality sleep, reducing stress, eating healthy, and getting support from key immune supplements.
Most of us have taken vitamin C before with good results. Research shows that 1000 mg of vitamin C can prevent the common cold by 50% and greater benefits are seen with higher doses. The biggest drawback with vitamin C is that its absorption is slow and the body can’t store it longer than a few hours, meaning that you have to take it frequently throughout the day in order to keep your levels up.
The unique formulation of Ester-C® goes above and beyond ordinary vitamin C. It’s a less acidic vitamin C that is gentle on the stomach and the only form with active metabolites which intensify its absorption and enhance its retention in the body for up to 24 hours, providing advanced immune support and reducing the risk of cold and flu infections. In a 2014 clinical study, Ester-C® was shown to be more bioavailable and better retained in comparison to ascorbic acid and placebo, making it ideal for those concerned about optimal absorption and around-the-clock immune support.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a cold or flu virus manages to invade our body. Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and over-the-counter remedies simply mask the symptoms. There are natural alternatives that stimulate the immune system to kill the virus before full-blown symptoms develop. My favourites include Echinacea, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), and Andrographis. Echinacea is a powerful immune booster, helping the immune system to react faster and more efficiently to bacteria and viruses. NAC has special affinity for the upper respiratory tract, helping with throat or chest infections, and it is also known to have anti-viral properties and boost antioxidant levels. Andrographis is an ancient Ayurvedic herb with cooling properties providing relief of flu symptoms, including fever and sore throat.
This cold and flu season, ready your body to fight off infections: eat healthy, get your rest, be active, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly – 80% of the infections are spread by touch - and take Ester-C® every day. Nothing else works like it to help support your body’s defence systems and help you feel at your best.
Dr Frank Silva, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a private practice in Mississauga.
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.