Mother Nature has provided us with countless options that can help support the immune system. While it may not be possible to avoid every cold or flu virus, there are quite a few research validated remedies to help shorten both the severity and duration of seasonal challenges. Here is a short list of just some of my favorites.

Elderberry
One of the most powerful natural options is elderberry. Studies show elderberry can inhibit a virus’ ability to spread allowing your immune system to fight off an invader more quickly. While much of the research has concentrated on using elderberry after you get sick, some studies suggest taking elderberry before you are ill may help reduce your chances of catching a common cold.  Organic elderberry syrup from Vital Choice and Gaia herbs are great liquid options, while New Chapter’s Elderberry Force is a powerful capsule form. You can also find gummies from MegaFood and Garden of Life, but be aware, gummies tend to be a little less potent and a little more expensive than capsules and liquids. 

Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms may provide the greatest overall benefit to all body systems. Mushrooms like reishi, maitake, chaga and turkey tail may have odd sounding names, but their ability to enhance immunity is perhaps second to none. In addition, medicinal mushrooms can support brain health, liver function and have inflammatory modulating properties. Health experts including Dr. Andrew Weil believe daily use of medicinal mushroom is key to both short and long- term immune health. Mycommunity by Host Defense is an outstanding product which provides a blend of 17 potent mushroom species.

Probiotics
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live in and on our bodies. Research continues to demonstrate their importance for everything from digestion and immune health to even mood and heart health. When choosing a probiotic, look for one that has multiple research validated strains and a high bacteria count. New Chapter, MegaFood and Garden of Life and are all good choices. Our Vital Choice brand is another excellent option. The clinically validated strains used in our probiotics have demonstrated the ability to survive stomach acid, are beneficial to take even when you’re taking antibiotics and do not require refrigeration.

Vitamin D3
Studies show people with low vitamin D levels are at an increased risk for getting sick. Typically, taking 1,000-2,000IUs of vitamin D3 daily from September through June is considered a good starting point.

While these are some great ways to support your immune system, don't forget the basics: try to manage stress, keep your sugar intake low and maybe above all else, try to get as close to eight hours of sleep every night!