8 Antiviral Nutrients To Prevent Colds
Do you feel like you get colds too often? You would think after your first exposure that your immune system would be able to detect and fight it off the next time without a problem. The truth is, there are over 200 different viruses that can cause a cold including influenza, rhinovirus, and Epstein Barr. For ongoing protection from cold-causing viruses, try incorporating these 8 antiviral nutrients to prevent colds from getting you down.
Encountering viruses is an everyday occurrence and a normal part of life. However, some people adapt well to the stress of a virus and fight it off while others struggle with this form of stressor. Using these 8 antiviral compounds will help improve your bodies resilience and give you the immune power to adapt strong!!
The Challenge With Viruses
Unlike bacteria, fungi, and parasites; viruses are not living organisms. This means they do not contain the cellular machinery necessary to grow and reproduce on their own. Instead, they make their way into the cells of living organisms and use their infected host as a copy machine. They essentially hack the reproductive mechanisms of living organisms in order to replicate and spread.
The huge downside about viruses from a medical standpoint is that they cannot be killed. However, a strong and healthy immune system is well equipped to stop viruses in their tracks. Additionally, there have been several natural compounds that have shown to help fight off viruses.
The Advantage Of Herbs
Unlike traditional medical treatments of viruses, nutrient-based therapies are typically very safe and create little side effects. Additionally, they tend to work against viruses in multiple ways by boosting the immune system and directly inhibiting viral reproduction.
This combination of safety and broad-spectrum efficacy gets my pick every time. There are 8 that come to mind when someone asks me what they can do about their cold.
Vitamin C is a great first step for viral defense. Not only does vitamin C boost the immune system, but has shown tremendous non-specific antiviral support. Non-specific means that it works against a broad range of viruses.
For daily preventative support, I would suggest about 1000mg per day. For acute support after you are already experiencing symptoms of infection, you can go up to 4000-6000 mg until symptoms begin to dissipate.
Another common cold remedy you can find in most grocery stores is Zinc in the form of lozenges. Zinc is a powerful immune support compound yet it is estimated that 25% of the world’s population is deficient. For optimal immune protection from cold-causing viruses, you need to ensure you are getting enough zinc (in a form you body can actually use) on a daily basis.
Your body produces a protein called human cytokine interferon alpha whose primary role is to inhibit the replication of viruses. Zinc boosts your immune defense against viruses by potentiating this crucial protein.
Beta-glucan has emerged as a power player for cancer conditions due to its ability to modulate the immune system. For this same reason, it provides powerful immune support in the case of viral infection. When the body is overburdened by infection, the immune system can become dysregulated. The result is systemic inflammation and further contribution to the many unpleasant side effects of infection.
Beta glucan helps balance the immune system so that it can focus on targeting the virus present in the body. Beta glucans also help in the fight against infection by binding to virus-targeting white blood cells called macrophages. By doing so they improve the ability of macrophages to seek out foreign pathogens.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf is a less commonly known but powerful anti-microbial compound. It possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. This means that not only will it help target your cold virus, but will help rid of other underlying infections that may be distracting your immune system.
Olive Leaf Extract is one of my go-to compounds to prevent colds. A 2014 study has shown that oleuropein, the active ingredient in olive leaf extract has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and disease-fighting benefits (1).
Monolaurin is a compound that has broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties. It is this reason that coconut oil is a great antimicrobial for the gut lining. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is converted into monolaurin in the body.
Monolaurin has been studied and found to be particularly helpful in disrupting lipid-coated bacteria and viruses. This includes HIV-1, influenza, rubeola, and the herpes family (2). This is one way that using coconut oil daily can help prevent colds.
According to a meta-analysis of 14 different studies, Echinacea may reduce your risk of contracting a cold by over 50% (3). Echinacea has also been shown to help reduce the recurrence and complications of respiratory infections, which can be a progression of a cold-causing virus (4).
For daily support, you can consume Echinacea tea. This would be a great way to keep your guard up against cold-causing viruses and prevent colds.
Ginger is a warming herb that boosts circulation and immune activity. At the same time the effects of ginger help to prevent the accumulation of toxins that make you more susceptible to infections of the respiratory tract (5). Additionally, regular ginger consumption will help lower inflammation which will allow the immune system to function more effectively.
I would recommend either consuming a drop or two of a high-quality ginger essential oil in water or consuming fresh ginger ground into recipes on a daily basis to prevent colds and keep your immune system functioning at a high level.
This is important because it is supporting the body’s own response to fighting off the cold-causing virus. A great way to get yarrow is in specific herbal tea formulation. I recommend immune supportive herbal teas that contain things like yarrow, ginger and many other traditional cold-fighting herbs for daily support on your journey to prevent colds and other illnesses.
Use a Specific Herbal Support Formula
Herbs have so many powerful benefits for your health. The most well studied herbs and compounds for natural respiratory support include lovage root, eucalyptus leaf, peppermint left, rosemary, lemon balm leaf, lungwort leaf, orange leaf, plantain leaf, chapparal leaf, elecampane root, lobelia flower, and peppermint essential oil.
This supplement offers natural respiratory support thanks to a powerful blend of herbs and essential oils, including lovage root, eucalyptus leaf, peppermint left, lemon balm leaf, lungwort leaf, orange leaf, plantain leaf, chapparal leaf, menthol, elecampane root, lobelia flower, and peppermint essential oil, to encourage lung, sinus, and respiratory tract health. I recommend 6 sprays 3 times a day for optimal recovery.
Peppermint and rosemary contain rosmarinic acid which has been shown to block the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes. Rosmarinic acids also encourages cells to produce key molecules that keep the airways open for easy breathing (7). You can use these as herbal teas, essential oils, herbs in your food and herbal supplements to encourage lung, sinus, and respiratory tract health.
Bonus – Bioactive Carbons
Bioactive carbons are organic compounds derived from deep within the Earth’s soil. They are very small particles, 100 times smaller than the cells of our body and they carry nutrients in and out of cells. In addition, they also carry a specific electrical charge that impacts the energetic components of the cell.
There are two different plant-based acids that are bioactive carbons: fulvic and humic acid. Due to the small size and electrical charge of the bioactive carbons they are one of the best defenses against viral pathogens. They can get into cells and pull viruses out and bring them through the drainage channels of the body (8).