How can you know when to use an over the counter medication and when to use a nutrition supplement or other natural remedy?
We're looking at common colds, not any serious illness where medical intervention or prescription medicines are needed.
Cold medicine doesn't work
Your typical over-the-counter cold medicine includes some kind of painkiller/anti-inflammatory, decongestant, and caffeine.
None of these ingredients act as a cure for a cold virus, and they won't help you get better faster.
Their only use is to suppress symptoms like headache, fever, and a stuffy head, so you might choose to use them when you have no choice but to get out of bed!
Cold medicine suppresses symptoms
They don’t get you better or stop you catching a cold in the first place. They may even extend the duration of the cold since they suppress some of your immune system’s fighting mechanisms.
Fever is a natural response to fight infection, so you don’t have to immediately suppress it, as long as you’re checking it’s not too high or for too long (see NHS advice on this).
Why do some people catch every cold?
Whether you come into contact with a cold virus clearly isn’t the only factor in whether you fall ill, or how ill you become.
We don’t catch a cold every time we’re exposed. Well, some people seem to…
And that’s because it depends how quickly the immune system is able to neutralise the virus.
We can influence this by:
- improving nutritional status
- managing stress and fatigue
- using immune remedies
So, cold medicines suppress symptoms, whereas nutrition can help you get ill less often, and see a shorter severity and duration of illness.
Natural remedies for immune health
A multivitamin to top up immune nutrients
In addition to eating more than 5 portions of colourful veg & fruit per day and avoiding ultra processed foods, a premium quality multivitamin such as Pollution Protection Daily Multi ensures you have essential immune nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium and more.
Traditional immune tonic Elderberry can reduce the duration and severity of a cold. You shouldn’t eat raw elderberries hence they’re traditionally made into a syrup, or can be conveniently taken in capsule form.
Beta Glucans are a food sourced remedy which stimulates the immune system’s function. You can increase your beta glucan intake with supplements and medicinal mushrooms.
In Immune Support, Elderberry and Beta Glucans are combined with a top up of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Zinc.
It’s carefully formulated so you can take 1 capsule as a daily preventative, and up to 4 capsules daily when poorly.
The reason for this is to provide small, regular quantities that the body can absorb.
In contrast, if you take a gram or more of Vitamin C in one go, much will be lost in the toilet!
Plus, it’s safe to take alongside Pollution Protection Daily Multi.
Thanks for reading! Are there any other natural remedies and over the counter medicines you’d like to see discussed? Leave a comment!