Here at Cornucopia we’re not only into food, but all aspects of healthy living. We have a huge array of vitamins and supplements offered at our store, yet we find many people often don’t know where to start or are entirely unfamiliar with most products. #SupplementSundays is a new series created to change that, so we can better help you learn about what these things really do. Each feature will have a theme based on the cause/purpose for taking a supplement and break down some of our staff’s tops picks for that issue. We’ll include explanations of ingredients and why they work best in order to provide a full understanding of the products.
In addition to the information we provide, you should always consult your own doctor or healthcare practitioner prior to taking new supplements, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or health complications.
Are the recent seasonal changes causing your body to feel less than ideal? Well, us too! That’s why we’re starting our #SupplementSundays series with products that help boost and improve your Immune System, as we transition into fall and colder temperatures. Our list features an array of items that can strengthen your Immune System, help prevent sickness as well as help treat or lessen the severity of minor illnesses. Keep scrolling to learn about these powerful vitamins, herbs and plants that will kick that cold away stat!
Vitamins & Minerals
While this the most commonly-known supplement for general immune health, we thought we’d include it! Vitamin C is important in many aspects of the immune system from affecting white blood cell functions, levels of inflammation and absorption of other nutrients. There’s many way to get you Vitamin C fix from capsules to liquids or drink mixes.
When the temperatures get colder, we tend to spend less time outside and our Vitamin D levels drop. This vitamin can act as modulator for immune responses, and being deficient in it leads to increased autoimmunity and susceptibility to infections. Similar to Vitamin C, Vitamin D also affects the absorption of other vitamins and minerals, specifically Vitamin K and Calcium, and also comes in a variety of forms.
An important mineral for optimal immune health, Zinc is required for the body to produce and activate T cells, a type of white blood cell that helps fight off diseases. It can be taken in capsule form or orally in lozenges. If taken when already sick, studies show that Zinc can shorten the duration and lessen symptoms of cold and flu.
Herbs & Extracts
High in anthocyanins and antioxidants, Elderberry has been used to fight colds and flu for generations. It is antiviral and activates the immune response in the body. The best time to take it is on the onset of illness; this can shorten the extent of flu and be highly effective to treat upper respiratory tract infections. It comes in many forms such as capsules, liquids and tinctures.
This powerful plant stimulates the immune system, can help relieve pain, fight inflammation, and has antiviral plus antioxidant effects. Offered pure in capsule or tincture form, this herb is commonly found in combination with other immune-supporting herbs such as goldenseal.
Oil of Oregano
We’re not referring to the typical herb found in your kitchen here, but rather wild oregano or Origanum vulgare that is high in phytonutrients known as phenols. This powerful and potent oil is an immune booster, has antioxidant properties, is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. With it’s abilities this little oil can even be a less-harsh alternative to prescription antibiotics for minor illnesses.
While consuming silver may sound quite odd to may, it has been used throughout history. Colloidal Silver is a liquid suspension of microscopic particles of silver, which contains antimicrobial properties that discourage the growth and presence of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It helps support a healthy immune system and can also be potent enough to replace antibiotics or even enhance their effectiveness when taken together.
Olive Leaf Extract
The entire olive plant offers immense health benefits, but the leaf extract in particular is potent in antimicrobial properties that are antibacterial, antiviral, and immune boosting. Some research even claims its extract contains around 40 times the antioxidant capacity of extra virgin olive oil. It also can fight off fevers and fight inflammation to boot.
While eating raw garlic can be a killer immune booster, supplementing with garlic extract is a much easier, more pleasant way to obtain its benefits without consuming bulbs at a time. Being a natural antiseptic and antifungal ingredient, garlic can help ward off bacterial or viral infections, heal wounds, fight oncoming illness, and keep your immune system strong by supporting T-cell production.
With around 70% of your immune system found in your microbiome, or gut, probiotics can be huge help in boosting its strength by making sure there is stable environment and no unwanted bacteria. If taking prescription antibiotics it is especially important to take a supplemental probiotic to re-populate the stripped bacteria and reduce risk of immune damage. There are also many benefits in helping with digestive-related illnesses and complications - but that we’ll save for another post!
Not the typical type you may add to your stir-fry, these special fungi are making a name for themselves in the holistic health world with several benefits such as boosting and improving your Immune System. There are multiple varieties but all are quite powerful - extracts from reishi, maitake and shiitake contain beta-glucan an antiviral agent, while cordyceps enhance overall immune activity and fight inflammation. There’s a lot to be said about these special mushrooms, so much so we’ll save them for their own post, too!
Supplements for Allergies:
Often consumed in tea form, Nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties affect receptors and enzymes responsible for allergy-related symptoms (congestion, itching, sneezing etc.). Nettle can help reduce overall histamine levels in the body, encourage desensitizing the body to allergens, and treat everything from seasonal allergies to hives, hay fever and asthma.
Quercetin is a type of flavonoid found abundantly in plant foods, but it is often taken as a supplement to most effectively reap its benefits. Being both anti-inflammatory and a natural antihistamine, Quercetin is beneficial in treating all types of allergies, hives/rashes and asthma. It can be taken on its own, or in conjunction with other anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting supplements such as Vitamin C and Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple.
In addition to this wide array of supplements that help build and boost your Immune System, other lifestyles factors are just as important to watch if you find yourself becoming sick often. Diet and Stress are top on this list - consuming anti-inflammatory foods and keeping stress levels at bay will also aid in maintaining a strong Immune System. With these factors in-check, supplements can complete your efforts to staying healthy all fall and winter long - scroll through the images below to see some of our staff's picks on what keeps us feeling our best! All items are available at Cornucopia, so stop by, check them out, and learn more about all our vitamin and supplement offerings!