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How To Get Rid of a Cold with 6 Immunity Boosters (Plus an immunity stack!)

By Dennis Buckley

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Have you ever found yourself wondering how to kick a winter cold that seems to drag on forever? With the addition of a few simple supplements to your daily diet, you can build your immune system and keep away those nasty infections before they start.

You may or may not realize that your everyday environment is filled with hundreds and thousands of microscopic “bugs” hanging around just waiting to creep into your body. We become more susceptible to these invisible bugs during the colder, damper winter months. Your immune system is your main line of defense against germs, bacteria and viruses. Keeping it strong year-round, and especially as you head out into the world during cold and flu season, is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and recover quickly.

Here are 6 of the best proven immune system boosters to help you get rid of a cold fast.

1. Garlic

Garlic

This stinky root herb (ribosome) is known for its ability to keep vampires away, but it’s good for so much more!  This natural remedy has been credited with potent and powerful immune-boosting benefits that can help you get rid of a cold. An effective anti-inflammatory agent, garlic is known to help detoxify the body from pollutants as harmful as heavy metals, thus neutralizing them along with infectious bacteria, viruses and fungi. [1]

There’s a reason why garlic extracts are on the list of pro-tips for beating cold and flu season. Just adding a garlic tincture to your everyday health regimen may help to stave off infections caused by strains of even the toughest antibiotic-resistant pathogens. [2] This is because garlic contains a rare compound known as allicin. While liquid application of extracts in tincture form are ideal for some uses, you may also choose to take garlic capsules or swallow whole cloves. Just don't forget to chew a sprig of parsley afterwards or pop a fresh mint in your mouth to help stave off garlic’s pungent odor.

Related: 10 Best Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and How To Use Them

2. Mushrooms

Mushrooms

As weird as it may sound, some members of the fungi family can actually work wonders to fight off colds. Even though some common colds and flus are caused by strains of pathogenic fungi, some types of mushrooms can actually boost your immunity resistance against harmful germs. Renowned herbalist, celebrity chef and nutritional expert Crosby Tailor revealed that two specific types of medical mushrooms were able to deliver immunity boosting effects through his Optimal Performance Podcast.

Two types of mushrooms, Chaga and Reishi, have been used for centuries for their ability to support a healthy immune response. Chaga contains unique compounds called beta-d-glucans that act as Biological Response Modifiers (BRM). [3] This is due to the capacity of beta-d-glucans to balance an immune system (bolstering a slow one, or reducing hyperactivity) and offer antiviral and anti-parasitic effects. [4]

The Chaga mushroom stimulates the detoxification processes of the liver to remove pollutants and fight colds. It also promotes a healthy immune system, which helps to get rid of colds quickly.

Also known as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” Reishi mushrooms contain other bioactive compounds that boost our immune systems. In clinical trials, the Reishi mushroom was shown to aid in the production of vital immune cells including B and T lymphocytes -- immune cells needed to produce antibodies to fight a cold or flu. [5]

Extracts of the Reishi mushroom were also shown to aid in the development of a specialized type of immune cell known as natural killer cells that target viral pathogens. [6] The use of Reishi mushrooms may also be especially helpful in balancing the immune system of aging adults. [7]

Other mushrooms that may offer numerous health benefits include shitake, oyster, white, maitake, chanterelle and porcini. Add these to your smoothies or salads for a flavor and immunity boost.

Related: 3 Easy and Healthy Mushroom Tea Recipes

3. Vitamin C + Zinc 

Vitamin C and Zinc

Vitamin C is one of the most popular antioxidants, and it’s even more potent when paired with zinc when it comes to soothing common cold and flu symptoms.

One study showed that a combination of high-dose Vitamin C (1,000 mg) and zinc was able to reduce symptoms of the common cold more quickly than the control group. [8]

In a review of 15 independent studies totaling 1,360 participants, researchers revealed that “zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people.” What’s more, when participants took zinc supplements, they were shown to have a lower incidence of common cold infections. This mineral nutrient is ideal for those who need to get rid of a cold in 24 hours. [9]

The combination of Vitamin C and Zinc is a potent protector against the common colds and flus. Alone, both of these nutrients are also able to help keep you healthy during cold and flu season. Vitamin C is one of the most well-known antioxidants to get rid of a cold, and has been shown in clinical trials to boost the production of glutathione, a substance also known as “the master antioxidant.” [10]

There are many different natural sources of Vitamin C. One of the most refreshing ways to beat a cold is citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. Zinc is present in foods like chickpeas, dark chocolate, peas and lentils. These nutrients can also be found in extract form as tinctures or capsules to easily add them into an immunity stack for cold and flu season.

Related: 5 Supplements to Replace Your Multivitamin

4. Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal attracts and “binds to” toxic heavy metals commonly found in the food supply, including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. [11] Taking activated charcoal is one of the best ways to remove pollutants from the body and help you get rid of a cold.

NOTE: Because activated charcoal is most commonly purchased as a loose powder, staining is common. You can also find activated charcoal as a supplement in easy-to-swallow capsules. But remember to always use caution with activated charcoal as it can stain teeth, veneers and clothing.

Related: The 9 Best Travel Tips to Reduce Jet Lag

5. Glutathione

Glutathione

Glutathione is possibly the most important antioxidant naturally produced in our cells. As one of the only intra-cellular antioxidants, glutathione is also able to have profound effects on lymphocytes (white blood cells) for more immunity protection against common infections of the cold or flu. [12]

Glutathione is also known to play a vital role in nutrient metabolism, cellular events including cytokine production, immune response, gene expression, DNA and protein synthesis and even “recycling” other antioxidant vitamins for greater immunity. [1314]

Quick cold buster: DTOX™ contains Cysteine, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), Vitamin B1 and other natural nutrients to help you fearlessly take on cold and flu season. Add it to your daily immunity stack in the form of capsules to eliminate toxic buildup in your body. A MUST during cold and flu season!

6. Probiotics 

Probiotics

A large portion of our immune system is tied to our gastrointestinal system where an estimated 100 trillion microscopic “bugs” call your body home. [15] The “friendly” strains known as probiotic bacteria can positively influence the microbial balance of the gut. Having a good balance of these friendly bacteria is crucial for nutrient production, digestion, and especially immune system strength.

To get rid of a cold overnight, aid digestion or just try to stay as healthy as possible, try adding the following probiotic foods to your immunity stack: yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh. There are also capsule, power and pill forms of probiotic supplements available, and don't forget to take prebiotics like resistant starch that feed all those healthy gut bacteria you need to keep your immune system functioning optimally.

Related: Dietary Prebiotics May Improve Sleep and Reduce Stress

Developing a Powerhouse Immunity Stack for Cold & Flu Season

The United States Center for Disease Control recommends getting a flu shot every year in order to prevent common infections. But if you choose not to, it may be a good idea to try natural immune boosters like those mentioned above.

Here’s an example of an immune-boosting stack to try at-home!

  • MORNING: 2x Vitamin C + Zinc and any other morning supplements + 1 TBSP minced garlic. If using glutathione and or activated charcoal, take that now.
  • MORNING COFFEE: Make a medicinal mushroom coffee or tea by adding chaga, reishi and cordyceps to your favorite coffee. Then also add 3 x Serotonin Brain Food™.
  • LUNCH: Take another 2 x Vitamin C + Zinc with your afternoon meal. Top pasta, salads or even hearty soups and stews with medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, oyster and white and dress with 1 TBSP raw apple cider vinegar with 1 TBSP minced garlic. And don’t forget the after-lunch peppermint!
  • MID-AFTERNOON: Take a second dose of glutathione and activated charcoal if using.
  • EVENING: 1 TBSP minced garlic, more mushrooms with your dinner meal or in a tea/powdered drink mix and 2 x Vitamin C + Zinc.

During cold and flu season, you can turn these 6 natural remedies into the foundation of an immunity stack. If you want to add more supplements to the stack, start with Myco IMMUNE All-Season Immunityand work your way into more specific formulations if you feel it’s necessary.

This immunity stack is not only great for cold and flu season, it’s also an excellent preventative if you are traveling, exposed to unusual weather changes or are highly stressed. Always consult with your health care professional before adding supplements to your diet.

Putting It All Together

Building your immune system is the key to keeping yourself healthy through cold and flu season. And even if you do get sick, you can help prevent some of the worst cold and flu symptoms by taking an immunity stack. While none of these superfood or supplement remedies can “cure” what ails you, they can help prevent a full-blown infection of the common cold and flu and also speed the recovery process.

So, don’t spend another day without adding an immunity stack to your health regimen. It may be the difference between taking time off work to sneeze or continuing to do the things you love... tissue-free!

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