Yup. It’s that time of year again…
Your pharmacy or doctor has probably already tried to push the flu shot on you. Especially if you’re 65 or older.
It turns out flu shots were only 9 percent effective last year against the H3N2 virus in adults over 65 years of age. New studies even show seasonal flu shots may actually increase your risk of getting the flu.1
But there are steps you can take to naturally boost your immune system without the risk of becoming sick—or worse.
Here are the top 5 ways to naturally prevent catching the flu this season:
1. Vitamin C: Vitamin C doesn’t just help prevent the flu. This powerful antioxidant makes symptoms go away quicker if you’ve already caught the flu. One study shows that multiple 1,000 mg doses of vitamin C daily can reduce the appearance of flu and cold symptoms by 85 percent.2
You’ll find vitamin C in citrus fruits of course. But try foods like red bell pepper, broccoli, kale, and kiwi. All of these have more vitamin C per serving than an orange.3
But during flu season, you probably want some extra support. So we suggest you supplement. Make sure to look for fat-soluble versions of the vitamin, such as liposomal vitamin C.
2. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is a major player in fighting the flu virus. One study shows that a low daily dose cuts flu risk by 42 percent.4 Just 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 per day is effective at preventing the flu. But less isn’t always more.
A safe dose of vitamin D3 for most adults is 4,000 IU per day.5 Whole food sources include mushrooms, eggs, and wild-caught, cold-water fish.
3. Glutathione: We recently told you about glutathione because it’s one of the most powerful antioxidants around. It’s an amino acid made naturally in the body. It clears free radicals and toxins from the body. Better yet, glutathione completely protects cells from the flu virus.6
You can help your body create more glutathione by supplementing with its precursor, l-cysteine. You can also increase your levels by eating grass-fed beef, avocados, and broccoli.
4. Licorice Root: This isn’t the candy. The active ingredient in licorice root is glycyrrhizin (GR). Studies show GR protects you against infection by creating T cells. In one study, animals infected with high doses of influenza virus A2 were given either GR injections or nothing at all. The animals that didn’t get the GR died within 11 days.7
Long-term use of GR can have some side effects, including an increase in blood pressure. For this reason, most licorice extracts don’t contain GR.8
Try using licorice root to brew the occasional hot tea. It will boost your immune system and soothe a sore throat.
5. Elderberry Extract: Elderberries are packed with phenols that strengthen the immune system. The anthocyanin in elderberries helps to prevent inflammation as well. This may help you prevent flu infection this season.
But it’s elderberry extract that really shines when it comes to reducing flu symptoms. One study shows taking 15 mL of elderberry extract four times a day stopped flu symptoms four days sooner than a placebo.9
Don’t let the “experts” bully you into getting a flu shot. Their low rates of success put your health at risk. Not to mention the side effects.