For the most part, my family has been able to keep healthy during cold and flu season the past several years. How? Today I’m sharing our winter supplements regimen!
Although I wasn’t a very sickly child, and neither was my firstborn, my second baby stayed sick most of her first year of life.
Before she turned one, my second child had several ear infections (which led into glue ear and eventually loss of hearing and surgery for tubes), RSV, croup and full-blown pneumonia. I still remember how pitiful she looked when they had to put her body into a little machine that would hold her upright for lung X-rays because she was not yet standing on her own.
I was also trying to keep up with attending not one but two weekly Bible studies–where my girls were constantly picking up something in the nursery.
I knew that something had to change. And so, our winter supplements regimen was born.
Some hard-core natural mamas and especially the “realest” of real foodies will shake their heads at using supplements. And I can understand why: The bulk of our nutrition should come from real, whole foods–preferably from organic fruits and vegetables and sustainably-raised meats.
But a perfect diet is not always feasible for everyone, and most of our immune systems cannot fight off the onslaught of viruses thrown at us each cold and flu season.
After doing a little research on what vitamins, herbs and other supplements would boost our immune systems, I came up with this regimen three winters ago. I am happy to say that it has helped our family stay mostly illness-free:
Each day, my husband and I take:
- Multi-vitamins: I take a pre-natal since I am still of childbearing age. My husband takes Smarty Pants Men.
- Fish Oil: boosts cardiovascular system, supports healthy joint mobility and bone density, helps cholesterol levels, mental health, healthy blood sugar levels and sexual and hormonal health. It also helps improve energy levels, which can really drag during the winter sometimes!
- Garlic Capsules: Garlic is a great immunity booster. The very best way to get garlic into your system and to knock out a cold or virus fast is to eat it raw, but we prefer taking the capsules on a daily basis.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are vital for gut health, and we believe that all health starts in the gut!
- Vitamin D3: During the winter months, I take at least 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 each day. Those of us who get adequate sunshine shouldn’t have to worry about supplementing with a lot of Vitamin D, but many Americans are deficient in this vitamin. I take less during the spring and summer, when I am outside more often. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many diseases, and this vitamin is great for the immune system.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is well known as being a great immunity booster. I also recently read that it’s important for healing from adrenal fatigue, which I’ve been battling off and on for about two years now. I take about 1,000 mg per day during the winter months.
- Elderberry Capsules: My husband and I take one elderberry capsule per day during the cold and flu season. We also keep the syrup on hand, but we prefer the capsules because we do not enjoy the taste of the syrup. You can also make your own elderberry syrup. Elderberry is antiviral. Some people call it “nature’s tamiflu.” I am convinced it has helped keep us well!
- 42 Fruits and Veggies: If you can’t get enough fruits and veggies into your diet, 42 Fruits and Veggies will do the trick! This is Vitacost’s version of the pricier Juice Plus. I have a friend who sells Juice Plus, and I am sure the quality is extremely high. However, I began taking 42 Fruits and Veggies when I couldn’t afford anything else. In fact, I took 4 capsules per day throughout my 3rd pregnancy, and I had one of the biggest placentas that my midwife had ever seen. When she looked at it, she said: “This looks like a Juice Plus placenta!” The suggested use for those not pregnant is 2 capsules per day.
- Calcium/Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that has been gaining lots of popularity over the past couple of years because it’s so vital to female health. It helps regulate hormones, sleep cycles and aids in cardiovascular health. It was the number one supplement that an integrative doctor recommended me when she diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue. Then, I just picked up these tablets, although I definitely don’t think they are the highest quality. I have recently started using the Trilight Health Blue Green Minerals tincture, which includes calcium and magnesium. Calcium is important for breast health and strong bones. Magnesium is vital for proper calcium absorption, so the two go hand-in-hand.) Natural Calm’s Cal-Mag powder is another calcium/magnesium supplement I have kept on hand since my second pregnancy. I took it almost nightly then because it really helped me sleep better and alleviated leg cramps.
Each day, my girls (age 2, 4 and 6) take:
- Multi-vitamin: Right now we are using the Smarty Pants .
- Cod Liver Oil: This is one of several children’s brands we have used.
- Garlic Capsules: These are actually chewable, and for some reason our girls love them. They will beg for more!
- Probiotics: This is the brand we prefer, although it can be a little pricey.
- Vitamin D3: I usually give the girls two of these per day, which translates into 1,000 IUs.
- Vitamin C: I’m not as stringent with giving this to the girls as I am about the Vitamin D because they LOVE eating oranges, but I will give them this when we have it.
- Elderberry Gummies: Our girls hate the taste of elderberry syrup but they LOVE elderberry gummies! They think they are fruit snacks! We have been using this brand a lot but we are currently trying out these.
Along with our daily regimen, we take homeopathic influenzenium flu pellets each month to guard against the flu. We dissolve a couple pellets under our tongue each month.
At the First Sign of Illness
At the first signs of illness (for me, it’s a stratchy throat or achey body) or if we have been exposed to an illness, we:
- take more garlic
- increase our vitamin D
- add more vitamin C
- take more elderberry
- add in echinacea (We give our girls these echinacea/vitamin C/zinc gummies, which they LOVE!)
- add in essential oils like Immune Boom or oregano (diluted and applied to our feet)
- take detox baths with Redmond Bath Salts
- take 3-5 flu pellets up to 3 times per day (especially if we think it’s the flu)
When we are really sick, we dig into our natural medicine cabinet.
This winter supplements regimen has helped us stay mostly illness–free during the cold and flu seasons the past few years. The only times it hasn’t worked was when we slacked and didn’t follow this regimen (like when the whole family–but me–came down with the stomach virus last spring!).
Supplements are not the be all, end all.
Sometimes, even the best natural remedies fail. Give yourself grace! Remember that proper nutrition, exercise and rest all trump supplements, but supplements definitely help! We typically only take all of these during the cold and flu season.
I get almost all of my supplements from Amazon. You can often use their Subscribe & Save to save even more.
Looking for even more ways to boost your immune system? Check out this immune-boosting, anti-viral protocol from my personal naturopath, Dr. Lexi Lain, of Summit Vitality.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am just a mom who likes to research and share information with others. This post is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Please consult your trusted healthcare professional before making any decisions regarding your health.