Catching a cold or flu is never fun, and can be even worse while pregnant when treatment options are limited!
Here are 5 natural ways to beat the flu-for-two this winter:
1. Support the body’s own immune function
The immune system is what fights off viruses causing the common cold, so it is important to support immune activity which can be done in a variety of ways.
- Get some zzz’s. Sleep has a strong regulatory influence on immune functions.
- Zinc is crucial for the functioning of many immune cells, as well as the structure of the skin and mucous membranes – the first defences against pathogens.
- Lactoferrin is a protein that is naturally found in cow’s milk, as well as human saliva, nasal secretions & tears – mainly along mucous membranes – where it provides antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial activity.
Lactoferrin comes with a bonus! It also supports healthy blood iron status throughout pregnancy.
2. Relieve symptoms with vitamin C
Runny nose, scratchy throat, watery eyes – the familiar symptoms of a common cold. What is less-known is that an increased release of histamine is what causes these symptoms.
Vitamin C is involved in the metabolism, or breakdown, of histamine – leading to a reduced level of histamine in blood. In short, vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine!
3. Kill the bugs without the drugs
The common cold is caused by a virus. Treating the cause of a condition is one of the core principles, and most effective strategies, of naturopathic medicine.
Echinacea assists the body in doing this. It has anti-viral activity which provides benefit in decreasing the duration and incidence of the common cold. Echinacea increases phagocytic activity of immune cells – boosting how much viral debris they can gobble up. Think pacman!
Echinacea has been extensively studied in pregnancy and has been classified as a Category A medicine, which means research has demonstrated no risk to baby.
4. Give the good bugs
Research is constantly confirming the importance of our gut bacteria for optimal health. Scientists have been able to listen in on ‘conversational cross-talk’. This is when our gut microbes pass on messages to stimulate the immune system, keeping invading bugs at bay.
Specific strains of probiotic bacteria have also been shown to help prevent problems in pregnancy and lactation (eg. mastitis) and reduce the risk of the child developing allergic conditions, such as eczema & asthma. Ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend a multistrain, high quality probiotic that is ideal for your individual needs.
5. Vitamin D3 can prevent the virus from returning
Vitamin D3 and its connection with mild upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) has been studied extensively. A meta-analysis involving 11, 321 participants found that “vitamin D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall.”
Viruses spread more easily inside in enclosed, populated environments (like offices & schools) where we all spend more time in the cooler months. So go outside, breathe in the fresh air and bask in the sun whenever you can!
Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.