Top Six Supplements Helpful in Cold Prevention and Treatment


There are so many myths floating around out there about homeopathic ways to prevent or treat colds and flu. We asked Dr. Sherry what the best supplements for colds and flu are – for reals. Here’s the scoop:


Even I am confused on what to take to help reduce the chance of getting a cold or reducing how long it keeps you out of commission! The list is long but the ones I have chosen to discuss have clinical evidence to support their benefits. Let me break it down for you.


Here are the top six supplements Helpful in Cold Prevention and Treatment.



Zinc might be your best bet to reduce the amount of time and the severity of cold symptoms. Zinc can actually kill cold viruses when taken for at least a week and at the correct dose. In the form of lozenges the daily doses of 80mg to 92mg (9 to 13mg of zinc per lozenge) given within 24 hours of cold symptoms have been found to shortened the duration of a runny nose, congestion, scratchy and sore throat, hoarseness, and cough. In children, zinc syrup can be taken to also help cold symptoms.   Zinc doses for children should be checked with their health care provider. My recommended brands include Cold-Eze Homeopathic Cold Remedy, one lozenge (13.8mg of zinc) every two hours, Nature’s Way Zinc, one lozenge (23mg of zinc) 6 six times a day.



If you have been taking certain combinations of Probiotics for a minimum of three months, it was found to decrease the risk of getting a cold and the number of days you are symptomatic.   One billion viable cells of daily lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus paracasei proved to be the effective dose. Colds symptoms would lessen two days sooner and symptoms were 34% less severe in those taking probiotics. In children, probiotics were also found to be protective of the common cold symptoms. My recommended brands include Nature’s Bounty Advanced Probiotic 10, (2) capsules a day, Nutri-Health Flora Source Multi-Probiotic Capsules with Bif Relief 24-7, (1) – (2)  vegetarian capsules daily, Renew Life Ultimate Flora, (1) vegetarian capsule a day, to name a few.



Vitamin C has been given more credit than it deserves. Vitamin C cannot prevent a cold from coming.   If you are low or deficient in vitamin C, then taking supplements will help you be less prone to colds. Some studies suggest taking vitamin C, a known antioxidant, may reduce the severity of cold symptoms. Taking 1 gram of vitamin C was shown to help cold symptoms and the amount of days symptoms lasted. In children, vitamin C was also found to reduce the symptoms of the common cold. My recommended brands include Emergen-C-Super Orange 1,000mg per packet, (1) to (2) a day, Kirkland Signature Vitamin C, 1000mg per tablet,(1) to (2) a day, Trader Joe’s Chewable Oranges & C, 500mg per wafer, (2) a day, to name a few.



Vitamin D has been shown to decrease the number of colds and upper respiratory infections per year.   You will have this protection if you have a blood level of vitamin D greater than 20mg/ml and are taking vitamin D3 supplements daily for a minimum of three months. Vitamin D helps support your immune system preventing uncomfortable symptoms of colds and respiratory infections. Since many people are deficient in this “sunshine vitamin” getting your levels checked is the first step to know how much to supplement. How much vitamin D to take is controversial but I suggest 2,000 to 4,000/day. In children, vitamin D was also found to reduce the number of colds and upper respiratory infection per year.   Supplement with vitamin D3 for optimal benefits. There are many reliable brands available.



Echinacea is a well-known herb thought to reduce the symptoms and duration of a cold or flu. Taking liquid Echinacea three times a day during the winter may prevent you from getting the common cold. If you develop a cold it’s recommended to take liquid Echinacea five times a day to reduce the number of symptomatic days and recurrences. In children, Echinacea was also found to reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold. A standard adult daily dose of 900mg or tinctures made from the above-ground plant part of E.pururea. My recommended brands include Gaia Herbs Echinacea Supreme (2) liquid-filled capsules every (2) hours, GNC Herbal Plus Standardized Echinacea Extract (1) vegetarian capsule, (1) per day, Life Extension Echinacea Extract, (1) capsule 1-2 times/day, Swanson Superior Herbs, (2) capsules, (4) times a day, to name a few.



Garlic supplements may be effective against colds, but studies are controversial. Garlic has been thought to strengthen the immune system when used regularly. A couple studies showed taking a garlic supplement daily may reduce the severity of colds and flu. A recommended dose is 600-900mg daily of a garlic powder extract with 1.3% allicin or 12,000mcg of allicin per dose. Allicin is the important enzyme and primary active ingredient in garlic, creating the typical garlic odor. My recommended brands include Herbalife Mega Garlic Plus, 600mg powder per tablet, (1) tablet daily, Metagenics Super Garlic 600, 600mg concentrate per tablet, (1) tablet daily, Nature’s Way Garlic, 580 mg powder per capsule, (1) capsule 1-3 times a day to name a few.


These supplements may interfere with your current medications so always discuss usage with your health care provider.


Don’t forget the usual things like hand washing, coughing and sneezing into the inside of your elbow, and not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as these are ways the cold virus can enter your body. Getting plenty of rest, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly are also helpful lifestyle habits. One last step in prevention is getting the flu shot annually.


Have you tried any of these supplements? We’d love to hear your results!

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