Just when we thought we'd got over the super cold, final restrictions are lifting, giving our usual seasonal bugs plenty of room for manoeuvre. It's understandable to want to ward it off at all costs. While hand sanitising will help, adding immune-supporting supplements to your daily routine should be high on your priorities if you haven't got time to get ill right now .
With restrictions easing this week, the chances of catching a cold are higher. Health experts tell us what they take to stop a cold from taking hold
We asked a doctor, a pharmacist and a nutritionist to recommend the supplements they take to stay well when everyone around them has the sniffles as well and, if they do get it, what they take to reduce the length and severity of a cold. It's time to stock up!
What to take to when people around you have a cold
The immune-supporter: 1. Daily Immunity, £26 for 60 capsules
"This supplement contains nutrients, herbs, minerals, vitamins and even probiotics that work in varying ways to support the immune system keeping it at its peak in order to try and avoid an infection or cold," says Shabir Daya, pharmacist and co-founder of Victoria Health.
The supercharged vitamin C: 2. Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C, £44.50 for 30 sachets
We've all heard it many times throughout our lives – vitamin C helps with a cold, and Dr Sophie Shotter implores us to up our dosage if everyone around us is going down with the sniffles. "The amount of vitamin C most of us take daily, if indeed we take it at all, is woefully inadequate," she says. "Up your intake to 2000mg up to six times per day. The main possible side effect is diarrhoea, but if this occurs just slightly decrease your dose the following day. Vitamin C is well known for its immune-supporting effects, but most of us don’t use it to its full potential." Each Altrient sachet contains 1000mg liposomal vitamin C, a highly bioavailable form that is easy on the stomach.
The probiotic: 3. Kalla For Immune Health, £49 for a 30-day supply
This probiotic provides extensively researched strains of bacteria that can support the immune system, nutritionist Eve Kalinik tells us. "Plus it contains vitamin D , B12 and folic acid that are also helpful for supporting the immune system."
What to take when you feel a cold coming on:
The one you suck: Enhanced Zinc Lozenges by Life Extension, £10 for 30
Zinc lozenges are Shabir Daya's choice when he feels a cold coming on. The type of zinc used in these suckable tablets (zinc acetate) can be better utilised by the body than any other form, he says. "It has been the subject of many studies indicating its effectiveness at reducing the duration and symptoms of colds by several days," Shabir tells us.
Eve stands by zinc too. "Studies have shown that zinc at a dosage of 30-50mg per day taken within the first 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of a cold for the first three to five days can have a significant effect on the duration and severity of the symptoms but it is important to take it within that first 24-hour window as after that it doesn’t seem to have much effect," she tells us.
The alternative to echinacea: Dr Wakde Kalmech Capsules Andrographis Panniculata, £16.58 for 60 capsules
"This is my absolute favourite and in many parts of the world is recommended ahead of echinacea for people with mild viral symptoms," says Dr Sophie Shotter. "It’s from an Indian shrub and is widely credited with being why the 1919 Indian flu epidemic didn’t spread more widely. You take it for a maximum of ten days at a time, because long term use of some of these supplements has been shown to suppress immunity rather than boost it."
The multi-pronged attack: 10 Day Get Well, Stay Well, £27 for 60 capsules
At the first sign of a cold, GTG's editorial director Victoria buys this 10-day course of supplements to head off at the pass afer being recommended it many years ago by Gill Sinclair co-founder of Victoriahealth.com. It's designed to shorten the duration of bacterial and viral infections by supporting the immune system. It includes ingredients such as echinacea, astragalus and elderberry , known to support the immune system, as well as vitamin C and zinc.
This supplement does require a lot of pill-popping; you take two capsules, three times a day and you can expect to feel improved within the first few days.