Working out the best Autumn health supplements can be exhausting. Here’s an essential guide to the vital supplements your body needs to ward off flu, sore throats, and sniffles this Autumn.
Boosters and Soothers
- Vitamin C: vitamin C helps to keep the immune system healthy as well as reducing the duration and severity of colds.
- Co-enzyme Q10: the winter months can make our energy levels drop, making us feel tired and run-down. Co-enzyme Q10 is a good supplement for boosting those levels by increasing oxygen use in cells.
- Echinacea: the best known herbal treatment for warding off the common cold, ‘flu and tonsillitis. It has anti-viral and antibiotic properties and is thought to increase the number of white blood cells, helping to fight infection. Echinacea has a very distinctive taste and can be taken as a tincture, in tablets, lozenges, syrups and tea.
- Elderberry: though less well known than echinacea, elderberry extract is a traditional herbal remedy for colds, ‘flu and throat infections.
- Garlic: in a recent trial the active ingredient in garlic, allicin, was shown to help ward off colds and improve symptoms. Garlic may also help lower the risk of heart disease.
- Magnesium: an essential component of bones and teeth. It also helps to ensure the smooth function of nerves and muscles, including regulating the heartbeat. Deficiency leads to lethargy, fatigue, cramps, muscle tremors and heart-rhythm abnormalities.
- Marigold or calendula: also good for treating skin complaints and ulcers, marigold extract can be used as a gargle for throat infections.
- St John’s Wort: helps relieve mild depression including seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is thought to work by improving the function of neurotransmitters in the brain and needs to be taken daily over a period of time before an effect is seen. Always consult your GP before taking St John’s Wort as it reacts with certain prescribed drugs such as oral contraceptives and warfarin, reducing their efficacy.
- Zinc: an anti-viral mineral that strengthens the immune system. It is often taken with vitamin C in tablet or lozenge form
- Cynara artichoke: stimulates bile production reducing symptoms such as indigestion, nausea and bloating. It contains inulin which encourages the growth of good bacteria in the bowel.
- Dandelion: acts as a liver tonic. Try it in tea or coffee form or in a tincture.
- Gotu kola: in addition to improving liver function, this herb also reduces bloating by stimulating circulation and promotes healing of wounds and ulcers.
- Ginkgo biloba: most commonly used to improve circulation and poor memory, it is a powerful antioxidant that increases blood flow to the kidneys.
- Milk thistle: one of its ingredients, silymarin, is a powerful mixture of antioxidants and has been shown to help repair liver cells already damaged by toxins (like alcohol) and stimulate the growth of new cells.
- Vitamins A, C and E and the mineral Selenium: all good antioxidants which help protect the liver from free-radicals which can attack or damage protein, cells and genetic material. Free radicals have been linked with hardened arteries, heart disease, skin ageing and cancer.
Shani Shaker BA (hons), dipION, mBANT, CNHC, is a registered nutritional therapist with a focus on regenerative and functional nutrition. Based in London her services include one-to-one coaching, group classes and Skype sessions. Contact her at [email protected]
Disclaimer: The information provided is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Supplementation should only be temporary. If you’re eating a nutrient-rich diet, extra supplementation should only last for a month or two, just long enough to resolve the deficiency.