Most of us are concerned with the new coronavirus and the flu. And I always stress the importance of great immune system support. Ideally, you want to support your immunity with natural options.

I am grateful to be featured as an expert in the latest Eat This, Not That article.

Here are some things you want to consider from there:

1) Garlic.

Garlic may keep more than just sparkly vampires away. The aromatic ingredient has compounds that help the immune system fight germs. One small study showed the number of colds were cut almost in half by those who took a daily garlic supplement. Old-fashioned home cold remedies with fresh garlic, freshly squeezed lemon, cayenne pepper, and honey are helpful. This combo is a potent vitamin mix and immune booster.

2) Honey.

Since ancient times, people have known about the antibacterial and healing properties of honey. Research suggests that honey can be an effective cough suppressant in children, too. A Pediatrics study of 300 children with upper-respiratory infections found that a single dose of 10 g of honey relieved nocturnal cough and helped them sleep. Just never give honey to a child under one year old—it often contains botulinum spores, which can cause a rare kind of poisoning of the nervous system in infants.

3) Saltwater Gargle.

It’s an anti-inflammatory hero that actually draws fluids from the tissues and reduces inflammation. A clinical study from Japan showed that gargling salt water can reduce the chance of catching a cold up 40 percent. And it’s easy to make—add half a teaspoon of table salt to warm water. Then take a big sip and gargle by swishing in your throat and mouth for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Keep going until your cup is dry. I use Himalayan salt for the gargle.

4)Sleep.

When you have a stuffy head, a runny nose, and a sore throat all you want to do is sleep. You should! If you’re feeling the first signs of a cold coming on, like the telltale tickle in the back of your throat and a cough that won’t quit, that means your body needs rest to heal, so go ahead and snuggle in under the covers all day. The CDC recommends rest for recovery, so technically it’s doctor’s orders to take a nap. 

5)Vitamin C.

The first thing I grab and give my family members I feel a cold coming on is vitamin C. Studies have shown that taking vitamin C within the first 24 hours of symptoms can lessen the length and severity of the cold.

6) Zinc, but careful.

Zinc lozenges and syrup may be able to diminish the symptom duration of a cold by about a day if taken early enough. The theory, according to the Mayo Clinic, is that zinc may interfere with the virus’ ability to multiply. When taken in lozenge or syrup form, zinc is thought to be even more effective because it stays in the throat longer and comes into contact with the rhinovirus. But there can be too much of a good thing—high doses of zinc can lead to anemia and other health problems. But stay away from sprays. The FDA warned against using zinc gel sprays and nasal swabs after more than 130 people reported losing their sense of smell after using them.

7)Bone Broth.

Bone broth can be a great anti-inflammatory, mineral supplement and gut microbiome supporting food. Also, when you reduce solids and increase liquids like bone broth you reduce the burden of digestion process so your body will concentrate on the healing.


8)Elderberries.

It’s not as well-known as some of the other remedies out there, but there’s some evidence that elderberries can reduce how long you feel sick. Studies have shown that elderberry inhibits the binding of the influenza virus to the healthy cell, which blocks the replication of the virus and subsequently inhibits its actions. Elderberry will also activate anti-inflammatory molecules to reduce symptoms such as muscle aches and headaches.


9)Probiotics.

Eat your bacteria” is something you may find yourself telling your kids in the morning. Probiotics are helpful bacteria found in certain yogurts, even dairy-free ones and fermented drinks like kombucha. They live in your gut to help promote “good” bacteria to keep your body functioning the way it should. Probiotics are a great complementary treatment since they can help boost your immune system and also have been shown to reduce the duration of illness in children and adults. But just eating a Dannon won’t keep you from getting sick. How well probiotics work depends on their potency, the specific strain, the right dose, and proper storage. Check with your health care practitioner for the best one for you. I can make a general recommendation and recommend Trubifido.


10)L-lysine.

Lysine supplements may help prevent HSV-1 from replicating and reduce the duration of a cold sore. It’s thought that lysine blocks another amino acid called arginine, which HSV-1 needs in order to multiply.).One study found that a daily supplement of 1,000 mg of lysine resulted in fewer cold sores in 26 people who were prone to recurrent cold sores.

Dr. Inna lukyanovsky, PharmD

Dr. Inna lukyanovsky, PharmD

Doctor of Pharmacy, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Gut Health Expert and Best Selling Author of the book "Crohn's and Colitis Fix."

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