The flu is a yearly nightmare for many, and sometimes that flu shot just doesn’t work. Unlike other vaccinations, the flu vaccine is based on last year’s flu, and though it should provide many of the necessary antibodies to combat this year’s bug, there is no guarantee that it has not mutated too much. Also, your individual composition could mean that the flu shot is not as effective for you as it is for others.
In short, even with the flu shot you can still get the flu. It can still lay you up in bed for a week or more. It can still make you feel awful. Having a backup plan to your flu shot just in case you do get sick is one of the smartest things that you can do for yourself.
You cannot speed up the flu in an effort to get rid of it, but you can boost your body’s immune system so that it can fight back against the virus and produce the antibodies it needs to combat it once and for all.
To help get your immune system up to fighting speed, you will need a few vitamins and minerals to do it:
What Vitamins Do You Need to Beat the Flu?
All vitamins are essential to our bodies’ function, but if you want to boost your immune system so you can better fight off the flu or get over it, these three are your best bet:
When it comes to beating a cold, the go-to vitamin we all reach for is Vitamin C. We buy tea boosted with it, we take supplements that contain it, or we try to drink citrus juice and so on while we are sick for this very reason.
This is because Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. What this means for your body is that it fights against damage to your cells and boosts your immune system. It is also impossible to overdose on Vitamin C, unlike other vitamins out there.
In fact, even if you did “megadose” on Vitamin C the most you would have to potentially worry about is nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is nearly impossible to reach such a massive amount and accidentally overdose, however, even if you eat foods and drink supplements all day.
Vitamin C and D are both useful in reducing the duration and severity of a flu. Unlike vitamin C, however, most of us aren’t able to get enough Vitamin D in our daily lives. In fact, an estimated 85% of Americans will have some form of Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D helps us absorb minerals and maintain healthy bone density. It is a strange vitamin though, occurring rarely in food and mostly produced thanks to sun exposure. The fact that the bulk of the flu season occurs during winter when sunshine hours are at their lowest is no accident.
This vitamin plays a critical role for our brain, nervous system, and immune systems. If you have a B6 deficiency, then you can bet that your immune system is weakened and that your body is not producing serum antibodies as much as it should. These serum antibodies help fight off infections and keep you from getting sick, especially with respiratory illnesses.
What Minerals Do You Need to Beat the Flu?
Minerals are just as important as vitamins. For beating the flu, you are going to want these three:
Sodium is needed for one reason only — hydration. Though an overabundance of salt can dry anything out, small amounts are essential and necessary to help your body absorb water better.
A saline solution (sodium chloride and water) is also useful as a delivery agent. You can get an IV flu recovery package that uses saline to deliver all of the essential vitamins and minerals, along with a few other boosters that are proven to help fight a flu.
Magnesium helps with heart health; it also relieves stress, reduces inflammation, and is helpful at keeping the flu at bay. Magnesium plays a key role in your immune system’s initial response, so stock up on this mineral during flu season to beat the flu before it ever settles in.
Zinc is up there with Vitamin C and Vitamin D in terms of flu-fighting power. It is usually included in most over-the-counter cold medicines. Studies have proven that zinc can help reduce the length of a cold and can help you feel healthier throughout the year.
This is because zinc’s role in our body is to improve the cooperation and communication of cells within our body. It means your immune system will work faster to kill off foreign cells and keep you flu-free for longer.