Ah...hah...hachoo! You know that feeling: it starts with a couple of sneezes and a bit of a runny nose. Next thing you know, your throat is scratchy, you begin to cough, and your muscles get achy.
It’s cold season, and you’re coming down with something. But while the common cold will usually go away on its own within a couple of weeks, who has time for that? Here are some natural immune supporting health tips that can help you get a jump on cold symptoms before they get a jump on you.
Aged Garlic Extract to the Rescue
Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), is a powerhouse when it comes to fighting off the effects of a cold. In one trial published in The Journal of Nutrition, healthy participants between 21 and 50 years old were given either a daily dose of AGE or a placebo for 90 days during cold and flu season. After 45 days, researchers noticed an increase in the number and activity of certain immune cells in the AGE group—increases that didn’t occur in the placebo group. After the full 90 days, those in the AGE group who did come down with a bug saw a reduction in their cold or flu severity. Along with fewer symptoms, they also experienced fewer days of feeling suboptimal and fewer work or school days missed.1
Other Natural Cold Remedies
Aged Garlic Extract isn’t the only natural cold fighter. The following tips will have you feeling better sooner while making your symptoms easier to deal with.
Take some vitamin C. Well known for its immune-supportive effects, vitamin C is a great addition to your immune-strengthening arsenal. Increased doses of this nutrient can help relieve common cold complaints such as chest pain, fever, and chills, as well as shortening cold duration, even if you already take a supplement.2 But don’t wait until you’re sick to start taking a vitamin C supplement. Incorporating this crucial nutrient into your regimen all year long can have a huge impact on your health. In fact, a recent South Korean study even showed that vitamin C can lessen the odds of developing a cold in the first place.8
Fortunately you can get both AGE and vitamin C in a single cold-busting supplement. Immune Support Formula 103 combines the potency of these two powerhouse nutrients, along with a premium mushroom complex, astragalus, oregano, and olive leaf extracts, to support healthy immune function.
Focus on fluid intake. You’ve heard it a thousand times when you get sick: drink plenty of fluids. But what fluids should you be drinking if you have a cold? According to a study published in the journal Rhinology, consuming a hot drink can provide immediate and sustained relief from symptoms like runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills, and fatigue. Interestingly, drinking the same beverage at room temperature still had benefits, but it reduced only runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.3 Hot tea is a great option, but try to stick to decaf as too much caffeine can lead to fluid loss and sleeplessness.
Have some honey. You can sweeten up that hot beverage with a soothing spoonful of delicious honey. Not only tasty, honey has long been used as a home remedy to manage cold symptoms. And now there’s emerging evidence to back up its medicinal use. A study of 300 children with upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) showed honey to be more effective at relieving nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty than a placebo.4 And in a 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis, honey was shown to improve cough frequency and severity in patients with URIs.5
Take it easy—but not too easy. It’s a good idea to scale things back and try to relax when you notice cold symptoms setting in. After all, stress not only increases your susceptibility to illness; it also inhibits the response of your immune cell when you do come into contact with a harmful pathogen.6 On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be active—if you’re feeling up to it, that is. Moderate‐intensity aerobic exercise—activities like a brisk walk, a bicycle ride, or a session on the treadmill—has been shown to reduce the severity of acute respiratory infection symptoms and the number of symptom days.7
Keep Future Threats at Bay
With so many bugs going around this time of year, it’s practically inevitable that you’ll encounter something at some point. Typically, adults get an average of two to four colds per year and young children suffer from an average of six to eight. However, practicing good hygiene habits can fortify your immune response and reduce your chances of coming down with whatever’s going around. One of the best things you can do is to regularly wash your hands. Proper handwashing reduces respiratory illnesses, including colds, by 16 to 21 percent, according to the CDC.
Getting through cold and flu season may not be as bad as you think. Incorporating an AGE supplement and these immune-enhancing tips into your daily life can decrease the severity of your symptoms if a bug does strike. Better yet, these strategies can also reduce your chances of getting sick at all!
- Percival SS. Aged Garlic Extract Modifies Human Immunity. The Journal of Nutrition. 2016;146(2):433S–6S.
- Ran L. Extra Dose of Vitamin C Based on a Daily Supplementation Shortens the Common Cold: A Meta-Analysis of 9 Randomized Controlled Trials. BioMed Research International. 2018;2018.
- Sanu A. The effects of a hot drink on nasal airflow and symptoms of common cold and flu. Rhinology. 2008;46(4):271–5.
- Cohen HA. Effect of Honey on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Pediatrics. 2012;130(3):465–71.
- Abuelgasim H. Effectiveness of honey for symptomatic relief in upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. 2021;26:57–64.
- Seiler A. The Impact of Everyday Stressors on the Immune System and Health. Stress Challenges and Immunity in Space. 2020;71–92.
- Grande AJ. Exercise versus no exercise for the occurrence, severity, and duration of acute respiratory infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2020;4:CD010596.
- Kim TK. Vitamin C supplementation reduces the odds of developing a common cold in Republic of Korea Army recruits: randomised controlled trial. BMJ Mil Health. 2022;168:117–23.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.