The Best Supplements for Colds

Integrative nutritionist Kathie Swift, RDN, MS, recommends the following supplements when fighting off a cold.

Elderberry: Research suggests this fruit helps reduce the severity of cold symptoms and shorten their duration. Try it as a tincture or syrup.

Medicinal Mushroom Extracts: Certain mushrooms, like reishi and cordyceps, have been shown to have antimicrobial, antiviral, antiallergic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Many also boost the immune system. Usually taken in capsules or as tea.

Vitamin D: Optimal levels of vitamin D correlate with good health, and research suggests that D supplementation helps protect against the common cold. (Learn about the research at

Zinc: Supplementing with zinc may shorten the duration of colds by as much as 33 percent. Experts advise starting zinc within 24 hours of first symptoms.

Vitamin C: Regular vitamin C supplementation may slightly reduce the duration of a cold (by 8 percent in adults and 14 percent in children, according to one study).

South African Geranium (Pelargonium sidoides): This herb can help reduce the severity of cold symptoms and shorten a cold’s duration. It’s often sold under the brand name Umcka in chewables, instant drinks, and homeopathic capsules.

This originally appeared as “Feed a Cold” in the October 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

Laine Bergeson Becco, FMCHC

Published by
Laine Bergeson Becco, FMCHC

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