Why wait until you’re already under the weather to start taking immune-supporting natural supplements? I suggest starting a regimen of vitamins and herbs as close to the start of the cooler months as possible.

A high-quality probiotic supplement is what I would consider a perfect starting point for supporting your immune system. Roughly 70% of our immune system is related to our gut. It’s no easy task to keep our gut healthy, as stress, unhealthy eating and certain medications are just a few of the things that can cause our gut microbiome to get out of balance. Being out of balance can cause your microbiome to become less effective at fending off bacteria and germs. Look for probiotic supplements with a variety of strains that are guaranteed potency until the expiration date and made with acid-resistant strains.

Two of my favorite immune-supporting supplements are black elderberry and oregano oil. I find that a daily dose of these two supplements work well to keep many people in the clear during the cooler months. Black elderberry can also help to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu, and the data backs that up. Many clinical studies have shown elderberry to be effective in supporting a healthy immune system. According to one study, flu symptom duration in the group taking elderberry was shortened by an impressive average of four days.

Make sure you are getting enough of the vitamins C and D. Consider increasing your vitamin C intake to between 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg per day. Talk with your doctor about increasing your vitamin D intake as well. Many doctors suggest taking higher doses of vitamin D3 during cold and flu season. Healthy vitamin D levels have not only been shown to be an effective way to support a healthy immune system, but they have also been shown to be helpful for mood support during the winter months.

Start taking your immune supplements early this year, and be consistent. A well-supported immune system can be the key in maintaining your health all through the fall and winter months.

Travis Lemon is a certified herbalist and co-owner of Tulsi at The Market in Huntington. He has worked in the natural health and wellness industry for over 16 years. He can be contacted at travislemonmh@gmail.com.

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